Being a Completionist Gamer

todayOctober 21, 2022 76 1 4 5

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By Amaya Lewis
Web Content Contributor

Those who play video games casually can enjoy the beauties of what the game offers, whether general exploration, side missions, or upgrades, before moving on to the next game. Casual gamers seem to have an internal threshold that, upon finishing the main quest and several side objectives afterward, can feel satisfied with what they accomplished.

For a completionist gamer, however, max progression becomes something to take pride in, basing one’s fulfillment of the game on either collecting trophies/achievements, or attaining 100% finished on both main and side storylines.

As a lover of most games but primarily story-based or open-world RPGs, I find myself often working through games meticulously, enjoying the feeling of progressing my character and gaining more lore on the world surrounding me.

Nevertheless, every side quest I stumble on is immediately taken on while I scour the map for more, often leaving the main quest as one of the last storylines to accomplish due to attempted avoidance from the feeling that the game I spent days, months, or years on, is now over.

I slowly level my character up through every side quest completed, while collecting trophies and comprising my time of the most mundane bits of gameplay to “get the most” out of my experience.

Sadly enough, I sometimes even fear accidental activation of a main quest yet take pride in overpowering my character from outside exploration to dominate the final boss once finally finishing the main quest.

And while I do end up playing the game for longer, I seldom get additional value from that extra time, with the game becoming a checklist that I often wonder whether I would’ve enjoyed it more had I focused on the story and stopped after originally beating it.

For instance, Horizon Zero Dawn is a beautifully stunning game with an excellent plot that I had been working on since 2019, yet only finally finished the main storyline in 2020 after having discovered every possible location, completed all side quests and max leveled my character through seeking out machine sites to gain extra loot and upgrades first.

Watch Dogs, GTA V, Skyrim, Yakuza 0 – all massive games I spent years on, putting thousands of hours in until I reached my satiety needs. And while forcing myself to endure dull aspects of gameplay is primarily on me, another aspect of the problem lies on the game developers.

Completing games shouldn’t be about finishing all the content, but rather developers making interesting ways for players to interact and continue the game instead of simply inserting meaningless side storylines to fill the time. After all, the best achievements and storylines are ones that give players a reason to continue trying different playstyles beyond just completing a checklist.

A great example of this can be found in Dishonored and Dragon Age Origins, as they’re games that incorporate not only unique side quests that can be important for the plot, but also have replay value due to their focus on creating differing achievements and gameplay depending on the choices you make. For completionist gamers, this makes the game not only more engaging but garners a new appreciation for the game.

Being a completionist gamer is, at best, enjoyable initially. At worst, it’s a curse that consumes hundreds of hours of your daily life. And the reality is that most games aren’t designed to be 100% completed, with developing a game that’s enjoyable to 100% being low on the priority list of most developers.

Games, especially for PS4 and Xbox, are required to have trophies and achievements, meaning developers do need to consider the completion aspect of their game.

However, if you look at some of the trophies, they’re either ridiculously tedious and time-consuming, or almost impossible to achieve, making it clear that developers should spend more time trying to connect the journey with the rewards, while players, myself included, should avoid wasting time on the meaningless tasks and focus on the aspects that are worthwhile.

Featured Image by Amaya Lewis. 

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