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A type of minigame within a game where you are rewarded for completing each map. Typically, the game will have a minimap that will fill in as the player explores them. Once the map is 100% complete, the player will typically receive some sort of reward, although it may only count towards their overall mapping or game completion.

On larger maps or games where the map only fills in small areas surrounding the player, this can quickly turn into Last Lousy Point for each and every map, especially if the visual representation for the explored area is none too precise.

Examples of Cartography Sidequest include:

Action Adventure

  • Avalon Code rewarded you for exploring rooms completely with Book of Prophecy points.

Action RPG

  • Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland had a mapping quest: you first had to find the area map. Once you'd discovered it, there were three or four landmarks in each area, missing from the map. You had to add them on, then return the map to a store in the first town. You were paid for each landmark. If you completed the map, it was bought off you, and you had to buy it back. (if you wanted the map, obviously)
  • Visiting all 3000 rooms in Meritous nets the Infinity+1 Sword.
  • Shadow Complex nets you experience points for exploring new areas. This can be repeated during subsequent playthroughs.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles rewards your characters with experience, Tech and Ability points for discovering areas and landmarks, and even moreso for finding hidden zones and secrets.


  • You get experience for each part of the map visited in an area in Wax Works. This is the only way to level up in the London area.
  • In the marine exploration game Endless Ocean, certain items and events will only appear/occur when certain percentages of the map have been uncovered.
    • Played even straighter in the sequel. Oceana starts a cartography business, and each map is completed as you travel to every part of the area.

Eastern RPG

  • Star Ocean Till the End of Time, which had huge maps and lots of little crevices you had to walk into to complete the maps. Most people only bothered for the really good rewards, if they bothered at all.
  • The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV has this sidequest given to you by Naming... Er, Mappingway. Not only do you get rewards for each map completed, but you also get the Treasure Hunter augment if you complete them all.
  • The DS game Nostalgia had a sidequest in which you look for landmarks on the world map based on clues from NPCs. Every ten landmarks you found earned you a reward.
  • In Uncharted Waters 2, this is actually the main quest for one of the six characters, Ernst von Bohr, whose life dream is to compile the map of the entire world. Other characters, especially of the Adventurer background, may take it as a side quest, too, if only to make a quick buck. Even Ernst, though, does not *have* to complete the map, so it is just a sidequest presented initially as your main objective.
  • Etrian Odyssey's entire stated plot purpose is to map the dungeons.
  • Wild Arms 3 had one for uncovering the entire map. Getting Lombardia makes it easier to complete.
  • Somewhere between this and Treasure Hunt Sidequest is Skies of Arcadia's "Discoveries"; it's the age of exploration and you can earn money by reporting all of the interesting things you find while travelling the world. Counts as cartography because you have to go *everywhere* to find all the discoveries, and because some of the discoveries involve adding whole new locations to the map (Lands of Ice, Yafutoma, The World Is Round).
    • There's also another guy looking for them; the longer you take, the more he finds, and the more rewards you lose out on because he got 'em. At a certain point in the game, if you've found enough of them, he'll join your crew (which gives stat bonuses) and you won't have to worry about anyone else beating you to them.
  • Similar to Skies of Arcadia, Xenoblade rewards the player with an EXP bonus every time he or she discovers an unusual or out of the way location on the world map, which also serve as landmarks you can quickly travel to.
  • Tales of Vesperia gives an Achievement for exploring the entire world map.
  • This is pretty much the whole point of the DSiWare dungeon crawler Picdun. The layouts of each floor create little pixel images when they're completely mapped out, and a floor isn't considered "complete" until you've explored every space on it.
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment has a sidequest involving this given out by a rich sheik: completing each map he gives you nets you a lot of rare cards, which are used to summon Personas and teach them skills.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a Sidequest for getting 100% completion on most of the game's maps. This can only be accomplished by visiting the same location across multiple times, including a level with constantly-spawning, unavoidable enemies.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

  • You get titles for exploring the map in Guild Wars—there's a series of titles, so you'll get a "reward" for considerably less than every pixel, but they're given for mapping out the entire game rather than one area, so it'll take a while anyways.
  • Retro Mud gives bonuses to gaining certain levels if the player explores a certain percent of the world(s).
  • World of Warcraft actually does this for each zone, giving a lesser achievement for each, and then an overall achievement for getting ALL of them, which also grants a title ('The Explorer'). You don't have to cover every inch of the map, though, just visit each named sub-zonal area; there are about 10-30 per zone on average. You also get a tiny bit of experience each time you discover a new sub-area.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has dozens of deeds for visiting key points in every single area, anything from all the farms in the Shire to all the dungeons of Moria.
  • Most adventure areas in Dungeons and Dragons Online have an Explorer quest which awards experience for finding various checkpoints and a bonus for finding all the checkpoints in a single area.


  • In ToeJam & Earl, each square on the map screen that you uncover adds a point to your score, and increasing your score is the main method of increasing your ranking. Squares that are made semi-visible by picking up telephones don't count; you have to actually visit the square. Fortunately, just visiting the very corner of the square makes the whole thing appear, so you can often get credit for a square that's mostly empty space if there's a tiny outcropping of land poking from an adjacent square.
  • The Castlevania series is fond of this trope.


  • Test Drive Unlimited has an Achievement for finding all the roads on Oahu.

Western RPG

  • Ultima Underworld awarded experience points for exploring the Abyss.
  • Fallout 3, Reilly, a mercenary leader, will ask you to map out the Capital Wasteland in exchange for caps after you save her squad.
    • Fallout 2 has a couple small-scale cartography quests in Vault City: one is exploring the eight map squares surrounding Gecko; the other one is finding a route to the capital of the NCR.
    • And all the 3-D Fallout games award a small amount of experience per visited landmark. New Vegas has an achievement for finding 75 landmarks, which gives you even more experience upon completion.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken gives you a small "Exploration Bonus" XP reward for uncovering every space in a sector.