20 March 2018

Game Genre: Collect-a-thon

It's been a while since the last post. I'm still researching several big topics for theorycrafting. Since I'm working solo and have a job at the same time and I want to play games as well don't expect it anytime soon.

Anyways I've been playing Hollow Knight for a while now and recently I looked up for 3D Metroidvania games. I found a post where people called Banjo Kazooie a Metroidvania.
I disagree and here's why.

The Collect-a-thon

Collect-a-thons were the top games back in the old days. With titles like Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, Donkey Kong 64 and many more. We even got an attempt of reviving the series with Yooka & Laylee. So let's go into it and analyze these genres and what's typically for them and why people may mistake these.

Collecting Pointless Objects

"Now then, in line with Banjo tradition, your challenge will consist of collecting as many pointless objects as possible" 
~ Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
 Is a collect-a-thon about collecting pointless objects as rare sarcastically states in their 3rd installment of the Banjo-Kazooie series? Well, let's see our examples.

Super Mario 64 Collectibles

In Super Mario 64 we've got five collectibles.

  • Yellow coins that increase your coin score and health reaching a score of 100 rewards a star
  • Red coins that increase your coin twice score, health twice and collecting all eights gives us a star
  • Blue coins that are timed and give five times as much coin score and health.
  • Stars that are used to progress through the worlds and levels
  • Keys that are used to progress through sections of the game.

Banjo Kazooie Collectibles

In Banjo Kazooie we've got ten collectibles.
  • Honeycombs to increase your maximum health
  • Red feathers that are used for the flight ability
  • Golden feathers that are used for the invincibility ability
  • Eggs that are used as ammunition
  • Notes the primary currency for abilities and progressing the open world
  • Jigsaw pieces/Jiggies the primary currency for unlocking more levels
  • Cheato Pages are used to unlock cheats for the game
  • Honey to fill up your health
  • Jinjo's collecting five of these will give you a jiggy. Each level has them.
  • Mumbo Tokens these are required for unlocking transformations at Mumbo

Spyro the Dragon Series Collectibles

In the series of Spyro the Dragon, not counting only the first three, there are 12 collectibles.
  • Crystal Statues collectible to progress the first installment of the series
  • Diodes collectible to progress the second installment of the series
  • Dragon Eggs another collectible required to progress later worlds of the first installment
  • Red Gem main signature collectible and currency but also required to progress adds 1
  • Green Gem main signature collectible and currency but also required to progress adds 2
  • Blue Gem main signature collectible and currency but also required to progress adds 5
  • Yellow Gem main signature collectible and currency but also required to progress adds 10
  • Purple Gem main signature collectible and currency but also required to progress adds 25
  • Orbs a currency to progress the second installment of the series
  • Skillpoints can be found, gained and unlocked, increases your health and unlocks lore when all have been collected
  • Spirit Particles required to unlock temporal power-ups
  • Talismans another currency to progress the second installment of the series

We could go through other games too but I think you already notice something. These collectibles are not useless. There's always something connected to them.


So, collect-a-thons are all about collecting objects. You need to collect objects to progress the game. This is the aspect that makes the game differ from others. At the same time, we see this mechanic used for different purposes. However, there's always a limited amount of the progress-oriented currencies and they cannot be farmed.

Different Purposes

Furthering Access
Future content or levels require you to collect currency. If you don't have enough you can't enter new areas.

Unlocking Abilities
Collecting a currency allows you to learn new moves that either helps you gain more currency or make the game easier.

Improving Status
Similar to abilities but more on the passive side, collectibles may be used to increase your chances of surviving, like health upgrades.

There may be collectibles used to fill up your resources. These usually aren't limited and can be collected over and over.

Sub-goals, inception or whatever you want to call these, these collectibles are there for you to do things to get the main collectible that furthers your progress.

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I'm a B.Sc. Games Engineer and I created this blog to share my ideas, theorycrafting, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.