Orbsessive Compulsive Disorder

I’ve been playing Star Ocean recently. Admittedly I haven’t played it for a couple of weeks now, but when I do play it I, erm, PLAY it. For a long time. At once.


What I’ve found is that it’s bringing out my slightly obsessive side. There’s so much to do that has got nothing to do with the main story. I’m getting cross if I miss areas to explore, and therefore the possibility of chests to open. I’m gettting annoyed if I leave an area without having taken out enough enemies to register 100% on the Monster Scans (so I can turn them into, on the whole, not very useful amulets). I’m getting annoyed as I try and work out what I need to do to unlock each character’s 100 Battle Trophies – some are riduclously obscure, like “Jump 1000 times”.

This obsession is not just limited to Star Ocean. You’ll find that most games now have a set of things to collect – whether it’s Superman’s kitten fetish, Spidey’s gang symbols or Prototypes hint orbs there are hidden things scattered to the four winds of the gaming multiverse.

The most mentioned game when it comes to OCD collection is always (I’ve checked) Crackdown. Bearing in mind that this was a title that most people bought purely to play the Halo 3 Beta, it had a nasty habit of sucking people into it’s strange GTA-lite super-powered gameplay while waiting for Beta to launch. And what did people find when they started playing?


These lovely green orbs were scattered across the entire map – collecting them granted your character increased agility which in turn allowed you get to previously unreachable places and collect more orbs. For many, this became an essential collection which needed collecting before they could sleep.

But that wasn’t all. Not content with 500 agility orbs, Realtime Worlds snuck in 300 hidden orbs… shiny blue circles of goodness that increased all your skills but were often fiendishly hidden – their location given away by a distinctive sound that, if heard, would make any Crackdown addict look all over the place like a crazy person.

It’s a sign of the orb obsession that the game even had an update to enable players to hear the orb noises from a little bit further away that in the original release. If you do a simple Google Images search for ” Crackdown Orbs” you will be inundated with maps detailing the location of every last spherical menace.

When Crackdown 2 was announced, people’s ears pricked up. They scanned the press-release which mentioned open-world (check), upgradable character (check), Weapons and explosions (check), zombies (wait, zombies… everything has zombies in now. But that’s a good thing. Ok, check). No mention of orbs. Not a sausage.

So when the Crackdown 2 video was screened, people didn’t watch it for the gameplay or anything technical like that. No, they watched it for the telltale glow of a green agility orb, shining out against the cityscape.

They were happy to report that they spied an orb.

It’s not slated for release until next year, but for some reason I’m sweating with anticipation already…







13 responses to “Orbsessive Compulsive Disorder”

  1. Ben avatar

    Ah Crackdown 2, one of my most anticipated games. The original was one of the first games I played on the 360 (came in my bundle) and still remains one of my favourites to date.

    The Orb sound is now branded into my brain and has been one of the instantly recognisable sounds of this generation of gaming I think.

  2. van-fu avatar

    I actually have CDO. It’s like OCD, but in alphabetical order. Like it should be.

    But in all honesty, your collection fetish is a source of immense jealousy for me. I remember the day that you first put Superman in your Xbox. I had already been playing it, and I was watching your progess through the game via your gamerscore. I don’t mind confessing when you found all the kittens in that game. IN ONE MORNING. But no worries. It is all good. And don’t think that since you have burst through the 80k barrier, I have given up on our war. I have CDO, but also JCD. (Jacob Catchgamerscore disease). Enjoy your lead. And be grateful you have your catch ’em all addiction. It will be the only thing that will keep you happy when I finally, finally pass you.

  3. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    When Microsoft announced a video to show new games coming out at E3, it lead with the sound of an orb. I immediately sat forward eagerly anticipating the announcement that THAT sound was indeed Crackdown 2.

    I loved the first game. I only found the last agility orb because of the update. The secret orbs still took alot longer. So I look forward to Crackdown 2: Orb Hunter. 🙂 Maybe I’ll even play the main game as well.

  4. Barry avatar

    I must be the complete opposite, I’m rushing through star ocean as fast as I can! I just want to finish it as fast as I possibly can to move onto other games 🙂

    since nowadays I rarely play many sp games anymore, being a little bit popular I have gained a small burden to join in on any mp games going on, just incase I miss a moment of hilarity.

    Perhaps I’m not too disimilar as I first thought. 😀

  5. Celeste avatar

    Oh my, I have this “OCD” of which you speak. I am so thorough when I play a game that sometimes I almost can’t be bothered to start the thing. I couldn’t possibly imagine moving on from an area without being sure I have uncovered every last item, enemy and secret it has to offer. It’s really no fun when I suck at a game.

    Haven’t played Crackdown, but I did love the orb collecting in Jak and Daxter. Those things were yummy!

  6. Michael avatar

    I’m the same… and also MUST uncover every part of a map if, say, it’s blacked out and goes all bright as I wander through it. Or if I’m wandering through Cyrodiil etc on a quest and a location flashes up on the map. I’m compelled to investigate and then forget what I was intending to do…

    I love that 😀

  7. Rhyle avatar

    I’ve got to say that yes, some of the collectable elements in games have sucked me in – Bully, Fallout 3, Gears 2…but I find them a chore.

    I get that they’ve been added to encourage gamers to explore every aspect of the map and in some cases the reward is more of an incentive than any GS attached (come on…getting those ingots in The Pitt felt pretty good…) but in some cases it’s takes you out of the game and makes you a pig looking for collectable truffly goodness. I feel like a fool sometimes! MUST GET…LAST…ELASTIC BAND…

    Having said that with the elastic bands and G&G cards I think Bully got it spot on. Including their locations on the map and encouraging them to be swept up after missions was a master stroke – it was an extra couple of minutes in a location after the mission was completed and didn’t detract from the game at all.

  8. Gene avatar

    Ahh, automaps, the bane of game OCD. It’s so annoying when there’s a tiny square (or even an invisible sliver) that’s left out of the map when you explore the room…especially in FFIV DS, when you had to explore 100% of the maps to get a certain reward…

  9. Michael avatar

    0_o It’s a good thing I don’t have a DS then! 😛

  10. Celeste avatar

    That little store room in Resi Evil, the original game, the one where there’s a zombie lying on the floor – on the map there is clearly a small area between that room and the next one that you cannot seem to get to, but there’s a suspicious looking painting in the shape of a door right where a door should be… that drove me MAD! Think I got in, however way that was, then had to go through the very same torment when I played the gamecube remake cos I forgot how you could get in!

    I hate map gaps!

  11. Lorna avatar

    “Having said that with the elastic bands and G&G cards I think Bully got it spot on. Including their locations on the map and encouraging them to be swept up after missions was a master stroke – it was an extra couple of minutes in a location after the mission was completed and didn’t detract from the game at all.”

    Agreed. Usually I resent collectibles but Bully’s were well done with the task of completing Geography classes earning you the map locations of the elastic band locations and cards – great stuff.

  12. […] Play.tmIf video games were virtual narcotics, Crackdown would be a methamphetamine. Collecting those elusive green orbs is insanely addictive; quitting is quite impossible. What starts out as a half-hour gaming session can easily become a two or three hour binge.Jeez, get a room already. I’ll admit that I too was caught up in the orb snaffling zeitgeist. I understand the appeal. What I find tiresome is the inability of games journalists to mention Crackdown without also alluding to those ‘narcotically addictive’ agility orbs. It’s become an illness. […]

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