It’s taken me a while to really nut out what it is that I do not like about achievements.
Achievements commoditise gameplay. They turn fun into commerce.
Essentially, an achievement is an award. Some achievements are for completing game-goals that aren’t actually avoidable anyway as a part of routine gameplay and simply represent milestones.
The rest, however, are a commercial proposition. You play the game in a certain way, and we’ll give you an award in trade for your conformance. You essentially purchase the award with time spent doing things a certain way.
And that can be okay – when the deal is off the table. Having some sort of achievement pop up while I am already doing what I want to do (ie: having fun playing the game the way I want to play it) is kind of cool, when I wasn’t aware that I would get the additional award for my fun.
When it is on the table, though, it feels prescriptive. “Hey bub. Want to unlock the ‘sleeper hold’ award? Here’s what you’ve got to do for me.”
That’s trade. You’re dangling a shiny toy at me (often with desirable in-game benefits attached) and telling me I should spend time playing the game in a particular way (which might not actually be any fun for me) or I’ll miss out on the special thingy that you’ve worked to make desirable.
That’s where I start to feel squicky about things – which might not be exactly a reasoned sort of thing, but that’s how I feel about it.
If there was any way to disable, and/or permanently hide achievements in games, I’d do that instantly, for every game I play, and I’d be a much happier gamer for it.