Collection marathons are a concept that is often referenced in a pejorative sense to refer to any game that features a heavy emphasis on the collection of tokens scattered throughout the game world in order to progress. As an early, inoffensive example, Super Mario 64 requires the player to collect stars in each world, with later worlds only becoming accessible after specific numbers of stars have been collected. This collection aspect was adopted by other games of the era, particularly other platformers of the N64 and PlayStation.
As the concept became more prevalent, use of the collection aspect grew to the extent that some games such as Banjo-Kazooie and Star Fox Adventures require the player to collect multiple kinds of trinkets in order to progress. This reliance on trinket collection is sometimes criticized as needless padding and adds little to the game experience other than a reason to make the game longer.
Because this concept was frequently used in the past, some more modern games reference it for parody. For instance, in the intro to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the player is asked to collect objects that are absurdly laid out in a straight line until the Lord of Games mercifully cuts the exercise short and introduces the game proper.
Anachronox introduces "TACOs" - an acronym which simply stands for "Totally Arbitrary Collectible Objects". True to their name, they are completely optional and have no bearing on the story.