If you think about it, aren't all video game trophies pretty much just participation trophies?

123 thoughts on “Purrticipation

  1. Once Upon a Time some people used to insist that people needed to actually face a real challenge and overcome significant difficulties in order to feel good about rewards they’d earned. And I don’t mean just video games, this long predates video games.

    Well, it turned out that was all complete bunkum. People are ecstatic to get rewards they didn’t earn and don’t feel guilt about it. That’s not all bad – game achievements are fun and harmless (except when they’re so badly designed they detract from the game). Some of them even require some real skill.

    But it’s also the basis for the way the entire F2P industry pulls suckers in by showering them with ‘rewards’ then slowly turns off the spigot. It’s also one of the reasons we have an entitlement society, since once you’re used to the shower of unearned rewards it’s painful to have them cut off – again, that’s not just video games. Look at rich people’s monster kids.

    1. Honestly sarusa, you couldn’t have said it any better. I enjoy a few “free” trophies, because it’s the game creator’s way of saying “Thanks for purchasing and playing my game!” and the more difficult trophies are for people who liked the game and played it to it’s full extent. Sure, some trophies in some games are stupidly hard, but when you earn it you feel like you REALLY earned it.

    2. I feel like “entitlement” is an overused and poorly understood term.

      The term’s original definition involved actually giving someone a title, as in “a title of nobility” or something along those lines. In our current society, it has lost some meaning, in part because titles are (to some extent) part of a defunct system of authority.

      Essentially, using it in the context of a system of rewards that provides no authority to anyone is a bit of a distortion – not an unforgivable or inappropriate one, because of how language evolves over time, but perhaps an inadequate one, due to the context of its use being different.

      As has been noted, it is naturally still a perfectly applicable term to use in discussing “rich monsters”, and I think it’s more suitable there than in talking about gamers getting frivolous participation trophies. But I do see some cause for alarm – and not because I think we’re all vulnerable to being, as you put it, “suckered” by F2P companies.

      The phrase “a fool and his money are soon parted” is appropriate in this discussion. In other words, there’s something lacking in their common sense before the con artist ever arrives on the scene.

      However, it’s worth noting that the “fool” in this case is using *common* sense – the common sense native to our society, in which it is literally possible to “pay to win”, if you have enough money.

      In other words, it’s inappropriate to have this conversation without addressing where that “common sense” comes from – and why anyone with less money than it takes to “pay to win” in real life should be discarding that common sense in favor of a rarer, more frugal one to begin with.

      1. There’s still titles today, and you can be entitled to something that comes along with them. However, those aren’t as much honorary titles or such of nobility any more, but legal titles. Contracts, for example, or when a court finds that someone owes you compensation because they did you wrong.
        So yes, people can very much still be entitled to something. Especially when I pay a games publisher upwards of $60 for a game and find it lacking in features that were advertised.

    3. I just wanna let you know that this conversation is wonderfully refreshing. Thank you all.

      1. I think this conversation just increased my iq

        1. am i the only one who remebers the fact that in lollipop chainsaw there was that one achievement you got for holding the camera at a VEEEEERRRYYYY sepcific angle.
          no, just me?
          i’ll go that way that

        2. RandomCommenter#1437

          Simone is wishing they didn’t read that. Not me though, absolutely not.

        3. RandomCommenter#1437


        4. @Grey I remember that achievement, and I got it without knowing it was even there because I tried turning the camera up but it was stuck on inverted and went down instead. Whelp, I got the trophy though…. yay.

  2. Participation trophies make sport worth it.

    1. TravisChessie1933

      I’d like to see this cat try a NASCAR or F1 and see if he’s better at that than Guitar Hero

      1. He’d be a NAScat

      2. Guitar hero

        I got like a 90% on cry for eternity.

  3. TravisChessie1933

    Is this an actual thing, you are rewarded for watching the introduction?

