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The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the who-has-the-most-nerdoints dept.

Games 183

This article at Gamasutra takes a look at how the compulsion to hoard and accumulate objects, as well as the desire to accomplish entirely abstract goals, has become part of the modern gaming mindset. "The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation explains that in compulsive hoarders: 'Acquiring is often associated with positive emotions, such as pleasure and excitement, motivating individuals who experience these emotions while acquiring to keep acquiring, despite negative consequences.' Sound familiar? The 'negative consequences' of chasing after the 120th star in Mario 64 or all 100 hidden packages in Grand Theft Auto III may be more subdued than those of filling your entire house with orange peels and old cans of refried beans. But game designers know that it's pretty damn easy to tap into this deep-rooted need to collect and accumulate. And like happy suckers we buy into it all the time, some to a greater degree than others."

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183 comments

GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (5, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159345)

Gotta catch em all, POKEMON!

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159363)

You can never have enough!

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (3, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159893)

Pikachu fur makes great underwear.

I take my kid hunting and fishing. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161253)

We've named all our kills after some former pokemon. Even got some named on the wall. I was thinking of building a Rolling Chest Freezer that looked like a Ultra Ball so we can fill it with pieces of fillet pokemon.

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (2, Funny)

ijakings (982830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159659)

Pokemon?! With the Poke and the man and the thing where the guy comes outta the thing and he makes a o abba zabba eh heh heh

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160343)

Hey mods, WHOOOSH!

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160405)

No, I'm sure it was -1 pointless unfunny offtopic reference.

This what it sounds like with cock in your mouth? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161213)

My clvl 88 Charzard is tea-bagging you. What were you trying to say? Spit it out already!

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (1)

squirrelburrito (1260992) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161193)

So, should I go get a doctor's note for the Pokemon Red cartridge I slaved over to 'catch' all 151 Pokemon and level them up to 50? After the whole family, kids, no-time-to-play-games thing, I do still keep it in my jewelery box...

Re:GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (2, Informative)

_133MHz (1556101) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161643)

Better keep special care of that 'treasured' cartridge since one day its internal backup battery will run out, permanently wiping your save file.

You can replace the cartridge's battery without losing your data if you solder another battery in parallel during the whole procedure (thus keeping the SRAM chip energized at all times).

How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159373)

They always attribute this behavior to some kind of compulsive outlier, but the the behavior is common to all humans. And is at the root of a lot of the fruitless consumerism. Comes from before there was culture or communication. Comes from the lizard brain. And probably never failed the early hunter-gatherer who didn't get penalized for keeping too may cats or a garbage-ridden apartment.

     

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (4, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159875)

It is also a no-no in yoga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamas [wikipedia.org] see Aparigraha (non-horading).

I had a hell of a debate with the people in my yoga class about MP3s. Because they violate asteya (non-stealing) and Aparigraha (non-hoarding) and they just would consider the idea, free MP3s beat out philiospy, practive and truth in their minds.

The reason you are not supposed to hoard is because someone else might have a current use that outweighs your possible future use for the item. I have often thought that making NPC need items in games would make hoarding harder ethically to pursue. I also think that monster ecologies would be cool. Kill all the fur seal in freezly land when power leveling and fuck... they went extinct. Kill all the predators and shit we are overrun with disease carrying rats!

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159951)

Check out the old Maxis game "SimLife", it has the exact ecology mechanism you describe (along with a lot more!)

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160323)

So, how would they feel about massive torrents of mp3s released under Creative Commons? It's not stealing and you're actually assisting anybody else who wants to use it.

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160439)

But thats bullshit as you getting the mp3 is not stealing as the author sells it to you on purpose, and does not in any way effect any one else getting the mp3. Oo

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160551)

Yes, but you are talking IRL and we are talking game. Hell your MP3 analogy doesn't even hold up IRL because you can't actually "hoard" MP3s, as you can plug your flash into my PC and "take" my MP3s and I'll still have them. And in game it is a whole different ball of wax.

