Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
Pokemon 100 Percenters Are Mad

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 12 Apr 2011 16:00
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Quests for mad 100 percenters seem to be more common in Japanese games, whose audience have been known to be more tolerant of games that feel like work (this is the country that brought us the Harvest Moon franchise), but the West can't be completely cleared - the example that springs to mind is the entire notion of "achievements" and the people who would pull out their teeth with a piece of cheesewire if they were promised an achievement for it. The specific game I'm thinking of right now is Assassin's Creed and its sidequest of collecting hidden Templar flags around the cities for the sole benefit of getting an achievement at the end. And many gamers rightly said that that mechanic could fuck right off.

So the conclusion I reached in playing Pokemon is that it's a game specifically for the mad 100-percenters. After all, it's right there in the tagline. Why, exactly, do we "gotta catch 'em all"? Would the consequences be so terrible if we skimped on a few of the six hundred and however many there are now? And that's just the Pokemon themselves, there's all sorts of other varieties of collect-a-thon within the game to stimulate those OCD tendencies, like gathering surveys.

But I know what you're wondering. "What's your point, Yahtzee? You acknowledge that different people play games for different reasons, can't you just leave the 100-percenters to their fun?" But here is the devastating point I'm leading up to: 100-percenters are not having fun.

I know some 100-percenters. I've seen them ply their trade. I've discussed the issue with them. And none of them, not one, could tell me that they were genuinely enjoying themselves as they treaded and re-treaded the in-game worlds for days on end. They were not trying to complete the bullshit quest because doing so would make them feel good. They did it so that they would stop feeling bad about leaving an assigned task unfinished. These people are mildly obsessive, and if they're wasting their allotted fun times on things that are not fun, then we need to help them, not exploit them.

And that's why Pokemon is evil. Not only is it shameless in its exploitation of mad people, but instead of apologizing, they add another 150 things for them to collect every few years. That's like watching an insane man trying to count the grains of sand on a beach, and instead of picking him up and taking him to a place where he can be safe and warm, you empty another truckful of sand on his head and tell him he missed a spot.

But I propose a system to help these unfortunates. All we have to do is train them to expect appropriate rewards from their bullshit tasks and reject those that don't offer them. So if you know someone who's forcing themselves through a 100-percenter bullshit quest, give them prizes. Maybe for every 25% they attain, let them motorboat your or your sister's titties. And when they do reach 100, give them oral sex. Come on, fellers, it won't kill you. And the added bonus if you do is that once they've been cured of their mental illness you might just have a new best friend.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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