Gotta Catch Them All

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Here's all 718 of them.[1] It's gonna take a lotta balls.

Douche: Every Pokémon? Are you serious? You're sending us KIDS out into the world to find EVERY POKÉMON? You don't see ANYTHING dangerously irresponsible about this?

"Fantastic! I can't believe you went through the hassle! Are you some kind of machine? If it were me, I would have probably just let the world implode."

Narain Soothfancy, World of Warcraft NPC

Simply put, there's a number of somethings spread across far and wide, and the cast has to go find them. It could be more cast members, magical artifacts, pieces of a single artifact, or some other MacGuffin, but somehow each and every one will be involved in some individual plot that can pad the episode or even an entire Story Arc. The most basic form of Plot Coupon.

Ideal for TV series, as each episode can have its own obstacles, villains, and setting, and be written by a different author; just as long as each episode ends with a new plot coupon being found. The series can then claim there is a Story Arc to an otherwise completely unrelated set of stories. Also found popularity among video games for a while due to its simplicity, e.g. the Commander Keen series.

The Twelve Labours of Hercules are perhaps the earliest occurrence of this. (Originally Hercules was expected to perform ten, but the Dungeon Master decreed that two of them didn't count and made him do two extra. This still happens today.)

Often the reason for Walking the Earth, especially as a step on the way To Becoming a Master.

Main types of this trope are:

In video games, they can also be categorized as following:

  • Crucial: All pieces of something have to be collected to complete the game and dependent on plot. Often every of the piece or artifact is guarded by a guardian. An example would be Serious Sam 2 where a hero has to collect all 5 pieces of a medallion.
  • Semi-important: Only some part of them has to be collected to complete the game unless wanting to achieve 100% Completion. Super Mario 64 is an example of this.
  • Optional: None of the artifacts of that type is needed to complete the game, unless aiming for 100% Completion. Sonic the Hedgehog is an example of this. When they are earned in Bonus Stages, they are Chaos Emeralds.

One notable variation of this trope could be called "Gotta Retrieve Them All", in which the objects in question were once gathered in one place—often sealed in some variety of can, or as parts of a complex artifact—and only recently scattered (whether by accident or design). The collector must go forth and recover them, usually with the intent of returning them to whatever containment or construction originally housed them, or to put them in a new one.

Compare and contrast Gotta Kill Them All, which follows much the same pattern, but takes a more... destructive approach.

If the item in question can be bought, then let's hope it's crack. If each item is individually useful, but as a complete set very powerful, it's because of the Full Set Bonus.

Examples of Gotta Catch Them All include:


  • A commercial for an auto parts dealer showed a young man biking to the store over and over, each time retrieving a different component to repair a roadside clunker. At the end, he drives to the store to show off the car he's Caught All the necessary replacement parts for.

Anime and Manga

  • In the first season of Sailor Moon, Luna and Usagi must find her comrades, and then the group must fund the seven Rainbow Crystals to reform the Ginzuishou. The S season also has the Three Talismans, but there's only the three.
  • Pokémon Special had some fun with this. Like the game that inspired it, this is Professor Oak's dream so he can make a comprehensive Pokédex. Since he's too old, he just hands out Pokédexes to the main characters and asks them to do the job. Problem is, the Dex Holders all have their own goals, and this isn't high on the priority list. Oak is understandably pissed about this, and he ends up hiring Crystal to do the job. She succeeds... and then it turns out there's a whole other generation to catch. Poor Oak.
  • This is the driving force behind the first two seasons of Cardcaptor Sakura—Sakura accidentally scatters the cards in the first episode, and has to re-capture them.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Aion's plan hinges around finding the gifted children known as "Apostles". Chrono and Rosette's True Companions attempt to stop him from doing this.but only ends up handing him the last one he needs. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Dinosaur King revolves around new dinosaurs appearing in every episode, with the D Team and the Alpha Gang racing to get them. The DS game makes this mandatory, including a Dinosaur Encyclopedia that catalogues the Mesozoic beasties that you obtain, with rewards for getting certain amounts.
  • This is essentially Dark's main goal in D.N.Angel—he's stealing all of the magical works of art created by Satoshi's family, the Hikaris--who also created him.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka, being the Priestess of Suzaku, must gather the seven Celestial warriors in order to summon Suzaku. Cue an Unwanted Harem of men. In the second half of the series, they have to race their enemies for two Shinzahous.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou, like Fushigi Yuugi, has collecting the team of pretty boys. Then, in the second half of the series, collecting the Four Seals.
  • The cast of Inuyasha are searching for the umptynine pieces of the Shikon Jewel, an artifact of incredible power (that, incidentally, will allow the main character To Become Human). The Big Bad wants all the pieces too, so that he can become stronger.
  • Appears in Katekyo Hitman Reborn, after a sudden Genre Shift with the story getting more serious and actually having a plot. It is revealed that in order to become the next Vongola leader, Tsuna must assemble all six of his Bishonen guardians (Rain, Storm, Thunder, Mist, Sun and Cloud, with him being seventh element - Sky). Tsuna ends up having to do this twice, the second time being after he time travels 10 years into the future.
  • In Princess Tutu, the main character searches the town for shards of the Prince's heart, which was shattered when he imprisoned the raven from the story.
  • Those Who Hunt Elves spoofs this by scattering the runes of a spell to send the cast Trapped in Another World home. However, the runes are on the bodies of the elf inhabitants, so the cast decides that the logical (huh huh) thing to do is to strip every elf they come across in order to find the runes.
  • Hyakkimaru from Dororo is hunting down the 48 demons that took his body parts as part of a Deal with the Devil his father made.
  • How many story arcs in the various Dragon Ball series have involved the heroes and villains racing to see which side can obtain all 7 of the Dragon Balls?
  • Soul Eater is a partial example. Each weapon/meister pair has to collect 99 kishin eggs and one Witch soul. However, there are implied to be thousands of Kishin eggs out there, more than enough to go around.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, Astral's memory has been broken into 100 parts (the "Numbers" cards, one of which he got to keep). When a Number is defeated in a duel by Yuma, Yuma gains it and Astral gains a piece of his memory back. A number of other characters are also searching for the numbers.
  • Transformers Armada was all about racing to retrieve the Mini-Cons, though getting all of them isn't necessary. The series even acquired the Fan Nickname "Pokeformers."
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has the Jewel Seeds, dangerous artifacts that Yuuno lost on earth. Nanoha decides to help him collect them, but troubles arise when she meets Fate, a Dark Magical Girl who is also collecting the seeds for her mother. The usual "one MacGuffin per week" scheme doesn't survive past the second episode (out of twelve) and by the middle all Seeds have been caught - they are just in different hands.
  • In Naruto, the Akatsuki are trying to capture all of the bijuu. Pain wants them to create a Fantastic Nuke, whereas Tobi needs them to facilitate an Assimilation Plot.
  • In Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, the Pretty Cure must collect twelve Heartiels in order to revive the Queen. However, due to the mistaken belief that the revival ritual is also Powered by a Forsaken Child, the Pretty Cure make no real effort to collect them.

