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The Collectible Conundrum

Hey guys, the one and only Marche here (believe it or not, I actually saw someone else online once with the name Marche who got it from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance like me, and I flipped the frick out), and for once I'll be doing something other than writing a blog with more emotions than David Cage can fap to. Time to ask you for some sort of opinion.

This is a rare thing, since I suck at analyzing stuff. In fact, I'll likely be doing very little analyzing here, myself. I'm more interested in hearing what you guys think.


Anyone who knows me as a gamer knows that I'm a completionist. If I play a game like Banjo Kazooie, I'm grabbing every note in the game, every jiggy, every whatever. I'll play a Zelda game and refuse to face Ganon or whoever the heck is threatening Hyrule if I don't have every single heart piece. Heck, I wouldn't finish Kingdom Hearts until I'd beaten Sephiroth, gotten the Ultima Weapon, and secured my chance at seeing the secret ending.

Actually, I refused to turn off the recent Castle of Illusion HD remake until I'd gotten all of the trophies and 100%'d it. Unfortunately, the one trophy had to wait until the next morning, but I beat the stuffing out of it once got some requested some pointers on GameFAQs.

This is alright, right? Nothing wrong with wanting to grab everything in a game. Sure, it sucks up more time than you can shake a stick at, but if that's your thing, then by all means go for it. Make yourself feel good. Be a champion. Conquer the many items spread across the landscape of adventure.

And then, Alan Wake happened.

"Hey, you know you want to pick me up."
"Heck yeah, I do. Wait a minute...why are you in this forest?"
"Pffft, who cares. Just grab me...and me three hundred brethren while you're at it."

I've got a horror game fix right now. Amnesia's coming up, Outlast just came out, I've got Metro 2033 to play through, and I just remembered that I have Alan Wake and Alan Wake's American Nightmare that I put on the back-burner a few months ago. Now, why did I put these games on the back-burner in the first place?


This game has one of the biggest collection of collectibles to find that I have ever seen in a game. There are an atrocious number of thermoses to find, TVs to turn on and watch, radios to listen to, pyramids of cans to knock over, manuscripts to find, secret chests to open, and signs to peer at. What makes it worse is that Alan Wake is a game with some very big and open environments. Finding the majority of this crap is nigh impossible without a guide.

Case in point, I was going through Alan Wake very carefully. Having resigned from feeling the need to use a walkthrough (last one I used was for Skyward Sword back in May, but that's because I didn't exactly have all the time in the world and wanted to 100% it), I was totally feeling my way through the game blindly. I would swear I combed every area with such meticulousness that it would make Professor Layton weep with envy.

So, after making it about to the third chapter of the game (maybe 1/3 through), I checked a walkthrough just to see how I did. I had missed so much stuff, I nearly fell out of my chair.

I got over it pretty quickly, though. Shrugs for all.

So, no big deal. I had to adjust myself mentally so that I could play through the game without getting all the collectibles. That's when I just dropped the game for no particular reason for a few months (maybe I was subconsciously upset?) Either way, I picked it up again, today, and I resigned myself to just picking up the manuscripts in the game. They glow white, they're in plain view along the main paths in the game. There are a few branching paths, but they're really pretty obvious. No big deal.

So, I continue through the game, as usual. I fight a bulldozer. That's cool. Then, I check my manuscript page. I missed one.

I'm actually playing Alan Wake on Steam, but I'm going to throw this TV out a window, anyways!

Again, I had to adjust myself mentally. I'm not going to get all the manuscript pages. I'll be missing out on a small page of story. But, this brought up an interesting question in my mind.

Is there a point where there are simply too many collectibles in a game?

Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with collectibles. In fact, I think games like Alan Wake can benefit from some. The TVs for instance, with their Twilight Zone-like show Night Springs provides a nice break from running around doing all the things that you do, not to mention that they're entertaining and add to the mysterious atmosphere of Alan Wake's world, rather than totally breaking it.

But when you get into stuff like 100 coffee thermos randomly scattered about for no apparent reason other than to give the player something to do, you have to ask yourself, is this really necessary?

I don't know. It's a matter of opinion, certainly. And it is an optional part of the game, so whether or not it really matters in the first place is up to you.

What do you guys think? Do you think there can be such a thing as too many collectibles in a game?
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About Marche100one of us since 6:01 AM on 12.15.2011


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