Hey Sky Bear-ites! Claire here. A quick apology for being so long in writing to you. I have a few updates to give you, before I break into the meat of my blog post. I’ve gone to IT school and I’m learning programming the proper way ;). Cat Capers has been successfully funded and is about to be printed! Exciting times. Also, for a long, long overdue update on Prince of Cats, my visual novel/life sim: James had a play with the first test of it, and there’s a lot of bugs. Also, we’re going to need a lot of art for it… so it may be a long time coming, but I’m determined to get the game made and hopefully one day put it on Play Store or Steam!
So, the topic of my rant is about me and video games, and being a completionist. How many others of you out there are completionists? Does it drive you crazy if you can’t get all the trophies for a game?
Let me tell you about the last few games I’ve played, just to give you a picture of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to completing games.
Final Fantasy XII – replaying this game for the first time since 2007, I decided to try and do it 100%, as I have done with Final Fantasies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10-2, 13, and 13-2. However, after dedicating over 100 hours to this game, I just had to give up when I hit the last three bosses which were just impossible for me to beat. Zodiark kept killing me time and time again. It was purely random when its unavoidable death attack would just hit all of my characters… And then Yiazmat… look, with this guy, I just set the character AI onto the best combo and sat there playing cards with James for about 2 hours. It was just so boring and repetitive! To the point where I was like, how is this even a game? I didn’t even bother going to face the ultimate boss at that point, I was just DONE. As you can see from my list before, I also have yet to 100% complete Final Fantasy 9. But I’m almost too nervous to try, seeing how ridiculous 12 was. And I’ve tried to do 10 as well, but that is also very, stupidly hard.
Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to go from one JRPG to another, but I did. And this game is worse than your average JRPG – it’s cloyingly cute and because its all about alchemy and time management, it is extremely tedious and repetitive… and frankly just stressful. But you know what? Me being me, I had to 100% it. WHY?! The only thing saving it from me giving up was the fact that, with knowledge of the hidden game mechanics, I was able to easily 100% it. It’s just that it took a long, long time. I have Atelier Totori, the sequel, which I’ve never played… and honestly, I’m scared to go near it.
To compare, this is a game I played earlier this year: Long Live the Queen. I LOVE this game. It’s got everything I love about the visual novel/life sim genre, whilst also adding in a lot of its own unique stuff. I bring this up because I want to compare it to Atelier Rorona: cute anime style without being cloying, and many different endings but shorter game length so it doesn’t take your whole friggin’ life to finish. I’ve 100%ed this game, and I recommend it to anyone interested in checking out the life sim genre.
So having finished Atelier Rorona and being turned right off long RPG style games for a bit, I turned back to my roots as a gamer – 90s console platformers. I got the Spyro trilogy on my PS3. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved this series as a kid. I vaguely remembered that I loved 1 and 2, and that 3 was not as much of a favourite for some reason. So I played the first of the trilogy, and in about 5 hours it was done and dusted. I was sublimely happy. It was a game that was so simple to finish, but to finish 100% you had to do some clever little tricks to find hidden areas. And they even reward you with a cute little bonus level at the end for trying so hard. Way to go, Spyro!
So keenly I loaded up Spyro 2. Things started to go immediately downhill. First off you’re greeted by an annoying cast of extra characters and more plot than you would care for. I just wanna be a dragon and fly and charge and spit fire and stuff! I don’t care! But anyway, I was enjoying it to start with, but things started to creep out of the woodwork that made me less than impressed. Minigames? Skills I haven’t learnt yet, so I’ll have to come back later? See, the thing about Spyro 1 is that all the tools you need are there, and if you can’t 100% a level, it’s not cos you’re missing a skill from later in the game… it’s cos you’re dumb and you suck because you’re not smart enough to figure out the puzzle. But besides that, which is a minor complaint, now in order to get 100%, you have to play minigames to collect all the orbs or whatever. And if you’re not super fricking dexterous, you’re just gonna lose. What annoys me the most is that this is a game for children! How much nerd cred am I gonna lose if I don’t beat this 100%?!
And I guess it comes down to this, with me and games. I play them to de-stress, have fun and enjoy myself. I mean, doesn’t everyone? So why would I want to play this game which is totally stressing me out because my fingers aren’t fast enough? Seriously, comment below if you feel differently, because I always felt like the point of any game was to have FUN. And I know a lot of games have changed that, with repetitive crap like fetch quests. And so I’m interested in hearing from you if you figure differently.
See the funny thing is, I do eventually, through absolute frustration, reach a point in my game where I realise, OK, it’s all right if I don’t 100% this. The best example of this is a game I’m playing through right now in my 90s nostalgia binge: Disney’s Hercules. I remembered from when I was a kid that the Hero’s Gauntlet level was near impossible to get 100% on, and so there was no point in trying. So instead, I’ve just been having fun and playing that. Another game that I played through and didn’t even try to go for trophies was the Mass Effect trilogy. No way am I ever going to try the higher difficulty levels. But I made my peace with that, it’s an excellent series and I don’t have to get 100% to enjoy the full story of that game (though I did have to buy all the DLC, but that’s another story)
Eventually I got to the point in Final Fantasy 12, and 10 as well in the past, where I went OK, not going to 100%, that’s fine, and I just finished the game and let the stress of not being 100% roll off my back. Am I a massive overachiever? Yes, totally, that’s just the way I was brought up, so I feel physical pain over this stupid inability to get 100%. Just like when at IT school if I get A rather than A+. But I know I’m not the only person out there who feels this way.
Happily, this story ends on a high note. I just finished my replay of my favourite game ever, Tombi (or Tomba if you’re in the US, for some reason they marketed it differently??). And even that game has it’s frustrating flaws: the gold medal race if really hard unless you follow some advice you find on the internet to the letter. But you’ll be happy to know I finished it 100%. And I saved a second save in my favourite spot in the game, the best and most relaxing: in the Dwarf Forest, before the pigs have arrived, you can slide down the leafy hills and catch Leaf Buutterflies to your heart’s content, while listening to one of the best backing tracks of all time. Bliss.
Now if only the Playstation Network sold Tombi 2…