Comic Books

  • A Donald Duck comic by Don Rosa, "Recalled Wreck", has Donald doing this after he finds out that his neighbor (without any bad intention) sold the pieces of his beloved car to the neighbors.
  • The 99 is initially about Dr. Ramzi's efforts to track down the 99 noor stones, but that goal shifts in the first issue to finding the people who have been bonded to them.
  • One of the subplots of Brightest Day concerns the search for the Emotion Entities. A mysterious being is hunting them down for some reason and has already captured Parallax and Ion.

Fan Works

  • The Vasyn in With Strings Attached was sundered into three pieces and scattered across dimensions five hundred years ago. Guess who's asked to put it together?


  • The villains of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had been trying to collect all the Shankara Stones, and indeed held all three of them until Indy showed up.
    • In fact, Indy himself. He is of course, an archeologist. (After everything else that is...)
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack even made a list of everything he had to collect/make to be able to create a good Christmas.
  • In the 2001 remake of 13 Ghosts, Cyrus Kriticos has to find thirteen spirits with specific themes in order to power his demonic machine, the Eye of Hell.
  • The first Pirates of the Caribbean film required the crew of the Black Pearl to track down 882 pieces of Aztec gold to break their curse.


  • The entire plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows rests on this. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to search for all of Voldy's horcruxes.
  • In Douglas Adams' Life The Universe And Everything, the third book in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy, it's the villains who are collecting the pieces of the Wikkit Gate, and our heroes are trying to stop them (or, some of them are. The rest would rather get a drink and have a lie down).
    • On a more lighthearted note, there is Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who has grown so bored of immortality that he's made it his mission to track down and verbally insult every sentient being in the universe. In alphabetical order.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, the Knights of the Cross have, over the centuries, collected some of the demon-possessed coins of the Order of the Blackened Denarii, but cannot finally defeat the Denarians until they get them all. This was a major plot point in Small Favor.
  • In each volume of Jack Chalker's The Four Lords Of The Diamond, one of the Assassin's alter egos must find and either kill or subvert the Lord of the particular Diamond world to which he is assigned, as well as investigating his particular piece of the overall puzzle.
  • Louise Cooper's Indigo series involves an immortal protagonist who is destined to walk the earth until she has banished the seven demons which she accidentally loosed upon the world. Or so we're led to think throughout most of the series, anyway...
  • Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising.
    • In the individual book of that title, the protagonist must find the six Signs of the Light.
    • Over the course of the series, each book involves finding at least one artifact or set of artifacts (the grail (split between Over Sea, Under Stone and Greenwitch), the Signs, the harp (The Grey King), and the crystal sword (Silver on the Tree)).
  • Lyndon Hardy uses a variant of this trope in Master of the Five Magics, in that his protagonist learns the use of his world's five known types of magic over the course of the novel, and needs to use all five in combination to win in the end. The sequel, Secret of the Sixth Magic, inverts this scenario by requiring its protagonist to fail at all five magics, before catching on that a sixth form actually exists.
  • Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom combines at least two forms of this; in each book, the protagonist must find one of the seven separated parts of the Will of the Architect (each of which is a character in its own right) and one of the seven Keys.
  • Author Matthew Reilly is overly fond of this trope... To the extent that his latest piece of alliterative schmutz Six Sacred Stones ends with a mid-plot cliffhanger where the badass Hero has not caught them all with his bionic arm and we simply must buy another (as yet unreleased) hardcover for the resolution.
  • Subverted in the Twelve Treasures Trilogy - The plot of each novel involves restoring one of the stolen Treasures of the magical kingdom, and (obviously) there are Twelve Treasures, but only three of them have actually been stolen (that the readers know of; a different noble house keeps each one, and no one will admit to having lost one, so things get a bit murky).
  • The Holders Series are an odd subversion. The idea is apparently for the Seeker to "Catch" one or two of them to prevent them from ever being brought together, which will result in The End of the World as We Know It. Then again, it also says that not bringing them together will result in something which may or may not be just as horrible ...
  • In And Eternity, Orlene makes a deal with Nox, Incarnation of Night, to restore her son to life and cure him of a disease that afflicts him whether he is alive or a ghost. She must collect: a blank soul from Death, a grain of sand from Time's hourglass, a thread from Fate's loom, a seed from Mars, a tear from Gaia, a curse from Satan, and a blessing from God. It is hinted that the items were not necessary, but the entire journey was just a Secret Test of Character for Orlene.
  • In Bridge of Birds, the characters gather five pieces of a special ginseng root.
  • Septimus Heap combines this with Dismantled MacGuffin, since while the Paired Codes don't work at all if they're split, Septimus and Marcia have to collect The Darke Index and The Undoing Of The Darkenesse as well to make The Great UnDoing work.

Live-Action TV

  • 100 Deeds For Eddie McDowd, a show that was Too Good to Last on Nickelodeon. The title character, a juvenile delinquent, was turned into a dog and needed to do 100 good deeds in order to regain his human form.
  • Ezekiel Stone, the main character of Fox's short-lived 1998 series Brimstone, is released from Hell by the Devil to use his police skills to track down and retrieve 113 damned souls who escaped the afterlife back to Earth. Short life meant he got nowhere NEAR his goal.
  • Ditto with Jeremy Piven's Cupid, who was supposed to unite 100 couples. The show only ran 15 episodes, and some of them didn't add any couples to his tally.
  • The six pieces of the Key to Time in Doctor Who.
    • Subverted in 'Last of the Time Lords' where Martha talks about having to travel around the world to collect the four hidden pieces to a gun that could kill the Master and prevent him from regenerating. When the Master catches her and reveals that he knows her plan, she laughs at him and says, "You really believed that?" Turns out the whole thing was a bluff and her actual plan was something else altogether.
    • The eponymous Keys of Marinus.
  • The premise of Friday the 13th: The Series is that Micki and Ryan must recover all of the cursed antiques purchased from their uncle's store.
  • In My Name Is Earl, Earl must fix all the things he's ever done wrong in order to clear his karma.
  • In the first ever Chinese Tokusatsu Armor Hero they have to seal 52 monsters into 52 cards, in 52 episodes. It's quite a clean show like that.
  • In the Sci-Fi show The Lost Room, characters are, for various reasons, seeking artifacts known as Objects, which originated in a 1960s motel room and are endowed with curious properties (for instance, one Object is a watch which can boil an egg placed inside the band).
  • The main plot point of Reaper is that the lead has to catch escaped souls from Hell, similar to Brimstone mentioned above.
  • The twelve Cosmo Capsules in Chousei Kantai Sazer X. When united, the twelve of them grant one wish. So naturally everyone is after them. Each episode even keeps a tally on who has what Capsules.
  • WMAC Masters, a short-lived show that was a strange cross between Professional Wrestling, American Gladiators, and Power Rangers, featured this as its central mechanic. Winning a competition allowed one of the competitors to take his opponent's "symbol" (a medallion with a symbol engraved that relates to the character's nickname), and once one of the competitors got the symbols of each of the others, he could challenge for the championship.
  • Warehouse 13 is a show, similar to The Lost Room above, where objects have special powers for one reason or another (for example, a gun invented by Nikola Tesla is shoots energy bursts that knock people unconscious), and the Warehouse is trying to collect them.
  • Season 4 of Supernatural revolved around the protagonists trying to stop demons from breaking the seals that keep Lucifer locked. It was pretty hard, since the demons only had to break 66 seals of the 600 that exist. In season 5, they learn that the rings of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse could be used to lock Lucifer again. Luckily, they already had two of them at that time.
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai have created a meta-example of this. To further make use of the Merchandise Driven nature of the show, the number of Humongous Mecha have expanded in recent years. Gaoranger/Wild Force is seen by many as the start of it, with 22 Power Animals/Wild Zords, all of which were released in toy form.
    • However, there are times when the plot really is 'collect the six whatevers.' Operation Overdrive revolved around the five jewels to a magical crown (other artifacts empowered by them were clues, but also powerful themselves.) The Rangers also once had to go collect the pieces of the Dismantled MacGuffin (which they broke and scattered. Didn't want the bad guys to get the Zeo Crystal, didn't realize they'd actually be needing the thing.)
  • In the Community episode "Introduction to Statistics". Annie has a breakdown if everyone doesn't show up to her Halloween party.
  • The Collector: One of the Devil's clients got the ability to get rid of guilt by transferring it to others through tattoos, turning them into sinners. His redemption required finding them all and completing their tattoos, restoring his memories of the guilt's reason as well as their original behavior.
    • Another client had to re-absorb the people made from her split personalities.
  • In The Legend of Dick and Dom the heroes are questing for potion ingredients (the claw of a siren, the mists of time, a pint of milk...) to cure a plague.
  • In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the rangers scatter the Zeo Crystal across time and space in order to stop it from falling into evil hands. In Alien Rangers they have to reassemble it in order to restore time back to normal.



