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Retrophies: achievements system for emulators (retrophies.win)
46 points by marbartolome on Aug 1, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

Cool from a tech standpoint, but trophies/achievements are lazy game design. Rather than motivate players with story progression, skill mastery, etc., they're just checklists to complete.

Sometimes they are, but for people who would self-impose an additional challenge anyway, achievements can provide some extra fun.

I've also seen achievements used for humor and story purposes; they can provide that bit of levity that helps ameliorate an excessively dark moment, or turn a nasty trap into a chuckle, or provide a fourth-wall-breaking moment.

For an example of that last case, see the Portal 2 achievement "This Is The Part Where He Kills You".

A fun example of this is magicka, that has some of the most hilarious achievements I've ever seen in a game, full of references. Some examples :

- http://magicka.gamepedia.com/Let_off_some_steam (Notice the logo)

- IMMA FIRIN' MAH LAZER!!!!: Successfully cross two beams into a more powerful one.

- It's over nine thousand!!!!: Deal over 9000 damage to one enemy.

Well-made, well-placed achievements certainly do have a place, even in casual gaming.

That was one of my favorite parts of the game, and the Achievement really was the cherry on top. It pops up just before you fade in, and it seems like a cheeky spoiler, and then the huge white Title Text to the dialog to the absurd "you really should grok where you stand on this" setting comes in. And then - if you wait for a little bit - the point really gets driven home...

I think they are very much underutilized in games. A lot of developers seems to simply add achievements for reaching various milestones (how developer-like :P) -- but they could be used for so much more!

What kinds of edge cases came up in testing that would be fun for the player? What kind of super secrets can you rally your playerbase to find/hunt down? What kind of silly little tasks can you come up with?

I like them as a way to push me into aspects of the game that I would normally never try.

For example, in WoW it got me to go explore all of the other faction's territories, which I didn't even know was possible. It also got me to run the old dungeons that no one did anymore.

When designed right, they can be really good.

To me achievements make more sense when you count the community aspect. They can be humorous or motivating while playing standalone, but usually games have their own ways of providing a sense of progression and achievement (or they will be boring!). Achievements become really interesting when you compare them against the community, and you can find extra motivation in "oh, only 10% of the players have managed to do this, lets go for it!".

Further development ideas for retrophies inclued building on this community aspect. Although now that I've discovered retroachievements.org I'm not sure it's worth the duplicated effort :P

I disagree: it's a site map for what you can do in a game and what you might find enjoyable. The achievements themselves aren't as important as seeing what experiences the game offers.

Is this something new? It seems exactly like Retro Achievements, which I think has been around for years.


Author speaking. I had no idea that thing existed =) But yes, retrophies seems to be exactly the same idea, implemented the same way as well. Plus with a mature community already!

Takes a bit the motivation off continuing the work on retrophies, although it was an interesting and fun experiment nevertheless.

I had to: https://github.com/rephus/retrophies/pull/1

Funny enough, I find it a little more difficult to achieve than when playing on the original console. A combination of the keyboard and emulation slowdown seems to be in play.

Merged! ;D

achievements might actually be cool, but should be done sparingly and in a very limited fashion; When you find crazy stuff in the game, for instance (small fire mario, minus worlds), or something rather impressive (beat the game in less than 18 minutes, beat the game without warping, etc), rather than "ACHIEVEMENT GET" the first time you get a mushroom.

Extending this to games like the Mega Man series (Beat Quick Man Stage first, kill Rock Monster boss without pressing start) or even Contra (Beat on three Lives) would be great. Just remember that less is more, and 3-5 achievements maximum is where you want to be.

I agree with you, achievements, when well designed, should trigger for things that are hard enough to provide, well, a sense of achievement!

However, for the mario demo, what I wanted was to showcase the achievements feature to people who likely are not gonna play further than the first level. This is why I abused silly achievements at the start.

Seeing as you have competition in this space, you'd be wise to differentiate yourself by providing quality over quantity. if people care about the gamer points they've earned on your system vs. the competition's easy handouts, you've won.

Ummm... I hate to break it to you guys, but the lack of achievements is one of the things a lot of people LIKE about retrogaming.

It's borderline cruel to come into a Show HN post solely trash someone's work, assuming that your personal lack of interest in a project somehow reflects on whether others would find it interesting or useful. I've downvoted you due to your tone.

Personally I think this project is awesome. I often hunt for achievements in games after I finish playing them, as they can often add a new dimension to an otherwise completed game.

Also the name is super cute.

you're actually right. I'm sorry. Plus, the tech is actually really cool.

That was my initial reaction too, but honestly, it's kind of a cool idea if they do it well. Sometimes I want to play the classics verbatim...but sometimes I feel like an enhanced version of the original games would be welcome. For the first case, I've got original hardware. For the second, I guess I've got emulators with save states and some kind of "meh" auto-scaling algorithms. It doesn't seem like a bad idea to "enhance" the gameplay without really changing the core gameplay.

If you say so. From what I can see, games have had achievements right from the early days. High scores in old arcade games were just a different way of tracking achievements.

How does it work? Is it just checking for patterns in the emulated memory? More details?

Not just patterns, full disassemblies of the game exists[1], so I imagine the locations in RAM where each particular piece of info is stored are known and can be tracked easily.

[1]: https://gist.github.com/1wErt3r/4048722

Hello, author here! Check this blogpost for an explanation =) http://coconauts.net/blog/2016/08/01/retrophies/

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