For instance I like this game called Sacred Gold [wikipedia.org] that I picked up out of the bargain bin. I never heard of it but the screenshots looked good and for $20 I'll give any game a shot. if you haven't picked it up it rocks. Anyway they have this "green" armor, which gives major bonuses in a set, like in Legends of Aranna. Unlike Legends where you could get a walkthrough to tell you where each piece is Sacred is random drops, and the green set armor is one of the rarest. Worse, since there are six characters you can get green drops that aren't for your character and even if they ARE for your character there are about 5 suits per character so it may not respond to the set you are trying to build. So I'd set there for hours going "nope nope nope nope Green? &^%^&%$&^%$ Gladiator crap! nope nope nope" while I'm dripping with expensive items and all the cheap shit is in 20 foot mounds around my character.

But who cares? It is A GAME. And I'm enjoying myself, even when I'm cursing the damned gladiator and battle mage because I keep getting their crap. By hoarding i now have huge amounts of money by selling the lesser crap, so when I walk into a village and see a "ring of badass" that is a crazy price I just slap the gold on the table, my character has gotten powerful enough that even midlevel monsters refuse to attack me for fear of getting their asses kicked, hell its fun. So while I HATE those "bring me the asses of 20 snow goats" kinds of quests, which thankfully aren't that many in Sacred, as long as whether to hoard or not is my choice and it is fun, who cares . it is a GAME. The whole bloody point is we get to do the kinds of antisocial crap we wouldn't pull IRL. And as long as the designer remember to make it fun as opposed to "bring me the asses of 20 snow goats" I'm a happy little camper.

And if you haven't tried Sacred give it a spin [gamershell.com]. Good graphics and random monsters and items makes for the fun and lots of replay in my book.

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161605)

Griefers.

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (4, Funny)

rs79 (71822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160051)

This might explain the 25 sinks, 40 doors and 200 windows in my barn.

Doesn't exactly help though.

Anyone near Kingston ont need a Pepsi cooler? Or a clawfoot bathtub? Or a 3 sink stainless restaurant counter? Or a half ton of glass panes?

Re:How would this fail the hunter-gatherer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160179)

Please tell me they're all installed. That would be awesome.

Stating the Obvious (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159395)

Okay, so basically this article is saying that people collect and horde in-game items because they like it and it makes them happy ("positive emotions").

Sort of like the way psychopaths kill because it makes them happy, lazy people are sedentary because it makes them happy, and fat people eat too much because it makes them happy.

That's saying about as much as barking dogs.

Re:Stating the Obvious (5, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160129)

Actually, what makes a psychopath kill (sociopath is the more politically correct term now) is their inability to truly tell right from wrong. To them, killing a person is the same thing as stealing a candy bar. They don't get "happy". Their impulse is satisfied. It may not seem like much of a difference up front, but do you get "happy" when scratching an itch? No, but you are satisfied by doing so.

Re:Stating the Obvious (2, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160391)

Actually, what makes a psychopath kill (sociopath is the more politically correct term now) is their inability to truly tell right from wrong.

Okay, how about somewhat less of a moral extreme (and what I expected TFA to discuss before I read it) - Collecting copyright violations (or any other illegal materials with the condition that the illegality itself not give rise to the motivation to collect)?

Most relevant to the topic at hand, how about game ROMs? No one can defend their collection of 6000 SNES ROMs as even remotely legal or within the bounds of "fair use", yet I know a good number of reasonably law-abiding people who completely ignore the "rightness" of it for the sake of having a "complete" collection (at least, until the next unreleased beta gets dumped).

So would you consider that a lesser extreme of "can't tell right from wrong", or a willful disregard for it, or a side-effect of the underlying compulsion to collect?

Re:Stating the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160723)

I would consider it an instance of you confusing "right" and "legal".

Re:Stating the Obvious (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160833)

Legal != Right; Illegal != Wrong.

Legality and morality are loosely linked, but do not imply each other. I jay walk almost daily, but I doubt that this puts my morality into question. Some people might not view some copyright laws (and instances of them) as particularly moral, and thus feel free to ignore them as long as the risk of getting caught is lower than the satisfaction gained in the action.

I'm sick of people thinking that following law is always moral, or that all laws are moral statements. In extreme circumstances following laws can be immoral, and breaking them moral. Hording mp3's or ROM files probably don't fall into this (to me its pretty morally agnostic, in some cases I see no problem with piracy, and in some I do, depending on circumstance, and how unnatural the law is in that case).