  • Johnny Cash's song "One Piece at a Time" is about a man who builds a Cadillac in this manner.


  • Older Than Dirt: In Egyptian Mythology, after he was murdered and dismembered by his evil brother Set, Isis searched for and reassembled the pieces of her husband Osiris's body. Technically she didn't Catch Them All, but that's a deficiency the couple just had to learn to live with. If you don't know what that means, the missing part is his penis. A fish ate it.


  • Bionicle"
    • First has the heroes gathering Great Kanohi Masks.
    • Then Krana, similar to masks but alive.
    • Then the heroes found out that the little village elders were collecting loads and loads of scary worm things called Kraata.
    • Then Or rather earlier Great Kanoka Disks.
    • Then after everything above but before everything else on this list a bunch of heroes turned mutant hunchbacks, were trying to save every surviving monster in the city after an attack of spider monsters
    • And then, The heroes were given a big list of things to do including collecting several ancient artifacts
    • Last time we saw this in Bionicle the heroes were trying to collect some magical keystones to open a big magical door.
    • Also worth noting is Onu-Metru a city that consists of a huge underground museum where a sample of everything is kept; quite obsessive folks, aren't they?
    • Lately, on Bara Magna, Tahu must collect the six pieces of the Golden Armor in order to defeat a legion of Rahkshi.


  • Into the Woods - the Witch requires the Baker couple to retrieve four fairy-tale related items to break a curse.

