Gamers are a strange group of people.
Music collectors don’t subject themselves to music they don’t like for hours on end, just to be able to tell people that they did. Cinephiles don’t watch dozens of hours of films they’re not enjoying just to say that they’ve “gotten the full experience.” But gamers? Dump a laundry list of monotonous tasks into a game along with a message box accompanied by a little “ding” sound every time you complete an item on said list, and you can make gamers do just about anything, no matter how pointless or uneventful.
It’s true folks, we’re in a weird time in gaming. Well, that’s obvious enough. But in particular, the concept of achievement chasing is something that boggles the mind. There are fans of games who will, out of pure protest, refuse to play a game if achievements are not included. It’s a bizarre trend and I can’t figure it out for the life of me.
Maybe I’m just getting old and my time is more valuable to me than it used to be? I don’t know, if you’re interested in taking on a laundry list of tasks, come to my office during business hours and I’ll hook you up with dozens of em! I’ll be hanging out on the couch in the break area playing my Switch!
Jokes aside, if you want to chase achievements, hey, go crazy. This is America. I’ve got nothing really against it for the most part, providing it doesn’t alter the final game product.
I’m probably the farthest thing from an achievement chaser, but at the same time, I’ve had a blast finishing everything in a select number of games, particularly in the past few years. While the conscious decision to find everything in a game I’m playing is normally a product of really enjoying the game and just wanting to enjoy it further, it transcends genre and really has no set thing that makes me tick.
Completing all the levels? Getting a perfect score in every level? Finding every collectible? Getting a platinum trophy?
All of these are examples of 100%’ing a game, and I’ve gone for each of them in a handful of games. While analyzing the games that I 100%, I realized that there is really no trend as to the genre of game (although RPGs are very low on the priority list to 100%). So what is it that makes you want to 100% a game? What are some games you played to full completion, and why?
Let’s take a look back at the past ~year or so, since I bought a house. That was probably my peak busy time, so finding the time to 100% a game was a big decision that undoubtedly impacted the ability to play other games. But I simply won’t play a game if I’m not enjoying it. I don’t care if I’m 99.9% of the way there – the second I stop having fun, I’m done.
Reason for saying, is that you can look at the list of the following games as games I found to be absolute perfection from start to finish, and that is a pretty damn glowing review! Check out my list and I’d love to hear about yours!
All data logs, shards, runes, hidden weapons, secret levels, suit upgrades, weapon upgrades, and trophy figures.
Aside from one or two in-level goals, I cranked away at this game for about 20 hours before hitting a solid point and deciding to call it quits. I painstakingly searched through every level and found every secret collectible, and had an absolute blast doing it. DOOM is one of those games where your heart rate is elevated basically the whole time because you’re enjoying blowing the hell out of everything, and it definitely has a certain addicting appeal, particularly with Glory Kills.
One of my favorite traits of a game is one where exploration is not only encouraged, but handsomely rewarded. This game is just so absolutely packed with secrets and bonus levels and things to find that you can easily spend an hour wandering around a single level. Enemies don’t respawn either, which makes it feel like you really make each level “yours” before moving on.
Metroid: Samus Returns
All energy tanks, missile expansions, power bomb tanks, Aeion tanks.
I’m a sucker for 100%’ing Metroid games, because with Metroid, exploration is the game. The inclusion of the Scan Pulse mechanic was what I consider the highlight of this remake, as it made searching out the final secret areas far more enjoyable as opposed to leaving the player to their devices, ie. power bombing every single wall in sight.
What makes Metroid games simply perfect is the fact that you’re constantly getting better at controlling Samus, while steadily gaining new abilities and strength. It’s a great gameplay loop that solidifies the series’ inclusion in my top-of-all-time year after year. 100%’ing these games feels like the only way to really “close the file.”
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe / Mario Kart 7
Three stars on all cups (including 200cc for MK8D).
First and foremost, let me just say that getting 3-stars in Neo Bowser City on 200cc might actually be the crowning achievement of my entire life. Seriously – I must have attempted that cup about three dozen times before finally getting insanely lucky with a triple-mushroom a football-field length away from the finish line.
100% completing Mario Kart games since the Wii version is essentially unlocking all the characters and 3-starring every track. What I love/hate the most about this 3-star system is that there really isn’t a guideline to how you get 3-stars in a cup. There are plenty of theories out there of course, but generally speaking, aside from hypothesizing, no one quite knows how to guarantee a 3-star. Simply finishing in first place every race doesn’t work – you need to spend the majority of the race in the lead. It only rewards you if you’ve mastered the track, no lucky wins here!
All presents, papercraft plans, Platinum trophy.
If I were to talk about my favorite games of the past ten years, Tearaway would undoubtedly be in the top 20. It was simply a joyous game that was relaxing to play and had excellent mechanics that utilized every single feature of the Vita.
Being a 3D puzzle-platformer, the levels are designed in such a way that forces you to look at each part of the level from a different perspective, literally. To add to that, every time you found a collectible, you were greeted with a wonderful animation of the present popping open, confetti shooting into the air, along with a cheery kazoo-like sound. It really made you want to seek everything out!
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana / Ys: Memories of Celceta
All harvest points, chests, 100% map coverage.
I know, I know. I still can’t shut up about Ys VIII. It’s just that great of a game. Trust me on this, people. I don’t just recommend stuff, you know this!
While the 100% map coverage was fixed in Ys VIII, the act of filling out a map and removing the fog of war is a mechanic that I already enjoyed. Add to that plenty of harvest points and chests to find, and you’ve got some fun collecting to do while you’re blasting through the map at break-neck speed! The fact that Adol & Co. move at roughly the speed of sound makes exploring the map even more enjoyable.
What these two games are terrific about is that they give you a statistics screen, so the number-obsessed nerds like myself can see exactly what kind of progress you’re making. Actually finding everything isn’t all that difficult either, as from normal gameplay you’re bound to find at least ~85% of the collectibles to find. Overall it’s just a very pleasant experience to explore the respective worlds in these two games, and reaching for that 100% ends up feeling like the logical closure point.
Speaking of logical closure points, that’s all I got! Like I asked earlier – what makes you aim for full game completion? Leave a comment and let’s chat!