To me the pathology springs from wanting to have 6000 ROMs, when there is no chance in hell that you could ever enjoy a significant percentage of them, I horde DVDs, but I have managed to watch all of them (sans a few crappy gifts).

Re:Stating the Obvious (0)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160973)

I doubt you jaywalk nearly as much as you think you do. Jaywalking isn't simply crossing the street between corners, it's crossing the street between corners when there's traffic or crossing at a signaled crosswalk when the signal says don't walk. If you do jaywalk frequently, that is somewhat bad morally as you're irritating those around you for your own convenience.
That said, you're right about there being a significant difference about morality versus legality and there seems to be a recent increase in laws that I would consider to go against morality.

Re:Stating the Obvious (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161001)

With the NES collectors, you could argue that there is no real harm in having 6000 ROMs from a game system that's 15 or so years old. They don't sell it, and even if they did, there isn't much market for that stuff anyway - you'd need to package it nicely and make it play like a regular game. Even then, the appeal is limited. This is more akin to collecting antiques.

Wii Shop Channel (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161671)

With the NES collectors, you could argue that there is no real harm in having 6000 ROMs from a game system that's 15 or so years old. They don't sell it

...except in the Virtual Console aisle of the Wii Shop Channel.

Re:Stating the Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161703)

So what the fuck is "fair use" in this case?

I can't believe you and so many others even consider something that's 15 years old to still be within the realm of reasonable copyright and thus an issue of legality. Brainwashed by Disney much? Open your fucking eyes, the system and its games are ancient and no longer sold in stores. What would you have someone interested in playing these retro games do? Write a letter to Nintendo (or one of the many defunct 3rd party developers) asking them for permission? Offer Nintendo absurd sums of money for one single work, as the studios tend to charge for broadcast episodes? Quit bootlicking once in awhile and maybe consider that there are absolutely zero real life consequences of copying and playing old ass games, that maybe people should have the conscience to rationalize and say fuck it with regard to this black-and-white legality rubbish.

Also, I have 12 total SNES ROMs and just a bit more NES. I only own physical copies of about half of them.

Re:Stating the Obvious (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160429)

That's not true actually, a sociopath CAN tell what's right or wrong. They aren't stupid. Just the opposite, they do know but they don't care.

Re:Stating the Obvious (1)

Carl.E.Pierre (1223962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161101)

Well it is not a rational assessment of right and wrong that he speaks of, but more of a feeling that something is right or wrong. I can justify any action any way i want, but at the end of the day, my justification and my conscience may be at odds.

Re:Stating the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161649)

As a sociopath, I'll back this statement up. It's all a simple cost-benefit analysis, morality is a weird system that is a non-starter. Now, I'm not one of those killing sociopaths - but whenever I choose to do anything it all has to do with the probability of getting caught, or the degree of the punishment should that happen. If it's something I can manipulate and sociopath my way out of, then low risk, high benefit. The reason why sociopaths are always bosses is that they don't have to deal with this lame right/wrong dichotomy that seems to inform the decisions of their employees, and once we understand that enough, we can use it to back the rest of you into corners.

Re:Stating the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160929)

Oh crap! I though right and wrong was subjective. I guess I'm a sociopath now. :(

Re:Stating the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161597)

Lazy people aren't sedentary because it makes them happy either. They usually become depressed and unmotivated the more sedentary they are. Fat people are often filled with shame after eating.

Please read parent again.

Re:Stating the Obvious (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160423)

I am an avid gamer, but can genuinely say in games I have NEVER collected all of anything. Oh sure if I find them it's a case of "Hey, I found one!" but I have never hunted them out, nor found them all. Ever. Just doesn't interest me in the slightest.

Collecting arbitrary stars, comics etc... In games just seems utterly pointless to me.

