Friday, 4 March 2016

The Struggles of Being A Completionist At Heart


You could say I was once a completionist. When I was in high school, I remember multiple years in a row my Nanna came over to babysit and said 'Are you still playing that?!' because she saw me playing Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy X again. I was always hunting for some kind of weapon or an enemy in order to explore every inch of the game. You could say I definitely still have completionist tendencies, with my constant urge to get the Platinum Trophy for every game I love. I love playing new games as much as any other gamer, but I also crave the satisfaction and fun that comes from exploring every corner of a game. But with the amount of games that are around these days, it's sometimes hard to choose between being a crazy completionist or trying the constant stream of cool games being released every month.



One of the first game series I finished to 100% completion was the original Spyro the Dragon on PS One. I did this on and off throughout my childhood and high school, but there was always a point where I could finish one game and go back to my Spyro game or grind Spyro for a few weeks and forget about any new releases. I could manage to play most of the games I bought that year and give them all a worthy amount of playing time. Since I was only playing PS One games, my backlog was basically non-existent.


Once I got into the Final Fantasy X games, which got me into JRPGs, I was in completionist heaven. JRPGs are known for being full of so many quests, side quests, ultimate weapons, treasure chests, secret Easter Eggs etc. It was this kind of depth that was perfect for my completionist tendencies, along with all the other great things about the JRPG genre, that got me hooked to the genre pretty quickly and made me stick with the genre for a long time. Playing Final Fantasy X and X-2 (which I got 100% in) was a completely new level to the scavenger quest that was mastering a game and I welcomed it for multiple years in a row.

Although I definitely had fun spending so much time playing and replaying those games to try complete them, that time period also opens up the main downside of being a completionist: the time taken away from playing other games. My PS2 was pretty monogamous for the Final Fantasy X games, meaning I missed out on some JRPG essentials such as Wild Arms, Dragon Quest and Star Ocean, just to name a few. I remember seeing some of these games and thinking they looked interesting, but being content enough with my completionist lifestyle not to purchase them. I don't regret my time playing Final Fantasy X, in fact I still love that game very much, but it does add to my current backlog because there was some genuinely good, potentially even better games I didn't even touch then.

Nowadays in the era of PS4, XBox One and all the other available consoles new and old, there's more games to choose from then ever because there's so many old and current home and portable consoles. It's hard for me to come to terms with the fact that there's probably not enough time in the world to ever play all the games I want to play, let alone scavenge through them to completely finish them. It's also however a brilliant time to be gamer because there is so much choice, so when it comes to picking between finding treasure chests or experiencing as many great games as possible, I'd rather try play as many games as possible.


Of course, it is down to personal preference in the end. There are plenty of gamers who play games like Disgaea for years and then move on to the next deep game experience to completely finish. With so many games coming out now however, I truly don't think I can get pass the feeling I'd be missing out on something. I loved my time playing Final Fantasy X for multiple years and a little more recently playing Persona 4 Golden for 7 months in order to platinum it, but for now I'm lowering my completionist habit to play as many great experiences as possible. Maybe one day I'll do it more actively, but I know I'd be incredibly sad if I missed releases like Persona 5 because I was busy looking for a hidden locked treasure chest or weapon with higher stats.

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Are you a completionist? How long do you usually spend in a game after you've finished the main story?
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