I Just Want My Damn Shiny Already: Difficult Or Lengthy Unlockables In Video Games


Through a concoction of getting illnesses, a general sour mood due to frustrating news and little access to a computer with time and energy to blog I have found myself somewhat neglecting my blog. I don’t feel like I particularly owe anyone anything for following my blog, after all you are here for me and me hasn’t been present in fullest capacity. Either which way you wish to view it I want to write and the dry spell despite not being actual procrastination suffers form the similar issue of the longer you wait the harder it is to get to it. So let’s talk about long, arduous and difficult unlockables to get.

I was recently playing Mario Kart 8 and upon finding out about the golden parts you can acquire for every item type I decided it would be my quest to acquire a full golden set. The wheels were easy, the kart body was less so but still manageable. It was the acquisition of the dreaded golden glider that brought me to a wall. In order to unlock said glider you require a total of 10,000 coins, of which you can acquire 10 in any race maximum if you keep them all when crossing the finish line. Simple mathematics tells us that is a minimum of 1000 races to get that glider…..but being a part of a set I can’t just ignore it, it isn’t a ridiculous task just a time consuming one.

SImilarly, recently I have found myself playing Hyrule Warriors after my brother purchased it, only to find out via the Internet that a certain desirable requires every weapon of every rank. Okay, in context that means around perhaps 20 or so minimum battles, but there is the kicker. To get the opportunity to unlock these weapons you have to reach certain blocks on a map that are unlocked via doing adjacent blocks. You then must “Search” the map block using an item you win from battles, said items being plentiful at the start then thin out considerably to the point the last 10 weapons require mini chain quest approaches. Gotta get this item to unlock this square so I can get this item to unlock the square but I need a separate item entirely to even identify what item I need to use. Needless to say it is exhausting.

Oh of course I have a third example: Super Mario 3D World. I want to get all the stamps, they are the only tangible thing close to say an achievement in these games that carries with you outside the confines of each individual game. I get to the end, beat the final level and….. oh what is this? I need to beat every single stage with a character to get their stamp, the last 5 I need in the entire game? Oh you are funny sir, into the drawer you go. Bye! Enjoy the darkness, you cheeky little git! I’ll just go and play one of my other games that doesn’t ask I play an entire game through multiple times to wring the last few unlockables out of it.

With these games asking so much of me to get the small things I feel like the mild completionist inside me is getting kicked around. I won’t complete a game if it asks too much of me but I like getting everything I can out of what I pay for, I noticed that when I eat others food for example I am more likely to throw some away. Naturally of course when I buy my own food that crap is going down my gullet whether I feel sick or not. I’m all for motivation to go back for a game or try a harder mode, lord knows incentive to replay is what has brought me back to many of my longstanding favourite games. It does however seem to be getting out of hand, often trading off amazing achievements of skill for playing far beyond the point of enjoyment.

Odd that this topic sprung to mind with that whole Order 1886 debacle roaming around about video game length. I can tell you this though, bad meal or delicious meal a small portion just makes me hungrier, I’ve played plenty of short and enjoyable games but their saving grace is they are very replayable to the point of playing Spyro 1 on the Playstation more than 10 times, as well as the gameplay not relying upon a lack of knowledge. A good game feels like there could have been so much more to it more often than not so there is a lot of factors that go into how we might judge value for money, I know many can’t afford to splash all the time and need something to keep them going, especially with a homogenize pricing system for varying quality titles.

Finding the right balance of content and pacing is by no means a simple task, however making people throw hours into nothing for measly stamps and unlockables is not the right way. I do have a golden glider in Mario Kart 8 and I will get all the weapons in Hyrule Warriors, however I might have an addiction to the concept of 100% that makes me really wanna see a complete set, thus my love for the Monster Hunter franchise armour set collecting. By all design concepts it is very easy to do and not particularly attractive for many so one could argue perhaps the game was not intended for them. After all some games really are designed for people who love lots and lots and lots of stats and numbers. However such things used as cheap content rather than enticing rewards is not a beneficial practice for anyone.

