Poll Question 362 – Would you prefer achievements to be hidden until after the first playthrough of a game?

21st November 2016

Having just purchased The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, I looked at the Steam page and found there were 14 hidden achievements. Initially, that seemed really unfair. How was I supposed to reach an achievement if I didn’t know what it was? That’s like playing darts with the lights off and not knowing where the dartboard is.

But then I looked at the Bioshock 2 page and found all the achievements listed and that seemed almost as bad. if I am just going to play a game to reach the achievements, won’t that take away some of the spontaneity of the experience?

So what is the middle ground? I don’t know, but perhaps it is that the achievements are hidden until after the first playthrough. Any achievements gained on the first playthrough are “Gold” or something, although people will just look for them online simply to get the gold star I suppose.

In fact, maybe make it so that it is impossible to get ANY achievements on the first playthrough!

Maybe there could be hints with the second and subsequent playthroughs to help you find the ones you missed.

How do you feel about the display or not of achievements?


Would you prefer achievements to be hidden until after the first playthrough of a game?

  • Maybe, I'll comment to explain. (17%, 10 Votes)
  • No, I want to know what they are from the beginning (22%, 13 Votes)
  • Yes, it's better to play the game without worrying about them (62%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 60

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  1. I don’t look to the achievements in the first playthrough, had this a lot with the metro games lately as they spoil parts of the story if you look at them. However while I’d prefer them to not be visible at the start, making them achievable at the start is not wise, it makes the experience less rewarding if they’ve been intentionally taken away during the first playthrough. Especially since most people will only play a game once and then move on.

    1. I don’t remember Metro’s achievements spoiling much. Maybe you meant if we look at them on the internet for a guide?

  2. Showdonn

    I feel like the best option would be to keep them hidden until the game has been completed at least once. You can still earn these hidden achievements, but since they will be out of sight and out of mind (unless you scrounge online to find what they are) completionist players like myself won’t be so focused on them. I recently broke the habit of gunning for achievements in my first runs of games because I realized how taxing it can be and can ruin the initial experience (especially if it is a combat challenge or some sort).

    TL;DR: Imagine escorting the gnome in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 on your first playthrough (I didn’t because I knew it is that absurd to try on my first run).

  3. SPY

    To be honest, i never even knew about achievements till i noticed them
    on my steam page a few years ago. Probably quit silly, but really true.
    Still, i don’t really play ‘on’ them. When i reach one then that is fine but
    that is all there is to it for me. I find it a bit silly most of the times because
    from what i have seen are most of them nothing more as ‘killing 100
    enemies with a head shot’, or ‘find all these items, etc.
    So, only when it really makes a difference i am willing to find them otherwise
    i really don’t mind, there not really adding anything to a game for me.
    Maybe when you are playing a game more then ones, but that almost never
    happens. I always play a game very thoughrowly, meaning i check each and
    every corner, etc. I don’t rush through games which makes a second play
    through most of the times just ‘boring’.


  4. On Xbox, I think they could have hints for how to unlock hidden achievements without actually displaying what the achievement was. Basically, an alternate description prior to unlocking the real one. Steam defaults to “This Achievement is hidden,” which I agree, is a bit odd for someone trying to unlock all of them. I’d be surprised if they haven’t implemented something like that, though… maybe they have and I’ve got my wires crossed.

  5. wesp5

    To me achievements are only simple tricks by the developers to prolong the playing time of ever shorter getting games, so I completely ignore them unless I get some accidentally…

  6. Profbeaker

    Like Wesp5, I never bother with achievements – if the game is good, it doesn’t need them. A poor attempt to keep us playing when we should have moved on to another game.

  7. Retibsi

    I find achievements annoying. I’ve played certain games for over 300 hours (i.e. Left 4 Dead 2 and still have perhaps 28% of them) and some don’t even really make sense. It feels too much as being along the lines of “slay your opponent while upside down with your head in a bucket filled with slime” or something equally pointless…

    1. Achievements for multiplayer games like Team Fortress 2 are something I don’t and never will bother with. If I get them that’s fine by me but you need a lot of luck to get most of those (or a lot of time for grinding).

