Home » General » Trophies are killing cheats and unlocks

Trophies are killing cheats and unlocks

Cheats and unlocks (herein referred to as ‘chunlocks’) still exist – there are still a load of games you can input a code on and get all the weapons, or unlock new skins, or skip levels, or get a tank. I’m not questioning where they’ve gone, as if you look hard enough they are still there. What I wonder is what’s happened to them?

The simplest, and first, explanation I can think of is achievements and trophies: they’ve killed off chunlocks. In days gone by you would work your way through a game to unlock yourself some new content. For example, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 would reward you with Spider-man as a playable character if you finished the game 100% with a created character. Tangible, in-game reward for putting your time into it.

Now? Now it’s a message popping up: ‘You have earned a trophy’. And for a lot of games, that’s it. There are no additional unlocks, no secret characters or ‘oh, you’ve finished the game? Here’s an invincibility code to encourage you to play through again, only this time just messing about!’.

Unlocks do exist, new characters are awarded and standard cheats are still in existence. But they’re less prevalent than they’ve ever been and I find it a bit worrying. It feels, in a way, like players are getting less for their money.

See, trophies and achievements are fine – I enjoy them a healthy amount – but compared to the rush I get in a game when you find some secret, easter egg character or vehicle hidden somewhere, or unlocked after you clock the game 99 times in a row on hard, is something that these little shinies just can’t replace.

Plus it’s all too easy for a developer to just half-heartedly think of a list of 50 things for the player to do (20 of which are ‘finish this level’ on different difficulties) and decide they’ve got player rewards sorted out. I don’t want that. I could live without trophies, so long as we returned to a time where I was rewarded more often with actual in-game content for my deeds.

And not just bloody concept art.




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  • Aron Baker

    DLC has also contributed to this. Why reward a player for doing something when we can get them to pay instead. Some DLC is superb, and excellent value – the rest is, unfortunately, not – and most is something that used to be free.

    Maybe I’m just getting old 🙁

  • bop

    Lol thats why uncharted 2 rewards you with Gengis khan (beat game on crushing) and marco polo (achieve plat)

  • Luillo

    I feel the same way… Now-a-days the 70% of the games I own don’t have unlockables 🙁 and if they have those are just videos or something to watch, not to play… I want more games like Uncharted 2 with no-gravity, infinite ammo, infinite life etc…

    Or Burnout Paradise… It’s amazing… it has like ALL THE CONTENT IN THE WORLD!!! I’m still not at 100% and I know there are unlockables if I finish it at 102%

  • AK

    Have you playef uncharted at all…?

  • :(

    I agree, look at Resident Evil 5, that game was pretty useless but what made it a sucess was the fact that you could play through again with unlimited shotgun ammo in a kinky costume. And in Red Dead Redemption when I get bored I just put on Invincibility and Unlimited Ammo and go crazy!

  • p

    I agree 100% with the article, bring back the ‘real’ rewards.

  • Sean

    Really good article, I totally agree 100%. This is probably why I seem to be trading in my games more often than ever before, it is a shame.

  • Chievo Whore

    I agree with Aron, it’s not Achievements/Trophies that are to blame so much as the opportunity to price-gouge with pointless, overpriced DLC which is probably already on the disc (eg; Soul Calibur 4 Star Wars Characters or Street Fighter 4 alt costumes).

    In days gone by, just as today, a developer might’ve asked “How can we extend the experience for the player who has finished our game?” But whereas last gen the answer was all the extras you are talking of, these days the solution seems to be to put that creative effort into making something that will bring a return, simply because they can.

    I love achievements and I’m glad they’re here. It’s the evil DLC you should be blaming.

  • Soyokaze

    What really annoys me is when the game actively opposes the two features. Many achievements/trophies can not be unlocked while using ‘chunlocks.’ This is fine when it’s things like unlimited ammo – but why does the alternative skin I’m using matter? Hell, if the achievement is for killing all enemies on the level with melee attacks, why should even the infinite ammo matter?

    This practice often serves to discourage the use of ‘chunlocks’ as anytime you are using them you are essentially turning the achievement/trophy system off.