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caleythia Blog

On Getting 100%

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I was recently discussing getting 100% in games with my husband.

I remember, playing Nintendo games as a kid, that finishing 100% of a game wasn't important at all. All you had to do was beat the game.

Super Mario Brothers 3 (a great game, and still one of the best in the series) was the perfect example of this. In SMB3, the thing to do was find the three warp whistles and SKIP to the last board. If you really enjoyed a particular board, you might wait to use the whistles until after that, but eventually, everyone, sooner or later, warped ahead.

Then came Super Mario World for the SNES. Suddenly, many of the boards had two or three exits. I remember sitting on the floor with my handy player's guide trying to find every single one. I even spent time in the wacky gnarly boards and came out in the weird different colored world. You didn't get anything for doing all of this other than a sense of completion.

Now, developers hide rewards for getting 100%. How many of us spent hours tracking down every puppy and synthesis material to get the hidden ending in Kingdom Hearts, or spent frustrating hour after hour searching for that elusive figment in the race in Milla's brain in Psychonauts. And how many repeatedly tracked down and got trounced by Ultimate Weapon in FFVII to get the Cloud's Ultimate Weapon?

Why have we become so obsessed with getting 100%? My husband posited that since so many gamers are older now (ie, we were children playing the Nintendo games our parents bought us, now, we work for and buy our own games), we want to get our money's worth. A game may only take 10 hours to complete, but for $60, we want more than that. And so we keep playing, getting every last little bit we can out of it.

I'm not sure if that's the reason? What does everyone else think?

Demyx

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I'm playing through Kingdom Hearts II pretty slowly right now. I only do about one world every few days. Last night, it was time for the huge Heartless battle in Hollow Bastion.

Which brings me to Demyx. I hate Demyx. I've found the game pretty easy so far and haven't lost any of the battles or died yet. Until him. It's not even that he is a hard boss and kept killing me. I could accept that. No, no, it was the stupid water fiends he kept calling up. And the time limit to kill them.

Ten times this got me. On the second calling (kill 10 in 9 seconds) I only had one or two left when time ran out. Ten times I had to start the fight all over again.

I hate Demyx.

On Keeping People Safe in Games

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If there is one thing I hate in games, one type of level that drives me up a wall, it's trying to keep someone else from harm.

Game designers seem to love including these levels in games. And they drive me absolutely nuts. Psychonauts has perhaps one of the worst ones, when, near the end of the level, you have to keep the idiot kid from getting killed by the mutant rabbits. I can't tell you how many times I had to restart that mission.

The main problem is like I said above: 9 times out of 10, the person you are trying to keep alive is an utter moron. They wander off into hordes of enemies, they stand there and scream instead of fighting back. Why would I want to keep this person alive? He/she/it is obviously a danger to him/her/itself. It would simply be better for everyone if I let him die.

So many games seem to use this: Psychonauts, Jak II, Matrix, Prince of Persia, GTA. I hate it. I really and truly do.