Video Games

  • The Trope Namer is a U.S. advertising slogan for Pokémon, which had both the creatures and the Gym Badges.
    • Interestingly, the catching of the pokemon themselves are just optional, given that there's a large number of creatures present in the game. The Gym Badges, meanwhile, are of the crucial variety, given that they are needed to advance the plot.
    • Or, in some cases, one must review 'em all.
  • The puzzle pieces in Alundra 2. They're optional, but if you want better attack, you will be collecting these.
  • In An Untitled Story, you have to collect at least some number of gold beads in order to open the way into the final dungeon.
  • In Diablo II:
    • The player may collect various armor sets; if you get all the pieces you usually get a special bonus.
    • In Act II, the hero must collect the pieces of the Horadric Staff, then combine them in the Horadric Cube.
    • In Act III, the hero must collect various relics, then combine them in the Horadric Cube to open the entrance to the Durance of Hate.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Attack Of The Saiyans of all games has this as well: you're tasked into using Tien's Mafuuba/Evil Containment Wave on every single non-boss enemy in the game in exchange for various items. Never mind the fact that the reason the attack is never used on anything later in the story is because it kills off the user, while in the game all it does is cost him a chunk of his HP which is easily gained back between turns later in the game.
  • Graffiti Kingdom is a platformer/RPG hybrid in which you can draw your own characters, or use any enemy as a base, bosses included, up to and including Satan. And, unlike some games, the way you draw your creature has a huge impact on how it controls and what it's capable of.
    • This also includes a number of cameos that need to be found... inclduing some VERY unlikely ones. (Flying Maiden,[2] anyone?)
  • Glider PRO: "There are 6 stars in the house. Get every star to win."
  • Guild Wars. Hoo boy. There are 1,319 skills including 293 elite skills, 26 heroes, and 33 charmable animals to add to your Zaishen Menagerie. Aside from the elite skills, it's all just for fun and/or 100% Completion; the elite skills contribute to four maxed titles toward the thirty required (and thirty-eight available, so you don't technically Gotta Catch Them All, and in fact can't) for the game's ultimate Bragging Rights Reward: the God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals title.
  • Half Life 2 Episode 2 had the optional quest to get every single Antlion Grub. Doing so got you nothing but an achievement, albeit an achievement hardly anyone has got.
  • The Ham-Chat words in Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! and Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak. The stickers for Rainbow Rescue can count as well if you're into that sort of thing.
  • The Harvest Moon games have a Gotta Catch Them All aspect in Magical Melody (music notes) and Harvest Moon DS (harvest sprites).
  • An easter egg (Optional) in the Microsoft Space Simulator Hellbender involves capturing pieces of "Bion Technology" (one hidden in each level) to form a Superweapon upon collecting all the pieces.
  • In The Journeyman Project III: Legacy of Time:
    • The player must collect each of the three pieces of the legacy, one from each time period / location in the game.
    • Collecting the piece held by the Shangri-La monastery requires that the player unlock a staircase in a particular chamber. This involves locating each of the six Buddha statues around the monastery, giving each something it requires in order to get the object that will unlock a corresponding section of the staircase.
  • Kakurenbo Battle Monster Tactics has 125 types of monsters to defeat, each with their own type of pawprint (called a Montac) and a skill to learn if the defeated monster has enough power. (Some monsters give up the same skills though.)
  • In King's Bounty, in order to find the scepter that was the game's ultimate goal, one had to find the pieces of the map detailing its location. As a Shout-Out, its successor series, Heroes of Might & Magic, has generally allowed you to similarly gather pieces of a map to find some special building or artifact, although it's now a Sidequest, rather than the game's central plot.
  • Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge. The player has to locate four pieces of a sacred scroll, each of them concealed in a different "world" within the game. The gameplay of each world is completely unrelated to the others and except for the first one, can be played in any order as the player chooses. It sort of smacks of a committee of writers who couldn't get along and were separated for their own good.
  • The Zelda series always have some of sort: 8 pieces of the Triforce, 6 medallions, 8 instruments, 3 jewels, 4 masks...the apparent only exception is Zelda II the Adventure of Link, in which the hero has to put 6 jewels on statues, but the principle is the same...
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, you have Kinstones, which each matching pair having a different effect (unlocking secret paths, removing barriers, making special items available, etc.)
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which has the Nintendo Gallery. You have to take pictures of pretty much every character, enemy, and boss- all 133 -in the game. Well, here's your Picto Box. Have fun!
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a villainous example of "Gotta Retrieve them All": Ganondorf briefly possessed the full Triforce and is trying to reassemble it.
    • Gold Skulltulas. Technically they're a case of Gotta Kill Them All, but you still have to catch the tokens. There's a whole hundred of them, and you have to revisit some dungeons with new equipment you didn't have the first time around to get them. Have fun.
  • Rareware seems to be in love with this trope, managing to shoehorn huge numbers of things you need to collect into practically every game.

"Now then. In line with Banjo Tradition, your challenge will consist of collecting as many pointless items as possible."

