You Don’t Need It But Ya Kinda Do: Collection For Completion In Video Games


Some games won’t ask you to collect and achieve everything and yet will drive it home each stage as some form of numeric guilt. The small difference when it gives you an A-rank as a nice work to an S-rank that reacts with fireworks, screaming and praise. The chime that only comes with a perfect and the sometimes complete lack of celebration that you perhaps just missed it.

Old Yoshi’s Island on the SNES is still one of the most memorable for how it throws the full screen of your lacking completion with not so much as a “not bad” for 90+, no we gotta go full perfect or it’s a constant reminder. God forbid if you ever play a game that requires full completion in one go, no going back and getting it bit by bit cos that’s crazy talk, 100% it in one go or leave.

Recently played offender Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, a game where completing all the missions in a stage that vary from collect enough money to don’t get hit to the somewhat awkward and wee bit infuriating don’t kill anything. Some of them are absolutely impossible to beat all in one go as one will cancel out another, sitting around getting these coins will strip you of the “time trial ” mission where others ask for complex kills and no killing enemies. Go figure.

Now a part of me is rather happy there is so much to do in a stage or across all stages, much like the Comet Coins of Super Mario Galaxy 2 or the Red Rings that cropped up in Sonic Colours and later games. Having a reason to pay attention as you go along what is otherwise a rather simple stage with a very low difficulty is marvellous….when it feels like my own desire to complete is seeking them out. When you drive a nail in my head with a smile whispering “no….it isn’t necessary” then it becomes a guilty obligation.

If I was going to collect them I would have whether you pester me or not, stop selling after you’ve sold me. They are shiny and unlock more stages to play, I’m happily simple enough to be attracted to that chime upon acquisition and little completion sign on the level. The word PERFECT is plastered on pretty much all of my save files throughout time, it is what I do.

After a while while this may feel like them nagging at me for not enjoying all the game they slaved away working on, it is more likely upon reflection to just be prodding at their expected demographic, a group of human beings who don’t 100% some of their favourite games in a day…..casuals every single of them, get back in there and find that forsaken puzzle piece you 98% disappointment to THE HUMAN RACE!

It falls into the category of sometimes not wanting to do something you were already doing because you were told. I was going to do it anyway but now I feel like annoying you, thanks for the opportunity. I don’t want them to think this works but dammit I want to do what they asked me to do, evidently far before I was even told to do so.

As I said before, you aren’t gonna change any minds for the better as anyone who wants to, will. I suppose it can be compared to the difference between a hard as nails game that punishes you for dying with a long drawn out message about it, ignoring the very thing you enticed me with as an obstacle.

Yes, I died as clearly indicated by the giblets of my former self on the wall. Super Meat Boy does this right, it knows why you are here and appropriates itself accordingly with next to no load times between deaths. It does now that I think about it show you all your failures but only after you beat it as more of a celebration of your success while showing how you learnt from your mistakes.

Video games can be challenging and the rewards we get should be based out of an interest in the game and the potential unlockables that come with it. The constant nagging and reminders of a lack of perfection in a stage will just make me feel disrespected, especially if the task isn’t exactly easy with hidden walls randomly placed or an interface screw that arbitrarily makes things harder.

Praise success, hell do it more than you usually do in your game….just maybe don’t make me feel like such a prick for coming short of your perfectionist expectations, I already have my own eating away at me thank you very much.

What games have you played that really drove home your lack of perfection? Do you think games sometimes treat failures too harshly? How much of a completionist/perfectionist are you? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.


, , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Bryan on September 23, 2015 - 9:21 pm

    This is my problem with a lot of current games, they devolve into collection checklists. This is most apparent with open world games and their need to put thousands of items around the world with the sole intention of bumping up playtime hours and telling the “casual” players, as you say, they are doing it wrong. As it slowly becomes “proper” game design it is also slowly becoming a form of propaganda in the way that it psychologically alters the players idea of what it means to play the game correctly, and thus it changes how the player interacts with future games. Due to the increasing usage of collect-a-thon aspects we now have games like Mad Max, which is about 80% item collection and 20% actual gameplay.


  2. #2 by Matt on August 26, 2015 - 11:07 am

    Yoshi’s Island is a perfect example! Whenever I play it I decide not to get all collectibles because some of them are too frustrating to acquire in their totality (or maybe I just suck at that game, I don’t know). However, whenever that blackboard pops up I question whether or not I should be going for all items…. it is a psychological torture!


    • #3 by Prof.mcstevie on August 26, 2015 - 8:37 pm

      Worse, when you Perfect the first one with a smile you unlock an infernally hard stage to beat purely for bragging rights…..yeah cos I’ll let one non-100 score go in my flawless world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #4 by Matt on August 27, 2015 - 12:26 am

      Well… I am glad I have never made it close to 100% on that game then.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: