The Dark Side of Achievements

Discussion in 'Articles' started by HXP, Nov 17, 2012.

The Dark Side of Achievements

HXP Nov 17, 2012

  1. HXP

    HXP The Therapist

    Nov 24, 2011
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    Achievements are one of the greatest new features of the current console generation because they reward us for playing, give us a running total of our accomplishments, and let other people see just exactly what we have done in a game. But there are also dark forces out there, however, who take it all a little too far and actually cheat in order to add a few points to their score.
    Cheating Cheaters Never Win
    Take a look at the top of the Xbox Live GamerScore leaderboards here at Sure, it looks impressive, but most (but certainly not all) of the top scores have cheated to get there. Why they would cheat at something that doesn’t earn them anything other than nerd cred (which they lose when it is discovered they cheated), just boggles the mind. Videogames are supposed to be fun. Achievements are supposed to be fun. Why would you cheat yourself out of that fun just to add to your score?
    How Do We Discover Cheaters?
    One of the great things about Xbox Live is that Microsoft has been great about sharing data with websites like and 360Voice and the like to do things like let our systems blog or to showcase our GamerCards for the world to see. You can also go to and compare your GamerCard to other gamers and see how you stack up achievement for achievement. And all of the achievements have dates on them so you know exactly when they were unlocked.
    This is also how we can easily discover cheaters. If achievements unlock in an incorrect order (like getting the “Extreme Soldier” achievement for beating the game on Extreme on Lost Planet before it says you got the individual level achievements), or if you make big gains in games in one day that should take you longer (like “Seriously” in Gears of War or playing through the whole career mode on Forza 2, for example), it is pretty obvious that you have cheated.
    Now, there are certainly games with glitches and issues that can cause achievements to pop up in the wrong order and things like that. And there are also occasions where if you play offline and then get onto Xbox Live, achievements won’t have dates and they’ll all seem to appear at once that are perfectly legit. But in these cases, a little bit of Internet sleuthing is enough to figure out that they didn’t cheat. Like I said above, though, if you do cheat it is extremely easy for the world to figure out.
    How Do They Cheat?
    The way that people cheat is by using devices to transfer save files from the Internet to their Xbox 360. This is done with the Datel XSATA which lets you connect your Xbox 360 hard drive to your PC via USB, or the Datel Xbox 360 Transfer Kit which lets you transfer files from an Xbox 360 memory card to your PC.
    These devices were created with the best of intentions. Being able to transfer demos and other stuff that is taking up a ton of room on your 360 that you want to keep rather than deleting and re-downloading is certainly a good idea. But, like pretty much every other good idea in history, man has abused his newly found power and used it for evil.
    And it is for that reason why I do not recommend either of those devices for Xbox 360 owners. It seems like a helpful, handy dandy tool initially, but when cheating is so easy it is easy to be corrupted.
    Other Slightly Shady GamerScore Tactics
    There are a couple of other things you can do to boost your GamerScore quickly. These aren’t cheating at all, and no one will really question you, but it is all a matter of personal pride and how far you are willing to go to get a few points. I’m not against these, and have done them myself a time or two, but these also kind of destroy the purity and fun of achievements a little bit.
    First off is playing an easy game like Avatar, Madden 06/08, NBA 2K6, etc. just for points. You can pick up an easy 1000 points very quickly and then be on your way. You still have to actually play the game and earn the points, so you aren’t cheating, but they aren’t really something you can be proud of either. Of course, when your GamerScore is in the 30k+ club and higher, you are kind of running out of things to play to add to your score so picking up cheap easy stuff at GameStop is tempting. I’ve done it. I admit it.
    The other shady GamerScore practice is what is known as “boosting”. Boosting is when you play online multiplayer games purely for the achievement points. You typically organize a meet up with like-minded friends, and then you all just take turns getting headshots and blowing each other up in order to get the achievements. When a game has been out for a while (that isn’t called Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, or Gears of War), finding legit online games to try and get your points in is very difficult since very few people will still be playing it. In this case, I think boosting with friends is an acceptable idea. But when a game has just come out and you have people wanting to boost, it is just sad and pathetic. Also, asking strangers to help you boost (Halo 3 has at least one person per game wanting to boost, it seems) is just incredibly lame and annoying. Boost with your friends, not with strangers.
    Bottom Line
    Achievements and the points associated with them are one of the best parts about Xbox Live and the Xbox 360. There is a reason why Sony wants to implement a similar system into the PS3, after all. They add a fun new element to games and can motivate you to play further into a game than you might have otherwise, and that is always a good thing. There are some out there where achievements have stopped being fun, and they choose instead to just cheat their way to a high GS rather than actually playing the games and having fun. Shame on them.
    So lets wrap up. Boosting in online games is acceptable, and sometimes even necessary depending on the age and popularity of the game, but do it with friends in private matches and don’t ask strangers in public matches. Playing easy games is also acceptable, and if you are in the top 1-2% of all scores, pretty much necessary. Cheating by downloading game saves with the Datel XSATA or Datel Xbox 360 Transfer Kit is not acceptable. Ever. And it is incredibly easy to figure out that you cheated, so don’t do it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2012

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