STORE COMMUNITY ABOUT SUPPORT
Login Store Community Support
View desktop website
© Valve Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners in the US and other countries.
Achievement hunting on Steam is serious business. While Valve's storefront might not have Xbox's Gamerscore or PlayStation's Trophies, there are still plenty of PC gamers who appreciate the way Steam achievements challenge them to play games in new and interesting ways. Then there's the satisfaction of knowing you're one of just a small percentage of players who've explored every nook and cranny, maxed out every stat, or earned every gold medal a game has to offer.
The thing is, a lot of Steam achievements are kind of boring. Kill 10,000 enemies, hit level 99 in every class, finish the game on Ultra Nightmare Hardcore difficulty—most of the objectives feel like they've fallen straight out of a free-to-play MMO's quest log. Even the rarest achievements are often little more than tedious grind fests, requiring you to play 500 online matches in a multiplayer game with no active player base, or fight alongside a game's developer when that developer has long ago moved onto their next project.
These achievements aren't particularly fun to earn, let alone read about. But buried in Steam's massive catalog of games are some truly obscure, brutally difficult achievements that less than 0.1 percent of players have managed to accomplish. These are achievements worthy of the name. Most of us will never earn them, but we can dream.
Devil Dagger - Survive 500 secondsTotal Owners: 236,000 Completion Percentage: 0.1
For something you could complete in the downtime between Dota matches, frantic FPS Devil Dagger's one and only achievement has managed to defy 99.9 percent of players for well over a year now. That might seem odd given how simple its requirement sounds: all you have to do is survive for 500 seconds. I mean, I do that all the time. See. That last 500 seconds? I just survived that.
But yeah. Surviving Devil Daggers is a wee bit tougher than running out the clock in real life. Despite the game selling for a mere fiver, just 0.1 percent of players have managed to avoid croaking for the 8 minutes and 20 seconds necessary to snag the 'Devil Dagger' achievement. Watching replays of those runs is equal parts mesmerizing and depressing, making it painfully clear just how amateur my own skills are. I could probably spend the next year playing nothing but Devil Daggers and still not come close to the graceful death-dealing of players like the world-record-smashing bowsr. When the apocalypse hits and the whole world goes to hell, I'll be the redshirt incinerated in the first ten seconds.
Not so Bad - Survive the End Times Total Owners: 1.4 million Completion Percentage: 0.1
Crusader Kings 2, champion of the grand strategy genre, is full of intricate, multi-layered achievements few players have managed to unlock. From installing a female ruler in the five baronies of the Orthodox Pentarchy, to trampling the Pope with a horde of elephants, over a dozen eclectic achievements are currently sitting at a completion rate of less than 0.1 percent.
The one I want to shout out, though, is the 'Not so Bad' achievement awarded for surviving the End Times. Ostensibly, you unlock this achievement by surviving the rise of the Prophet of Doom and the Black Death he's convinced will destroy humanity. A Crusader Kings player going by the username Xolotl123 on Reddit, however, inadvertently earned themselves the achievement due to their investment in high-quality hospital care and their imprisonment of the Prophet for disturbing the peace. The Prophet then hanged himself, but not before sending the player a letter that read: 'If you are reading this letter, I am with God, or with Lucifer..., if so, then you were right. If not, then I was right.'
I've not had the time to play Crusader Kings 2, but after reading this story, I think I'm going to have to clear my schedule. Any game where you can avert the End Times through hygiene is a winner in my book.
Bringing a sword to a sword fight – As an American soldier kill an Axis soldier wielding a Katana, with a Katana. Stick it to Tojo – As an Allied soldier, kill 100 Axis soldiers with a bayonet. Total Owners: 2.7 million (unreliable due to free weekend) Completion percentage: 0.1 - 0.2
Rising Storm's focus on historically authentic, asymmetrical WWII combat means that, naturally, American soldiers do not spawn into the battlefield with katanas. In order to get one, you have to defeat a Japanese soldier who's carrying one. And in order to get the "Bringing a sword..." achievement, you then have to pick up their katana, find another Japanese soldier with a katana, and then defeat them with the weapon of their ancestors. It's a hard scenario to concoct in an FPS where rifles and grenades are the preferred way to fight.