  • Many BioWare games operate like this.
    • Neverwinter Nights is almost entirely based off this trope. First, you need to collect the bits of fantastic creatures to cure the plague, then you need to collect the journals of the cultists to prove they are in Luskan, then after Luskan you need to collect the Words of Power, after which the final battle begins.
      • Shadows of Undrentide: You begin by collecting the artifacts stolen from Drogan, arranged in such a way so that the important one is last, then you collect the Three Winds so as to get into the spire on top of the city of Undrentide.
      • Hordes of the Underdark: The second chapter actually does this in a way that makes sense, with your primary quest being to demolish the Big Bad's power base by removing her allies.
      • This trope is much less prominent in fan-made expansions, but collecting the map parts in Tales of Arterra and the seven lessons in the beginning of A Dance With Rogues qualify.
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer, hunting for clues to the cause of your curse might qualify, as does hunting for allies in the first chapter.
    • Knights of the Old Republic: You get to collect the Star Maps so that you can find Darth Malak's base of operations and power base.
    • Knights of the Old Republic 2 has the Jedi Masters you have to hunt down and gather at Dantooine or kill.
    • Mass Effect: you collect bits of a coordinate, more coordinates that tell you how to use what you find when you get to the first coordinates, and somebody who can understand the whole thing. A checklist of planets, each with a beginning, middle and end, and each with their own miniature scenario which you must resolve as part of your quest to Save The Galaxy.
    • Mass Effect 2: This is very nearly the entire point of the game. Most of the game revolves recruiting teammates for your suicide mission (with DLC, there are 12 members in total, though you technically only need 8 to complete the game) and then gaining their loyalty so they don't die during the final mission.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series does this. In each of the 6 games in the series, you battle with battle chips. Each game has a couple of hundred to find by either defeating enemies quickly or simply picking them up. Collecting them all usually allows you to fight a Bonus Boss.
  • The Mega Man Zero series until the fourth game also does this, with the cyber-elf computer programs. These little critters are collected all over the place, powered up, and used to give Zero useful bonuses. The games inhibit the latter feature, though, by lowering Zero's rank with each use.
  • In MOTHER, you needed to collect eight melodies throughout the game (although this wasn't obvious). In EarthBound, most of the game consisted of visiting "Sanctuary" locations, and collecting... eight melodies. Finally, a big part of Mother 3 was pulling needles. The catch was, your literal Evil Twin was too.
  • Virtually all the Nancy Drew video games require Nancy to track down missing pieces—gears, dolls, crystals, mirrors, whatever—for some sort of mechanism. The Last Train To Blue Moon Canyon interlaces three collect-em-all subplots.
  • The Neverhood requires you to collect twenty videotapes telling the story of the world, narrated by Willie Trombone. You can watch these and get a good idea of what's going on even with several tapes missing, but collecting all twenty is important, since it unlocks the final part of the movie, allowing you to get a key from Willie.
  • At the most primitive end of this trope in this medium, Pac-Man can be classified as a Gotta Eat Them All game.
  • Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal had fifteen trophies; nine found in various levels, two found be collecting 40 titanium bolts and 30 skill points respectively, two found by completing every type of a certain challenge, and two found by maxing out your health and every weapon. The kicker? You had to beat the game once, then play through it again just to get everything.
  • In Resident Evil 5, there is an achievement/trophy which requires you to get every single type of treasure in the game. This may require a guide or FAQ due to a few obscure ones: eg. from killing many enemies during a part where the game wants you to run.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, you do this with both the Moon Crystals (the 5 you actually can get are promptly stolen from you when The Dragon ambushes and destroys your base; you do not get them back) and optionally with crew members.
    • Though you need to find all Discoveries and at least 90% of the game's chests in the Game Cube Remake if you want the Three Secrets an Infinity+1 Sword for Vyse, another Discovery worth lots of money and a Bonus Boss.
  • Sly Cooper did this with the first game collecting pieces of his family's how to be a great thief guide, the second collecting the remains of the first games Big Bad, and the third game revolved around collecting party members for a big heist at the end of the game.
  • The Suikoden series of games does this with the 108 Stars of Destiny to get perfect endings—party members and usually-helpful NPCs for your castle
  • There was a heavy degree of Pokémon-ness in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Finding all the cores and catching (AND evolving) all those monsters definitely caused a heavy sense of nostalgia.
  • Thief: The Dark Project: you must find each of the four elemental talismans to unlock the wards on the Haunted Cathedral. In Dark Project this involves two quests, while in the Gold version each talisman has its own quest.
  • Ultima Underworld II required the Avatar to collect a blackrock gem from each of eight different worlds.
  • In Ultima XI: Ascension the Avatar had to collect each of eight corrupted runes of the virtues and their eight corresponding sigils in order to cleanse the eight shrines of the virtues. Eventually, he also needs to collect three additional sigils for various virtues.
  • Unreal 2's Tosc-unlocking thing. You hop around all but two missions (the first and the defense one) gathering pieces of the artifact. Then it turns out that it alters the most harmless sentient creatures in the game into killing machines with black hole guns, so what you just spent the entire game doing turned out to be a really bad idea.
