10 Best Collectibles In Games
As a GamerScore Whore (GSW) I detest collectibles. Most of the time collectibles prevent me from getting 1000G, because I just can’t be bothered to sit with a guide for hours collecting 400 flags for one puny achievement. It’s a thorn in the side for most completionist as well, because to complete the game 100%, one needs to collect 2000 mysterious seashells which are lying around. Sometimes, collectibles can be seen as completely unnecessary, almost as if they were thrown in either for the lulz or to pad up the game.
When a game features collectibles in a good way, it’s magic. When done right, collectibles can be the most fun you can have in a game. They can give you valuable information, or be a treat to hunt down. That’s how it’s done right. Throwing a bunch of random crap into corners and hoping people will give a damn is not doing it right. You have to give players sufficient incentive to run around looking for stuff.
The following games feature awesome collectibles. These are done right.
10. Mario Bros. 1-UP Mushroom
Let’s start off in classic fashion. The 1-UP mushroom in Mario Bros. isn’t a collectible in itself, but many gamers of old wanted to collect. It’s a strange sort of excitement when you bash your fist into a brick wall to see that green mushroomy bastard pop out. We all sought for him as we all wanted just one more life, in case Super Turtle Ultimate Extreme decided to go all Kamikaze on our ass. He is one of the first collectibles in games, that gamers actually wanted to collect, and for that, I commend the little guy.
9. Skulls In Halo 3
While not being that innovative, the skulls in Halo 3 were a strange kind of collectible. They required super-eyesight to see it, and some pretty shifty techniques to actually reach it. They were a pain in the ass to collect, but the stuff you had to do to get to them was actually fun. Bungie didn’t place the skulls in obvious locations, nor did they make thousands of them, no, they gave gamers a challenge. A challenge to exploit some of the game’s mechanics and to use some unorthodox means. They felt worthwhile to collect, and they inspired all sorts of creativity from players. That’s doing it right in my books.
8. Fallout 3 Bobbleheads
Not only were the bobbleheads fun to collect because you had to go out of your way to obtain them and discover new and interesting locations, but they gave you valuable increases to your stats. That’s how a collectible should be done. Not give you random concept art for every 100th bird you kill, but give you actual useful skills to use in your game. Also, you can display them in your house, and I’m sure some of the more budding real-life collectors of bobbleheads and figurines were quite happy with that addition. Each bobblehead had its own charm and pose to make it all the more interesting.
7. Crackdown Agility Orbs
Collectibles should be fun to collect, and Crackdown pulled that off beautifully. While being a nightmare to collect all the orbs, they did provide a nice incentive to hop around like a crackhead bunny. It was immense fun to sprint down a rooftop, grabbing all the agility orbs you could. Not only that, but you were required to collect them to build your Agility skill. So the more you manage to collect, the more you can jump around like a madman. That gave players real motivation to actually collect them in the first place.
6. Skyrim Daedric Weapons
Oh the wonderful world of dragons and mages. When you’re not in Dragonsreach discussing the ongoing hostilities like the rest of the great warriors, or taking numerous arrows in the knee, you can explore the ever expansive world, where you will sometimes stumble onto what seems like Daedric altars. Each of them have their own unique quest that involve difficult choices and otherwise nefarious deeds to complete. When you finish the quest you will be awarded by the Daedric entities, with extremely powerful artifacts and weapons that change the entire game.
These range from powerful armor pieces to sweet looking daggers. Whether you choose to keep them on you, or display them in your house, they all seem pretty worth it. Even if you have to eat someone, or get sent into an Alice in Wonderland themed nightmare. They were all extremely exciting to obtain and that’s brilliant.
5. Assassin’s Creed Revelations Animus Fragments
This is one very important entry for me because Revelations pulled off, what I think is, the most brilliant sort of collectible system I’ve ever seen. The worst part of any collectible system in games is the one that got away. We all know that one. The one collectible you need in order to complete your entire collection, which is nowhere to be found — and you’ve looked pretty much everywhere. You refuse to use a guide, and you have absolutely no idea where the collectible could be. Revelations got rid of that completely.
Not only did you get valuable pieces of memory from Desmond, whenever you got a certain amount, but you also unlocked all the locations of the other fragments when you complete the memory sequences. That’s brilliant. You can still enjoy collecting the fragments yourself, but you don’t have to brush through a certain district, meticulously searching as you’re scared that you might have missed one. It gives players freedom to explore, and to collect at their own will. It doesn’t force them to do stupid things, like consult a guide or sit through endless walkthroughs for closure and achievements.
4. BioShock Audio Logs
BioShock’s audio logs did something extremely great when it came to storytelling. They offered valuable insight into the story of Rapture, as well as providing a brilliant background to the characters in the game. An audio log can range from an innocent citizen talking, to scientists explaining their experiments. The beautiful thing about audio logs is that the housewife talking about her New Year’s party is now some fucked up mutilated monster coming for you with a bloody pipe. It makes you somewhat sympathetic to the people you’re killing.
That’s how collectibles should be: an integral part in the storyline, where it enhances the overall atmosphere of the game. It’s not something you might collect for the lulz.
3. Alan Wake Manuscripts
Following the theme of BioShock’s story-filling collectibles are the manuscripts in Alan Wake. The main theme of the game is a writer’s story coming to life. He wrote the story himself, where strewn across the game world are actual pieces of this story. You can pick them up, read them, and anticipate a future event that’s going to happen. To weave a collectible into a game’s story progression is a work of absolute genius. A collectible that is essential to your game is pure brilliance.
Not to mention, they provide quite the reading material.
2. Batman Arkham City Riddler Trophies
Everyone loved them. Whenever I asked someone what their favorite collectible was, this was the one that popped up the most. From the above mentions of what collectibles should do right, Batman Arkham City’s Riddler trophies did almost everything to perfection. They provided a challenge to obtain, in the form of various puzzles and ways to get. They provided story progression where you got missions when you collected a certain amount. They gave you valuable reading material about the characters in the game, if you collect them. They even come up on your map if you interrogate a soldier working for the Riddler himself.
Not only did they provide incentive to actually get, but they were fun and challenging to obtain. Not something you see in games very often.
1. Mafia II Playboy Magazines
Oh yeah. Ohhh yeah. Now these collectibles are actually worth collecting, if you’re in any shape or form a heterosexual male with his mind in his pants. It’s purely on this list because the magazines featured a whole host of charming and fun-loving ladies for your eyes to indulge in. This is one of the few collectibles in games that were so amazing that you just kept looking and looking to find, just to see what the next foxy female would look like.
Not only did the magazine have a sufficient amount of eye candy, but they were fitting to the game. A 1950′s mafia game where strip clubs were the resident playpens and handsome men wore suits and hats. There just had to be some form of female charm thrown into it. For the record, I loved the pictures of the ladies because their eyes were so enchanting. Don’t you like eyes?
And On That Bombshell
I’ve pretty much explained everything that a collectible has to do right. They must prove a challenge, be creative, fit in with the story, be a required piece of gameplay, be fun to collect, don’t discourage people with having to use guides and last, but certainly not least, be worth it. If game developers could get this basic formula right and not force people to collect random crap thrown across the game world, then games can be even more fun than they already are.