The Completionist Strikes Back

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I am not a completionist. It’s true that I like to play a game till I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth, but rarely has that translated into garnering a game’s every last item/armor/achievement/trophy/quest/etc. With some games, like with Red Dead Redemption and South Park: The Stick of Truth, I’ll return to them every now and again to fetch a little extra something or finish a sidequest, but that has more to do with the enjoyment that comes from being in a particular game world than it does with completing it. Usually, by the time I finish with any given game’s main story, I’m ready to move onto the next game.

So why then and I utterly compelled to get ALL THE THINGS in Yoshi’s Woolly World?

It’s all a matter of rewards. With the big reward being that grand dinosaur with the mega-tongue…Yoshi.

Though I was fairly determined to get Yoshi’s Woolly World as soon as I knew it was going to be a real game, the perpetual skeptic in me still wanted to wait until its initial reviews were out to know for certain that it was going light up my life. The rainbows and flowers emanating from my Twitter feed from the moment of its U. S. release (October 16) were all I needed. I picked up the game this past weekend, and happily took a break from the grim and grittyrealities of Tomb Raider to visit a place a little more colorful.

Folks. I’m not even out of the first world yet, and already I’m completely in love. Yoshi’s Woolly World has me wrapped…no knitted around its little finger.

Some basic gameplay SPOILERS follow!

While it’s much too early for me to really call fair or foul on the game in truth, the experience of Yoshi’s Woolly World is very similar to that of Yoshi’s Island. Substitute a pixel-flavored environment with one that’s uber-gorgeous, tactile, and comfy, and switch out balls of yarn for eggs, and you’ve got Yoshi’s Woolly World. But the main difference between the two is that not only do you have to save Yoshi’s friends, but you also much knit them back together. And that means finding a set of yarn skeins in each world. Locate all of them, and at the end of the level, you’re rewarded with a brand new, knitted Yoshi of one flavor or another. (Seriously…flavors. One of the early Yoshies is called “Hot Cocoa Yoshi” – yum!) And that is what’s got the teensy completionist part of my gamer heart all excited. Because once I got my first new Yoshi, I played the next world with him. And then I did the same in the third world with a third new Yoshi. I’ve started a trend and I can’t stop it. I simply can’t! I MUST play each new level with a new Yoshi!! Don’t you understand?!

I MUST!!!!!

Ahem.

And that’s why I usually quell any thoughts of completionism when I start a game, because once it takes hold, it can turn into a downright monster. You see, since it’s now imperative that I get ALL the yarn skeins in every level, I might as well search for ALL the special flowers in each level. And because I’m searching anyway, I might as well get ALL the stamp coins (so that I can get more stamps, duh) in each level as well. And then, because I’m already going to such lengths, why not at least TRY to end each level with a full set of life hearts. Because it just MAKES SENSE, that’s why!!

Though, in all seriousness, the atmosphere of Yoshi’s Woolly World is so brilliant and beautiful, that I don’t mind going back into each world several times to find every last secret. It’s like the best Easter egg hunt in the entire world. And at the end of it, I will have a collection of Yoshies, which is, like, soooo much better than a collection of eggs.


What’s your attitude towards completionism? Do you aim for 100% with each and every game, or does the need only strike you with certain games, if at all?

15 thoughts on “The Completionist Strikes Back”

    1. There’s no shame in that! Seriously, if I let myself get as deeply involved into games as I sometimes want, I’d play most of them to full completion too. 🙂

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  1. I got Woolly World a few days ago and I am absolutely shocked at the press responde the game got. This is an absolutely brilliant title! Reviewers have gone utterly mad.

    As for the whole completionist thing, it really depends on the game and on how frustrating getting to 100% is. On Woolly World, I am focusing solely on the flowers and Yoshis because I feel finding all stamps and finishing the stages with all hearts are a bit too extreme.

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    1. Yeah, I think “official” reviewers are a little hard on the game. Granted, it’s kind of like a re-skinned version of Yoshi’s World, but there’s no denying that it’s a gorgeous re-skin complete with new challenges. It’s the highlight of the Wii U for me this year, without a doubt.

      I’ve actually just started playing a bit more leniently in same manner as you — more concerned with the flowers and yarn; less worried about the stamps and hearts. This has helped ease up on some of the frustrations. (Just because the game is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s easy!) But I do plan to go back at some point to try to get everything.

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      1. It is indeed a Wii U highlight. I am very impressed!

        I always have a hard time with the collectibles on Yoshi games; I have never finished Yoshi’s Island 100% because I just can’t bring myself to collect all the little things it demands. I just focus on the flowers on that one.

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  2. I’m definitely not a huge completionist, but I’ll make exceptions for some games, namely the Bioware ones. Or at least try! I tend to feel that once I at least finish the main story, it’s good enough for me. It’s also hard to 100% a game these days because of personal time constraints or having too many other games to play. Unless it’s a game I really love, maybe I’ll try to go back to it and see if I can finish the other stuff I never got to, but that barely has happened if it does happen at all! 😦

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    1. Yeah, with so much to play, it can be difficult enough just finished a game’s main story, let alone everything else! For me, a lot depends on the game. Like, with Tomb Raider, I’ve spent a little time trying to get all the special items, but I usually end up getting restless and just move on with the story. But it is rather addictive for awhile, and sometime you find a new, unexplored spot, which is exciting. But even when there are incentives to return, going back to fully finish older games is certainly a challenge.

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  3. No, only if a game really latches hold of me. Most of the time I’m happy to just complete the game period, only because I’ve made teh grave mistake of attempting to enjoy JRPGs again and being sourly disappointed. I tend to work on a game for a while and if I complete I’m happy.

    There are only a handful of games that I need to 100% finish everything. Like Dragon Age 2, I’m still working on everything in that game.

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    1. Good luck with DA II. I’d like to do the same someday with Inquisition (get 100%), but boy oh boy, there’s just so much to do in that game! But I’m with you in that most of the time, I’m just happy getting through a game’s main story. Anything else I manage to accomplish is just icing on the cake.

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  4. I always try to get 100% in all my games. It just bothers me if I miss something. I just love knowing that when I switch to a different game, the game I’m leaving behind has nothing left for me to do. I guess I just enjoy that kind of closure, that there isn’t any fun I’m missing out on.

    Yoshi’s Wooly World does look adorable. I might just need to get it some time….

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    1. I think it’s a definite “buy” for the Wii U. It’s not without its challenges and frustrating moments, but the world of the game is just so wonderfully warm that it’s hard to put down once you really start to get into it!

      I see your point about the relief that comes with fully completing a game. That way, you can move onto the next game unhindered, and that’s a good feeling. If it didn’t take me as long as it does to complete just the main story in most games, I’d probably do that too.

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  5. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    It’s one thing to beat a game. It’s another to fully *complete* it. And I don’t usually complete games to their fullest extents. (I came close with Mass Effect, but I’m not sure I ever got 100%.) By the time the credits roll in a game, no matter how “complete” it may be, I’m usually ready to move onto the next one. But every now and again a game comes along that challenges my lackadaisical nature. Currently, Yoshi’s Woolly World is that game. In this post I wrote for United We Game, I discussed how yarn skeins and a multitude of milti-colored Yoshies are challenging me to GET ALL THE THINGS!

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