I stumbled on this neat little game called 100% Complete today. The basic gist is that you’re a little cube thing who has to reach a door to complete the game. It is very easy to reach the door — when you start, it is right there.
When you go through the door you see this:
There’s a great gap between what the game presents as complete and what complete really is. In reality, you have done all you need to finish the game — you have, in the language of the game, beaten it. But you haven’t exhausted it (in a Deleuzian register). You have not taken a full account of the potential of what this videogame body can do and then performed all of those actions. In 100% Complete, the things you can do are hidden behind walls, in chambers behind pushblocks, or at the bottom of pits. They take the form of collectible pizzas or bouncing basketballs. They are at the same time totally irrelevant and absolutely essential to any feeling of pleasure that could come out of the game.
I’m a big fan of these games that lay contemporary gaming practices bare. How different is 100% Complete from a Tomb Raider or an Assassin’s Creed in any way other than scope and scale? How much of those games are about going through the motions of plot completion — forward momentum — in order to get to a moment of a pure collectathon sublime? And is the desire to get to a [feel-good state of game, a post-flow, a dull hum of breadcrumbed grins] the core of what he are offered now?
The busywork of games in the ludic millennium.