This particular post is something that I wrote…a long time ago, but never got around to publishing until today. It involved a question that arose about my gaming habits while I was replaying Kirby 64 several years back, and I thought it was about time I finally got around to voicing this question out loud (or…the Internet equivalent of out loud). The question: why do I feel the urge to collect every item I see, whether or not I need it?
I’m fairly certain I’m not the only gamer who does this, but this habit can be, in some circumstances, rather baffling. To illustrate, Kirby 64 has these enemy cards that you can potentially collect at the end of every stage, provided your aim is good. These cards show you the name and picture of an enemy that you can then view in Options. These cards are entirely random, and once you’ve collected a decent amount, you’ll probably end up getting a lot of repeats. Now, the thing is, these cards are completely pointless. There is really no benefit to collecting them, and yet, many years ago, I recall becoming so obsessive that I would redo levels again and again just to collect the cards I didn’t already have.
And it’s not a compulsion that was isolated to Kirby 64. No, in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, I would hunt down every single gem in the game, even if the only time I actually needed them was once during the first world. In any Zelda game I play, I continue to collect rupees even when I can’t hold anymore, and I grab every heart I see even if my health is full. When I got 99 lives in Crash Bandicoot, I’d keep collecting fruit even when there was no longer any reason.
So why do I do this? Well, I thought long and hard on it, and I came to the conclusion that…people like collecting things. Yes, sometimes it seems like the simple joy of collecting is all the excuse people need to gather up items they don’t even need. It’s why, in the real world, some of us collect teacups and others collect figurines that they will never take out of the box or Disney pins they will never wear (the latter two are me). It’s why, if another category of items had been added to Banjo-Kazooie, I’d be willing to bet we’d collect every last one of that random and arbitrary doohickey without a second thought.
Now it’s your turn. Who else has an unstoppable urge to collect every item they see? Or are you the kind of person who tries to earn every trophy and achievement just for the sake of it (because I do that, too)? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!