Musings Of A Mad Hatter: Completionist: Curse Or Gift?
Collect this, collect that, achieve this, complete that, Moses hit the bush with a baseball bat. Completionism, ladies and gentlemen, is a word I just made up and I’m proud of the way it turned out. I guess I have to define it then. Completionism is the mindset of a gamer to do absolutely every task within a game they have procured in a legitimate or illegitimate manner. It’s common amongst players with extremely high GamerScores if they have Xbox LIVE or an absurd amount of trophies if they belong in the world of PSN. In some cases, you get gamers that legitimately complete everything within a game just because they want to or feel some sort of obligation to do so. These belong on the PC side.
Is this a good or a bad thing?
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Ever since I fell in love with the almighty GamerScore, I’ve been completing my games with 100% ratings like it was going out of fashion. I would do every side-quest, collect every collectable, jump off various cliffs, skewer numerous old ladies to lampposts and everything in between. I’ve recently been playing Far Cry 3 and, as some you know, it’s a massive game. There are mountains of stuff you can do if you’re not playing the main quest such as collect relics, help locals, go hunting for animal skins and tons more. It’s almost intimidating how much stuff there actually is. And I’ve done almost everything. Mostly due to the fact that I have no social life and all the time in the world, but regardless.
This is certainly not the first time I’ve done this. Just last month I was doing everything I could possibly do in Assassin’s Creed 3. At the start of the year I was doing everything possible in Mass Effect 3 as well (lots of 3’s right?). Some of you might think that this was intensely boring for me and that’s understandable, but you would be wrong. I enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve been doing it for so long that I don’t know any other way to finish a game. I have to do every thing. It has become an obligation. It has become my mission.
Back to my original question. Is it a good or a bad thing? Let’s break it down to the positives and the negatives. The pros and cons if you will.
The pros are quite obvious. You get value for your money for every game you play and that’s extremely important considering the prices of games these days. It’s like ordering a massive meal and finishing every bite of it, even the salad. If you just eat the patty of a burger and leave the rest then what was the point of flogging away so much money for it in the first place? It’s also an enjoyable experience. Some of the side stuff I have done in games have surprised me in one way or the other and that’s a great feeling to have. You get to experience everything within that game and you might find yourself loving the game for it. It satisfies you with the knowledge that you have finished and completed everything there possibly was to do within a game.
The cons are also quite obvious. It just takes way too long. With the sudden influx of games these past few months, I have found myself overwhelmed by the time it would take to complete all of them. For Hell’s sake I haven’t even finished Halo 4’s campaign because I felt it was necessary to start it on Legendary alone (please don’t do that, trust me) and I’m hating myself daily for not going back and finishing the job. Another aspect to consider is that some gamers are busy people with jobs, families and responsibilities. I know for certain that the guy with three kids and a huge overdraft debt will not find the time to do every side-quest in Skyrim. It’s tough to be a completionist. You have to sacrifice a lot in order for you to be one (see my previous statement of no social life). It’s not for the weak willed as well. You will find yourself overwhelmed by the numerous things you have to do and might cave and give up.
Considering the pros and the cons, I have to say that I think being a completionist is a good thing. Games won’t just be something you do on the weekends, it will be a commitment. You will become passionate about gaming. You will love it regardless of the troubles you might face. I know it has happened to me.
So what about you? Do you feel the need to complete everything you do 100% or do you just want to play something for a while and finish it. Do you think it’s a good or a bad thing?