They have no value in the real world (yet), but good luck telling that to the millions of gamers hopeless addicted to Microsoft's Xbox Achievements. Earning some of these digital tips of the cap can takes hours, if not days or weeks. Yet, for many, many gamers, they're an integral part of what makes the Xbox 360 such a great console.
Admittedly, the thrill of seeing "Achievement Unlocked" and hearing that pleasing little chime after long hours of hunting down in-game items is often its own reward. Some Achievements, though, can test the mettle of even the most dedicated gamers, remaining just a pipe dream no matter how hard they try. Stretch your thumbs and grab some extra batteries before trying to take down the 10 hardest Xbox Achievements.
"Seriously 3.0" (Gears of War 3)
Kotaku calls this the toughest achievement on the Xbox 360, and they might be right.
First, you have to reach rank 100 and earn all of the game's Onyx medals (6,000 kills with each of the game's 5 weapons). Then you'll need to take 1,500 enemy leaders captive and be an MVP in competitive combat five times. And that's just the warm-up requirements! The achievement ultimately has over a dozen checklist items -- each more brutal than the last.
"7 Day Survivor" (Dead Rising)
Even dedicated fans of this zombie game falter when trying to unlock these 20 Achievement points.
To even access it, you'll first need to open up the game's Infinity Mode by completing the difficult Overtime mode. Then, you'll need to survive a zombie-infested mall for seven in-game days -- 22 hours in real time. And no saves are allowed, so you have to play straight through. Also, just to make things more interesting, you'll need to keep eating food scattered through the mall or else Frank will die of starvation. Probably a good idea for YOU to eat something, too.
"Bladder of Steel" (Rock Band 2)
Like 7Day Survivor, this is an endurance test, but one of a completely different nature. You'll have to complete a setlist containing every song in the game (which chews up roughly 7 hours on the clock) without hitting the pause button once.
That includes having the game stop for any reason -- including your controllers running out of battery juice. Charge 'em up before starting, and whatever you do, don't chug a 2-liter bottle of anything beforehand.
"Hard to the Core" (Dead Space 2)
Not only will you have to complete this action/horror game at its hardest level to unlock this achievement, you'll also have to dedicate some serious time toward doing so.
Only three saves -- and no checkpoints -- are allowed in the game's Hardcore mode, making it a serious beast for even the most capable gamer. But there's another reason to give it a shot beyond the Achievement points: the hand cannon.
Yep. Even goes "Bang Bang!" and "Pew Pew!" when you shoot it.
"Strings of Steel" (The Gunstringer)
The Gunstringer is a cute, engaging game for Kinect in which you help guide a puppet through crazy adventures by pulling its invisible strings. Surely it wouldn't contain any rage-inducing, impossible challenges, right?
Well, maybe just one. To unlock Strings of Steel, you'll need to complete every single act in the game… in one sitting… on the hardest mode. That takes one macho marionette.
"Dedication" (Crysis 2)
Some view this achievement as a blatant attempt by EA to halt trade-ins of the game. Others see it as a way to reward the most loyal fans. Either way, it's pretty unique.
To unlock it, you'll need to play an online game at some point, then wait six months and play again. You can, of course, play as often as you'd like between those two points. The achievement is a pat on the back for people still playing the game six months after they bought it.
"Insanity" (Mass Effect 3)
Say what you want about its controversial ending, but Mass Effect 3 isn't an easy game -- especially when you ramp up the difficulty level.
You'll have to complete the game once just to unlock Hardcore mode, then you'll have to beat that markedly more difficult level to unlock Insanity mode. Then you'll have to complete the game playing this nearly unbeatable mode to grab the Achievement. At the request of friends in the development community, Bioware specifically made it harder than the previous two games.
"Mile High Club" (Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Many players don't notice this bonus campaign mission, which only pops up after you complete the mission "Game Over" and watch the credits to the end.
From there, you can go to the mission select menu to play it -- but earning its achievement is another matter entirely. To do that, you'll have to clear out an airplane full of 30 extremely skilled enemy terrorists in only 1 minute. How hard is it? It's an achievement that has taken even the most skilled CoD players weeks to complete.
"Ultimate Battler" (Star Ocean: The Last Hope)
This sprawling RPG packs one seriously random Achievement. You'll need to collect all of the game's 100 battle trophies to nab it, which doesn't sound too difficult at first.
But while many of those are easy, some -- like the one requiring you to deal exactly 55,555 points of damage -- are just insane. It takes tremendous patience and a LOT of searching. And your reward for this persistence? 10 lousy Achievement points.
"I Am Arthur Clark" (War of the Worlds)
Admittedly, War of the Worlds wasn't a real blockbuster of a game, but to unlock its highest achievement, you'll have to complete it in one sitting with no deaths. Seems easy enough, right?
Turns out that's a lot harder than it sounds. Exactly how hard is this achievement? To date, not one person has unlocked it.