Man Over Board

Completing video games 100%: Essential?

The other day, my friend caught me enjoying a stint of retro video gaming via my Nintendo 64 console and Super Mario 64 cartridge…

“Why are you playing this?” he asked. “I completed this years and years ago!”

I responded; “How to you get this star then? I’ve shot myself out of this damn cannon so many times!”

“Oh, I don’t know. I never got all the stars in the game just enough to reach the final Bowser boss.”

“Er…you didn’t COMPLETE the game then, did you?!” was my irked response.

This incident got me thinking about how much video gamers need to accomplish in a game in order to declare the fact that they have “completed it.” I have always asserted that one can only claim that they have completed a game when there is no more that can be done in the way of earning extras, achieving unlockables and finishing objectives.

Sandbox titles of recent years (such as the infamous Grand Theft Auto series) however offer players a plethora of “value added” extra tasks to complete, many of which are not significant to the main plot – but is this reason enough to dismiss them from the “complete” rule?

Whilst it is possible to complete the role playing game Fallout: New Vegas in around four hours if you just work your way through the main story quests, playing through the game a second time will see you soon realise just how much you missed during the initial play (i.e. ALOT!) If you skip the Great Khan quests, the enemies within these missions will show up to help your opponents in the final showdown (a difference that players would not have noticed if they had only played the game through once).

This is just one example of a game with a branching narrative –the more of the game you explore; the more you effect the direction of the story. How much this matters is again debateable, since different subplots will have a different level of influence on the chief narrative framework. The popular thriller adventure title Heavy Rain works similarly in narrative structure as does futuristic sci-fi shooter Deus Ex making players feel as if they have taken the role of some kind of Jackanory God.

This narrative structure can actually be incredibly frustrating at times too. When I was bored during one summer whilst attending university, I decided to start playing Final Fantasy X-2. As the player, I got to decide which different areas I visited and when and this made the narrative extremely confusing – especially because I was rewarded with a cut scene after completing each chapter which of course, I viewed in ad hoc order. Needless to say, I did not complete this wearisome game, instead calling it quits at 55% completion.

This blog post is not extensive enough to explore the topic of video games narratives fully, nor solidify my opinion that everything must be ticked off when one declares they have completed a game. All I know is that if I spend £40 on a title for my Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, I want to ensure that I get the most out of it that I can, even if my obsession with finishing a game makes me a tad “anal” in the eyes of my friends. I also like how finishing a video game fully increases both my Xbox 360 gamer scores and the number of gamer achievements under my belt



Kat Cole works in the realm of social media by day but when the clock hits 6pm she can often be found playing video games with her friends via the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 networks.


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Posted by on May 23 2011 Filed under MEDIA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

15 Comments for “Completing video games 100%: Essential?”

  1. Screen Printing Miami

    I too like the retro games…interesting article

  2. Denis

    And I, too, especially not bother, I get the main game to the end and kill the boss

  3. I know a lot of people who MUST complete their games. I’m not much of a gamer myself, but if I do play, I’ll want to complete it. Which is why I avoid playing. No time for the commitment.

  4. his narrative structure can actually be incredibly frustrating at times too. When I was bored during one summer whilst attending university, I decided to start playing Final Fantasy X-2. As the player

  5. I do obsess to really complete games aswell. My best guess is that it’s more common in perfectionists that need to get the details right. It can be utterly frustrating, and I tossed a game aside on more than one occassion, but I usually returned days, weeks, months or even years later to try again and finish it.

  6. Ken@ Full List of Nissan Models

    I just bought, played and completed the new Duke Nukem game and was totally and impressed by all the gratuitous sex and violence it contained. Unfortunately, its “narrative structure” is almost exactly like the previous version from the 1990s and therefore I don’t recommend it for serious gamers.

  7. Tom Worrall

    I have to say, there is finishing a game and completing a game. I am content to finish the game…. with so many side games, conquests and collection things its near impossible to complete games now.

  8. Bangladeshi Tour Operator

    Great thinking and also nice idea thanks for sharing.

  9. I would agree except that some achievements are so difficult that the bragging rights just aren’t worth the time investment. Why does it matter if you can make it through the entire game without dying once? Nobody cares. It doesn’t add value to your life. It’s just a temporary ego boost.

  10. This is hysterical. Though I don’t know if completing the game is always the driver, sometimes we go back to old systems and games just because we loved them to death. Battlefront II is a recent favorite on PS2….traded that in for an XBox 360 and the game developers never upgraded…..I want my BFII back!!!!

  11. Phoneman

    wow. i like gta! thanx!

  12. In adventure games value the narrative. If history is bad, and the obstacles are poorly made, the game becomes boring. It’s like a movie. Nice article

  13. I also remember playing the Nintendo 64 console and Super Mario 64 on release date. However, I was far more impressed by my Super Nintendo. Super Mario, Super Soccer, Super Tennis, F-Zero, Pilot Wings. An awesome array of release titles which Nintendo has never really bettered in my opinion.

  14. Nottingham Roofer

    It’s been ages since I finished a game 100%. I think it’s partly to do with games length nowadays and partly because when I was younger I didn’t have as much to do. I guess another thing is, there are so many games out now with new ones being released all the time, it sort of feels like a waste to just play one for months and miss out on others.
    It’s really hard to finish a game now anyway as they always have loads of stuff squeezed in there for achievements.
    Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve played them, but if not, get the Dead Space games. They’re awesome.

  15. Video games can certainly be a fun way to pass the time. Nintendo 64 made many interesting titles and finishing something that you started is very gratifying.

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