Monday, October 5, 2009

[TIME NOTE] Should Xbox Originals Have Achievements?

Ever since Microsoft announced they would allow downloads of original Xbox games - cleverly called "Xbox Originals" - gamers abound were wondering if the games would be direct ports, or enhanced versions of their favorites. Imagine, Halo: CE running at least 720p, true widescreen, enhanced visuals, better control mapping, Xbox Live enabled, and with XBL comes Achievements.

However, Microsoft dealt one hell of a blow when they announced the games would be direct ports with absolutely no added bonuses or perks, and on average costing $5 more to download than a physical copy you'd find at a brick-and-mortar store. Why charge more when you've done absolutely nothing to enhance the experience and cut out the physical medium? Of all things, it should be cheaper than the physical copy.

At the time of this writing, with the XBO program launched back on December 4, 2007, Microsoft has released 18 titles on the service, including Halo, Fable and Indigo Prophecy. All 3 games listed are amazing games - if you've never heard of Indigo Prophecy, I highly recommend you go out and pick up a copy; you'll get more joy out of owning this game rather than having a download - and are worthy of this shoddy service. It's a great window-shopping experience to get you into the world of what once was Microsoft's first foray into the world dominated by Nintendo and Sony.
The biggest gripe as stated earlier was the fact that Microsoft didn't want to do anything special for these games, at least give them Achievements. Yes, they are original Xbox games, but they are on the Xbox 360 service. The 360 service requires Achievements for all games. You don't go to visit another country without knowing a few customs, so why put games on the 360 without Achievements? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to draw up some Achievements.

Let's say that the Xbox Live Arcade Achievement rules apply for XBO games (200 points, 12 Achievements). Here's something I pulled out of my ass for Halo:
  • Situation Normal... - 25 - Beat the game on Normal
  • Heroism - 50 - Beat the game on Heroic
  • Living Legend - 75 - Beat the game on Legendary
  • Flip a Bitch! - 5 - Flip the Warthog 5 times in a row
  • Seven7th Column - 5 - Finish any level with exactly 7 bullets left in both weapons
  • It's a Spider! - 5 - Sticky an opponent in the head with a Plasma (Multi)
  • Elite Soldier - 10 - Rank 1st in 10 consecutive Free-for-All Slayer matches (Multi)
  • Triple Kill - 10 - Earn the Triple Kill medal in any Free-for-All Slayer match (Multi)
  • Kill Frenzy - 15 - Earn the Kill Frenzy medal in any Team Slayer match with at least 6 people playing (Multi)
Done. I've made an Achievement list with 9 Achievements totaling 200 points (I don't why I stopped at 9 achievements, but given more thought, I know I can create 3 more and divvy up some gamerscore amongst them). As you can see, there are the Achievement regulars, such as beating the game on certain difficulties, of course, retroactive, meaning if you beat the game on Legendary, you get the Achievements for Heroic and Normal as well, cause, let's face it, if you can beat the game on Legendary, you can sure as shit beat it on Normal. There's a handful of multiplayer Achievements and a couple randomness ones. Some of the names of the Achievements alone give away the description to long-standing Halo fans, especially the "It's a Spider!" Achievement, being my own personal nod to the guys at Red vs. Blue. Of course, the Seven7th Column is the one that has something to do with the number 7, and the "Flip a Bitch!" is a quote from the movie SWAT, which I just finished watching at a friend’s house (Yea...that last one wouldn't last in Microsoft's hands).

So you see, it doesn't take long to think of things up. Probably the most difficult one would be the Kill Frenzy Achievement or the Living Legend Achievement. For those not in the know, a Kill Frenzy is awarded to a player who gets 5 kills within 4 seconds of each kill without dying in the midst of it all. A Kill Frenzy in the original Halo is near impossible if not playing LAN, and has a Bungie Difficulty Rating of 8 out of 10, according to Halopedia.

Getting back to the topic at hand, Microsoft really slacked on this ordeal. If they wanted to stack up to Sony’s offering of downloads of the PSOne's library - which if you added the number of PSOne games up, and proceeded to enter that number onto the Internet, you would thusly destroy the Internet itself - or even begin to compete with Nintendo's Wii Shop, where you can download games from - deep breath - the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis, Turbo-Grafix 16, and soon the MSX and Neo-Geo, then they needed something to entice gamers with some sort of incentive. I only own 9 Xbox games (10 if you count the Halo 2 Map Pack disk), and if Halo: CE had Achievements, you bet your ass I'd download it in a heartbeat just to get some Achievements going, plus online multiplayer as well.

Time Note is an editorial piece where I dig into my Documents folder and find gems that I written in the past. They may not reflect my current ideals, but they do to a certain aspect where I feel I must share it with my readers. Anything written in the article in red, italicized font is my current input on my previous thoughts.