Gotta Collect Em’ All!
Ever since baseball cards and bubblegum, capitalism has exploited our baser human need to complete sets of similar thingies. Videogames have been no exception to the rule that items of like shape and form must be acquired and stored together for later viewing and appreciation. Here, the HPP team has collated ten of the best collectibles that will have you scouring virtual worlds like the most crazed eBay obsessive.
Blue Medallions- Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4’s remote rural village may be a refreshing change of scenery for those used to the claustrophobic found in the original 3 games in the series, but with plague-carrying peasants and chainsaw-wielding weirdos around every corner, it can be hard to stop and smell the roses (or, more often than not, decomposing bodies). However, you’ll want to do just that if you want to get your hands on some helpful hardware.
There are 15 blue medallions scattered around the Spanish countryside which, when shot, go towards unlocking a special weapon from the game’s friendly, neighborhood merchant. Blasting 10 of these shiny trinkets, which are usually found positioned precariously on windmill blades, tree branches, and other hard-to-reach places, will unlock The Punisher: a punchy pistol which, in its base form, can blast through two enemies with a single bullet.
While that’s fine and well, the real fun starts when you manage to track down all 15 medallions. If you manage to complete the merchant’s scavenger hunt, The Punisher receives the added penetration power of being able to bore a hole through a whopping 5 baddies – Talk about crowd control! Believe me when I say the sound of nearly a half dozen viral monsters’ noggins bursting in unison is nothing short of cathartic.
– Francis DiPersio
Ape Escape Monkeys – Metal Gear Solid 3
No doubt about it, Metal Gear Solid 3 is a game that’s brimming with melodrama and Cold War-era intrigue. But that’s not to say Hideo Kojima’s 2004 masterpiece is devoid of his signature quirkiness (this is a Kojima production, after all). The PlayStation 2 versions of the game come bundled with an absolutely bananas minigame featuring the primates from Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Ape Escape series.
The PlayStation 2 versions of the game come bundled with an absolutely bananas minigame featuring the primates from Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Ape Escape series. Dubbed Snake vs. Monkey, this five-stage minigame tasks Naked Snake with scouring the dense jungles of Tselinoyarsk, USSR to capture the meddlesome, klaxon-topped monkeys at the request of Ape Escape’s Professor (known as Hakase in the Japanese version of the game).
If you manage to wrangle all of the pesky primates, you’ll receive some dapper duds in the form of a monkey mask, which, while rather useless in the main game as it seriously restricts your vision and doesn’t affect your camo rating, does have the bonus of confusing The Boss during your battle with her, as well as banana camo, which, while not very discreet, makes all of the food Snake consumes taste good. Who’s down for some all you can eat Alexandrine Parakeet? Yum!
– Francis DiPersio
Chaos Emeralds – Sonic the Hedgehog
Seven, bright, brilliant and colourful gems with unlimited power – I’m of course talking about the Chaos Emeralds from the Sonic The Hedgehog series! The gems feature in almost all the mainline Sonic the Hedgehog series (Sonic CD, I’m looking at you) and are amongst the trickiest endgame challenges.
Usually, to obtain them you had to do some sort of special stage; usually separate to the main game. In Sonic the Hedgehog, on SEGA Genesis, you navigated a warped pinball labyrinth, in Sonic 2 you ran seven gauntlets of increasing difficulty and in Sonic 3 and Knuckles and you collected blue spheres in a 3D maze.
Obtaining the Chaos Emeralds yielded significant benefits from Sonic 2 onwards. It allowed you to become Super Sonic; a glowing yellow version of the iconic hedgehog with super speed, invulnerability and a super neat theme tune to boot. In later iterations of the series, it allowed Knuckles and Tails to super up too.
Most importantly, collecting Chaos Emeralds in any Sonic the Hedgehog title gave you access to the ‘true ending’ of the game – likely a final, decisive stage – such as the Doomsday Stage in Sonic 3 and Knuckles. With the Sonic series, I certainly felt the need to collect the Chaos Emeralds growing up, because it really sucked when you got to the ‘ending’ of the game – only to find mischievous Dr Robotnik, laughing at you because you hadn’t actually defeated him.
– Jon Davis
T-Shirts – No More Heroes
When gamers talk about their favorite collectibles, they often discuss what the collectibles are, what they do for the player, or make note of the achievement they yield. In my opinion, there’s not enough diversity in just how those collectibles are obtained — it’s mostly just randomly stumbling across coins or something generic. Little is done to build upon exactly how you collect them, and it ends up being a chore that you feel like you have to do rather than something fun.
And then there’s No More Heroes.