Ah you know what? if I find interest to replay 3D World I’ll just do a run of different characters, yes I have a problem but dammit I can’t stand looking at those empty spots on a full stamp collection!

What games have you played with viciously long or difficult requirements for unlockables? Have you ever gone out of your way for something simply to know you just have it, despite its effective value? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.


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  1. #1 by MicBeMac on March 4, 2015 - 12:26 am

    For me I have never been the type of gamer to go for completion and try to find every hidden gem.

    The only exception was when for no particular reason I decided to max out all my characters in Lunar: silver Star on Sega CD. I still don’t know why I did it. Perhaps just fond attachment to the characters. There was no achievements, no badges, just my own sense of pride.


    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on March 4, 2015 - 12:28 am

      Sometimes it just really does boil down to “I like being with these characters”, just a sense of giving something you like your best. Glad to know the completionist nag hasn’t gotten to you, the one empty spot in the trophy cupboard not mocking you.


  2. #3 by hsdiii on February 26, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    call me a sadist, but i love the grind. getting max lvl in Ragnarok Online; all master materia in FFVII for ps1; dodging 100 lighting bolts for Lulu’s ultimate weapon in FFX; farming for an emerald whelpling in vanilla WoW.

    the unicorn was seeing all the endings in Chrono Trigger. sadly my brother played over my save…i had one left to see..


    • #4 by Prof.mcstevie on February 27, 2015 - 6:20 pm


      To a degree I do think these small worlds we can get everything in, even the most ridiculous achievement with just time provide a reward that cannot be given by anything else. I complete not only because I want to have it, but to have everything there is to be had is something phenomenal, collectors mindset.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. #5 by Scott Batson on February 24, 2015 - 4:11 pm

    Lord knows how many hours I have spent grinding in WoW for some vanity item. Very recently, I farmed 9,999 Dinosaur Bones for the Primal Raptor mount. In some ways, the grinding makes it rewarding, even if the item isn’t useful in any way.


    • #6 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:52 pm

      The grinding has its own reward on the side much like any kill 50 of X quest is just a way to grind faster with a reward of a lump sum.


  4. #7 by Cirsova on February 24, 2015 - 4:09 pm

    Fighting games are about the worst for this sort of thing.


    • #8 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:51 pm

      No loss, 5 super finishers, 2 ultra finishers, hardest difficulty, 2 perfects. It sounds made up, so many wish it were.


    • #9 by Cirsova on February 24, 2015 - 5:56 pm

      Damn. At least most of the crazy shit from KOF: MI2 was just for costumes. I absolutely HATE challege modes in fighting games.


    • #10 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:58 pm

      I don’t mind when the game is fully technical enough that you can pull it off, the point in any game I often draw the line is where the mechanics or controls don’t equate to the challenge, like precise platforming with awful momentum controls.


  5. #11 by Andy Primm on February 24, 2015 - 4:29 am

    At least you don’t have to get the Stars or Stamps twice in 3D World. Speedrunning each level four times takes less time than you might think!


    • #12 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:50 pm

      Oh I’m aware I could probably knock it out quickly, however the very notion that the last items you seek are the most lengthy plus the fact that there are even auto scrolling levels just drives a knife into my brain that kills my drive.


    • #13 by Andy Primm on February 24, 2015 - 7:02 pm

      It’s a pretty BS requirement, but at least the characters are differentiated pretty well.


    • #14 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 7:52 pm

      Yes, Mario the average, Toad the Time Trialer, Peach the cheeser, Luigi the…..weegee and Rosalina the cheating spin jumping wizard. Okay seriously what is the purpose of Luigi, his higher jump has very little benefit compared to a float.


    • #15 by Andy Primm on February 24, 2015 - 9:19 pm

      As a Weegee player, I prefer him to Peach because of her slow run and low jump. Weegee’s also just superior to Mario in every way, with the minor drawback of poor momentum control.

      Rosalina is the tits of that game, though. Shame she isn’t unlocked from the start, but there’s at least a lot of replay value with her.


