Achievements are an undeniable facet of gamer culture. Microsoft popularized the this concept in 2005 with the Xbox 360's Gamerscore mechanic, wherein specific tasks -- some closely related to the game in question, and some which incentivize truly strange and/or counterintuitive actions, all in the name of those all-important alpha-nerd bragging rights -- add to an account-wide metascore. Sony followed suit with the PlayStation 3's trophy system, and we've since seen a few PC variants pop up, predominantly via Valve's Steam platform and the much-reviled Games for Windows Live "platform."
That said, it's no surprise that mobile games have followed suit. The two social networks of choice for Android gamers -- Scoreloop and OpenFeint -- offer achievement-collection opportunities for myriad games. But do we really need two achievement platforms for our Android devices? I say "hell no," so let's take a look at which of these two baskets you should put your fake-point-hoarding eggs in.
Scoreloop is a product of Research In Motion -- AKA the deeply troubled company behind the BlackBerry brand -- so hey, that's one serious strike against it already. But let's look at what it offers, by way of one of my favorite Scoreloop-powered games, Cut the Rope (one of an indeterminate number of games that uses the platform).
As far as the actual in-game Scoreloop interface games, it's woefully simple. You can view leaderboards (global and friends-only) for each of Cut the Rope's waves, and you can view which achievements you've unlocked. The standalone Scoreloop app features basically the same interface, along with convenient Google Play links for every game it supports. Just one problem, with both the in-game display and the standalone app: How do you add friends? It shows a friends tab, but no way of adding them. Scoreloop's official website is no help, either -- accounts are developer-targeted, and seemingly aren't tied to the one you set up on your device. Perhaps I'm missing something -- but, if so, it sure isn't obvious.
Well, let's try GREE's OpenFeint platform, which Fruit Ninja -- as well as about 1,700 other games, judging from the website -- uses. OpenFeint has an immediate advantage, since it lets you log into Facebook and automatically adds all OpenFeint-enabled contacts to a friends list. You can view your entire library of OpenFeint games, and even view your metascore (which is another thing that Scoreloop doesn't seem to have). The standalone OpenFeint Game Channel app displays all the same information, though it doesn't have Scoreloop's convenient mega-list of relevant Google Play game links.
All told, OpenFeint is the clear winner here. It's more elegant, the UI is more pleasing to look at, and -- most importantly -- it has an easily accessible friends list. Now, somebody just needs to talk to GREE about standardizing it platform-wide (if that's even possible). Android gamers need their Gamerscores, too!
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