Re:Stating the Obvious (1)

bigdonthedj (1437541) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161741)

I have to admit to buying multiple copies of games due to memory failure of the brain. I just give the old copy to friends. I own over 100 Xbox360 games, 70 % of those I don't play anymore. 20% that I never played after buying them, and 10% that I tend to rotate by the week or month. My PC collection is very similar as th 360 as far as the percentages go, but the number of games is considerably higher (around 250ish, possibly much higher). I buy new games on Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive and at Gamestop, along with other stores that may have a good deal going on. I'm also obsessive compulsive. I guess that makes me a freak and also a beloved customer to many game companies :) (I don't mind that)

I'm thristy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159397)

Thirsty for a firsty!1!!

I'd like to thank Slashdot and Ron Malda for this opportunity. I'd also like to give a shout out to Signal 11 and Hot Grits man for the inspiration. I'd like to thank all of the Slashdot editors, without whose total failure at spell checking, basic grammar, and fact checking I would have long ago been too bored to keep reading this blog concentrator. And finally, props to fellow frost posters. Maybe you'll get 'em next time. Keep on reaching for the stars, and keep on keepin' on.

Re:I'm thristy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160635)

haha, that made me laugh. Good riddance to signal 11. Unfortunately, the typical slashdot post reads like it was written by him.

Children (0, Flamebait)

Anonymatt (1272506) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159435)

I think it's mostly children that do crazy stuff like collect all the hidden packages.

Re:Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159549)

Apparently I'm a 25 year old child...

Re:Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159843)

We all are, to a certain extent. Your biological age is immaterial. It's OK, really :)

TF2 Hats... (1)

Tavor (845700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159437)

So this is why I idle 24/7 in a vain attempt for a pithy sniper hat...

Re:TF2 Hats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161455)

So this is why I idle 24/7 in a vain attempt for a pithy sniper hat...

When I was a sniper we didn't have much of anything, let alone a pithy hat. If we were extremely lucky we might find a jar to piss in.

Obsessive Compulsive Society (1)

ltcmus (661027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159475)

Learning that there is such a thing as the Obsessive Compulsive Society is really the best birthday present I could have gotten.

Dastardly Designers (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159495)

But game designers know that it's pretty damn easy to tap into this deep-rooted need to collect and accumulate. And like happy suckers we buy into it all the time, some to a greater degree than others.

Game designers are just out to reel in suckers. Skinner boxes, treadmills, and obsessive compulsive triggers - anything to land them a pigeon. Yup. That's it. It wouldn't ever be because someone wants to build something they think might be fun.

Re:Dastardly Designers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160769)

You obviously have never designed a game. As a game designer, I will still go for achievements and such however pointless I know they are. Of course, a game solely based off of achievements will not be fun, however, they can add to the game.

There's this whole thing where people complain how games 'now a days' are not fun, and game designers 'don't try to make fun games'. This is entirely false. While some designers fail at making fun games, the designers definitely try. There are more crap games made by sell outs to get a few bucks, but there are also alot of fun games that the developers really support.

It's insulting that people believe that game designers just want to make money. Sure, some do, but don't go claiming that that's how all of them are. Creating fun in a game is very rewarding-while very hard.

Re:Dastardly Designers (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160965)

[...]Of course, a game solely based off of achievements will not be fun [...]

Disagree:

armorgames.com/play/2893/achievement-unlocked

It is worth, at the very least, a good laugh.

Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159505)

"Games are designed with lots of stuff to collect because gamers like to collect stuff. We have no idea why, really, and lord knows we didn't try to test any hypotheses."

Really? (5, Insightful)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159521)

This is not some new thought or idea. Its survivalism and hasn't changed since... ever. Horde it up 'cause you may not have it tomorrow, and you still gotta eat. This trend in games is now obvious probably because of the popularity of WoW et. al. and how our "selves" are so easily transferred to an abstract, digital realm where we can horde and collect as long as there's stuff to horde and collect. For fuck's sake, people have been collecting and playing card games for decades. This is incredibly un-newsworthy.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

rpillala (583965) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159729)

The word you want is "hoard." I'm not trying to be snarky I just thought you would want to know for future reference.

The effect in MMO's is magnified by the fact that it's possible for some objects to be permanently removed from the game. Most times I've seen this, people who already have something are allowed to keep it while no new copies of it will be spawned. In real life we have endangered species that are sometimes permanently removed, and there is a small (in number of people) trade for parts from those species. Partly for the rarity itself and partly I expect because the parts may not be available tomorrow, so to speak.