MEAT.BOY SMELLS - Get a perfect in 1-1 using only a game pad.Total Owners: 311,00Achievement percentage: 1.6
Heresy! An achievement that requires ditching the holy mouse and keyboard for a filthy gamepad? What does BIT.TRIP BEAT take us for, console players? Everyone knows a good M+K combo is the only way to play. Sure, it makes driving games a bit twitchy, and performing combos in third-person action games can be tricky without analogue sticks, and fighting games don't always work so great, and stealth sequences tend to be a little wonky with WASD…
Okay. So maybe gamepads aren't that bad. Still, locking an achievement to a specific piece of hardware is a surefire way to tick off achievement hunters. The BIT.TRIP devs found that out the hard way with the game's, which required players to beat a level using Razer's short-lived Sixense motion controller. to 'SIXTH.SENSE' drove the devs to delete the achievement from Steam completely, which technically makes it one of the rarest achievements out there. Not quite as rare as a game with motion controls that don't feel like total garbage, but still…
Games are meant to be played—we usually take that much for granted. It's a little odd, then, when a game actively encourages you not to play it. Odd, however, is what The Stanley Parable's all about. I mean, one of the game's endings involves running back and forth between two buttons for four hours. And that's not to mention the pointed commentary on the nature of free will and the human tendency towards obeisance. Like I said, odd.
The Stanley Parable's weirdest elements, however, are definitely its achievements. In addition to an achievement simply entitled 'Unachievable' (paradoxically earned by 3.9 percent of players), there's the 'Go outside' achievement that tasks players with not playing the game for five years straight. Since The Stanley Parable released in October 2013, no one can legitimately earn this achievement until October next year. Of course, that hasn't stopped some unscrupulous Steam users from setting their computer clocks forward to unlock the achievement early.
Cheating to not play a game? I guess some people will do anything for their sweet cheevos.
You can do a lot of things in the 8760 hours that make up a single year. You could play 105,120 matches of Rocket League. You could marathon the entire current run of The Simpsons—all 617 episodes—38 times over. You could hitch a ride on a rocket and fly to Mars, with enough time left over to plant the seeds of an interplanetary rebellion.
You could also spend every one of those 8760 hours playing Garry's Mod in order to unlock the 'Addict' achievement. And when I say playing, I don't just mean booting up the game and letting it idle in the menu. You have to be connected to an active server for your time to count. Unsurprisingly, the hefty investment involved has kept the achievement's completion percentage at just 1.8 percent, even with achievement hunters over at AStats devising strategies for minimizing the resources used by Garry's Mod so you can leave it running in the background while you tend to other tasks.
I have to wonder, though, how many people left their computers on while they were working or sleeping solely to unlock this achievement? At a modest estimate, 8760 hours' worth of electricity would cost roughly $210 USD, which is a whole lot of money for a single achievement. Kind of puts all those pesky microtransactions to shame, doesn't it?
DLC scenarios Total Owners: 995,000 Completion percentage: 0
Speaking of money, Train Simulator boasts some of the rarest achievements on Steam, but that's not because they're brutally difficult or stubbornly obscure. Heck, the achievement descriptions make it pretty obvious what you've got to do: the 'It Works For Dogs!' achievement reads 'Awarded for completing scenario [RailfanMode] Barking. It's not like the game's unpopular either, with nearly a million owners on Steam and a median playtime of a respectable 7.5 hours.
No, what makes Train Simulator's achievements so rare is that fiendish friend of ours: DLC. Train Simulator is notorious for having the most expensive DLC on Steam, with its total value currently sitting at $6254.43 USD. Worse, Train Simulator ties many of its achievements to its DLC, leading to a wealth of 0 percent and 0.1 percent completion rates across the board.
But that $6254.43? I'd want a real honest-to-god train if I was forking over that much cash. If it was anything like Train Simulator, though, it'd probably lock out the train whistle as premium DLC. Steam whistle: only $0.99 per toot!
Artifact Archaeologist – You personally retrieved all Eight Artifacts! Total Owners: 4.7 million Completion Percentage: 0.2
A whole lot of people play ARK: Survival Evolved, and yet even the most common of its seven achievements has been earned by less than 5 percent of players. But while 95 percent of ARK players haven't defeated the game's first Ultimate Life Form, 99.8 percent remain vexed by its toughest achievement: 'Artifact Archaeologist', rewarded for retrieving every Artifact in the game. It sounds simple enough, but this is where ARK's nature as an Early Access game comes back to bite it on the rump.
According to the achievement description, there are only eight artifacts in ARK: Survival Evolved. This isn't true. There are 14 artifacts in total, 10 of which can be obtained through normal play, 3 which are locked to the Scorched Earth DLC, and one which can only be spawned through a console command. For a game that has already seen its fair share of controversy, ARK has left quite a few achievement hunters pretty disappointed. Still, at least they can take solace in the giant bees that have just been added to the game. That's something, right?
