I am not a completionist, I'm just going to throw that out there right now. I don't feel a need to see every square inch of a world or unlock every new ability. When it comes to collectibles, I usually don't care unless it serves a purpose in the story. Batman: Arkham City? I say "no thanks" to its 400 Riddler trophies. Alan Wake, however, I would go out of my way to find the manuscript pages. But the coffee thermoses? Completely unnecessary, and I often found myself running over to them thinking it was a new manuscript page, only to find a thermos and getting so annoyed that I wouldn't even hit the B button to pick it up, purely out of spite.
These days, collectible items in games serve no real purpose other than to give you a new achievement/trophy, and that's fine. It's not my cup of tea, and more power to those that do enjoy it. I have no problem with collectibles, unless they prohibit me from seeing extra content.
Ooh, shiny. Is that a manu--AHHHH CRAP!
Nintendo, my beloved, darling Nintendo, the company whom I discovered in 1988 as a wee lad and changed my life forever, is the greatest offender of the mandatory collection conspiracy. As I've written recently, most of my gaming these days is done on portable systems, and I decided to tackle some of my backlog. When I scanned through the shelf that houses my DS games, the one that immediately caught my eye was Kirby Mass Attack. I couldn't believe that I had been putting the game off for so long, and I felt like I owed it to that adorable, pink.....thing, to finally pop it in to my DS and give it a go.
Let me first say that I absolutely loved it. It's fantastic, and is a surefire contender for best Kirby game (in my humble opinion). Now let me tell you what I didn't love about it. I beat the boss in World 4, knowing that there had to be a World 5. Alas, I was right, and I was ready to continue. Then a short cutscene plays and "Oops, you didn't collect all the Rainbow Medals, now we can't light the way to World 5." Are you kidding me? Instead of getting mad, I just said "Well, I guess I just beat Mass Attack." If you're going to make collecting the Rainbow Medals a mandatory task in order to see the fullness of the game, let me know up front, when I first boot up the game. If I had known going in that this was something I needed to do, I would have been more thorough in my searching. Because of this, in order to see the full game, I would have to go back and play through most levels a second time. It's like Ghost N' Goblins all over again. It may not sound so bad to some, because if I like a game, why would I have a problem playing through it again?
Look at it this way: If you call a restaurant and make an order for carry out, and they tell you it will be ready in 30 minutes, and you arrive 30 minutes later, only to have them say "It's going to be about 20 more minutes," wouldn't you get upset? This is the same kind of frustration. The only difference being that I'm eventually going to get those buffalo wings, but I'm never going to go back and play Mass Attack.
It was the exact same feeling I had when playing Super Princess Peach several years ago. I didn't collect every Toad throughout the game, so I couldn't get to the final boss. This is another case where I just shut off the DS and said "Hey, I just beat it, cool!"
Donkey Kong Country Returns: collect all the K-O-N-G letters in order to unlock new stages. New Super Mario Bros. Wii: collect all the coin medals to unlock the levels of the secret world. At least with those games, I could still reach an ending. It may not be the true ending, but it was still an ending, and that's good enough for me.
Oh, I can't stay mad at you when you look at me like that.
Like I said, Nintendo is the greatest offender. There are others, but it seems to be a staple of Nintendo's development these days, and I, for one, absolutely hate it. I'm not the hardest of the hardcore. I don't want to spend extravagant amounts of time racking my brain, searching high and low for every collectible, just to see everything a game has to offer. I would rather just beat a game and move on to the next one. Perhaps it's just me, but hopefully someone else out there feels my pain.