      Singleplayer games, on the other hand, I always try to 100%. The only obvious downside is that when I’m not in the mood I end up with a lot of titles installed at the same time, telling myself I’d “go back and finish them”.

  8. 2muchvideogames

    It is very unwise to look at achievements for a game you have never played. Then again, hiding achievements will just make ppl go online and look them up, so that is totally pointless as well. Best way is just leave them open and if you dont want to be spoiled then dont look at them at all.

  9. I prefer to have story spoiler achievements hidden, so as to avoid spoilers. Even then, I don’t look at the achievements anyway.

    I would consider myself an achievement hunter, but if the process to attain them is too much for me, then I won’t bother.

    1. Literally me. A mix between casual, hardcore and achievement hunter type of gamer.

  10. if you prefer them to be hidden, then just dont look at them?
    I never understood the thing about achievements anyway.
    On Steam for many games the achievements which spoil certain things are hidden btw.

  11. Having an initial playthrough mandatory to unlock achievements would make it seem pointless for those who are interested in gameplay and not the story. What, just because I bought Dishonored/Deus Ex/Bioshock it doesn’t mean I want to get invested in it. I just want to have a fun time shooting bad guys and be done with it.

    For me the ideal balance between the two would be to have gameplay achievements hidden while the rest hidden. I always hate when easter egg, avoidable achievements are kept hidden since it’s like playing hide’n’seek but if they spoil something relating to story it’s understandable.

    Maybe having an additional difficulty level unlockable who grants another achievement? I’m thinking that this way your initial experirence would be a warm-up for what’s to come, but at the same time some maybe would try to get as many as possible in one go. Just like me. Playing through a game all over again for one, maybe two damned treats.

  12. Heinz

    Hey all,

    achievements do not interest me at first play, because I want to enjoy the gameplay and story without being spoiled.
    When the game was good enough and worthy to play it again, I try to get the achievements.
    Thats it.
    Have a nice day all….

  13. Well, not really. Sometimes it works, like in the Stanley Parable and Jazzpunk, because these were comedy games and they added up to the fun. If it’s a more serious game tho, I wouldn’t like really like that.

  14. I’m not big on achievements, and as others have said, they can potentially spoil important plot points. Most of the time I get the trivial ones without thinking about it “Complete Quest X”, “Reach level 25”, “Kill X enemies with weapon Y” and so on. The only ones that are remotely interesting are the challenges. Valve’s “Little Rocket Man” and “One Free Bullet” are perfect in my opinion, as they actually give you a challenge.

    Fallout 4 had these challenges as well, but they got things completely backwards. They had the challenges hidden, and the “Complete Quest X” ones on display. This is the absolute minimal effort in terms of achievements, so there’s no point hiding them, but then they were leaked before the game was released, and lo and behold, potentially spoiled the story!

  15. I think that achievements that you get automatically just by hitting certain story points (i.e. Survive the Hunter ambush with Alyx.) should be hidden to avoid spoilers, but anything that is extra and doesn’t relate to the story directly (i.e. Kill 30 enemies with thrown physics objects.) is visible from the get-go.

    If achievements are ever put into my mod, that’s likely how I’ll do it.

  16. Mr Jowo

    It depends on the achievement. If its a non specific gameplay achievement like potatowned then it’s gameplay function is to inspire the player to use the gameplay tools in fun new ways.
    Milestone achievements that refer to specific events like Twofer (defeating the two antlion guards in Episode 2) can spoil the surprise when the event occurs so should remain hidden.

  17. Tex Arcana

    I don’t really care about the achievements one way or the other, I typically can’t find them without some assistance or luck to begin with. Besides, it takes away from the spontaneity of the playthru, especially the first time. Maybe on subsequent replays, knowing them (and how to find them, maybe with hints) would be alright.

  18. Hi, just want to say the reason I said yes. Not because I don’t want to worry about it. I just think that everybody should do that there second play though. Now if their story based then yes they should be viewed. But if they are just random then they should be not known. Although for me it doesn’t matter because I don’t have internet at home with my desktop so I don’t get achivements. This is what I think and I hope you agree.

  19. ciba43

    I actually don’t play for the achievements. I only do them, if they give some kind of in-game reward.

  20. For some games yes and for some no.

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