Dragonrider - Tame and ride 5 dragons Total Owners: 11 million (unreliable due to free weekend) Completion percentage: 0.8
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you've played Skyrim, or at least heard enough about it to understand the game's premise. You're the dragonborn, you need to save the world from an evil dragon, yada yada yada. In short, the game basically revolves around dragons.
How, then, is the achievement for riding dragons so rare? Only 0.8 percent of the millions of Skyrim players have tamed five or more of the mythical creatures and taken to the skies, which makes exactly zero sense to me. Who wouldn't want a dragon as their personal chauffeur? It's not like you'd have to worry about anyone jacking your scaly pal; any thief foolish enough to try would be charred to a crisp before they could shout Fus Ro Dah. I guess Skyrim players are just too busy getting busy and fighting Macho Man Randy Savage to spend their time becoming certified dragon pilots.
Rare Specimen – Send the Hidden Hat to Xen. Total Owners: 500,000 Completion percentage: 2.1 percent
Hats are all the rage these days. I have it on good authority from my stock broker that the hat economy is only going to go up—and that's coming from a man who wears a top hat, so you know it's legit. My wardrobe is already full of baseball caps, bowler hats, fezes, and beanies, just waiting for the day when my fabric fortune will be ready to claim. The only thing I don't quite understand is why my broker keeps mentioning Dota. Eh, never mind. I'm sure it's nothing.
Video games, it turns out, are just as keen to cash in on the hat craze. Black Mesa, the fan-made recreation of the original Half-Life, adds in the 'Rare Specimen' achievement that tasks good old Gordon Freeman with locating a hidden purple top hat and lugging it all the way from the Black Mesa Research Facility on Earth to the alien dimension of Xen. It might not sound that tricky, but apparently Gordon's more interested in trivial things like saving the world instead of securing his future in the hat economy--only 2.1 percent of players have carried the top hat all the way to its new interdimensional marketplace.
Wait, that gives me an idea. What if I started selling digital hats instead of physical ones? Ooh, I think I'm onto something here. I better stop typing before someone beats me to the punch…
PC gaming has a long and storied history of menu and customization sliders. So long and storied, in fact, that I can't be bothered to research it. Instead, I'm just going to post gifs of some of my favorite game sliders, be they sliders that adjust a character's facial features, body parts, or accessories, or ones that let you tweak some element of a game from zero to 100, and beyond!
Okay, not beyond. Typically, they just go to 100.
Here are PC gaming's best sliders. If I missed one of your favorites, just slide into the comments and let me know.
Open world survival game Reign of Kings has a lot going for it—including the ability to kill yourself by bashing your face with a rock you can store in your own butt—and that includes a surprisingly robust character creation utility, which allows you to adjust nearly every aspect of your avatar.
Of all the sliders you can use to lovingly or comically sculpt your character, my favorite is the foot size slider. It's notable, I feel, that when maxed out it actually and appreciably changes the height of your character by about six in-game inches. More games should allow this: just imagine Geralt sitting in that tub dangling a pair of size 75 feet over the side.
Saint's Row The Third's character creation menu is refreshingly unrestricted, allowing you to create any sort of character you like. This isn't one of the standard "You're a dude, so you have a dude voice and can't wear makeup" type of utilities: you can pretty much do whatever the hell you like. It's wonderful and inclusive and literally every game should follow its example.
The best of all its many sliders, however, is the Sex Appeal slider, which lets you embiggen your boobs or your junk, as seen above. Feast your bulging eyes on some bulges.
Memes, comics, machinima—there are all sorts of wonders (and horrors) Garry's Mod can be used for. The Face Poser tool is just one of many useful gadgets, but it comes with an amazing slider called Flex Scale. Amazing, that is, when applied to a model it wasn't meant for.
As any comic creator can tell you, the TF2 models, while compatible with Garry's Mod, don't quite work the same way as the HL2 models when using the Face Poser. Still, the results are bizarre and disturbing and certainly entertaining. And if you're looking to create actual, usable facial expressions on TF2 characters, there's one or two mods for Garry's Mod that make it much easier.
As a huge scaredy-pants who doesn't like being scared in his pants, I'm always appreciative of the brightness slider that comes with Every Horror Game Ever. While its intentions are to make sure you can't see the dark and spooky places very well, and thus heighten the scares, I use it for the opposite reason. To make things as bright as possible. So the scares aren't so scary.
So no, Every Horror Game Ever, I will not fall into your trap by adjusting the brightness so the mark in the center is barely visible. I will use it so all of the marks are as visible as humanly possible. Thanks for the warning, though.
I've never personally played Black Desert Online, and after tinkering with its character creation menu for a bit, I probably never will. That's no diss, it's a compliment: there are so many options in BDO's character creation menu I can't imagine ever completing the process of building my avatar. It's amazing.