  • Animal Crossing. Too many things to collect. Furniture... Clothes... Fish... Bugs... Fruit... Flowers... Gyroids... The list goes on forever!
  • Jigsaw has the player reassembling an ... enchanted? hyper-tech? ... jigsaw puzzle, unlocking more destinations for their time machine with each piece found. Then, at the end of the game, you find out you were also supposed to be sketching animals to achieve the (only slightly different) good ending. Better start over!
  • MANY classic Interactive Fiction games rely on this concept: learning all the spells (Enchanter, Spiritwrack), assembling the Dismantled MacGuffin or some other piece of machinery (Starcross, Stationfall, Wonderland), or retrieving all the treasures from a dangerous area (Zork, Adventure, Hollywood Hijinx, dozens more).
  • The Great Cave Offensive game in Kirby Super Star lets you win by just running straight to the right and beating a few bosses ... but it's not a VICTORY unless you pick up the 60 treasures along the way.
  • Tony Hawks Pro Skater has gaps, areas where you have to grind, manual, or jump from point A to point B. Finding all of them nets One Hundred Percent Completion.
  • Dynasty Warriors 4, of all games, has two of these. In The Symbol of the Mandate, the objective is to find the Imperial Seal. Meaning that after smashing the enemy force (maybe four minutes if you're taking it nice 'n easy), you have to break all ninety-nine empty crates scattered around the building to make the one with the Imperial Seal appear, three of which aren't even present at the start of the stage. (And of course, Sun Jian will act like it's a normal stage, meaning he'll sit on his royal butt in the corner and periodically whine about how long you're taking.) Even better, the Seal appears automatically once the timer is down to 3 minutes, meaning that if even one crate is still standing by then, you've run all over the place and worked yourself into a lather for nothing. In the Battle of Yi Ling, on the Wu side, you have to destroy all the archer towers before Zhu Ran reaches shore for the fire attack to automatically succeed, otherwise you have to escort him to the Shu camp. Since leaving even ONE tower standing results in failure, which is very bad if you're hunting down towers instead of taking out the Shu forces which are going to be on Zhu Ran like a pack of rabid wolves, it's a much better idea to forget the towers and just make as safe and simple a trek for Zhu Ran as possible. Needless to say, Koei never used the idea again.
  • Kingdom Hearts. Hoo boy.
    • The first game gives us treasure chests, puppies, trinity marks, synth items, Ansem reports...
    • Chain Of Memories gives us cards, cards, and more cards.
    • Kingdom Hearts II has limits, summons, drive forms, abilities, synth items, and still more Ansem reports. Final Mix adds puzzle pieces.
    • Days gives us panels, emblems, and the insights of the protagonist's fellow Nobodies.
    • Birth By Sleep has commands, shotlocks, keyblades, more commands, ice cream, treasure chests, stickers, still more commands, and Xehanort reports.
  • Fossil Fighters features this in the form of collecting fossils, which in turn are used to revive into dinosaurs known as vivosaurs.
  • The Borderlands DLC "Robot Revolution" has several achievements which involve collecting sizable numbers of excruciatingly rare items that serve no other purpose whatsoever.
  • Assassin's Creed has a "quest" needed for 100% Completion and for achievements; namely, the collection of miniscule flags on every single map.
    • Assassin's Creed 2 has a version of this; the feathers you collect for your [Ezio's] mother.
    • Also present in Assassin's Creed 2 is the sidequest to upgrade Monteriggioni. The collection of all armors, weapons, buildings, etc. can be annoying, though the payoff can be worthwhile.
  • Beyond Good and Evil has the pearls you need to buy necessary parts for your hovercraft, but the real example is the animals: You get money for photographing them and a prize for finding them all.
  • Chrono Cross: 45 playable characters, three playthroughs with no mistakes to get all of them. Have fun!
  • Dark Cloud 2 needs you to go recruit town members in the initial city by doing a lot of sidequests then put them into various places. This somehow is the method to fix a broken future.
  • In Jabless Adventure, there's an optional sidequest to collect the 10 Hero's Fruit.
  • Both the Baten Kaitos games have the Gathering, a sidequest to document every Magnus in the game. Including pictures of enemies, quest magnus, and other things that can be easily Lost Forever. In the first game, one magnus takes 336 hours, or two weeks in-game time to transform. And it does nothing in battle.
  • In the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign, Raynor must complete certain missions to acquire all the pieces of a Xel-Naga artifact before unlocking the final three missions of the game. The artifact is the key to defeating Kerrigan. Other missions are optional, but a certain number must be played to unlock each of the artifact missions.
  • In Chack'n Pop, Chack'n has to recover a bunch of hearts that have been stolen by Monstas and trapped inside cages. It's just that kind of game.
  • Warzone2100's campaign practically revolves around finding new parts to upgrade your forces - lest you get stomped to bits by your enemy.
  • Every Mario RPG ever made. Super Mario RPG has Star Pieces, Paper Mario 64 has Star Spirits, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Crystal Stars, Super Paper Mario has Pure Hearts, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga pieces of the Beanstar, Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time has pieces of the Cobalt Star and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has Star Cures. All are crucial, although their importance varies.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Lab/Treasure/Land maps, Talisman pieces, collectable plushies... Petsites are full of these, and they always have a final goal, that's it, some sort of status for the users that collect these, since it's impossible to have all the pets at once.
  • The aim of My Opinions On Every Pokémon Ever is to review every single Pokémon.
  • A double-subversion occurs in The Holders Series. The 538 cursed objects must NEVER be brought together, or it will result in The End of the World as We Know It. That doesn't stop the Seekers from trying to find them, though.