    • #16 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 9:22 pm

      my only bug with her is due to a low running speed and her running not starting till she FINISHES her spin attack it is easy to run off without actually starting a dash and not making the jump. I frankly despise the tiered speed acceleration in 3D land and world, it messes with my platforming.


    • #17 by Andy Primm on February 24, 2015 - 10:15 pm

      Her double jump and melee attack more than make up for any shortcomings. I like the tiered speed a lot, it adds a lot of variety. Peach would be really broken if she could run as fast as Toad.


    • #18 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 10:27 pm

      Ah, you misunderstand what I meant by tiered speeds. I’m fine with different stats of speed for characters, what I hate is that you hold the run button to go into a small dash, then a few seconds later burst into a full speed dash. You have no in between acceleration, no natural run up to anything other than running in a circle before a flag to FINALLY hit top speed. I died so much in the Champion Road from suddenly bursting to max speed and overshooting or not getting enough and undershooting.


    • #19 by Andy Primm on February 24, 2015 - 10:52 pm

      That mechanic takes some getting used to, but I’ve found that running in tight circles to build up your speed before a jump works pretty well. I died on Champion’s Road a lot, but it was mostly due to the stupid Dash Pad part at the end.


    • #20 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 10:55 pm

      I no hit all the way till that part nearly every time, it isn’t even hard as I died only from off screen stuff which is cheap and control mess ups cos the game only functions in 8 directions. A slight jostle of the stick and off I went. I got my no hit run but damn if it didn’t feel hollow.


  6. #21 by trevbook on February 24, 2015 - 2:48 am

    In a similar vein to your Mario 3D World story, I was pretty dismayed when discovering I needed to beat ALL of the levels in Mario 3D Land as Luigi in order for another star to display next to my save file. That little star that NOBODY but me will ever see (thanks to Nintendo’s lack of an online achievement leaderboard) drove me to complete the entire game (including the special worlds) twice.


    • #22 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:48 pm

      I also completed 3D Land….and Both Galaxy the 2 times and Galaxy 2 all the way to the 252nd star. My mind says no but my body….my body is telling me yes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. #23 by Matt on February 24, 2015 - 2:28 am

    Whenever I get to an unlockable that is just too demanding (not in the sense of being difficult, but in the sense that it requires a whole lot of work) I just give up.

    As you have said to 3D World: “Enjoy the darkness”. Except my games are kept in a shelf, so there is not much darkness, but you get my point. Some things are just not worth it and I would rather either move on to another game or do something else that is actually fun!

    Don’t even get me started on the Golden Glider for Mario Kart 8. I played the game for many hours and I thought I was actually getting close to the goal. When Nintendo updated the game to add the overall coin counter (why didn’t they have it there in the first place?) I ran to take a look at it and I was surprised to see I was only halfway through!!!!!

    Since I mostly play by myself, I can only get 10 coins at a time if I am lucky and happen not to be murdered by a blue sheel a few feet from the finish line, which turns the whole thing into… well, work!


    • #24 by Prof.mcstevie on February 24, 2015 - 5:47 pm

      Sometimes even video games can turn into work, something fun with almost excessive quantities turns into busy work like grinding.


  8. #25 by gamesthatiplay on February 24, 2015 - 1:22 am

    I think the hardcore unlockables might just apply to kids that have the time. I remember spending 2 years trying to unlock everything for MK: Deadly Alliance, just because the silver coins were so difficult to get.

    I try to get 90% of achievements, which aren’t unlockables, but eventually I’ve gotta draw the line at X amount of hours. I just can’t devote my life to getting something.


  9. #26 by Aether on February 24, 2015 - 12:56 am

    Getting Ziggy’s ultimate weapon in Xeonosaga Episode III comes to mind. Grinding for 99 of an item that only drops from two specific enemies in the last two dungeons of the game. Takes hours when you’ve got so much better to do.

    For the most part, I’m pretty good at deciding if something just isn’t worth my time and passing up on it. Although I have, and still do at times, fall for the odd mood of wanting to 100% a game that just isn’t right for it, and when I do, it does often leave my experience worse off for it.


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