Many moons ago (August 26, 2011 at 08:43 PM to be exact) I posted a blog titled "Game Informer Online Achievements - An Introduction" that broadcasted a rather lofty idea I had been kicking around. I solicited some assistance from my good friend and the very graphically talented artist - Dean aka born4this. The blog was met mostly with positive results (40+ comments) and a few that were strongly opposed (if I recall, there were two blogs posted in the following days about how this was a horrible idea). Ironically, the biggest opponents of this initiative are not what I would call regulars (at least within the blogging community), so I'm not overly concerned with the contrasting viewpoints mentioned in those blogs. I realize not everyone will like or even support this project. Anyway, you can read the original blog here if you're interested. It explains the background and overarching idea behind Game Informer Online Achievements. Honestly though, if you've been a gamer for any length of time, you know what achievements are and the purpose they serve.

Well, the project turned out to be much more involved than I thought. Originally, I thought it might take a few weeks and I'd go live with it. However, being the perfectionist I am...and due to some unforeseen work challenges, the project kept slipping to the right with each obstacle that kept springing up. That was what, nearly 6 months ago? I am happy to report the whole initiative is about to go live and I am going to start rolling out some of the information - clearly more than can be posted in a single blog, so expect a few blogs on the topic. While the blog mentioned above was the official introduction, tonight's blog is an explanation of sorts about a few key points that I'd like everyone to know in advance.

  • This is an unofficial effort that is not sponsored, sanctioned or endorsed by anyone at Game Informer. If they like it, of course that would make me very happy, but if they told me to pull the plug on it, then I would obviously pull the plug on it.
  • Since this is an unofficial effort, if you don't like it, then don't participate in it. It will be fairly easy to avoid - just ignore any of my blogs that reference Game Informer Online Achievements. I'm only expecting a handful of people to actually be interested in this, so I seriously doubt mass chaos or pandemonium will ensue with its introduction.
  • I'd like to think that most people who know me or have read my blogs for any length of time realize nearly everything I do at Game Informer, I do for the sake of promoting and growing the community; to instill teamwork and camaraderie; to just make it a fun place to socialize with like-minded gamers. That is the spirit and intent of GIO Achievements.
  • While most of the Game Informer Online Achievements program will be facilitated through the blogging community, not all of the achievements are specifically directed at the blogging community (although many of them are). There are a broad range of awards to try and include the entire gambit of Game Informer, but I'm a blogger and so naturally my focus was there. I might pursue setting up a group devoted to this, but I haven't yet.
  • Since this is being managed by me and a few panel members, it is obviously a manual process and will require a certain amount of work to implement. Would a built-in, automated process work better? Absolutely! But again, this is a project being designed, created, introduced and managed by the user any sort of automation is pretty much out of the question.
  • While I don't foresee this happening, but if this bombs miserably, causes hate and discontent or is abused, I would regrettably have to scrap the whole program. I wouldn't want to do that because I think it can add a lot to the community, but if it harmed it in anyway...well that's not part of the legacy I want to leave behind. I have a few measures in place to monitor the facilitation of the program independent of my own role. This is not Saint's GIO Achievements...this is a community endeavor - so any feedback, input and recommendations is welcomed and encouraged. The panel is to ensure the good order and discipline, and is staffed by some of the most trusted and respected members of the community.

So, maybe you are wondering, "How do achievements promote and grow the community?"

A fair question with an easy answer. Actually answers. Answers that can best be given with examples. Some achievements will be awarded for those who provide content (blogs, reviews, guides); some achievements will be awarded for those who provide the community with podcasts and even members who support the podcasters; some achievements will be awarded for specific accomplishments with unique requirements that will necessitate community involvement. All of the achievements are aimed at supporting the community in some form or fashion.

Okay, that's all well and about some specifics now?

Here's how it will work.

There are 50 achievements.

There are 15 general achievements.

There are 35 special achievements.

Each of the 35 special achievements will be dedicated to a member of the community who inspired or was the first to meet the requirements of the achievement.

Two of the 35 special achievements have already been revealed in previous blogs. Chris Mrkvicka was the inaugural recipient of the Ban Hammer Survivor achievement and eyros2k was the inaugural recipient of the Comrades in Arms achievement.

I'm making every effort to dedicate the 35 special achievements to unique members, however, some members who are more established in the community may earn up to two. For example, Chris Mrkvicka (Demon Ragnarok) has the Ban Hammer Survivor locked down but might be surprised to learn he has another one in store.

I have a rather nifty (and rather geeky) Microsoft spreadsheet that will help maintain this trainwreck. Basically, anybody that tells me they want their "trophy case" will request one...and me and the panel members will go through and see what achievements you meet the requirements for, and I'll create an image that you can post on your profile page. I'm debating on including a smaller one that can be included in your signature line so when you post in the forums, it will show up. The small one is in the works, so we'll see how it goes.

Let me show you a few of the screens that should clear up my babbling.

(The form used to fill out each user's award accomplishments)


(Here is what the image will look like when posted in your profile)


(Here is the signature image I'm still working on)

Okay...the final thing I'll share tonight...the list of achievements. The 15 general achievements are pretty much self-explanatory; the 35 special achievements are a bit more cryptic. In the coming days, I will post subsequent blogs that explain the specific requirements and who the inaugural winners of the special achievements are (some of them will require the user's permission and I still need to obtain that).

And for the record, I might call them awards in one moment, achievements in the next...and maybe even trophies from time to time. As far as I'm concerned, the terms are interchangeable. The picture will look the same...

General Achievements / Awards

Blog Count Totals

Blog Comment Totals

Blog View Totals (Single)

Blog View Totals (All)

Monthly Blog Count

Forum Post Totals

Comment Totals

Guide Post Totals

Review Post Totals

Podcast Post Totals

Moderator Comment Totals

Staff Comment Totals

Blog on Fire Totals

Comment on Fire Totals

Rank Has Its Privileges (RHIP)

Special Achievements / Awards

Ban Hammer Survivor

Comrades in Arms

Grand Slam

In The Spotlight

15 Minutes Of Fame

Paper or Plastic

Missing In Action

Music To My Ears

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Welcome To The Jungle

I'll Be Back

Big Kahuna

Seal Of Approval

Journey To The Center Of The Universe

Did You Get The Memo

Smile For The Camera

Identity Crisis

With Friends Like These

Friends In High Places

I Fought The Law

That Was Then, This Is Now

Read The Fine Print

You've Got Mail

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

Green Eggs And Spam

Heard It On The Radio

Take Me To Your Leader

I Am Legend

Good Samaritan

Top Gun

Official Member of the Peanut Gallery

Assume Nothing

Handle With Care

The Royal Imperial Guard


(This is the grayed out version - when the badge is awarded, it will be in color)

Hopefully I have your attention now and you're interested, heh goal is 50 members to express an interest and request to participate, but I'll be satisfied if I can get 25. Stay tuned for more updates in the next few days and the announcement on how to be the very first person to have your achievement image created (yes, they will be numbered).