Distracted Gaming


Modern gaming is often filled with bogus achievements. Start the campaign? Achievement. Get max upgrades on your pistol? Achievement. Often, a game will show you your percentage completed. If you casually play through, you may get 40% complete. If you traverse the map for hidden collectibles and beat the game on different difficulties, you can get 100%.

While this is fun for college students or those who enjoy following a guide to find all the secrets, the rest of us don’t have time for that. We play games for reasons like gameplay, escapism, and socializing.

I can’t count the number of times, I’ll be playing as the protagonist and clear out a room full of bad guys. The building is on fire and the accompanying AI is telling me we have to get out of here. Instead of running through the open door to the next area, I stop and scour every nook & cranny for obscure loot. Crawling around dark corners, running along the walls, and checking every desk for hidden items. Repeat for every room in the game.

Do you see a problem here? It’s game breaking distraction. It kills the fantasy and immersion. Developers spend years crafting beautiful, immersive maps only to have players break the immersion by constantly doing things that don’t fit the narrative.

It could be a zombie outbreak, a space ship on fire, or a warzone. As the main character, you spend a significant amount of time thinking about the map layout to try and find all the collectibles. Enemies and puzzles are a second thought as you face the fear of missing out if you didn’t check every side room or alternate pathway.

Depending on the setting, it could work out. With franchises like Tomb Raider or Uncharted, you’re a treasure hunter and finding treasure is what you do. Even then, finding a rare tribal necklace in the janitor closet on the ship breaks immersion.

I assume developers add arbitrary collectibles and achievements to pad their gameplay hours on the box description (or product page). When the single player campaign can be beat in 5 hours, the game can be marketed as having 20 hours of content by adding secrets to each map.

Developers, I play your game for the gameplay. Not to check every corner of the map to pad my achievements, which are points that don’t mean anything. Focus on nailing the crisp gameplay. Don’t distract me by making me constantly worry if I have missed out on hidden collectibles.