What does it take to truly know a video game location?

August 17, 2019
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I realised the other day that I had probably played through Gato Roboto about five times by now. This wonderfully compact Metroidvania has grabbed me and held me close. It’s the story of a cat lost on a strange planet, a cat who finds heroism deep within itself in a manner that feels very true to who and what cats are. It helps that the cat has a mech suit.

Normally, playing through Gato Roboto means starting from scratch, opening up the map, getting the basic items and chugging through the bosses. This time, though, on my sixth attempt I’m trying to do something I’ve never done before. I’m trying to 100 per cent it.

This has always struck me as a slightly tedious thing to do. I admire completionists but I’ve long known I will never be one. It always has the musty whiff of taxonomy to it. I want to get the gist of a game and see the end credits – people who skip the end credits are probably evil, incidentally – and then I’m generally happy to move on. But with Gato Roboto I’ve found a game that’s sufficiently compact for me to test this whole completionist business out. And it turns out that I’m a massive dummy. There’s nothing drab or dusty about 100 per centing a game. What I didn’t realise is that it turns whatever you’re playing into a whole different game.

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