This, however, is not for survival.

Re:Really? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161047)

In real life we have endangered species that are sometimes permanently removed, and there is a small (in number of people) trade for parts from those species. Partly for the rarity itself and partly I expect because the parts may not be available tomorrow, so to speak. This, however, is not for survival.

Not to mention the antiques market, the art market, designer fashion and a ton of other businesses that sell almost as much on the uniqueness of what they're making opposed to any instrinsic quality of the product.

Re:Really? (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159755)

This is incredibly un-newsworthy.

But it got a response :-) And that's the name of this game. Hoard those hits and trade 'em for ad revenue, heh, so they think..

Re:Really? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160493)

There's a way in which virtual collection may actually satisfy a "need to hoard" (I would correct your misspelling as "horde," but it works too well with the WoW reference) in a productive way.

Modern life has made a lot of once-healthy instincts unhealthy, and has taken away many of the opportunities to exercise them. Children once would learn by exploring open spaces without a lot of adult supervision; as those spaces diminish and our fears about children's safety increase, games provide an alternative space for exploration (Henry Jenkins wrote an article about games as "gendered spaces of play" for little boys in particular, since the change in the landscape has affected boys' play more dramatically than it has girls' play.)

Perhaps the need to accumulate has also long outlived its usefulness in the real world: excessive consumption, planned obsolescence, the creation of fashions that motivate people to replace perfectly usable clothes and other objects, the accumulation of goods that we really don't need and often don't use, "shopping" as the way we participate in the world at large and derive satisfaction, etc. have created a vicious cycle of waste and stress - economies that rely on growth even after the human needs of the people with money (those without money aren't important to our economies except as potential labor) take advantage of our instinct to accumulate to keep the cycle going.

"Virtual" accumulation lets us play that instinct out without creating waste, lets us devote more of the real world to things other than spaces to shop and accumulate.

Morrowind (4, Funny)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159621)

Let me tell you about houses full of crap. Multiple sets of all the armors, weapons, and huge amounts of reagents all laid out on the floor in neat grids.

My pride and joy was stealing the full set of dramora armor off of the guy who helps you with corpus disease. I made a low DPS dagger with huge magical armor damage and broke the armor off his body. Then I knocked him out bare handed and robbed him and charmed him back to friendly. Each item was enchanted with a variable stat increase. All decked out I was totally unstoppable.

The best hoard was all the moon sugar in the game, which I ate all at once. When I ran and jumped it would load four or five games tiles before I hit the ground. It never wore off before I was bored of the game.

I am replaying Ultima Underworld right now on DOSBOX and am fighting my self not to hoard because items have no effect in that game really and trade is useless. P.S. Where is the bandit's hideout behind the store room? I cannot find it at all.

Re:Morrowind (1)

Gravedigger3 (888675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159967)

Let me tell you about houses full of crap. Multiple sets of all the armors, weapons, and huge amounts of reagents all laid out on the floor in neat grids.

.

Oh god I've been there man. I had all the armor sets laid out neatly by the metal, hundreds of potions nicely lined up on the shelves. I even had a special alchemy corner with all the Master potion making shit and barrels full of all the ingredients that I had been collecting since i started.

Now I look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking (just like I do with WoW and EQ) but it was funny how satisfied I was just hoarding shit in that game. I kept my in-game house cleaner and more organized than anywhere I've lived since then. Maybe if I start accumulating tons of weapons and armor I'll be motivated to clean up my place so I can display it all. =P

Re:Morrowind (2, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161113)

I kept my in-game house cleaner and more organized than anywhere I've lived since then. Maybe if I start accumulating tons of weapons and armor I'll be motivated to clean up my place so I can display it all. =P

Doesn't help. I need to buy more mannequins.

Re:Morrowind (1)

Criceratops (981909) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159999)

Somewhat relieved to hear that others had the same problem with the Elder Scrolls. A friend of mine was watching me play and said "Why do you pick up every single alchemical ingredient like some kind of demented vacuum cleaner?"

The houses in Morrowind were never large enough, I ended up using the toolset to build myself a lair for my ill-gotten loot.

