Though I personally have mixed thoughts about Microsoft's Achievements and Sony's Trophies, with the release of Nintendo's Wii U console now impending, many are wondering if Nintendo will introduce its own accomplishment-tracking system. Can you imagine a Zelda game encouraging players to "slice 10,000 blades of grass?"

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Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recently mentioned to Kotaku that the achievement system on Wii U will be completely game-specific and furthermore developers won't be required to include them.

In some ways, this is a huge relief. It's a relief because I'll be able to play a game without the nagging OCD feeling that I need to take a peek at the trophy list. I can play the game for what it is, what it offers, and be satisfied.

I like some kinds of trophies, don't get me wrong. I like them most when they compliment a game's design. When they get me to see or do something particularly unique and fun.

Sure, the "main purpose" of the trophy system is that when your skills are challenged, you can show others that you were able to overcome that challenge. That's neat. But that's not all there is or should be to it. Sometimes a trophy can help you to stop and smell the roses. When done right, they can help you appreciate a certain aspect of a game that deserves more attention.

I'm playing Rayman Origins right now. I've never been into speed-running a game (running through a level as fast as one can). However, there are trophies in Rayman Origins that encourage you to try. What I came to find is that I enjoy speed-running the levels more than I do the initial casual romp (speed-running opens up after you complete the level once). With speed-running the levels transform from an obstacle-ridden collectathon into a thrilling rollercoaster ride. I now see the randomly-placed obstacles and enemies under a completely different light, as carefully-laid tracks for my speedy rollercoaster-ian character zipping through the level.

Now what I hate are those trophies that add nothing of value to a game, ones that are added just for the sake of "having trophies," another bullet-point on the game's feature list. "Congratulations on pressing start." -insert shiny trophy here-

This is sad to see! A developer builds a beautiful game and then adds a coat of feces over it. And wait, is that a rotten carrot dangling on the end of this stick?

What's worse is when trophies alter the core gameplay mechanics to the detriment of the game. An example of a dumb trophy found in many games is one that asks you to "complete the game in less than X hours." This can turn an otherwise relaxing game experience into a stressful gray-hair producing affair. Maybe there are people who find this type of thing fun. Like collecting a thousand kills or a thousand thingamabobs. But I'd rather avoid spending hours completing boring, menial tasks. I've collected enough soiled dishes and grimy laundry trophies to last a lifetime.

In a way, I think Nintendo is kind of playing the role of the guy who refuses to get a cell phone or sign up for Facebook. It's only a matter of time before they give in and offer some sort of achievements or trophies on their consoles. I just hope that when they do, they choose to do it the right way.

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(not the right way)
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