Western Animation

  • A ton of old G.I. Joe episodes involved Cobra's attempts to Catch Them All, perhaps the best-known being their collection of historical military leaders' DNA to create Serpentor. The 5-part G.I. Joe miniseries MASS Device involves the Joes in a race with COBRA to collect three rare elements from various places to power their teleportation machines. One of the rare elements is heavy water which is in pools at the bottom of the deepest ocean (obviously).
  • The premise of Lilo & Stitch: The Series (a Recycled: the Series of the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch) is that everyone has to find the other 625 experiments (Stitch's "Cousins") lost throughout Hawaii. As of the finale movie 'Leroy and Stitch', this has been completed, up to and including Leroy, who is unofficially Experiment 629
  • The crew of the Wraith in Pirates of Dark Water were supposed to collect 13 treasures. The show only lasted long enough for them to get 8, in part because the eighth took the entire (truncated) second season to find.
  • The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo had those meddling kids (well, four of them: Daphne, Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy) plus mentor Vincent Van Ghoul and the supposedly lovable young rascal Flim-Flam trying to recapture 13 ghosts that had escaped from "The Chest of Demons".
  • In Transformers Animated the All-Spark shatters into umpty-nine pieces each which affects Future-Detroit's technology as well as the giant robots in different ways. The cast has to find them. The similarity to Inuyasha didn't go unnoticed by the fans.
  • The Shen Gong Wu from Xiaolin Showdown.
  • King Arthur and the Knights of Justice had the twelve Keys of Truth, that could return the knights home.
  • In the Rainbow Brite episode "The Beginning of Rainbowland", proto-Rainbow Brite has to find and rescue all 7 of the Color Kids in order to transform the world into Rainbow Land.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Each season has a group of artifacts or creatures that are targeted by the good and bad guys: Talismans, Demons, Talisman Spirits, Demon Masks, and cursed objects.
  • The pieces of the Pyramid of Power in Pandamonium.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has the team founded with the intent of re-capturing 74 villains, who break out of prison in the sixth episode. However, only a handful of episodes from the first season have re-capturing an escapee as the main focus. Most of them get captured during subplots or Offscreen Moment Of Awesomes, occurring while the Avengers tackle threats that could destroy the world unless foiled.
  • The Honeybee badges of The Mighty B! Unlike most examples, however, this is not necessary, but is a personal goal Bessie has set for herself (believing she'll become a superhero if she succeeds).
  • This is the premise of the Danny Phantom movie Reality Trip: the villain, Freakshow, has 3 gems that he wants to use to control reality. After Sam, Tucker, and Danny teleport the gems across the United States, they are forced to retrieve them when Freakshow kidnaps their families and promises to only let them go if they retrieve all of the gems in three days.