My killer combo in that game was Boots of Blinding Speed + Hide of the Apostle + Daedric Crescent. It was like Worf meets the Flash.

I'd still be playing Oblivion if it didn't crash on my system every ten to thirty minutes.

Re:Morrowind (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160533)

When I finally won Morrowind I was naked except for the hammer and the glove. It was kind of a feint to my "demented vacuum cleaner" beginnings. I still think about opening up that game and killing every non-dark elf NPC in the game to fulfill the prophecy in my own way. I could easily do it too. God that was a fucking great game. I wish they would make it massively online.

This is hoarding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159725)

I wouldn't particularly call this hoarding. You're supposed to do everything you can in the game. Just because the way they show that you've accomplished something is a digital trophy of sorts doesn't mean you're hoarding them just by getting as many of these trophies as you can.

Um, finishing? (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159765)

I don't think I play games like Mario64 to 'collect' all the stars, I play until I think I have finished the content, the stars track that progress. Once the game is finished, the stars don't really have any meaning or other significance.

This is very similar to filling in all the answers to a crossword, not so similar to making sure my T.V. Guide collection is complete.

Re:Um, finishing? (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159829)

But some people do play to collect all the stars. Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

Re:Um, finishing? (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160559)

Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

In fact, I would argue that Mario 64 is a terrible example. You need more than half the stars to finish the game (unless you're tool assisted [youtube.com]). Also, they aren't just random achievements--all the stars except the 100-coin and 8-red-coin ones are completely original.

Re:Um, finishing? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160569)

In Mario64, the 120 stars are awarded for beating a level challenge (there are 5 or 6 challenges per level). One of the challenges (or maybe 2...) on each level is to collect a certain number of coins (there are different types of coins).

Still, for me it was always about beating the challenge, not completing the collection.

Re:Um, finishing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160255)

Collecting the stars added a lot of replay value to the game. Many of them were difficult to acquire and collecting them required a variety of tasks including: having to master some jump combo to get to the area, racing the boss at increasing speeds, and finding optimal paths through the level so you could get 50 coins in a certain time period.

It is similar to playing the game through again on hard.

I think I collected about 100 before getting bored.

Re:Um, finishing? (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161549)

A better example they could have used would be the Chaos gems from the Sonic series. Optional items won in bonus levels, they didn't serve much of an ingame purpose (until you collected all of them, but Super Sonic was kind of a gimick), but adorned your the main menu screen as a kind of trophey case.

Getting your moneys worth aka banana stickers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159799)

I have been playing Fallout 3 for the last month or so I'll use it as an example. I specifically purchased one of the DLC packs because it changed the ending and allowed me to explore the 2/3 of the map I completely missed in the main storyline. Bethesda is especially good at creating compelling games that like a good book you hate to see actually end. Games are far too expensive to justify a flat 6-10 hours of gaming, having a plethora of achievements to unlock and hundreds of places to explore prolongs the gaming experience, increases the "fun" and extends the value of the game. I think its great that many developers are seeing the value in this.

plants vs zombies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28159965)

i'd type a thoughtful reply to this article, but i'm busy playing Last Stand for the 80th time so I can get enough money for that 10th slot.

I could not part with my ELITE box for $20 (2, Funny)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 4 years ago | (#28159975)

...not the game.

The box.

I was offered $20.

For the box.

And would not part with it. ...help?

Re:I could not part with my ELITE box for $20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160269)

I've got an original first edition Elite for the BBC Micro model B with box, diskette, manual, etc. I'll sell it to you for $200.

Re:I could not part with my ELITE box for $20 (1)

DJKaotica (596442) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160547)

If someone had come up to you and said "Hey, can I have a couple cardboard boxes? I need to pack some stuff to send to a friend." you may have given the Xbox box to him. In this case though, since someone offered you so much more than you may have originally thought the box was worth, your perceived value of the box has gone up. Now you think it may be worth even more, or it's some sort of collector's item, or something like that....maybe?

Seems like part of the trend lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160037)

What's up with the flood of articles lately that try to psychologically deconstruct gamers and their games? They all act like it's some big discovery that video games pander to humans' psychological traits. All they're really saying is that people play games because they're enjoyable. Surprise surprise.

