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collecting things

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What are the most cool and fun things a game has ever asked you to collect? What made them cool and fun? Personally I like keys, because you know they're going to unlock something later, and puzzle pieces because you want to know where you will assemble them and what will happen when you do... basically anything you can anticipate using to do soething interesting. On the other hand I don't like collecting upgraded weapons and armor for characters because usually t's just a name and a stat increase, they're only cool if equipping them changes the character's graphic or they have some new behavior that affects battle strategy.

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I'm all about upgrading the character, actually. Not so much in the "This new weapon has +5 ATK, while my old one only had +4! Score!" sense but in the "actually changes gameplay" sense. That is, games like Metroid, not more standard RPGs. Changing the character's appearance is a bonus, and goes a long way towards making me feel better about the upgrades that *do* just improve your stats (e.g. the different armors in Metroid), but it's not strictly necessary. The real fun is in stopping near the end of the game and considering all the neat tricks you can do now that you couldn't when you started out.

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Anything from Tombi! on the Playstation. Storing live chicks in his stomach due to a lack of a better container was probably my favourite.

Man that was a hard game to finish 100%

[Edited by - Neil Kerkin on January 3, 2005 11:16:39 PM]

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I thought it was neat in the Suikoden games that a lot of the minor features that come enabled initially in other RPGs could be unlocked by finding new characters and items. (Like changing window color or other minor stuff.) For that matter collecting new characters was just neat. "Hey, I wonder if this guy can do a combo attack if I get this other guy in a party with him."

In other games, I like collecting recipe ingredients. Like Arcanum, where practically anything could be turned into a weapon of mass destruction after applying enough schematics (slight exaggeration). Of course that's only fun when there's property you can appropriate to turn into your own private mad scientist laboratory. Another perfect example: Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire. This only really works if there are items with unique capabilities that you can't get otherwise. Like in Neverwinter Nights I rarely felt that the effort that went into assembling reagents together to make a magic wand was worth it, since I could usually just buy the same thing for less work.

And because I have a Y chromosome, I enjoyed collecting basically everything in DOAXBV. That one probably doesn't need to be explained further.

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I actually have to disagree with the puzzle pieces and key collectables being fun. Keys generally mean that there is no alternative route to wherever it is you are trying to get (though not always the case), which in many games only serves to highlight the linear nature of the gameplay. Puzzle pieces can be interesting, but they can also be overdone, if you have all kinds of puzzle pieces then it becomes a dull administrative job to keep track of what pieces are for what puzzle, that is assuming that you are even aware of which pieces are for which puzzle, but I guess this depends on how puzzles are implemented in the game.

I actuallly prefer items and character perks/skills. Okay, items may only effect stats, but they usually give you a whole new look to your character which helps personalise your avatar, they also allow you to adapt to whatever style of gameplay you prefer which is what I want, replay value! I also love collecting interesting abilities because again, they grant you access to new styles of play and it is fun as mentioned previously, to look back and see what you can do now that you coudn't previously.

Anyhow thats my take on it, but thats not to say everyone thinks like me, and I can appreciate that others like different things.

Cheers,

Steve

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This is a little off topic but it is still related I think.

I liked collecting power-ups in classics like Gradius. With each powerup you had new missles and lasers shooting out in every direction. When your ship was totally pimped out you could blow away everything on the screen with ease, but it still took just one stray bullet lost in the midst of all of yours to take you down to earth.

I also liked collecting items off corpses, because I knew there was only one way to get them.

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I remember Gradius, that game was fun. :D

I usually pimped out my ride with Charge Laser, a ton of Options and the Shrink force field to make it easier to avoid enemy fire. On a more related note, finding new items/weapons that do cool things was always a treat. There was nothing like seeing that special shiny weapon of mass destruction for the first time and going "w00t!" while you pull the trigger to see what it does. Like a kid in a candy store. XD

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The problem with most collectable items is that they fall into one of two categories: either, they're nice but useless; or, they're vital but boring.

Trading cards - I remember the Simpsons game, Virtual Springfield, had these - can be nice to collect if done well, but I wouldn't go out of my way to look for them (short of trying to collect all of them when I've run out of other things to do). Nice but useless.

Keys, puzzle pieces, they're play tokens - simple 'obtain this item to proceed to the next section' - vital but boring. You can negate that a bit by introducing them a while before they're required, but it'll come back and bite you in the ass tenfold if the player eventually reaches the obstacle and discovers that they have to go back through half the game looking for the key.

The ideal combination is a mixture of the two. Items which are nice to have, and are also useful (though.. not too useful, because if you've got no other choice but to collect them, then it takes much of the fun out of it). If I've been sent on a quest to collect a CD from the king's daughter's best friend's house at the other end of the kingdom, then I'd like to be able to listen to it while I walk back.

Myst is an example of a game that sort of manages that, actually. You have to obtain keys from books in the library on Myst island - not physical keys, of course, but codes and sequences that you input around the island to progress - but while searching through the books for these codes, you can read quite a lot about the history of the island, the way this strange new world works, and so on. I think that - backstory - is often one of the best things to deliver as a secondary use for a collectable; if you're going to make me collect the five pieces of a sacred stone tablet, then at least put something interesting on them for me to read. [smile]

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I find any type of 'collectable' resource in games (be it items, or even the players score) become more effective the more tangible they are. By this I mean they:

a) are immediately visible,
eg: your score wouldn't be as interesting if you had to go to another screen to see it, so make sure it's on the main game screen, and make it readily apparent when it changes (animate it, play sounds, etc...)

b) are interactive/can be manipulated somehow
c) have some impact on the game world, and
d) (optional) have a reason to be collected (or: make collecting them a goal in of itself, and reward the player meaningfully)

Impact doesn't necessarily mean it has to make the player more powerful or change the rules of the game (though that does work): as long as it does something visible (see part A), or apparent that the user can admire/show off.

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