There are probably two descriptors that aptly describe me and how I play just about any game. First, I am conservative. If I’m ever given a limited resource, I will resist using it until I am absolutely convinced that I need to, often to an absurd degree. Why use that hyper potion to heal my Pokémon when I can just backtrack through this entire cave system and heal everyone at the Pokémon center, for free? After all, I may need that potion later. Of course, later never comes.
Additionally, I am a completionist. Not in the sense that I must achieve 100% completion in whatever game I’m playing–though my Platinum Trophy for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale will forever be my life’s greatest achievement and will be engraved upon my tombstone, which will be presumably made to resemble a Fat Princess.
My completionsim is more in the vein of self-satisfaction, as in I will refuse to move on to the next stage of the game until I feel like I’ve sufficiently explored my current location. I don’t expect to collect all the audiologs while playing through Bioshock, but I intend to explore every corner in every room to collect as many as I can without using a guide.
Naturally this conservatism and [compulsive] exploration go hand-in-hand. The more time I spend examining your surroundings, the more likely I’ll find the resources I may need, and the more likely I’ll be prepared for the next section. With The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, I’ve been forced to drop this playstyle.
I played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask back when it was first released for the Nintendo 64. The game was centered on an ultimate deadline. The moon is going to crash into the world in three days; I can reset the clock whenever I want, but I can never stop time moving forward as I complete the various quests imposed upon the player. Time is basically the single greatest resource. While I distinctly remember the world of its predecessor, Ocarina of Time, the world of Majora’s Mask—at least the world outside of Clock Town—is less fully formed in my memory. Back then, I was so concerned with avoiding the final countdown, that I refrained from any world exploration and reset the clock with impunity. Every time the three-day cycle began again, I had a single goal I hoped to accomplish, and as soon as it was done, it was time to reset. I felt like I couldn’t explore the world as much as I liked, because I was so concerned with maximizing the time I had left on the clock. I wasn’t crazy about feeling held down, so naturally, I didn’t finish the game—though a fundamental misunderstanding of the save system was also a major factor (also, I was 10).
As I started up the 3DS remake, I expected my compulsive need to maximize my time to again limit my desire to explore the game world. Instead, somehow the opposite happened. Basically, after playing the game a while, I realized just how long the three-day cycle actually was. Additionally, outside the dungeons, a lot of what you can do doesn’t take very much time. Even if you reach the end of the third day, and you still haven’t completed what you wanted to do, when you reset, you never really have to start again from square one. Once I realized this, I changed my playstyle to where I’d let the three-day cycle run its course, and I’d see what all I could get done in the meantime.
This also freed me to undertake multiple missions at once. At one point I was making my way through the Great Bay for the first time and saw Mikau the Zora floating on the water a small distance from the shore, surrounded by hungry seagulls. You’re supposed to grab him and push him to shore, where he’ll give you the Zora Mask before he dies. Unfortunately, this was late at night during the first day, and I’d already committed myself to helping the ranchers fight off aliens, so I warped away. I came back the next morning, and Mikau was still there, still surrounded by seagulls, but only a little farther from shore. Had I been just as concerned with the deadline this time around, I probably would have focused on only dealing with Mikau or helping the ranchers, but not both. I don’t know why I’m more relaxed this time around, but I enjoy finally being able to explore this new world without having to worry about maximizing a resource. Also, Kamaro’s mask is the best mask.
If this mask cannot be called sexy, then no mask can.