Among the umpteen various sliders, however, I'm picking the eyelash length slider as my favorite. I'm used to selecting eyebrows for my character, but never lashes, and not only are there several type to choose from, you can dictate how long they are. That's customization.
Why yes, I did just buy a $50 game simply so I could use a slider to coat a beefy hairless man with oil. The character customization is pretty great in WWE 2K17, and even includes sliders for enhancing veins in your wrestler's chest and stomach, if you're looking to create a wrestler suffering from acute thrombophlebitis. But, I'm going with Body Oil Intensity slider as my favorite, probably due to the word 'Intensity.' I think it's a great word to describe the amount of oil one has smeared on their body.
Body Oil Assistant: "So, Bob The Wrestler, how much oil should I slather on your veiny, hairless body before the Very Important Wrestling Fight?"*
Bob The Wrestler: "An intense amount. The most intense amount there is."
*Sorry if that's not convincing dialogue. I don't watch wrestling.
Well. I guess won't post an animated gif on this one, though if you want to see a naked man's dong getting rapidly bigger and smaller you can check it out in this post or contact me on Skype very late in the evenings (if anyone but me answers, hang up immediately). Conan's Endowment Slider is so great it's even been set to music!
I suspect players either opt for setting the endowment slider either all the way to the right, or all the way to the left. There's simply no middle-ground when it comes to video game wieners. Though, with modding tools now available, I suspect we'll see more options for genital sculpting sometime soon.
When I'm asked about my feelings on Borderland's Claptrap—note that I've never once been asked—I'd have to gently say I'm not a fan. The bot's got gusto, but when it comes to the mathematics of humor, the equation volume + quantity = comedy simply doesn't add up. To put it bluntly, Claptrap talks too much, too loudly, and I hate him.
While Borderlands 2 didn't have a separate slider for dialogue volume, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel did. I can only assume the reason for it is fan feedback. Shush, little robot. You're trying too hard.
There s never been anything quite like Garry s Mod, and I d hazard a guess at there never being anything like it ever again. It s a mod of the Source engine, made to enable just about anyone to build, pose or simply mess around with its tools and tricks. It s a freeform sandbox designed to let you do whatever you want.
At least, that s it at the base level. On top of making it easy for players to toy around, it also gives modders a framework to work on new, often absurd ideas. Entirely original game modes have been created in Garry s Mod, short films have been made with it using players as actors, or utilising complex stop-motion techniques. And it s one of the most popular games on Steam. It celebrates its 10th birthday this month, and, as of January this year, has sold 10 million copies.
Since its release in 2006, Garry s Mod has grown into a hub for a host of other games and weird concepts, primarily developed by fans and small teams. There s one, though, that really took the cake in its size and ambition: GMod Tower. First publicly available in July 2009, GMod Tower had one primary aim: to create a large social space within Garry s Mod where people could chat, play together, and generally create a community that would accommodate and welcome anyone. A hotel-style lobby for people to meet and chat, with the capability for the infinite rooms of an endless hotel tower.
It was developed by PixelTail Games, a group based in Washington, but brought together contributors from around the globe.
A team of four, working under the names MacDGuy, Mr Sunabouzu, Nican, and AzuiSleet, were the ones that worked on the first public release of GMod Tower, after some years of people dropping in and out of the project. It was one of the most ambitious things ever made in Garry s Mod, and was greeted with the success that sort of ambition often warrants. Mere hours after release, GMod Tower s website hit two million views. It was far too popular so much so that Garry s Mod s server limit was upped by its developers just to cope.
Featuring at launch a couple of minigames, a mode akin to Half-Life Deathmatch: Source and another not dissimilar to Super Monkey Ball, the mod was already fleshed out. There were even movie nights: players could get together and watch streamed videos while hanging out in the tower s lobby.
Its popularity was perhaps one of GMod Tower s many downfalls: it was a mod of a mod, made by a few fans that wanted to create something new. It didn t have the support of a regular income through sales, nor the power of a massive development team. As 2011 rolled into 2012, GMod Tower shut down, closing its doors without any clear intention to return.
As with any social space that is shut down, closed, or built over, those who had enjoyed inhabiting it were left disappointed. In the Steam group for GMod Tower, users asked where it had gone. The development team were pretty quiet. One Steam user summed up the prevailing mood, saying simply, I want to play again in gmod tower :( .
Then, in April 2012, GMod Tower returned almost out of nowhere, with a host of updates. Almost like a version 2.0, it arrived to a fanfare from those who missed their hub, their place to talk. It did come with a caveat, however: it had not been profitable or sustainable for some months. Hosting the servers was costly, and the team didn t want to rely upon microtransactions or adverts to fund it.
