Until the recent September update, Game Center’s achievements were little more than just lists of things you’d done in a game, with no design aesthetic at all. After discovering them years ago when I started gaming on Apple’s early iOS devices, I promptly forgot they existed.
I guess I’m the sort of gamer that prefers to play for the fun of the game itself, not driven by ticking boxes in a list. But if I am going to jump through hoops, then I need some visual encouragement, a sense of having collected something for my efforts.
The September update to Game Center definitely fixed that issue.
It’s increasingly difficult to find games nowadays that don’t try to incorporate some sort of card collecting mechanic, and Apple has no doubt taken inspiration from that trend, redesigning Game Center’s achievements as beautiful cards that now exist as happy postcards, momentoes of your journeys through fictional worlds and spaces.
Some developers have put in some real effort, accompanying games with achievement cards that have become beautifully realised must-haves, while others have simply splashed together the same quick run-of-the-mill image to slap onto every one of a game’s achievements.
Hit the continue reading button below to have a look at some examples from both ends the spectrum.
Spider Jump & Run’s yet to be unlocked achievements – pictured above – now taunt me, whereas before I wouldn’t have even checked to see if the game had achievements or not. I’m keen to see what Daniel Schwill has done with his game’s collectibles, as the game itself has such an exactingly recreated retro Atari aesthetic.
Here’s something weird. Rovio’s achievements for the iconic original Angry Birds are gorgeous, and you’d think the same effort would have gone into the sequel – Angry Birds 2.
Wrong. The same uninspired image across all its achievements. Weird.
With these redesigned Game Center achievements, scrolling through my years of gaming memories on my iPad in order to collect these screenshots was like revisiting an old photo album. It felt like time well spent, and I’ve actually done it a number of times since the September update – just casually exploring the multitude of games I’ve enjoyed over the years on my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and more recently, Mac thanks to Apple Arcade’s games including the platform. Forma.8 above was a welcome blast from the past. Check out my thoughts on the game from a couple years ago.
Yuri’s achievement cards are as stunning as the game. What a haunting, beautiful little experience. Here’s my review.
Long time readers will be aware of my fondness for the games of studio Four Fats. I wasn’t surprised to see the team had come up with some beautiful designs for its cards.
But when will Blackmoor 2 come to Apple TV? When I ask?
If you’re curious, check out this history of the studio.
It was only earlier this year that I was treated to the retro wonderland of The Curse of Issyos. Not the most inspired designs above, but maybe some of the other cards I’ve yet to unlock will dig a little deeper.
Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition is a must have for Apple TV gamers looking for an arcade-style racer. Looking good.
Spidersaurs’ achèvements capture the gorgeous 2D platformer perfectly.
I went through a massive Ski Safari 2 phase years ago, and I was stoked to find that my achievements had been updated to match my enjoyment of the game.
Some studios very much go for a homogenous thematic design across their achievements, such as Stainless Games with its Apple Arcade title Shock Rods.
And ditto for Firemonkeys’ Real Racing 3.
Quantum Revenge is a great arcade shooter for your Apple TV, these cards bring back more memories. Here’s my thoughts from back in the day.
Moving back into more recent territory, Samurai Jack is a game I finished not long ago, and its achievement cards capture Adult Swim’s cartoon vibe perfectly. Samurai Jack featured recently in a wrap up of five games I managed to find time to work my way through to completion in recent months, and guess what, I wrote all about it.
No Way Home. Also in the wrap up I mentioned above. Look at those cards!
I couldn’t post this list without including one of gaming’s most recognisable icons. PAC-MAN Party Royale is a lot of fun on the big screen of an Apple TV.
I’d all but forgotten that Punch Quest even existed. As you can see in the years stamped on those cards, some water has passed under the bridge since I achieved those. But man, what a great mobile title. A true classic that I’m happy to see has been honoured in a way it deserves, with achievement designs befitting this game’s legendary status. Great job Rocketcat Games.
I was genuinely surprised to find that The Chinese Room had simply gone with the same image across all the achievement cards for Little Orpheus. So much effort has clearly gone into the game itself, I was sure I’d see something of that reflected in its accompanying cards.
I’m so close to the end of Apple Arcade title Marble Knights, I can almost smell it. One more good session and I should have it licked. Loving the time I’ve spent in this world.
Ammo Pigs! Pixel art and achievement cards? A match made in heaven. Those are so nice.
Leo’s Fortune. If you don’t own this on Apple TV, well… why not?! Go get it now. Read this while its downloading.
BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner is yet another Apple Arcade title I keep threatening to spend more time with. It’s such a great little vertically scrolling shooter, and these cards capture its too-cute aesthetic nicely.
Lucky last. Cat Quest II recently landed its Mew World update, adding stacks of content to an already ambitious RPG. Unsurprisingly, similar effort has gone into the achievement cards, adding even more reason to dive back in and explore every cave and corner of the game’s map.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane via Game Center’s gorgeous new achievements. Even just having this to scroll through on your device is a great way to tie together hours filled with solved puzzles, vanquished enemies, races won and coins collected.
So much still to achieve.
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2020 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.