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Set Plagiarism

As developers, our goal is to give every set we develop its own unique achievement set when possible. Sometimes we end up reusing an idea or two that another developer already used for their own set. Being an open community, sharing and building on others ideas is encouraged, however, intentionally taking someone else’s work and applying it to your own set is prohibited and disrespectful to the work of the original Developer. If a set has been copied or copy/pasted, it will be grounds for demotion until the issue is remedied. This applies to RetroAchievement sets and third-party platform achievement sets like Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, and other similar services. If you are concerned about your set breaking these guidelines, just submit an inbox message to DevCompliance on the site and we will take a look at it.

Unacceptable Plagiarism


Achievement and mastery badges need to be unique from other sets. Slightly modifying a badge or putting a watermark over an existing badge is not acceptable unless it’s a bonus/subset mastery badge. The difference must be obvious from a zoomed out side by side comparison of the badges. Using any copyrighted badges from official sets is prohibited.


Achievement titles should be unique from other sets. This may not always be possible when working on games that have ports for multiple systems. Generic titles and titles based on the in-game contents are both allowed. For example, Green Hills Zone is the first level of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive, Master System, and Game Gear ports. Additionally, the level shows up in later entries of the Sonic series. As such, the achievement title “Green Hills Zone” would be acceptable in all these sets.


The design of an achievement is open to the community. You can use an idea from other sets so long as the achievement badge and title differ. However, an exact copy of the achievement list from another set is prohibited.

Acceptable Copying


Achievement descriptions do not have to be unique. Descriptions need to be clear instructions of how to earn an achievement so variations on a description may make the achievement confusing. There are only so many ways to say “Beat the game without dying.”

Rich Presence/Leaderboards

Copying Rich Presence and Leaderboards are allowed. When copying a Rich Presence you should note the original author at the top by adding a line: // RP By Original Dev


Copying the logic of another achievement is acceptable. Developers are encouraged to look at how other sets are coded and incorporate it into their own sets.


You are allowed to copy anything you created from one set to another set. However, it is preferable to let another developer work on a port for set you have already created.

In Game Achievements

Some games incorporate a set of in game achievements that were released with the game. Any of these achievements can be used as long as they are not Unwelcome Concepts.

Code Notes

Code notes can be copied from another set. Noting who did the original memory digging is good practice but not required.

Giving Credit or Copying with Permission

Credit should be given when using one of the Acceptable Copying items listed above. However, giving credit for one of the Unacceptable Plagiarism items is still plagiarism. Even if the original developer has given permission to use their assets it is unacceptable to do so. Each set should include a developers’ own creative spin on existing achievements and sets. You are not expected to reinvent the wheel, just make it your own.

Released under the GPL-3 License. There are no copyright-protected ROMs available for download on RetroAchievements.