The beauty of Super Mario Bros. was always in its simplicity of look and design. It was quite a shock, of course, when the first warper accidentally walked through the top of World 1-2 to find the hidden Warp Pipes to Worlds 2, 3, and 4. From then on, every player of classic Mario has scrambled to find the elusive Warp Pipes and to beat the game in even lower record times. One of the first truly great gaming achievements.
Though the method evolved over time, the task has always been the same: Sonic must collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds to finally defeat Dr. Robotnik. While many intuitive gamers have found tricks and shortcuts to help lessen the burden of collecting these rare gems, it has always been quite the task to track down each link in unlocking Super Sonic and the Final Zone. Even with tricks in hand, the fact remains that collecting all 7 Chaos Emeralds will be one of the most memorable and most enjoyable achievements in gaming.
Thanks to the wonders of enhanced graphics, storylines, and strategy guides, younger gamers probably don't appreciate the effort it takes to find long lists of items, such as the Heart Pieces in LoZ. However, back in the 80's, to find and collect every Heart Piece was a daunting task to say the least, and only one with a wealth of time, creativity, and Rupees could ever hope to search every stone of Hyrule to find all of them. If not for battery backup, some say this task might have been impossible.
As the flagship title for the N64, Super Mario 64 had a lot of things going for it: creative and intuitive controls, innovative level design, beautiful graphics... the list goes on, I'm sure. However, SM64 also holds the N64's first great goal, and one of gamings most demanding achievements: to gain all 120 Stars. While every Mario game was lengthy to some degree, the sheer number of Stars Mario had to collect just to beat Bowser, 70 in all, was quite the chore to collect. The remaining 50 Stars were not mandatory, but only one who collected all 120 could call himself a Mario Master.
Metroid has the record for one of the longest list of powerups and expansions to date, so many gamers instantly respect the man who can finish the game and gain all of them. Of course, the respect and prestige gained by completing Metroid with 100% was never the motivation for doing so: we only ever wanted to see Samus show a bit of leg.
The MMORPG known as WoW has propelled itself to legendary status faster than almost any PC game to date. Dismissing, of course, the practices of "gold-farming" and "power-leveling," the single most glorious achievement in all of Azeroth is undeniably to reach Level 60, maximum level. While the first few levels may be simple enough, the sheer amount of experience needed to gain levels late in the game makes this feat one of the most tiresome and tedious on this list. The sight of a Level 60 character is enough to instill true fear in the heart of any noob.
The Mortal Kombat series has always been known for its level of violence and gore, but what truly pushed it over the top was its Fatality system, in which finishing combos literally tore enemies apart in an orgy of death and destruction. The problem was that there was no single maneuver that would result in a Fatality; each character had a different combination for his/her personal Fatalities, and, in later games, for environmental Fatalities. Only a true arcade fighting master could locate and perform every single Fatality with no outside help. A true achievement.
One of the greatest, most known, and most valued cult classics of the Genesis era, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was an incredibly long shoot-em-up, in which two teenage heroes quested to save all of their neighbors from a monster invasion. What made this achievement so difficult is not that saving the victims was difficult (you just had to locate and touch them), but that there were 10 in each level, that there were 55 levels (with 3 bonus stages), and that, in most circles, for the feat to truly be respected, it must be done in one sitting. Only one who has seen the game can truly appreciate how much effort goes into this immensly frustrating task.
A truly noteworthy and heavily respected achievement, to say that you can master (or, in some cases, even pass) one of the series famous MAX songs is quite the brag. To say that you can do so on the hardest difficulty, however, is a privilage handed down to only the most talented of DDR dancers. To call yourself a MAX master is to say that countless quarters, cramps, and failures have amounted to a truly great dancer.
This is it: the pinnacle, the Holy Grail, of gaming achievements. Only someone with a nearly limitless amount of time, skill, and drive could ever hope to complete the Pokedex, all 386 entries. What made this task so horribly difficult (aside from the sheer number of obtainable Pokemon) is that Nintendo decided to nix backward compatibility with the GSC era of games, meaning that the Legendaries from that game (meaning Lugia and Ho-oh) could only be obtained through Nintendo special events. Add to this that certain RSE Pokemon had the same problem, and you have one serious gamer traversing the entire US/Japan, trying desperately to catch 'em all.
These tasks represent the most challenging gaming has to offer. While there are certainly many other difficult tasks, none are quite as famous, prestigious, or enjoyable as these. To complete each of these tasks marks you as a truly gifted player, one deserving of much respect, and certainly much bragging rights.
List by JackKieser (07/28/2006)
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