I think it's part of the whole "video game addiction awareness" crap that some groups are harping about nowadays, saying that video games cause all kinds of murder, mayhem, and familial strife. If they can make it seem like video games are designed around some sinister theory of exploiting human psychology to mind-control the players, then they can feel justified in demonizing gaming as a whole.

Comes from watching too much TV (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160115)

I've never had much of a desire to own stuff. But I've never owned a broadcast TV in my whole life. I have a DVD player and a large flat-screen display, but no antenna or cable connection. Watching 20 minutes of commercials per hour is bad for you. Hours a day of "consume, consume, consume" has to have an effect.

The "hoarding" mentality may come from overdosing on advertising.

Re:Comes from watching too much TV (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160401)

Or it could come from survival instinct. Even just a generation or two ago people horded things that might be needed, food could be rationed, money could become worthless, stocks could crash and banks could fail. If I horded a large amount of gold in my house I would be relatively immune if the dollar suddenly became worthless rather then the person who had their life savings purely in cash. Today we have more insurances against that sort of stuff but it could still happen.

Re:Comes from watching too much TV (1)

FreakWent (627155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161781)

London, in the blitz. Hell of of England for the whole war.

String, paper, cloth, tape, elastic, rubber, you name it. Shops were either blown to bits or had limited stock and high prices. There are no rubber plantations in the UK, and the only metals in quantity are tin, iron and lead. A very long list of other commodities had to be imported, and homeowners were encouraged to turn in frying pans to make aeroplanes from.

If you can still find someone alive in a big city from then, like my dear Mum, they will remember.

It is a very useful exercise to study Britain during WW2, it helps explain how easily shortges come about and how they can be dealt with.

Our generation is lucky (2, Interesting)

MaizeMan (1076255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160139)

At least my pack rat nature has been channelled in digital things that can be stored on hard drives. Sure I spend 250 dollars last month upgrading because I'd filled every drive I owned, but I'm lucky.

My dad accumulates books. Online used book stores like abebooks are the worst thing to ever happen to my mother. Now five or six books arrive in the mail most weeks from all over the country. Last time I was home pretty much every open wall in the house had vanished behind bookshelves.

Hording in the digital age may still be expensive, but at least it takes up a lot less total volume in meatspace

Wait till you own your own place... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160265)

Wailt til you get your own place and you intend on being there for a while, that's when you'll find out what you're really like for hoarding stuff. I'm terrible, though I have friends who are really light on what they own. Partly depends on your needs and interests I guess. Doing a house up is terrible for this...

There always seems to be one more tool that needs to be bought to fix a simple DIY job and having a garage, oh that's a killer for keeping spare dust sheets, lengths of useful timber, etc....

Sounds like you're pretty good at getting rid of books as soon as you've read them but I find that tough! :-)

Re:Wait till you own your own place... (1)

MaizeMan (1076255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160353)

Once I have the hard copy it's definitely hard to get rid of, so I definitely sympathize. When I graduated college, my parents informed me I couldn't continue to store my old books at their place (needed the space for my dad's books), and moving across country I couldn't take them with me.

Since then I try to get digital copies, even if they cost more. Less space, and easier to find things. I'm also not a terrible organized person, so trying to find a book I knew I had a year ago could be frustrating.

one lesson I learnt... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161219)

sounds like you're a better man than me! nice one :-)

One lesson I learnt was - don't use storage places, they are a waste of money. At one point I was due to go off to a project in Ghana for a year so I put my stuff into storage. Project didn't work out, six months later I pulled my stuff out of storage - and when I worked out how much I'd spent on storing it... well it would have been cheaper to sell/ throw away /give to friends on long term loan most of that stuff and just buy new stuff when I got it back. Waste of money storing cheap furniture etc for that long. Really interesting was that there were skips for dumped stuff round the back of this chain self storage place and they were always full, I wasn't the only person coming back after a while and wondering "what the heck did I store this for?".

I used to be a librarian so getting rid of books is truly painful.... :-)

Re:Our generation is lucky (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160645)

Oh that's nothing, I have no wallpapers in my entire flat just because all of my walls are bookshelves. Even my PC and TV are cased in the shelves and there are books all around them... I collect mostly SciFi/Fantasy and Old Literature...

