I don’t 100% video games. Most of the time, I don’t even finish them because I hate ending journeys I’m having so much fun on, or my brain goes “ooh shiny” and I bunny-hop to the next big thing. For the most part, all I want in a video game is to mainline rails of story. None of that extraneous stuff game makers like to pump into their products to pad the length, like collecting all the synchronization points in Assassin’s Creed or finding all the Korok seeds in Breath of the Wild. Fuck that tedious shit. Yet, I want to 100% complete Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Origami King is my first Paper Mario game. I never had a GameCube or friends who had one (or friends), so I missed out on fan-favorite and eternally longed for Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Origami King looked cute and fun and the battle system seemed novel enough to give it a try. My initial impressions were right: this is a lighthearted game with tons of genuine humor and fun puzzle battles that scratch the puzzle-loving itch in my brain. I would die—die you hear me—for Olivia, the new companion who hovers around Mario excited and awed by everyone and everything. And Bob-omb? *Looks painfully into the middle distance* I’m not ready to talk about Bob-omb yet.
100% completing games never felt worth it to me. It always felt like something one did just to say they did it or in order to accrue Real Gamer Points™ or some other meaningless metric of worth. But Origami King is worth 100%-ing for people who, like me, loathe collection quests. For one, the game makes collecting worth it. To fully complete the game, Mario must fill all the holes left in the world by paper-munching monsters and rescue all the Toads who’ve been transformed into origami objects. There are also question blocks, both obvious and hidden, to discover, as well as treasure chests filled with items, coins, or mini-figurines. Aside from the mini-figures, every time you pop a block or fill a hole from Mario’s bag of spackle-like confetti, you’re given something immediately useful. You don’t defog an area of the map, you don’t add to a growing codex, nor do you amass one more doohickey in hopes that when you have all the doohickies you’ll be given the strongest of the doohickies to wreck shit with. You’re given something concrete and helpful—be it an item, a weapon, or cold, hard coins.
With the rewards for collecting, smashing, and patching your way through Origami King, you get an immediate return on your time investment. Furthermore, Origami King equips you with the tools you need to 100% it. Instead of relying on a guide to walk you through how to find every single widget because they’re so obscure and easy to miss, Origami King helps you out. There are bells you can buy that will ding whenever you’re near a Toad to uncrumple or a hidden block to smash. There’s another device, a Toad Radar, that further assists you in pinpointing exactly where to direct your hammer to save a trapped Toad. Every other game that I’ve played that had a 100% completion option always relied, at least in part, on you blindly stumbling upon secrets or looking up guides to direct you *cough* Korok seeds *cough*. That’s time-consuming and tedious, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Origami King is self-sufficient: What you’re given in the game is enough to complete it fully. No online guides, no tips and tricks videos—just you and the game.
There’s one more reason why I need to 100% at least one aspect of this game: The Toads. These little, lovely creatures end up in all kinds of torturous circumstances through no fault of their own. They are crushed, cramped, wedged, folded, and buried alive into all the nooks and crannies of the world. They are trapped. Alone. Conscious of the world around them and able to perceive pain in all the unnatural folds of their bodies, but unable to scream for help. They suffer, not knowing if they will ever be free again, if anyone will help them. I will, I must. And so I do.