What is it that drives some gamers to try to attain perfection? Is it the thrill of accomplishment? Is for the sake of masochism? Or is it just to say that it can be and was done? Whatever the reason, the fact remains that many gamers seek to earn all of the achievements on Xbox Live or the Playstation Network or to get 100% completion on the newest games.

I know that outside of games I am by no means a perfectionist. My home is disorganized; I don’t use a planning calendar; and when I make plans with friends I seem to always arrive… fashionably late. But I find that within games I become obsessive as far as completion and achievements are concerned.

I think that one of the best examples of this can be seen when I play the game Fire Emblem. I hate, hate, hate letting a character die in that game. For those of you unfamiliar with the gameplay of the Fire Emblem series, it is a turn based strategy game that provides the player with a cast of characters that grows larger as the game progresses. If at any point an enemy succeeds in killing one of your units, that unit does NOT come back. It is dead and gone forever. When I play through the game I refuse to continue if I lose a unit. This of course is incredibly difficult (at least for me) and results in tons of restarts and frustration.

I was playing Fire Emblem the other day and I suffered another one of those agonizingly frustrating moments where I restarted after nearly winning through a map without losing a man (or woman). I stopped and thought about what I was doing. I was defying what would seem natural. Why should I care if I lose a weak character through a fluke of battle? But it is the way I have played through every Fire Emblem game.

Perhaps another example of this can be found in the Pokémon series. One of the phrases of the franchise is “Gotta catch ‘em all!” I remember playing through Pokémon Blue back in the day and trying so hard to catch all 150 pokémon. But it was much easier to simply beat the game without catching them all. In a sense, catching all of the pokémon was unnecessary. The only reason people did it was to say that they did it and had all of the pokémon. Now that there are roughly seven billion Pokémon, I wish the best of luck to the new generation of gamers that are working through Black and White trying to get 100% completion.

What are your opinions on obsessing over completion?