Hold the phone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160189)

There's a whole foundation for obsessive compulsives? Why wasn't I informed of this?

Case in point: Runescape Bank Pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160657)

Such as these? http://images.google.com/images?q=runescape+bank+pictures

The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160771)

Rule 284: Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi.

Re:The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (2, Interesting)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161261)

Rule 10: Greed is eternal.

but my favourite is...

Rule 113: Always have sex with the boss.

I wonder how that applies in the Ferrengi patriarchy where the women are expected, for the most part, to stay out of business.

Obsession is obsession (2, Insightful)

Rastl (955935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160819)

If you're prone to obsessive behaviours then you're going to be prone to them in games as well as in real life. I can't see how game designers are somehow bad for catering to this. As long as the game is playable without the need to collect all the widgets then they're actually just creating extra features.

Speaking as someone who is prone to obsessive behaviours I can tell you that the most idiotic flash game can 'trap' me if I'm not on my guard. For me it isn't the need to collect widgets, it's the "One More Game" syndrome. Win or lose, it's the need to play just One More Game.

And that, dear readers, is why I won't play online games any more. Rather than battle the temptation I'll just avoid those things that could cause me problems. Bravo to the designers for giving people the option but I'll pass, thanks.

One last thought for all of you folks who have a ton of $ITEM in your house. After having to clear out the households of several deceased relatives I recommend that you GET RID OF YOUR CRAP! We're doing that ourselves since we discovered first-hand just how much stuff accumulates and how much space is being filled by completely useless $ITEM. Books have gotten cleared out to just the ones we really like, unused small appliances are gone, saved 'just in case' are gone. We're not only doing this as a favor to whoever has to clean out our house but to actually make it more livable. We've even got ~gasp~ empty space on the bookshelves.

Re:Obsession is obsession (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161795)

If you're prone to obsessive behaviours then you're going to be prone to them in games as well as in real life. I can't see how game designers are somehow bad for catering to this. As long as the game is playable without the need to collect all the widgets then they're actually just creating extra features.

It's bad, at least potentially, for the very reason you outlined below: it's a trap.

You say "catering", but it's also "exploiting". It's both. It's, as you point out, good in a way, but it's also bad in a way. People need to grow beyond the need to label things as completely good or completely bad (which is yet another trap). Most things are a mix of the two, and understanding the dynamics of that mixture (as you have, when you say that you have to be on your guard, for example) is crucial for making people's lives better.

But what about ... (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28160871)

... The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Basements?

That might be more useful.

timothy

HL2 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28160995)

That damn gnome. Now there's an achievement.

Purely about epeen (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161075)

The need to acquire things, more than any other single thing, comes down to one basic human need; to feel as though we are, in some way, superior to our fellow man.

Blizzard understood that implicitly, and three of their most successful games, Diablo, Diablo 2, and World of Warcraft, were essentially based on that principle from the ground up.

A multiplayer game doesn't need complex or innovative gameplay to be compelling, at all. All it really needs to do is provide ways for a player to think that he has a bigger dick than the other people he's playing with, and you can keep him perpetually addicted.

It's not about a rat pressing a lever and getting a food pellet, at all. It's about the rat thinking that he has bigger genitals than other rats.

Bragging Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28161165)

You could just as easily compare collecting things in games to collecting illegal music downloads that you'll never listen to. Same goes for having the largest collection of illegal movies that you'll never watch (but you can sure brag about!) It's easy to get caught up in this stuff, but you gotta be reasonable. At least collecting things in a game is more rewarding than collecting horrible movies that you won't watch.

Pure nonsense. (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28161315)

I was going to say this is correlation not causation. However, it's not even correlation. The two aren't related. Achievements are motivational because off of a sense of accomplishment, giving a person a positive sense of self-worth (or introjected worth, external acceptance in other words). Obsessive behaviours are not the same at all. I can't speak for hoarders but as far as "checkers" go, it tends to be motivated by fear, from a chemical imbalance according to the medical theory, although more modern thinking now says it's due to introjects in early life.

But anyway. Obsessive behaviours are not the same as achievement behaviours, not the same AT ALL. Total nonsense.
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