355/366 – Completionist Validation
It’s probably me and my need to make sure I see everything in game genres like RPGs, but I’ve always been a bit of a completionist. The problem with this is that game developers like to hide things to do in games like easter eggs, and it’s very easy, especially in games with a certain tracking for percentage completion (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy X-2), to just miss something that you were supposed to do in order to get that sweet, sweet feeling of satisfaction from completely beating a game.
That’s why I think it’s important to have validation in place for completing games. In the old days of games, you honestly had grainy TV screenshot pictures and word of mouth to show people that you’d gotten through everything that a game had to offer. There wasn’t much proof to provide that was native to the game, and inevitably, because of that, you had a chance of mistakenly skipping or missing out on something that you ended up having to go back through the game to get (or worse, replaying through most of it).
Achievements are probably the main way in which this sort of thing is tracked these days. The idea of collecting trophies and unlocks and rewards attached to things you do or accomplish in games isn’t really necessary for a completionist obsessive like me, but it is a good way for me to conveniently track what’s been done by me in a game by the way that the game evaluates I’ve done it. If I’ve accomplished a side event or did something where I made a choice that unlocked a new path to follow and the game recognizes that, it already adds to my sense of satisfaction – and while that’s not something I absolutely need, it is an acknowledgment nonetheless – and it tracks things for me, providing ready-mnade proof to friends and fellow gamers alike that I’ve done what’s been asked.
Completing a game these days with achievements, however, seems to have expanded the idea behind “100%” ‘ing what’s there in the first place. No longer is completing a game limited to doing everything in it, but also doing certain things in certain ways – a sort of meta level of achievement and completion that allows people who’ve seen and done everything to re-do things in a way to get high-tier unlocks. If I don’t just complete the secret boss battle but complete it without using healing items, for example, as a matter of picking up another tier of achievement, it’s a way to build both replay value and appeal/challenge of games that you’ve already played through and experienced. In this sense, completionist mentality and validation has honestly evolved from where it was. Not too bad of a thing considering that completion hunters are always on the prowl for something new to play in a favorite game that they don’t mind replaying over and over again.