    1. I have an old ‘Start of a New Era’ achievement from SoulCalibur IV on 360 that is exactly that.

    2. Disgaea has “Watched the anime cinematic” ones, but they are the scenes from if you don’t push start when the game tells you to pick whether you want to continue or start a new game, so it’s actually possible to miss it.

      Deadpool was the one I heard gave you trophies for really stupid stuff, as part of a joke.

    3. Yep, some games do indeed use that as an achievement/trophy. It’s usually a game where the intro is skippable, even on first run, so it encourages players to go back and watch it. It’s easy to understand how a developer would like to encourage players to view the cinematic they worked hard on.

      1. They can also be used for consumer research metrics. Set achievements for your game’s various bits and pieces, and you can check those numbers to see how people are engaging with your game, or if they are at all.

        1. Saul the overhaul

          And then they can cut what players don’t enhoy and snd build on what they liked.

        2. True. This comic’s joke about a trophy for customizing your character? Someone would really care about that, even if it’s just the people who made the customization tools. Bioware openly talked about the stats around how many people engaged with customization versus how many mashed through to the default soldier Shepard, and if I recall there’s at least been discussion about randomizing which class the creation menu starts on in later games as a result, to make people think about it more or try something different if they just mash.

        3. Saul the overhaul

          That sure is an intressting simple way of encuraging consumers to explore and discover the possibilities.

        4. Saul the overhaul

          *and between intressting and simple

    4. Yeah there are some games that will give you trophies for just hitting the New Game button. I think it’s a way for them to force the game to stay on your trophy list forever even if you finish it because you can delete games with no trophies if you don’t end up liking it. Or at least you can with achievements, I’m not sure about trophies.

      1. This also used to be an indicator for older (PS3) games to see whether a game had been downloaded or not – which was important for getting a refund for a game bought “by accidant”. If you had one (“Start the game”)-trophy/achievement, refund was impossible. This was by no means a safe indicator, but also a reason some games have these. (I only know this for PS3, as I used to work in support there for a while)

    5. There are *so many* games like this yeah. Heavy Rain comes to mind, as do a bunch of smaller indie games on Steam. I have no idea what proportion of my trophies are like this but I bet it’s at least in the double-digit percentage.

    6. Yes. Worse still are the achievement spam games on Steam. They have whatever the maximum number of achievements a Steam game is allowed to have and all you have to do to get them all is start the game and leave it running while it unlocks them as fast as Steam allows it to.

      They have their high achievement count as a selling point. Players were buying them just to pad their total achievement count. So certain developers kept spamming them out.

      Valve tried to kill their business model by disabling achievements on games that haven’t sold enough copies. I think that worked.

    7. Fun fact: Only 82.5% of the people who own Portal 2 on Steam have unlocked the achievement for watching its unskippable intro.

    you posted a comment about unlocking an achievement

    1. Yay!

        you posted a comment supporting the achievement of posting a comment about
        unlocking an achievement

        1. Achievement unlocked…

          I’m too lazy to type the rest

          You posted a comment replying to the achievement of supporting the achievement of posting a comment about unlocking an achievement!

          You posted another comment replying to the achievement of posting a comment replying to the
          achievement of supporting a comment that supports the achievement of posting a comment
          about unlocking an achievement

          You added way too many layers

          You admitted that you admitted that you admitted that you admitted that you admitted that you posted a comment in reply to the achievement unlocked by another, therefore achieving for yourself an achievement

      You admitted you were lazy!


  5. Why is this every online game from lvl 1-15

    1. RandomCommenter#1437

      Because, games with levels need a lot of achievements to keep people playing.

  6. “If you think about it, aren’t all video game trophies pretty much just participation trophies?”

    As the guy with platinum trophies for Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Okami, kindly fuck off.

    1. I was hoping for a response like this. Cheers to trophies which go beyond participation.

    2. It’s a joke based on the small achivements. Getting bigger achivements are of course more impresive than participation.

