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Pickup Hierarchy
Platform Game collectibles come in all shapes and sizes, from coins to precious gems and fruits to mental cobwebs and human brains. But not all pickups are created equal: Some carry more weight than others in the grand scheme of 100% Completion, some unlocking new levels, others unlocking merely additional bonus diversions, and others unlocking the means to unlock new areas and so on. This index is to sort out the four basic types of platform game collectibles that appear in many collectathon games:

  • Primary Tier Collectibles: Plot Coupons. Usually your stated goal in the game, and generally the most valuable of your collectibles. These are directly used to open the way to new levels, and collecting enough of these from all the levels is the fastest way to progress through the game. Quantity can range from one to as many as ten in a single level. Usually always MacGuffins, but can also be useful abilities in a Metroid Vania game. In more basic platforming games, just reaching the end of the level is enough to move the player to the next one, so any tangible "collectible" of this tier may be entirely absent.
  • Secondary Tier Collectibles: Generally less important and more abundant than Primary Tier items, and often more challenging to collect. Collecting these generally becomes more important when attempting 100% Completion instead of simply beating the main game, but they can sometimes become obligatory in the main game as well. Quantity ranges anywhere between one and fifteen per level. Heart Containers are usually in this tier.
  • Tertiary Tier Collectibles: The "junk" tier: usually highly abundant in a level, scattered all over the terrain for the player to collect. Nearly worthless in single units, but can yield great rewards when collected in abundance. In a game where new skills and collectibles are unlocked gradually, collectibles from this tier can serve as currency. A single level can contain anywhere between thirty to five hundred of these.
  • Extra Tier Collectibles: Very rare pickups which can usually require a lot of effort to collect, such as beating hidden or otherwise difficult challenges that may not be immediately obvious. Generally one or two instances of these can be found per level at most, and sometimes as few as three or even none in the entire game.

Although usually found in collectathon platformers, collectible types such as these can be found in a broad range of genre, from adventure games and shooters to racing games.

Examples:

  • Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie:
    • Primary: Jiggies (jigsaw pieces)
    • Secondary: Extra honeycomb pieces, jinjos, glowbos, Cheato pages
    • Tertiary: Music notes, Mumbo tokens
    • Extra: Eggs, Ice Key
  • Beyond Good & Evil:
    • Primary: Pearls
    • Secondary: PA-1's/the vehicle equivalent, Animal Photos
    • Tertiary: Materia Crystals (money)
  • Crash Bandicoot series (Naughty Dog):
    • Primary: Crystals, from 2 onward.
    • Secondary: Gems, Relics.
    • Tertiary: Wumpa Fruit.
    • Extra: Keys, only in the first game.
  • Commander Keen:
    • Primary: Parts stolen from your ship in Invasion of the Vorticons: Marooned on Mars, Boobus Bombs in Keen Dreams, Wetsuit and Council Members in Goodbye, Galaxy: Secret of the Oracle, Grappling Hook and Giant Sandwich in Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!. You need the Wetsuit in order to rescue one Council Member who's being held prisoner in the Well of Wishes in Secret of the Oracle, Boobus Bombs are the only things that can defeat King Boobus Tuber (the Big Bad of Keen Dreams), and the Grappling Hook and Giant Sandwich are used to scale a cliff and pass by the Grabbiter (map obstacles in Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!).
    • Tertiary: Point items (usually candy and sugary snacks/drinks - all games), Lifewater Drops/Vitalin Flasks (Goodbye, Galaxy series), Vivas (Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!), Rayguns/Neural Stunners (Invasion of the Vorticons and Goodbye, Galaxy respectively), Flower Powers (Keen Dreams).
    • Extra: Lifewater Flask/Keg-O-Vitalin (Goodbye, Galaxy), Queen Viva (Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!) - usually well hidden, but these each give you an extra life.
  • Diddy Kong Racing:
    • Primary: Wizpig Amulet Pieces
    • Secondary: Golden Balloons
    • Tertiary: Bananas (original)/Coins (remake)
    • Extra: Keys (and by association, T.T. Amulet Pieces), Trophies
  • Donkey Kong 64:
    • Primary: Golden Bananas
    • Secondary: Banana Medals, Banana Fairies, Blueprints (which were basically a midway step to Golden Bananas)
    • Tertiary: Banana Coins, Regular Bananas
    • Extra: Crowns, the Nintendo and Rareware Coins
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Primary: Spiritual Stones, Medallions, Triforce Pieces, Boss Remains, Pearls, Fused Shadows, pieces of the Mirror of Twilight, Servant Spirits, Pure Metals, Force Gems, Essences, Siren Instruments; and that's before most weapons/items...
    • Secondary: Heart Pieces, Gold Skulltulas, Stray Fairies, Bunnies, Stamps, Poe Souls, Ship/Train Parts, Secret Seashells, various capacity upgrades...
    • Tertiary: Bombs, Arrows, Rupees, Seeds, and so on...
    • Extra: Biggoron's Sword and its ilk. It's safe to say there's a lot of stuff to collect in every Zelda game you play.
  • Metroid:
    • Primary: New powers, weapons and suits
    • Secondary: Energy Tanks, Missile Tanks
    • Extra: Energy cells (Prime 3)
  • No More Heroes:
    • Primary: Ranks (Can you even qualify those as "collectibles?" Hmmm...)
    • Secondary: Trading Cards, Lovikov Balls
    • Tertiary: Money, Clothing
    • Extra: Swords
  • Psychonauts:
    • Primary: Psy-Cores, Emotional Baggage, Brains
    • Secondary: Psi-Cards, Scavenger Hunt items, Cobwebs
    • Tertiary: Figments, Arrowheads
    • Extra: Memory Vaults
  • Ratchet & Clank through Up Your Arsenal)
    • Primary: Gadgets, Infobots
    • Secondary: Gold/Platinum/Titanium Bolts, Trophies (in Up Your Arsenal)
    • Tertiary: Bolts
    • Extra: Skill Points
  • Rocket: Robot on Wheels:
    • Primary: Tickets
    • Secondary: Health Packs, Machine Parts
    • Tertiary: Tokens
  • Scaler:
    • Primary: Lizard Eggs
    • Secondary: Crystal Gems
    • Tertiary: Klokkies
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Primary: Animal Capsules, Chaos Emeralds (in games where they're plot-relevant), Sol Emeralds, Sun and Moon Medals (Sonic Unleashed), Flickies (Sonic 3 D Blast), Upgrades (Sonic Adventure), Scrap (Sonic Rush Adventure)
    • Secondary: Red Star Rings, Robot Generators and Time Stones (Sonic CD), Chaos Emeralds (in games where they're not plot-relevant), Upgrades (Sonic Adventure 2), Scrap (Sonic Riders)
    • Tertiary: Rings
    • Extra: Lost Chao (Sonic Adventure 2)
  • Sphinx And The Cursed Mummy:
    • Primary: Crowns, Canopic Vases, Jewels
    • Secondary: Anhk Pieces
    • Tertiary: Monsters, Scarabs, Dark Scarabs
    • Extra: Medals
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • Primary: Dragons, which perform this role despite not being literally collected.
    • Secondary: Gems.
    • Tertiary: Life fragments, which replace previously collected enemy drops.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!:
    • Primary: Talismans for the first two worlds; Orbs later move into this role.
    • Secondary: Orbs, which eventually also become primary pickups; Gems.
    • Tertiary: Fodder, not technically collectible, but killing a certain amount releases a 1-up.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon:
    • Primary: Characters; Dragon Eggs act as both this and secondary pickups.
    • Secondary: Dragon Eggs act as both this and primary pickups; Gems.
    • Tertiary: Fodder, not technically collectible, but killing a certain amount releases a 1-up.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Primary: Keys. In Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and both Super Mario Galaxy games, Stars/Shines
    • Secondary: Red/Yoshi/Blue/Star Coins, Flowers (Yoshi's Island), Comet Medals (Super Mario Galaxy 2)
    • Tertiary: Coins (100 for a 1-up), Star Bits (Super Mario Galaxy)
    • Extra: 1-up mushrooms
  • Vexx:
    • Primary: Wraithhearts
    • Secondary: SoulJars (literally called that, actually)
    • Tertiary: Heart Shards, 1-Ups
  • Gex had a 3-tier collectible system, but in a different way. There were 3 tiers of collectibles. Everything starts out tier one. Then it moves up to tier two after you get enough. Hit the threshold at 2 and you progress to three. Hit the threshold at three and voila! Extra remote.

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