When Is A Game Complete?

Determining when a game is complete is the subject of a great debate that will never have a conclusion. The reason being, of course, is that this is a subjective measure and everyone is different and wants different things from their games. Never has this been more pertinent to my gaming experience than now, having completed Super Mario Odyssey.

My Switch has seen a lot of action recently and rightly so as Odyssey is a phenomenal game, rightly earning GOTY contender accolades. Between that and Zelda, there’s no reason not to own a Switch right now. Yet both of these games hold two mechanics which I, personally, don’t feel the need to come back to; collectables. In Odyssey, Moons power your ship which you need to power your craft to rescue Princess Peach.


In total, there are 999 Moons to collect with you needing around 150-200 to reach the endgame. Beyond that, they don’t have a functional usage when it comes to completing the main storyline. Likewise, with Zelda, the Korok seeds are scattered across the world waiting for you to discover them. The total number of these? 900. For some, this instantly presents a challenge to find them all and truly beat the game. For me, this is just too many on both accounts. I don’t have the time, or often the patience, to find all of these and my sense of satisfaction comes from just playing the game.

Call it contentious, but my definition of complete is once I’ve seen the credits roll. This isn’t to knock the quality of these games either because they’re amazing and this, as someone who isn’t a huge Nintendo fan, is high praise indeed. Having seen the credits on Odyssey my experience with the game is now, to me, complete. I will dip back in overtime to relive some of the classic moments it holds but I won’t pour hours into it to find the remaining 600+ Power Moons.

So good, but so many.

I wouldn’t want this to harm my experience with the game either. I’ve enjoyed my time in Odyssey and spending more time, trudging through it to collect Moons, would be boring and that’s not how I want to remember it. If I were to do that, if someone asked me how I found the game, my first thought would be about the Moons. This would do it a massive disservice given how many memorable moments it holds.  I know this is a subjective topic and the completionists out there will love nothing more than finding every last secret Odyssey has to find.

But, when all is said and done, Odyssey doesn’t make you find all/most of the Moons to reach the endgame which doesn’t spoil it for those who don’t want to do so. Maybe it’s just me getting older (at the ripe old age of 26) wanting more from games beyond a metric to tell me when I’ve completed something. Completion is only something I can determine when I get there and I’m happy with that.

I’m comfortable in the knowledge that I won’t see everything in the games I play, which is probably why I rent most of them these days. But having paid full price for Mario, all Moons gathered or not, I’m happy I played it and feel that my money was well spent on the story alone.

3 thoughts on “When Is A Game Complete?

  1. For me a game is completed when I have exhausted my fun. Case in point any game like Mario where it is a mass collectahon. I simply lose interest. The last time I bothered collecting in-game items was Arkham Asylum getting the Riddler trophies. But I didn’t bother 100%ing it.

    Only game I have “platinumed” was Final Fantasy VII. Only game I got all but 1 achievement on is Left 4 Dead (missing the perfect run no damage achievement).

    With anything like Mario or Banjo Kazooie it becomes too much of a chore to bug hunt every collectable so I simply stop. As long as final boss is dead then I’m happy to quit halfway through a hunt.

  2. I agree that collectibles that dont really add anything to the experience aren’t worth collecting (well for me anyway) However, I would recommend getting a few more moons, there are some secret levels to unlock!

  3. Collectibles aside, a games complete once the credits roll. Only then do i scratch it off my list. Doesn’t mean I won’t come back to it later to play it again or get things like moons. Mario Odyssey I think i’ll get all the moons one day. It won’t be a dedicated month to completing this goal, but i may casually revisit it over the course of the next few years to do it.

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