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Unwelcome Concepts

You can and should always be as creative as you can be, but there are some concepts that are NOT welcome for achievements. Below is a list of what have been deemed unwelcome concepts. Please note that there is some wiggle room so some exceptions to the rules have been provided. When in doubt, consult with Developer Compliance.

Achievement Spam

It is bad design to have achievements popping too frequently. An example of this is unlocking achievements for both defeating a boss as well as obtaining a specific item after the fight.

When these are acceptable:

  • Using the above example: If the achievement for defeating the boss is challenge-based, such as damageless. It is not a guaranteed unlock simply by playing.
  • If the achievements are stackable.
    • Defeating a boss on normal or higher difficulty + defeating the same boss on hard difficulty.
    • Opening the last chest in an area + opening all chests in the game

Playing Poorly Without Purpose

Achievements for dying, getting a game over, or repeatedly failing a task just for the sake of it are unnecessary.

When these are acceptable:

  • Many point-and-click adventure games and visual novels often tie a player's death into the story, which can result in unique scenes a player would not witness otherwise.
  • If playing poorly results in a humorous or otherwise interesting in-game acknowledgement such as being awarded a helmet for taking too many head shots.

Zero Effort Without Purpose

Examples of this are achievements for simply starting a game, collecting a single coin, watching a video, etc.

When these are acceptable:

  • "Disclaimer" achievements that are meant to address the player about restrictions in the achievement sets. These should only exist when the player can lock themselves out of multiple achievements without even realizing it.
  • Not skipping an opening cinematic if it had been considered a big deal at the time.
  • Addressing something fun, historical, or interesting.

Requires Glitches

Achievements for performing tasks that are only possible by using glitches, exploiting bugs, etc. are not allowed in a base set. Glitches/Bugs are errors within a game's code which often cause unintended behavior. Examples are memory overflow, incorrectly loaded levels, and clipping into objects.

When these are acceptable:

  • Historically significant glitches and well-known, easy-to-execute glitches of importance to the game's community are allowed with the approval of Developer Compliance. It should be clear that the glitch is needed for the achievement(s) and serve to highlight the glitch's importance or significance.
    • Achievements including approved glitches must require the player to perform some feat using the glitch. Simply causing the glitch to occur without purpose is insufficient unless activating the glitch itself is a meaningful task.
  • A [Subset - Glitch Showcase] or [Subset - Bonus].

Requires Two Players

Achievements that require input from at least one other player are not allowed in a base set.

When these are acceptable:

  • [Subset - Multi] sets.

Requires Complete Perfection

Achievements that require a long task where the slightest mistake will end in failing the challenge. Especially challenges where randomness and other variation in game behavior makes anticipating actions extra difficult.

When these are acceptable:

  • Subsets for Extreme Challenges, or a typical Bonus set.
  • Games where behavior of enemies or obstacles is highly deterministic or pattern-based.
  • Games where this challenge is a common goal of players or not seen as an extreme challenge by the game's community.

Pointless Excessive Grinding

Achievements that require long, repetitive tasks solely for the sake of saying you did it. If an achievement calls for spending countless hours making a character reach level 99 or farming for 99 of a certain item, but there is no actual purpose to it, then it does not have a place in a base set.

When these are acceptable:

  • Subsets, whether devoted to max levels (if approved) or a typical Bonus set.
  • The player is awarded in-game for the grind.

Overly RNG Reliant

Rely entirely on randomness, especially when there are extremely low odds.

When these are acceptable: Games or mini-games where the randomness is a major aspect.

"Secret Achievements"

When the player has no indication of what they're going after.

When these are acceptable:

  • Secretive or intentionally vague achievement descriptions can be used to prevent major spoilers, so long as the achievements are unmissable progression.

Unwelcome Game Types

Let's face it. There are some games, or 'games,' rather, that are not fit for achievements. Below is a list of said types of games that are usually not.

Games That Lack Gameplay

  • Videos, music visualizers, jukeboxes, etc.
    • These will not be accepted without explicit approval. Approval will be handled via voting by Developer Compliance and requires implementation of sufficiently creative concepts. For example: Game Boy Advance Video Series was presented with the idea to include a leaderboard quiz at the end of each episode. This unique plan involved gameplay beyond just pressing start and was approved.
  • Book sets are still allowed, but must be worth 0 points.

Compilations and Multi-Carts

If a compilation or multi-cart features games that share the same console, then they are not allowed. An example of this is 6-Pak for Genesis/Mega Drive, which contains six Genesis/Mega Drive games.

Betas, Demos, and Prototypes

If the game ended up having an official release, then these are generally not allowed unless there is unique content. Games that only existed as betas, demos, or prototypes are typically fine, so long as they're actually playable (some prototypes barely qualify).

Rich Presence Custom Name Restriction

Rich Presence that directly displays custom player input text is prohibited. The most common example being displaying what a player inputs as their character or file name directly into Rich Presence.

This restriction helps in preventing inappropriate or offensive content from showing on various site pages as well as makes the moderation of Rich Presence more manageable, in addition to protection player privacy as players may not realize their text is being displayed publicly.

Banned Titles

We generally avoid banning titles, leaving content filtering up to individual users to decide. Even still, some titles are egregious enough to warrant removal from the site, both for the protection of the users and of the site itself. Below is an incomplete list of such titles, to be updated as necessary.

• Lolita Syndrome
• ロリータ・シンドローム
1983FM-7, PC-88
• My Lolita
• マイ・ロリータ
1984FM-7, PC-88
• The Guy Game2004PS2, Xbox, Windows

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