I recently posted some thoughts about how the internet and connectivity have affected gaming in general, and one of those bit items - for better or for worse - has been achievements. My first brush with them was with my Xbox 360, and I thought they were cool at the time. I'm competetive (most gamers I imagine are), so if I can have a bigger score than most of my friends, cool - right? Also, it gives you incentive to play a game through a second time and try to do things a bit differently than the prior time.
So basically, I loved them at first. Then, I went through a period where they almost sort of annoyed me. It was like the Developers were dangling achievements in front of you to get you to do things during the game you wouldn't normally do. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the activity is fun - but some games have achievements you can only complete by playing online (and if you're a 360 user without a gold account, that makes them frustratingly unattainable).
So I've gone back and forth on the whole trophies/achievements thing several times. I guess overall - I do prefer they be there. I have a fairly large gamerscore on my 360, and my PS3 trophy count is slowly trending upwards. I have a buddy who used to rent every last game he could get his hands on and would spend hours just trying to get the achievements. I've never gone that far myself. In fact one of my 360's is in my den, back here next to my desktop and it has no internet. I have a completely separate 360 account from my main Chalgyr one used on the 360 in my living room. I don't get 'credit' for beating all of the games I do, but I don't care really. Basically I look at achievements as something interesting, but not terribly important.
One side-trend I've seen of late is getting avatar items (this is more for the 360 than any other system) for accomplishing certain things in game (like I got some helmets for my avatar due to accomplishments in Halo: Reach, and for Limbo, and for Risk: Factions). Those are cool. I unlocked some gamer profile pics on my off-line 360 for doing certain things on Final Fantasy 13. Again, kind of neat, but is it a big deal?
I think it sometimes depends on the type of game too. Take Facebook games for example - you can often post specific accomplishments for others to see. As of this writing, I'm the highest person in Dragon Age Legends that I'm aware of. Several levels over anyone else in my friends' page. I might even be the highest in the whole game. I have to admit, if I get to level 40, and do so before anyone else, I'm looking forward to posting that for others to see - but it's not the sole reason I play - which is for enjoyment.
How about you? I know a lot of people really love gathering achievements, and some people feel like they are actually bad for gaming. Any opinions on it?