In the original game, players take on the role of Travis Touchdown, aspiring assassin, who challenges the top ten members of the United Assassins Association to claim the title of world’s greatest assassin. A person like that sounds pretty scary and definitely serious, but Touchdown is nothing of the sort — he’s a lucha-loving, moe-obsessed otaku whose dingy bachelor pad is decked out in anime figurines, lucha masks, and cat hair (thanks, Jeane).
His lack of attention to anything besides killing shows even in his wardrobe; instead of shopping at the mall or going online, he dumpster dives for tees, which players can change at will in his bedroom. If it sounds gross to you, just remember — Touchdown is more concerned with being the best, not looking his best.
What makes this collectible noteworthy isn’t that the shirts are exceptional (I’ve all but forgotten their patterns), it’s that No More Heroes made the act of collecting shirts fun and onbrand for the character. I spent more time driving around Santa Destroy looking for dumpsters than I did progressing in the storyline, which, for an incredibly entertaining action game like No More Heroes, is saying something. For energizing an otherwise tired aspect of gaming, the tees from No More Heroes definitely deserve a spot on any top video game collectibles list.
– Heather Johnson Yu
Everything – DK64
If you want to talk collectibles in games, you have to talk about DK64.
In 2008, DK64 allegedly made headlines for receiving a Guinness Book of World Record title for the most collectibles in any platform game at a staggering 3,821 items. Speedrunners would compete to gain everything possible to earn the coveted 101%, which, if you’ve ever played the frustrating 64-bit platformer, you know is no easy feat.
Unfortunately, all that hard work was for nothing once streamer Isotarge discovered something unusual; after poking around the data files, this dedicated gamer discovered a previously unknown item — the 974th coin — that had been hidden amongst some tall grass in the world’s fifth level, Fungi Forest.
This means that everyone who had previously completed a speedrun of the game without that blasted coin had their records revoked, paving the way for new speedrunning records to take their places.
So just how many items would you need to complete a speedrun of your own? According to YouTuber Connor75, you’d need:“201 Golden Bananas, 40 Banana Medals, 40 Blueprints, 20 Banana Fairies, 10 Battle Crowns, 8 Keys, the Nintendo Coin, the Rareware Coin, 3500 Colored Bananas, 974 Coins, and all upgrades from Cranky, Funky, and Candy.”
…which he completed in a little under 7 hours.
DK64 deserves to be on any collectibles list not only due to the sheer size of the collection, but because of the dramatic history surrounding the speedrun records.
– Heather Johnson Yu
Pins – The World Ends With You
One of the main problems I have with collectibles is that I find there’s little to do with them once you receive them. Most of the time they’re items that just count towards a completion rate; in most games that feature collectibles, it feels like they’re thrown in as an afterthought. And to the credit of game developers everywhere, players do look for these and collect these items for the sake of collecting them, but taking it to the next level? That’s not always seen in gaming.
Which is why I personally appreciate Square Enix’s The World Ends With You, which treats in-game items you were already going to collect as the collectibles themselves and creates further engagement with the items.
Clothing and food aside (as they are consumable collectibles), I’d like to dig deeper into the world of pins — the core mechanic used by the game’s main character, Neku. The pins all have different powers, such as levitation, fire, or bolts of lighting, that Neku can activate in order to beat baddies called Noise. Using pins long enough can level them up, and levelling them up in a certain way can cause them to evolve.
While most pins are obtained after defeating the Noise, a few pins are only available through evolution, which means using those pins heavily in battle, through trading, or through the BeyBlade-like mini-game, Tin Pin Slammer. After each pin evolves, their levels are dropped back to zero, meaning it’s another chance to evolve them further or to max their levels.
The pins from TWEWY belong on any top collectibles list for taking a collector’s mentality established in games like Pokemon and extending the engagement with each item — instead of simply catching them all, players are encouraged to level up every single pin to their max level; by the end of a 100% completion rate, TWEWY players are ridiculously well-rounded in every aspect of the game, as glossing over a single segment is impossible when going for a complete set.
– Heather Johnson Yu
Feathers – Assassin’s Creed 2
Feathers became synonymous with Assassin’s Creed series over the years, but it wasn’t until Assassin’s Creed II that they became a collectible item, albeit a very sentimental and important one for the franchise.
Much-loved protagonist Ezio Auditore da Firenze collected feathers initially for his younger and sickly brother Petruccio, who spend most of his life bed ridden. The youngest Auditore pleaded with Ezio to collect the feathers for him so he could experience a bit of the outside world. But tragedy struck, when Petruccio and two other members of his family were publicly executed by Templars.
