We’ve Come to Collect: Games and Collecting Things

Collectibles in Video GamesDo you like to collect stuff in video games? You probably don’t because it’s not very fun. You might remember the game’s story more than the game’s trinkets.

Now, some critics might argue that collecting things interrupts the flow of a game. They are about to beat the final boss, but the allure of a coffee thermos distracts them. Or something like that. The point is they dislike collecting things in game because it ruins their fun.

I somewhat agree with this criticism because there are bad collectibles in games. I don’t want to stop to search for 1000 coffee thermoses during a tense fight. I don’t want to search for newspapers in a dense forest consumed by darkness. And once I do get the newspaper, I would rather play than stop to read it. In other words, it’s hard for me to read a book while I’m on a speedy roller coaster.

But pretend I did want to collect everything in a game. What do I gain from doing it? Most games offer meager rewards – perhaps only an achievement – for my hard work.

However, I can think of three games with excellent audio collectibles. These collectibles do not need to distract you from the main game because you can play while you listen to the recording. And I believe they reward the player. Let me tell you about these games.


You can learn much about Rapture as you play the game and fight its psychotic citizens. The recordings, though, add a layer of story to the game. They help you dive deeper into the minds of Rapture’s citizens and the “Little Sister” project.

Halo 3: ODST

“Bang, bang, bang and then all the aliens fall down. It’s just another Halo game with a robot-like protagonist,” you say. Well, the recordings in this game tell a human story full of sadness and hope, and it bring New Mombasa to life. The story in the recordings is separate from the game’s main tale. This separate story is a true reward for collectors. It is a nice change of pace from explosions and alien death.


In Kingdoms of Amalur, recording listens to you. Nah, I kid.

The recordings – called lorestones in this game – fill in the story and grant you experience. Collect all the lorestones in a set and you get a permanent bonus. Now there’s a reason to collect!


You might need to stray off the main trail to find collectibles in these games. That might mean you cannot hack off orcs’ limbs or set bad guys on fire. And you might become upset about that. Well, there is a simple rebuttal: don’t search for the collectibles and play the game.

When you do collect things in these three games, you are often treated to a reward. You might learn more about the story or gain bonuses for your character. Not all games can offer you that much. It’s time that they do offer these rewards.


Filed under Video Game Trends

13 responses to “We’ve Come to Collect: Games and Collecting Things

  1. I have mixed feelings about collectibles. It varies a lot by game whether I decide it put much effort into collecting… certainly the reward is big a factor. I just finished Tomb Raider and while it was fun snooping around for relics and whatnot (XP reward only), I never felt compelled to make sure I got every single one, or completed sets, or anything like that. On the other hand, in New Super Mario Bros Wii, I did want to collect all the big coins and go for 100% completion… I’ve never thought much before about the subtleties of what motivates me to collect vs not. Interesting.


    • I don’t think all games do a good job with collectibles. Have you played Alan Wake? It has chests, thermoses and manuscript pages to collect. The manuscripts sort of tell you more about the story, but they can be confusing.

      I love when collectibles add a different perspective to a game’s story. Collectibles shouldn’t be the place to tell the main plot, but they’re well-suited to tell side stories and sub plots. These side stories can flesh out the world and characters. Best of all, you don’t need to find them to enjoy the main story; you’re not being cheated if you don’t find them.

      So I guess I’m mostly motivated to collect when there’s a good story there. Now a good story and XP would be very attractive indeed.


  2. drakulus23

    I don’t mind collecting things as long it’s actually interesting and not just a boring chore. That being said I really loved your article.


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