One of the best ways to get me to sink hours into a game is by giving me something to collect. It can’t just be any random, generic item with an ugly texture though. It has to be something fun, something I can connect to, something that has meaning to the internal world the game is in. Achievements aren’t quite the same either, although I do enjoy pursuing the obscure ones. The collectible needs to be a “tangible” object – a trophy, in-game furnishings, or a miniature for it to grab my interest.
Nintendo got its start as a trading card company, and it really shows. I like to keep this fact in mind whenever a new collection-themed game or accessory set comes out. It’s also no wonder that most of my favorite games that feature collectible elements are Nintendo franchises. Heck, I even play Nintendo Badge Arcade.
When Super Smash Bros. Melee came out, with its cross-franchise trophy collection, I was hooked right away. I would collect and then just go through them all again and again, and when I noticed a character was missing, I’d keep going. This is a trend that continued as I played the rest of the series.
Also when you obsessively poke around these things, you find weird stuff developers forgot. Like Daisy’s third eye!
However my absolute favorite collection side-quest is The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker’s Nintendo Gallery!
In Wind Waker, once you get a pictograph and can travel to the Forest Haven, you can unlock a secret location called the Nintendo Gallery. From there, you can travel the world taking pictures of EVERYTHING. The townsfolk, the enemies, even the cute little crab that scuttles about and burrows in the sand when its scared! There are two catches: first, your picture has to be good enough that you can see the subject, preferably from head area to toe area; second, it takes Carlov the sculptor a full day to make these marvelous miniatures; cut the guy some slack though, he runs the place all by himself! Besides, you can just turn day to night and back again. It counts.
Once they’re finished, you can look at them and they’ll give you little tidbits of information about each character, from preferences to personalities to history to relationships! It’s such a wonderful little side game, in a game series that is already full of awesome collection-based activity.
I sometimes wonder why I bother finishing games, since I would likely just sit around collecting things forever if given the chance. Though I guess eventually you run out of figurines to gather, knickknacks to craft, and trophies to collect and you have to progress the plot. At least until they (probably Nintendo) come out with a constantly connected, ever-updating, cross-series collectible game that will likely lure you into paying more just to get… more… … Wait…