Playing a Perfect Game or Perfect Gaming (PG) is the practice whereby every single (or most) aspect of a game has to offer (usually but not always, involving a role-playing game) is discovered, enjoyed, and then recorded into the game's save file as proof (i.e. A Perfect Game Save). In other words, once the game has been perfectly completed, there is nothing else left to be explored, and the only thing left to do is to watch the ending, and after that's done, return the game back to its case, and stored, possibly not to be played again until at least a year or several years have passed. One does this with full satisfaction, with the knowledge that one has done everything (or almost everything) one could possibly do in the game, and that one has derived the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the game.
Perfect Gaming is classed as a more hardcore (as opposed to mainstream or casual) style of gaming. One who engages in such an activity can be referred to as a Perfect Gamer or by the more general terms, completionist or perfectionist. Perfect Gamers may also be sufferers (or "sufferers") of obsessive膨ompulsive disorders (OCD) to differing degrees.
Perfect Gaming is less suitable and not recommended for casual gamers who have little interest in micro-management, gamers or ex-gamers who are busy with school, university/college or jobs/careers, and time-deficient people in general.
In order to complete a Perfect Game, one must consider all relevant factors well in advance and not after. This is because many things can be Missable. The point where something becomes missable is the Point of No Return (PoNR). Therefore, the missable in question has to be obtained before stepping into the PoNR (i.e. before advancing the game's story).
We will now introduce various common factors that should apply to some, most or all RPGs, and even non-RPG games.
Whether one is a Perfect Gamer or a casual gamer, these days, the larger non-compulsory side quests are increasingly considered mandatory since side quest/events often explain more of the story/plot or further illuminates a backstory of a character. It could be argued that one hasn't really finished a game if these side events are not completed. Side quests/events can be missable.
A full inventory looks nice and it is good to know that something is there when it is needed. There are four types of items overall. The first two types of items are Non-Missable Items:
For the purposes of Perfect Gaming, the above two items (non-missables) are a non-issue and do not need to be worried about. Just don't go around selling the NMLQIs. What needs to be worried about are Missable Items. These are missable due to time constraints. There are two types of missable items:
Personal preferences come into here, in regards to actual quantities. For example, should 99 of each item be collected? Or just one of each item? My preference is to have 99 (or as close to 99 as possible) of all consumable items (in-battle items and outside-of-battle items), and n+1 of all weapons, armours, and accessories, where n = number of party members who can equip it. The +1 serves as a placeholder in the item menu so that if all party members who can equip the item equips it, the item won't lose its place in the inventory.
Statistics include common attributes like hit points (HP), magic points (MP), strength, defence and wisdom/intelligence. In most games, the best way to get higher statistics is by gaining experience points and leveling up. In some games, the amount of statistics gained during a level up is fixed. In others, it is random or a bit more complicated. Leveling up can be considered a missable: Once a level is gained, one has to live with its effects, and the level-up cannot be reversed. There are three types of statistical increases:
For games where the statistic increases from level raises are not random, care needs to be taken because level raising is an irreversible process and because level 99 is usually the cap. Some games allow Level Up Augmentations/Enhancers, which allow higher statistical gain than usual from a level up by equipping said augmentations/enhancers. In games where this feature is possible, Low-Level Games (LLG) may be required. Low-Level Games involve playing through the game while avoiding the gaining of experience and therefore, avoiding level raises. In some games, the Speed Run (playing through the game as fast as possible or within a time limit) strategy may be required. In extreme cases, a combination of Low-Level and Speed-Running may be required for a Perfect Game. A few specific examples will follow:
An important thing to remember is that different people define Perfect Game differently. One person's Perfect Game is another person's slightly less than perfect game. This is due to one own's subjective view on what constitutes Perfect Gaming, personal tastes/preferences and/or differing priorities. This can also be due to various self-imposed (perhaps) limitations such as time constraints; the amount of active effort (full attention to the game screen) one is willing to exert for a particular goal; or if a goal is too crazy, one may prefer to simply preserve one's own sanity and accept a slightly less perfect game by not doing it.
Finally, sometimes perfection itself in the absolute sense is impossible, meaning that in some games, one must sacrifice x for y (and vice versa) but one cannot obtain both x and y at the same time (or at least, not in the same save file). This specific condition is known as a Trade-Off Situation (TOS) (i.e. assuming two possibilities: x and y, and only one can be chosen, choosing the best out of the two).
Due the reasons noted above, one should take what one wants from this article, and to decide for oneself what a Perfect Game means.
For mental reasons, I highly recommending watching the ending to be left for last. To me, watching the game ending brings about a good sense of closure, and the temptation to stop playing the game is too great, even if there is unfinished business. In any case, once a Perfect Game is completed, I can take the cart or disc out of the console and to tidily and respectfully store it away once and for all, as if to say "nice knowin' ya". And then decide on the next game I'm going to play.
Finally, I'll leave you with what I think best exemplifies the entire Perfect Game philosophy, an ideal that was once considered impossible: The Final Fantasy IX Excalibur II + Perfect Game Guide.
Which I completed.