Ezio barely escaped the execution with his mother and sister. But the heartbreak took its toll on his mother Maria, who became mute in the aftermath. In tribute to Petruccio, Ezio pledged to collect feathers on his journeys around renaissance Italy and place them in a chest owned by Maria.
When you collected 100, it unlocked a secret cutscene, where Maria – after many years – finally spoke.
It also nets you the Auditore cape, while is linked to the Show your colours’ achievement. Donning the cape in any town during Assassin’s Creed II automatically fills your notoriety meter; causing guards to instantly attack you. To get the achievement, you need to simply wear the cape in every single region
– Jon Davis
Fallout 4 – Bobble Heads
One would think that after emerging from cryostasis after hundreds of years, with their wife/husband murdered and their only child abducted by a shady looking man, that searching for their missing offspring and seeking vengeance would be their primary concern. But no! Some players just can’t resist scouring every last radioactive nook and cranny of post-apocalyptic Boston for those irresistible bobblehead toys!
Each bobblehead depicts the Fallout series’ irrepressible mascot: Vault Boy. The little fella with gleaming blonde hair, a perennial smile, and a peppy 1950’s can-do optimism comes in 20 different varieties. Each iteration depicts Vault Boy in a pose that reflects the skill or attribute the bobblehead is linked to. A speech bobblehead depicts Vault Boy standing atop a podium, presumably giving a rousing bit of oratory; the strength bobblehead has him flexing his muscles; the luck bobblehead shows Vault boy with a leprechaun-style hat and four-leaf clover (though with Ireland in Brexit chaos right now it’s ever hard to depict them as lucky!) Even better, you can build a special podium at your home base to display your collected bobbleheads in a suitably impressive manner – ever tempting you onwards with every remaining hollow spot.
– Jonathan Trussler
Yakuza Zero – Telephone Cards
In earlier games in the Yakuza series, the stern-countenanced but heart-of-gold possessing series’ protagonist Kazuma Kiryuu could collect locker keys throughout the neon-soaked underworld of Kamurocho. Problematically though, finding the locker keys is a real needle-in-a Tokyo type of scenario since they are but tiny little specks of light amidst the gangster-infested streets. Helpfully, there wer items available to give you a helpful sound or controller vibration when a key was nearby. Upon finding a locker key, you could then open a locker to hopefully find money, weapons or one of the game’s ubiquitous health drinks.
Though locker keys were a truly iconic series of items to collect in the Yakuza series, they didn’t quite fit our boisterously discussed definition of a true collectible: unique items you can collect that you can pore over and observe – and somehow form a set of items. With the advent of Yakuza Zero, there’s the same classic scavenger hunting gameplay of the locker keys, but this time you get a racy telephone card! Each card depicts a scantily-clad babe, and each forms a set from the different girls. Thus, it fulfils our criteria (and I’m totally not a pervert for including it).
Once you’ve completed a set of photos, an obsessive in Sotenbori will pay you just to look at them, and it’ll also unlock movies you can in the back room of a seedy video store. Since the game is set in the 1980s and Kazuma and Majima are watching these on old-fashioned VHS tapes, it’s a little jarring that the babes posing awkwardly in their undies are shown in blisteringly sharp high-definition. Then again, this is a game with a secret underwater coliseum where you fight a serial killer clown, so let’s not quibble too much about realism!
– Jonathan Trussler
Korok Seeds – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
“Yahaha! You found me!” Echoing across post-apocalyptic Hyrule, the Koroks’ adorable cry is the most humbling evidence that life persists even after Calamity Ganon ravaged the kingdom. These tiny woodland spirits know not the concept of fear, insisting on playing hide-and-seek in Bokoblin-populated forests, frigid mountaintops, isolated desert oases, deadly volcanic rims, and even the Malice-pervaded ruins of Hyrule Castle. Having waited a century for Champion Link to awaken, they remain undaunted in the presence of Lynels and Guardians, and they’ll bravely endure in their hiding spots to greet Link with a Korok Seed.
With over 900 Koroks scattered across Hyrule, aspiring Champions have their hands full solving rock puzzles or popping balloons in obtaining these inventory-upgrading seeds. We could elaborate upon how this encourages the players’ engagement with BOTW’s fantastic open-air environment — especially considering the incentive towards expanding Link’s weapon/bow/shield pouches — but really, any and all attention must be directed to Hestu’s maraca dance. Rumor has it you don’t need all the seeds for full upgrades, but what happens if you accomplish this Herculean task? Well, we won’t spoil it, but let’s just say Link may want to wash his hands afterwards…
– Anthony Pelone