The Missing Link
I have a theory, and I want to test it out.
How many of you have ever honest to gosh achieved a 100% run of Ocarina of Time? In case you’re not hip with the terminology, yo, I’m basically asking how many of you collected every weapon in the game, every possible item upgrade and stat booster, planted every Magic Bean, quested for every last Heart Piece, and—and here’s the kicker—hunted down all 100 Golden Skulltulas? Go ahead, raise your hands. There’s no one watching you; I know you’re at the computer in the privacy of your own home, so don’t feel silly. Raise your hand.
For those of you who have your hands raised (or are just really shy people and don’t have the Triforce of Courage at your beck and call—such shameful heroes you’d be!), now answer me this: How many of you did it without cheating? And to make sure we’re all on the same sheet of papyrus, yes, cheating includes using a strategy guide.
My theory is basically this. The number of you guys out there who still have your arms high up in the sky, proudly professing your Zelda pride, should number roughly on the order of one or two people. (I’d say zero, but I’m holding out on the chance that one of their kind actually bothers to read this blog every day and—if I so claimed zero—would proudly declare how wrong I would have been. People seem to love proving the TML wrong.) Regardless of the exact number, I can probably say with absolute certainty that the number of people who didn’t cheat would rank in the vast minority of Zelda players. With GameFAQs, official strategy guides, game discussion forums, and so forth growing by leaps and bounds, further entrenching its already near-stranglehold on the gaming community in general, I would argue that those players will nigh become extinct, probably about the time the Xbox 1080 and the PlayStation 6 come out.
Now before I get too far into this thing, let me admit that I have 100 percented a few games over time, some of them even without cheating! Super Mario Kart and Super Mario All-Stars were beaten every possible which way since Sunday (the latter of which was an absolute nightmare, I might add), and I spent a good amount of time collecting those secret shells in Minish Cap to get every figurine. (I even made an Excel spreadsheet to calculate for me what the optimal number of shells to spend in the slot machine was given the base probability of getting a new figurine. Yes, I am geek.) I’ve gotten all 120 stars from Super Mario 64 (albeit with online help), and my characters in Chrono Trigger are all at the maximum level. The final boss of Secret of Mana is by far no longer a challenge, any new save of my character in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy would be a step down, and my Samus is fully stocked for her upcoming battle with Metroid Prime.
But one thing I have not done is ever come close to a full completion of Ocarina of Time. I think my most complete save file (and this is only a guestimate, realise) stands somewhere around 14 hearts tops with only around 40 Skulltulas bagged. I never went around finding every last one of either of them, even to the point of completely skipping the Piece of Heart that is sitting in Zora’s River in plain sight because I couldn’t figure out how to get it within the first 30 seconds of trying. (I beat the game without desperately needing to scrap together every last heart piece I could find, so I didn’t exactly see the point!) Majora’s Mask is even worse, and while I may have all 24 masks, I think I only have 11 hearts. Eleven heart containers! That’s roughly missing some thirty-some heart pieces, more than half! (This is a complaint that I believe I registered before with you.)
Collection quests, at least to me, have lost their appeal for the most part. No longer do I voluntarily go questing on my own to do every last thing possible before hanging a game up; nay, I am perfectly content to let a game go beaten without throwing a celebration once I found the last object. Super Mario Sunshine (the game that I have singularly cursed at more times than any other game ever made… and I mean EVER) literally remains in its case with only the minimum number of shines needed to beat the game. I’ve given up trying to finish unlocking everything in F-Zero GX. I no longer have the need to get Pro status in all of the Wii Sports games. I decided last night that I would not go insane if I didn’t ever beat the Boss Endurance challenge in Kirby: Squeak Squad. And I have not dared to return to Twilight Princess to finish the last collection quest in it. (I don’t think I’m even going to care enough to actually do all the collection quests in my inevitable replay of the GameCube version of it.)
I think part of this is due to the fact that I have so much less time for gaming these days. When I get home from work at around 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening, I’m conflicted as to how to spend them. There are many things that I want to do; not only do I want to play video games, but I also want to roleplay, write fanfiction, catch up with my friends, write in my LiveJournal, write ZeldaBlog articles for you (;)), among many more things. This doesn’t even consider the fact that I have chores to do, need to shop for groceries and run errands, and attempt to have a social life. On top of this, the list of games in my queue is already growing. My games list currently includes Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS), Final Fantasy XII (PS2), God of War II (PS2), Viva Piñata (360), Super Paper Mario (Wii), Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones (GBA), Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN), Okami (PS2), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GCN) and Skies of Arcadia Legends (GCN), not to mention the replays of Twilight Princess (GCN) and Tales of Symphonia (GCN) I keep promising myself I’m going to do. (And I haven’t even mentioned the Virtual Console games in that list!) With a list like that, the urge to 100% a game after I’ve beaten it has to be very strong or else I’m not going to go for it! (Look at what games I’m holding off on!)
So understand that, when I look at the sidequests of Twilight Princess, I’m bound to be rather disappointed. Many of the sidequests within Twilight are… you guessed it! Collection quests. (Note: This is not a spoiler; we knew about these back in October.) While there are sidequests that aren’t in this mold, none of them truly satiated by hunger for a genuine honest to gosh good sidequests like the ones at the end of Chrono Trigger or the Biggoron sword trading sequence in Ocarina of Time. The last thing I want to do is go questing for about a bajillion of one certain item in the world… much less without using a strategy guide to find them all. I don’t have the time nor patience enough to do it, and too many games are already begging me to finish them.
And my theory says that very few of you differ in opinion from me on this. And if that is the case, then these collection quests aren’t doing their intended purpose, which is to force us to explore every last possible corner until we find them.
So let’s put this to a Poll’s Voice, shall we? Let’s see how on the money I am today. What say you? (As always, the question and answers are slightly exaggerated. This is for humour, so please choose the answer that best suits your opinion, even if it may sound too extreme as written.)
How far would you go to find, say, all 192½ magical dohickeys in a Zelda title?