And yet, GMod Tower came back with a bang. New features, a new and improved lobby map, and more. Over time, the game grew to having seven individual modes wrapped inside the tower. From minigolf to a game inspired by Mother 3, PixelTail Games remained committed, and the players recognised that, rewarding it with their love and support.
With its re-release, the initial core ethos was reinforced: this was to be a social hub. Be nice, friendly, and kind, and you were welcomed with open arms into GMod Tower.
What distinguished GMod Tower from many other projects with similar ambitions to be welcoming to all, regardless of who they were, was that it worked, and it worked tremendously. The vast majority of stories from players are of a positive community.
For the game s fifth anniversary, in 2014, the developers held a small raffle. There was one requirement for entering: you had to tell a story of your experience in GMod Tower. Some of these stories were short and over in just a couple of sentences, but many were filled with emotion and love. Over a hundred people told lengthy stories of their experiences, archived on the game s forums.
People were naming the many friends they had made, even partners they met through it. GhostDj told of how an admin changed everyone s player models to dogs for an evening, and they ran around barking like one big pack. Boltaction17 said they managed to get over 20 people to dance to The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats, and it just made them happy to see everyone coming together for something so fun and silly. One user, Davem322, simply ended their story with We are a group. We are brothers and sisters. We are the Gmod Tower.
Over the years, PixelTail Games finished off a couple other projects in Garry s Mod, from a horror map called Gm_Apartment to Elevator: Source, the one true elevator simulator. But behind the scenes, they were working on something new. Something beyond GMod Tower: Tower Unite.
A standalone release, Tower Unite would move the concept on from Garry s Mod, and onto its own two feet, the idea being to create an entire game that encapsulated the ideals upon which GMod Tower had been built.
Once Tower Unite was released on Steam in Early Access, however, GMod Tower had to go down. PixelTail Games couldn t host both games, and Tower Unite was now their sole project. There were no official tools ever released for hosting your own tower the only way to play was through the official server. That meant that once PixelTail Games took their server down, that was it for the original GMod Tower.
I spoke to Macklin Guy, the founder of PixelTail Games, about GMod Tower, and moving on. As for why the company had to do so, the Source engine and Garry s Mod itself limited us our creations and ideas, Guy told me.
It was a constant battle for us. We knew we had to expand past being a mod when we had to take advantage of undocumented features of Source s level format just to get it running. A good chunk of the things we have done (and continue to do) in Tower Unite would never have been possible in Garry s Mod.
On top of being a force for good in the community, GMod Tower meant a lot to the development team working on it, too.
The project fostered countless connections made by the community across the world. This had a massive effect on the lives of all of us. People would log on daily just to hang out with their friends.
Guy even met his wife on GMod Tower. They ve been happily married for a year and a half.
Tower brought a lot of people together. Just being a small part of that has had a huge impact on all of us and is one of the catalysts that drives Tower Unite forward.
The tower closed down in April 2016, after just under seven years serving as Garry s Mod s largest social space. The PixelTails Games team said their goodbyes too, through a video reminiscing about everything that had gone on in the tower. There is no longer a way to play GMod Tower. While all the relevant files are available on the Steam Workshop, without the server it s impossible to play as intended. The customisation systems are gone, game modes no longer function, and, most importantly, there s no one around.
Every map is now a ghost town, a set of what once was in GMod Tower, a relic of the stories told by those who were there. Without the chatter of people having conversations around the place, the lounge is eerily quiet.
Many people who played GMod Tower have moved on to Tower Unite it picked up over $73,000 in an Indiegogo campaign, and has received regular updates since entering Early Access. It s distinctly similar to its predecessor, but Tower Unite also has its differences: it s not a part of Garry s Mod, and so lacks that infinitely wide variety of players to join in on the fun.
Because of that, those previous stories are being left behind, but that s so that others can create their own so that a social space like this can flourish on its own. GMod Tower, like Garry s Mod itself, might well be a flashpoint in games, never to be recreated in the same way again. While other social games have found success, the broad and absurd appeal of Garry s Mod meant millions of players could be introduced to a hub that would welcome them.
It s still fun to walk around that ghost town, and find the places where those stories took place. The roof where someone was going on a wild goose chase for an item, the cinema where people gathered to watch funny videos, or the fountain where players waved goodbye to the tower.
I don t think anyone will ever recreate GMod Tower; the stars aligned to make it such a welcoming place. But it s heartwarming to look around the place that made so many people of all creeds, cultures, and types happy. You can t call GMod Tower abandoned: it simply moved on. But the patch of virtual ground it was built on will remain special.