If a clinical psychoanalyst conducted a thorough study of our gaming habits, I expect we'd be branded as borderline kleptomaniacs. Whether it's hoarding loot or searching every nook and cranny for the inexplicable scattering of hidden treasure, we simply must have it all. Often it serves no other purpose than to achieve this particular feat, rather than benefiting your in-game character or social standing.
As if that matters. As a kid, I couldn't resist the urge of Mario's stars or Sonic's emeralds, and I'm a little worried by my reaction to hearing a throbbing, rhythmic hum as I then begin searching my surroundings for Agility Orbs. As such, I thought it was only prudent we collect a list of our favorite videogame collectibles, whether we've found them all or not! So, may we present The Top 10 Videogame Collectibles!
10. Blast Shards (inFamous)
I've always felt like inFamous is the Playstation 3's answer to Crackdown, and if you can't have Agility Orbs, you must settle for Blast Shards. Scattered across Empire City, often nestled on windowsills or overhangs, you must employ Cole's echo location-like 'ping' ability to discover their location. I made a point of collecting all of inFamous' Blast Shards, having been foiled by Agility Orbs.
9. Bobble Heads (Fallout)
Fallout 3 is an enormous game packed to the brim with hidden quests, forgotten relics and, yes, Pip Boy Bobble Heads. They're incredibly difficult to find if, like me, you don't rely on the internet or guides. You can't 'ping' your surroundings or find a map or compass to help guide you. They don't emit a pulsating green glow or begin chanting melodically. But when you stumble on one, sitting on a shelf or in an old shack, it's quite special.
8. Light Seeds (Prince of Persia)
I was a big fan of Ubisoft's Nolan North-starring Prince of Persia reboot. I can understand the complaints, but it was a bold reinvention with some big ideas. And I was quite addicted to finding all the Agility Orb-inspired Light Seeds flung across the sheer rock walls and seemingly unassailable structures. Part of the appeal was actually reaching them, as despite PoP's oddly linear platforming flow, it was genuinely difficult mastering the controls to gather all the rows of Light Seeds.
7. Musical Notes (Banjo & Kazooie)
Banjo & Kazooie have numerous collectibles, but I always found my time spent searching for Musical Notes. To begin with, collecting Notes opened Note Doors, vital to your progression, whereas in the much-maligned Nuts and Bolts, Notes were simply a currency. But they're still one of my favorite videogame collectibles, and I was rather proud when I found the entire lot.
6. Gold Skulltula Tokens (Legend of Zelda)
You hear a rustling. Clicking up on the C-Stick, you gaze around the land of Hyrule or whatever dungeon you're currently conquering, and spot a gold-ish spider the size of a small dog shuffling round and round. Gathering Gold Skulltulas is quite the adventure, as they often require a specific gadget, like the Hookshot, to reach and retrieve, requiring a far bit of backtracking.
5. Skulls (Halo)
In Halo, collecting the dozen or so Skulls scattered across forgotten alien artifacts, war-torn cities and Covenant cruisers, not only achieves a sense of accomplishment but actually affects the game itself. Skulls can make the Covenant better at dodging grenades, or force you to replenish health by clubbing foe with your gun. They're often hidden in the most unlikely of places, and require a very keen mind.
4. Pokemon (Pokemon)
Make no mistake, Pokemon are collectibles. Some are so difficult to find and legendary in stature, they're virtually mythic, whereas others are so useless they're inclusion is baffling, ala Magicarp. But Pokemon declares its intentions from the off; Gotta' Catch 'Em All! I did, at least on Red and Blue, although I struggled in later games as the roster grew. I spent months searching for Entei, that damn roving cat.
3. Stars (Mario)
Oh, Stars. How I adore thee. Any self-respecting fan of Mario has fallen victim to the Star quest, collecting all the plump little things scattered across Mario's fantastic adventures. I was obsessed - literally, I dreamed of finding Stars - with finding all of Mario 64's Stars, and had the entire game-world mapped out in my head I'd searched it so much. Not exactly the healthiest pursuit, I imagine.
2. Emeralds (Sonic)
Sonic was my first game on the Sega Mega Drive, so it holds a place dear to my heart. My first experience with finding videogame collectibles was the search for Emeralds scattered up and down Sonic's 2D landscapes. I can't quite remember their function, or why it was so important to collect them, but I just couldn't shake the urge to seek them out, and the feeling of finding them has yet to be matched. Until...
1. Agility Orbs (Crackdown)
Would I be wrong in claiming at least half, maybe more, of Crackdown's appeal isn't throwing cars and bandits around with merry abandon or driving an SUV bristling with remote explosives into a truck, but finding all the Agility Orbs scattered like luminous confetti across Pacific City? I was, quite literally, addicted to Agility Orbs. I understand why the term 'Crack' is included in the title. Very meta. And yet, despite my addiction which once had me gazing out my window's at the neighbors' rooftops for a green, pulsing sphere, I'm still, still on 499 Agility Orbs. I refuse to bow to walkthroughs. I shall find it, one day...
What are your favorite videogame collectibles? As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below.