I’m not a very competitve person by default but when it comes to achievements I like to compare my Gamer Score to people on my friend list. I found myself trying to play through games on the hardest more to unlock all of the achievements in one playthrough or sitting through dozens of iterations of the same game just to try to get an illusive combination for a particular achievement. Reading guides on XBOX360Achievements.org gave me strategies to try, but I found myself just getting more and more frustrated trying to max out this nebulous gamer score. Playing the 360 became less and less fun the longer I spent doing this and I finally realized that this just won’t do.
I’m not as young as I used to be. I don’t have all the free time I once did to game. When I can break away from life for a few minutes of gaming here and there I want to enjoy myself. So I changed the difficulty to easy and haven’t looked back since.
Video games are meant to be enjoyed, not rushed through, especially on your first playthrough. Some developer somewhere spent hours working on the code to get the tree to blow just right in the wind or to have the sounds around you be as natural as possible. If all you are doing is dodging an impossible wave of bullets just trying to stay alive on hard mode then you are probably not going to be able to enjoy the scenery, the story, and the atmosphere of this game. As a player I was so tense and twitchy that I barely registered the dialogue going on in the background, so focused was I on hostile fire.
I believe achievements are a good thing as they give you a way to show your progress in a game outside of the game. I even understand why there are achievements for completing the game on a harder difficulty setting. But they should be a reward, not the purpose for playing the game.
In short, enjoy your games. Play them, have fun with them, but don’t get caught up in something that is going to turn gaming into a chore.