Real Life

  • Many real world scientific fields started out as someone looking at something incomprehensibly vast and trying to "catch" them all. At some point in human history, somebody, somewhere decided to document every animal in existence and created zoology. Others decided to try to document every plant in existence (botany), every star in the sky (astronomy) and even document the living things too small to see (microbiology).
    • And the really kicker of all that: none of those fields have actually succeeded in that task. New animals, plants and stars are still being discovered.
      • And you know what? No one ever will, new stars are created, new species evolve as older ones die out. If someone lives long enough, every possible carbon-based life form will be recorded. Of course then you know what comes next. Yup. Everything NOT carbon-based.
  • The MIT Mystery Hunt, probably the world's most famous Puzzle Hunt, has this in the form of puzzle and meta-puzzle solutions: You need to solve puzzles in order to solve the meta-puzzle their answers are associated with, and you need to solve meta-puzzles in order to solve the meta-meta-puzzles, and so forth. However, generally speaking, these are designed such that you don't need to solve all the puzzles in a given set; it's often possible to guess at the answer to a meta-puzzle once you have some portion of its component puzzles completed. Technically, if you could find the answer without solving any of the puzzles, you could jump right into it, but that's basically impossible, so they're Semi-Important.
  • One of the great mathematical accomplishments of the 20th century is the classification of all the finite simple groups. Fits this trope because beyond the well-behaved, predictable cyclic groups of prime order, alternating groups, and groups of Lie type there are the twenty-six so-called sporadic groups which do not readily fit into any category.
  • The attempt to "catch" all 94 naturally occurring chemical elements. Finally achieved with plutonium in 1941. But, rather like the Pokémon creators, science now gives us the possibility that element 121 may also occur in tiny amounts in nature.
  • Participants in the Human Genome Project spent years sequencing the DNA of all 46 human chromosomes. Continued efforts to actually determine the functions of ~30,000 human genes, now that we know what their code looks like, will keep geneticists Catching Them All for the forseeable future.
  • Particle physics. You thought getting Milotic was tough?

randomforumgoer115: THIS 100% WORKS!!!!!! get 9000000000$ then press "build", dont pick any of the options, write down "huge circular tunnel". now build it wherever (i used switzerland), now buy lots and lots of dipole and quadrupole magnets, like 1300 dipole and 400 quadrupole, you need the superconducting ones or it wont work. now this is very important you need like 100 tons of LIQUID HELIUM! or itll overheat and youll blow the whole thing. now you need to throw protons into there, the idea is to make them go fast (this is why we bought the magnets, they make them go in a circle), but usually this wont be enough, at this point youll get a suggestion to buy the linear accelerator and the synchrotron booster. now this is tricky, youll get proton beams and you need to make them run into each other, youll have to play with the magnets until it more or less works. now buy the best detection kit and use it on the tunnel, its a pretty low chance so itll usually take like 2 or 3 years but if youve done everything right youll get the HIGGS BOSON!!

  • To many collection hobbyists, either of the regular or exotic type, this trope applies, making this particular entry of the trope a subtrope of Crack is Cheaper. These people tend to be known as Completists.
  • Basically the job of a police officer. Criminals in the neighbourhood? Gotta Catch Them All!
  • This wiki itself is a Gotta Catch Em All of tropes and archetypes from both fiction and nonfictional sources, whose success will have an unknown significant meaning for the universe!
    • TV Tropes no longer counts, as it explicitly refuses to acknowledge works or tropes that violate its censorship regime. You can't catch'em all if you pretend half of'em don't exist.
    • *Ah-hem*. When they aren't too busy defining what shall be catch'd.
  • Geocaches
  • People who work on dictionaries are constantly doing this with their language, which ebbs and changes as words come into and fall out of use every year.
  • During the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, military personnel were provided with sets of playing cards picturing 55 "Most Wanted" Iraqi terrorists.
  1. not including alternate forms
  2. Reimu Hakurei