  7. Meanwhile, in MHW…
    *Hides from a pack of Jagras 5 minutes in*
    *Achievement get*
    “I DID A THING!!!”


      Take on Dodogama quest and get killed by Deviljho

  8. This punfest is a cat-tastrophe

    1. This cat-ostrophic pun needs a pun-isment for not being very pun-ny.

      1. That pun wasn’t even pun-ny either! Also does any else think that onions are onion-tresting while mars bars are CHOC-a-block of goodness! Also Tyler’s comment was purr-fectly Fine. I’m not kitten around, it wasn’t paw-some but it wasn’t claw-ful. You were also fur-tunate to have a claw-ver pun. Now have you ever heard the ‘tale’ of Ragnar the red? Purr-haps not? Okay. You were un-fur-tunate to get all these hiss-terical puns today.
        Now take a ‘paws’ because there’s even more pun-nier puns to come. Paw-don me but I must give just a few more puns. I could write the hiss-tory of puns. What type of mew-sic do you like? How did you purr-ceive these ‘furry’ puns?
        -william shakespaw

        1. *furry pun-ny puns*

        2. STOP IT NOW!

        3. Never! These paw-some puns will never stop. Actually I will stop. Paw-don me but I must leave.

        4. Several bad puns later

        5. Bad puns? Bad puns?!? How dare you say such purr-ible things about these furry, furry punny puns.

        6. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess
          you don’t leave your house

        7. RandomCommenter#1437

          I agree Justin, these are not very good

        8. Ha, nice name

        9. J.k meowling I bet ur a Harry Potter fan and a cat or gamer cat fan too. (Nice user)(u know)

  9. laziest trophies ever

  10. Remember in minecraft were one of the “acivements” were basically opening your inventory. Real effort to get that one took me 3 days to get it.

  11. What about Easter eggs those take skills

    1. or for some people googling skills

    2. Depends on what kind of easter egg it is.

  12. Achievement:played 1 second
    Achievement:played 2 seconds
    Achievement:played 3 seconds

    1. …now that’s Aabs Animals for you.
      At least some of the money from that goes to charity, so I guess it’s cool. :P

  13. Achievement: made a comment

  14. People always make a deal out of trophies and achievements not being about doing anything worth rewarding but I’ve always seen them as a sort of to-do list that encourages you to explore more of what the game has to offer. You can learn a lot about a game by doing trophies that aren’t readily apparent if you, say, just play through the story and move on.

  15. ChaosSorceror_Davidicus

    This mechanic of video games, specifically Playstation, of having trophies for innocuous things like starting up the game, pressing “new game”, watching the opening cinematic, it all drives me up a wall.
    I do like to feel that I earned an achievement. I mean, I get it if I got an achievement for reaching a milestone in a game’s story, or completing a quest line or something, but I recall getting an achievement for watching the opening cinematic for Disgaea 3 and thinking to myself “well…. that was stupid, all I did is start up the game.” Didn’t they have OTHER places that could warrant an achievement? Like getting a character to level 9999? Or reincarnating someone 10 times? Or defeating Overlord Baal again? Sure those are probably in there, but it really feels like reaching, like they had a quota of achievements to fulfill and ran out of GOOD reasons to earn them.

    1. Yeah, just having a special ending scene is nothing, and having a prize for doing nothing at all is also in itself nothing. Having an achievement that you can show off at any point marks progress and growth in-game (i.e.”Defeated Jotun” “Defeated Devourer” “Defeated All Superbosses”) is good. That said, I feel like having an achievement for completing the tutorial or watching the cinematic is kind of sweet. Just don’t have the entire game be a stream of empty compliments.

  16. RandomCommenter#1437

    Wow. I never watch openings if I don’t have to so I would never get the first trophy/achievment. Sad

    1. You should. There’s a lot you can enjoy in the opening cinematic. And a lot you can learn about the world.
      I mean, Skyrim’s is kind of forced exposition, but…

      1. RandomCommenter#1437

        No thx, I’m not a completionist. So eff the rewards.

