The 11pm Report: Collectibles, Achievements and Trophies

I can’t remember the last time one of these was actually written after 11pm. We’re frauds!

This week we’re all about collectibles, achievements, trophies, and the effort that makes them either worth it or not. Why invest time in collectible hunting?

ShiggyNinty: I was thinking about obsession, collecting and stuff.

Pants: I like obsessively collecting stuff.

ShiggyNinty: Whether it’s in games or games in general. Because man…Fire Emblem bro…so good!

Pants: I didn’t know that game involved collecting.

ShiggyNinty: Well…in a sense it is. Trying to collect all the possible people for your group, or beating all the side missions to get the most experience.

Pants: So basically going for 100% in a game?

ShiggyNinty: Sorta, yeah!

Pants: Do you do that often? I went through a phase where I wanted to 100% pretty much everything but I’ve sort of slipped out of it. I was thinking about going for every Boo and gem in Luigi’s Mansion but don’t really see the point now.

ShiggyNinty: Sometimes. Ive talked about it before in an article, it just really depends on the experience and how I’m liking it. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a good example. I love that game and I do want to go and do 100%, but I’ve got other games I want to do before I go back. I’m knee deep in a huge Fire Emblem obsession and Animal Crossing comes out soon…AND I HAVE DONKEY KONG TO PLAY AS WELL!

Pants: Is Animal Crossing something you can even complete 100%?

ShiggyNinty: It’s not…in a sense. I mean there’s furniture sets you can complete, fish to catch and such, but it’s not a game I’d aim for 100%, because I feel it’s not designed like that. It’s designed to be more of a relaxation game, just a total break from real life.

Pants: So what would you say you prefer? games that you can ‘100% complete’, or games that you can’t?

ShiggyNinty: That’s a toughie…I’m gonna sit on the fence with this one, because some games I love for the completion feeling, it fulfills a side of me that I love, but then there’s other games where I couldn’t be bothered to finish completely. It’s weird. Like I said before, it’s really dependent on the game. What about you?

Pants: I like games that have compelling reasons to go for 100% completion (The Grandmaster Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2 is like a bragging right, I think) or games where 100% completion doesn’t feel like a chore (hey look I’m talking about Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood again what a surprise) and where you’re driven to go for 100% because you want to spend more time in the game world. I think my lowest point was trying to 100% LEGO City Undercover. I wasn’t enjoying it at all by the end but I’d gone far enough that I figured I should just keep going. And then my stats glitched!

A screen I will never see…

ShiggyNinty: I remember you telling me it glitched and I was so upset for you. It was horrible. But you say you went far enough that you felt you had to keep going. But why? Most people would quit. There had to be more than “just because” right?

Pants: It’s about the time investment. I was really bored by around 75%. But I’d already put in something like 30 hours and I wasn’t going to let the extra 15 or so hours I’d spent collectible hunting just fall aside. Like I’d wasted that time if I stopped there, but if I pushed to 100% there could be some sense of validation to it. Which didn’t really work out in the end, mind…

ShiggyNinty: Oh ok! Sometimes I set my mind on getting that elusive 100%, but I soon lose interest because I’m just not having fun. If there’s no fun, I give up.

Pants: I think I need to do that more often. I think that’s why I’m not bothering with Luigi’s Mansion’s collectibles.

ShiggyNinty: I really like the collectibles in LM2, it’s tedious but it’s fun to explore areas and every nook and cranny in a big mansion. But I know what you mean.

Pants: I was going to ask what was your favourite game that you’ve 100%’d, but I think I can guess.

ShiggyNinty: Red Dead yeah?

Pants: Considering what you wrote about it!

ShiggyNinty: Oh man, that was so much fun to complete. Especially after getting burned out trying to 100% GTA4…

Pants: How far did you get in that? I didn’t even try in that game. The 200 pigeons alone just seemed so daunting.

ShiggyNinty: I did everything bar about 50 pigeons. I had a checklist and would drive around getting them and ticking off as I went. But it just became too annoying! And even being so close to the end, I just didn’t care enough to bother.

Pants: There’s definitely a limit when it comes to collectibles. Too many seems too impossible. But what about a different kind of collectible – achievements (and trophies)?

ShiggyNinty: Same again, depends on the game and how obtainable the achievements are. Take something like Duke Nukem Forever. Before the DLC I got all the achievements and the best part about them? No multiplayer specific ones!

Pants: That’s true, some multiplayer achievements can be pretty impossible to get these days. But I guess that only matters to completionists. But there are entire sites out there dedicated solely to getting achievements and trophies. And in those sites are people who plan out their game purchases based on how easy a game is to get 100% of the achievements, because they want to up their gamerscore or trophy count. What do you think about that?

ShiggyNinty: It’s dumb. Achievements can really ruin a game for me. The whole aspect of buying a game just because a game has easy achievements? It’s stupid, crazy stupid.

Pants: Since every game seems to have achievements these days, what kinds of achievements do you think work best?

ShiggyNinty: I HATE collectathon ones, I like ones where it changes up how a game is played. One of my favourites was the ones in Max Payne 3 like New York Minute, because it changes your playstyle completely and makes you rethink how to tackle situations.

Pants: That’s pretty much what I think. I still really like that achievement in Alan Wake for not using any weapons in the final level, it’s a weirdly fun kind of restriction. I also like the ones that tempt you to experiment more with a game. Even though ‘kill X amount of enemies’ is pretty boring, if it’s ‘kill X amount of enemies with Y move’ and you’ve never used Y move before, you might find yourself liking and using that move as you continue to play.

ShiggyNinty: It’s great like that. But multiplayer achievements can fuck off. It just feels lazy.

Pants: Do you think it would be better if the next generation of consoles did away with achievements entirely? I know we’re already hearing a bit about the Xbone’s achievement system, but if you had total control would you keep them or throw them?

ShiggyNinty: I don’t mind having achievements, but I just wish it wasn’t such a dick measuring contest you know? It’s all about your gamerscore and how many trophies you have, rather than sharing awesome experiences with friends and telling how you got an achievement

Pants: In that case, how would you change the system?

ShiggyNinty: I’m not sure, I’d like it to be more…pleasant.

Pants: So basically, collectibles can be a fun way of extending your time with a game you love, but they can also be unhealthy, to the extent you buy games just for easy achievements or spend 30+ hours working on collectibles when you’re not even enjoying the game anymore. But maybe that’s a fault with ourselves and not the games, and we should be thinking about why we play games if we’re not even having fun.

ShiggyNinty: As soon as a game isn’t fun anymore, don’t play it. Games are meant to be fun, that’s why we play them!

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