      2. RandomCommenter#1437

        Also I think the main game is B.S. unless a REALLY fun weapon is there.

  17. A friend of mine once said that he learned to code for no reason other than to get into the PlayStation Trophy designing section of Sony. He wanted to make it so that the opening cinematic was about 5 minutes long (meaning it was like a 20 minute intro for a movie) and make a Trophy for watching it all the way through. Then make the game have 1 save slot, and make it so that restarting the game forcibly clears your data (no matter what the old game is gone from existence the second you press “New Game”), and that not only can you watch that cinematic one time per playthrough, pressing any button skips it.
    Just to screw with people who wanted Platinum trophies and already cleared the game.

  18. I swear to God it wasn’t there before.

  19. I do like when game hands out at least one trophy early; I like to use the trophy data as a “gaming diary”, and then it feels a bit weird when I’ve played a game for days before the first trophy pops.

  20. Breadstick

    1. R o b l o x d e a t h s o u n d


    2. RandomCommenter#1437

      Am I not getting something here or what?

  21. GaMERCaT looks so cute in the last panel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =>w<=

    1. Commit anime.

  22. Trophy earned: You Earned A Trophy!

    1. TravisChessie1933

      Trophy-ception or something. Proceed to trophy spam

  23. I have 20 different achievements for putting on clothes

    1. TravisChessie1933

      Good job, ur not nude in public!

  24. Watch the language dangit

    1. I clicked it and the video was unavailable. Now shut your mouth.

      1. The video works perfectly for me.

  25. i realized just now i have 500 achivements in minecraft, five nights at freddys, cat-lateral damage, and splatoon (1, 2, and octo expansion), just for playing the game.

    1. TOTALLY NOT nintendo

      y tho????? did we- i mean did they REALLY need so much achievements or add too many achiements?

    2. Fnaf is f$#&ing moronic

      1. i dont care wat chu think

  26. Thank for your awesome comics gamer cat! They can be so relatable at times, as well as funny.

  27. Trophy unlocked- exist

    1. Trophy unlocked: You got a game console

  28. Ima go buy merch wit meh monies
    *buys merch*,
    Bank Account Balance- -$17

  29. Am i the only one getting oddly redirected to some kind of scam reward site?

    1. Now I want to post the lyrics of You’re not alone.

  30. I remember when I played the Deadpool game and it gave me the achievement of getting up from the couch and then they gave me an extra one.

    1. Tuesday in April

  31. Trophy earned: Stepped on grass for the first time.

    1. What the hell is grass?

      1. It’s that green stuff in this place called “Outside”. I think they based it off of Tall Grass from Pokemon. I’ve only seen it a small number of times, and I’m not sure I get the appeal, they replaced the catching mechanism and high probability encounters with some trash thing where you can very rarely find anything anything of value. I submitted a bug report about the encounter rates, but I don’t think the devs got it.

        1. Who Is a oUtside?

        2. Wait I could have sworn that was just some horror story told to small kids… It’s not real… Right?

        3. Oh it’s real alright! And it’s the spookiest thing right after spiders.

        4. This is not going the way I hoped it would.

        5. RandomCommenter#1437

          Lets be honest, this is a comments section.

      2. I think it’s a scam

  32. Is anybody watching YouTube while on this website

    1. / / /
      | | |

  33. I’m watching life noggin
    (BTW, what is life?)

    1. I’ve seen life noggin

      1. I’m watching a very old web series.

  34. Not if you are playing a Paradox Interactive game! Just think of how hard it is to conquer all the world as Ryukyu islands? This is the “Three Mountains” achievment in EU4!

    1. Three hammers

  35. You should do a new years one where Glitch and Nano are scared by the fireworks

    1. Nano: I’ve seen something like this in Dark Souls, let’s kill it!
      Glitch: Are you sure this is safe?

  36. Participation trophies make sport worth it.

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