June 30, 2016

8-Bit Minute: Game Collection

There's something that's been on my mind quite a bit lately. It's kinda bothering me, in fact. Then while walking my dog, catching up with the Rad Rascals, they brought up the very topic that's been causing me so much plight lately and it just opened up a whole new can of worms on me, and I spent the rest of the night crying to my other half  'cause I don't know what to do with myself.
Guys, I think I've entered my mid-life crisis.

I've been haphazardly collecting games for as long as I've been able, and while my collection is relatively modest, I'm still very proud of it. I'm pretty sure my stash would do little to impress any of you, but most of the non-gamers in my life gasp every time they set foot in my game room, and the little, evil voice in the back of head cackles. 
For the record: I'm not much of a collector. I grew up surrounded by hoarders and thankfully that environment deterred me from amassing anything, really, rather than turning me into a fellow messy fiend. I collect video games, books, and shoes, mostly. All three of these serve practical purposes, too: I play the games, I read the books and I actually wear the shoes, if only once or twice a year.

Every now and then, I go through this phase where I consider just selling everything I own, dropping all of my attachments, packing a small bag and traveling the world. The little adventurer in me loves this idea, but then the materialistic devil woman wakes up just long enough to remind me that I love stuff and the little adventurer can go to hell. 
But the thing is, I'm getting older now. My life has changed drastically in the last, say, 10 years and suddenly my hobbies don't make a ton of sense anymore. I still love gaming and have no intention of giving it up, but the amount of time, energy and most importantly, money that I shovel into this collection versus the amount of time I actually spend playing them these days is getting ridiculous.
This could be us, but I'm getting old. (Not my image, by the way. I wish.)
Furthermore, the game market is at an all-time high, and I can't help but feel like that's not going to last forever. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here racking up a long list of goals for myself that all require the time and money I normally put aside for games. I'm starting to have a really, really difficult time not only convincing myself to continue collecting, but even to hold on to my current collection. I'm so proud of the achievement, and yet I stress myself out, constantly worrying about having to build new shelves to house my games, and fuck it! While we're at it let's just buy a bigger house 'cause I'm running out of wall space, too. And if/when I move it all? Damn. I feel like I'd have to start over from scratch (most of my storage is custom, for the current space). God forbid my house should get robbed or go up in flames while I don't have everything properly insured. I don't even know how I'd cope with that.
And now I find myself considering putting myself in debt just so I can do other things that seem to grow in importance to me every day. I know selling off my collection would put a nice dent in this theoretical debt, and yet I can't yet bring myself to do it!

I reckon if I did, I wouldn't sell off everything. I'm definitely holding on to my consoles, and I think I'd try to widdle myself down to maybe my top 10 or 20 games for each system, and just let go of the rest. Maybe hang on to the few (nearly) complete collections I have, i.e. Tales of, Final Fantasy, et al.. But then I find myself feeling like I'm going to be that guy who throws something away and then immediately needs it the next day; I'll sell or give away a game and then suddenly want to play it again. But my Vulcan side knows I'll never get around to playing most of my games again. I'm thinking to myself, "man, I really loved Uncharted 4 and I'll definitely play it again!" But when, Lo? Honestly. There are 12,000 other games that require your attention right now and many more will come out between now and when you get around to playing U4 again. What the fuck are you doing?
Also, I have lots of great friends now who also collect. I'm sure if they had something I wanted to play they'd gladly lend it to me for a few weeks. It would just mean I'd have to crack down and decide what I really want to play and when. I wouldn't mind purchasing something and then passing it on after I've had my way with it. I'm sure my indecisive nature won't help at all, but I think I could handle it?
And then there's the inevitable conversion to all-digital gaming to consider. Ah jeez… I didn't have this much trouble converting to digital music and movies. I used to collect those, too. Funny I don't share these feelings about my book library, too. Still goin' strong there. But I already have a ton of digital games and constantly pass up on great deals because I want to collect hard copies. That will be a difficult pill to swallow, but does it really matter to me anymore?

I don't know. This idea has been floating around in my head for while but I was always able to quickly dismiss it. But now I'm in a situation where it just makes more sense, and I'm trying to kill my pride and do the economically responsible thing. Maybe. Getting old sucks, kids. Don't do it. It's a trap.

Any words of wisdom for me, guys?

Also Ben and Andy - this is not your fault. I still love you. 

25 comments:

  1. My collection has been going through a lot of changes recently. Honestly, I'm not a huge collector. I like to own games that I really like, or want to play sometime in the near-ish future, but I've never been one to go for full sets or anything. My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes to own lots of things. With the amount of money games cost and the fact that we live in a small apartment, the amount of games and the space they took up were starting to be a bit of a problem. We decided to get rid of some stuff. All the Sega Genesis games (around 300? of them) - gone. N64, Gabecube, SNES - gone. Will decided to keep going for his full Sega Saturn set as that's the console that means the most to him. I still have the games that mean something to me (which are spread among NES, PS1/2, and the newer consoles). When Will saw the money that came in from selling the Genesis stuff he decided money was more fun than games sitting on the shelf, and now I'm actually having to pull him back from selling off all the Sega CD (I failed) and Turbo games (which we still have for now).

    For me, it's more interesting to have a curated collection of games than collect everything. Between everdrives, digital, and as you mentioned, just buying what you want to play and selling it again after, there's not really a good reason to hang on to a lot of games that will likely not get any use.

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    1. Money is definitely fun, that's for sure, but I think the space management is stressing me out more. That, and choosing which games stay and go won't be fun for me either, as I only really collect games that I like or think I'll like, so there aren't many definite "you can go" scenarios. I'm scared to pull the trigger, but I think it's probably what needs to be done. Thanks Pam!

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  2. I'm close to where you are at currently, Lo. I've been really considering dropping most of my collection and paring it down to a few titles that I really have a lot of love for, and going the Everdrive/Emulation route. I feel like I'd regret it if I got rid of all my stuff, but at the same time, I know I won't ever get around to playing all of it, and when I do (for video quality capture purposes) I've been playing on emulation lately. Might be about time for me to sell off the collection, make a dent in my debt and maybe pick up some extra cash for my real hobby, making videos and writing.

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    1. This is from Brasel the Gamer, by the way. Thing wouldn't let me log in. lol

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    2. Is it just me, or is the current state of the gaming market adding to our distress? For some reason I feel like I have to pick up games when I see them or they'll... disappear, or something (grow in price?). It would be nice to be free of that feeling. And I hadn't really even considered emulation. It's just not something I've ever done (never really needed to) but you're right, it would probably work best for videos as well as relieving my shelf space.

      Thanks for popping in, Brasel!

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  3. Hello? Is this thing on? Oh hey, it's Vintage. First time commentor!!! Is it commentor or commenter? Google spellcheck says both are wrong.

    The fact that you are thinking so much about selling stuff tells me that you should do it. Your plan about keeping your consoles and selling all but your favorite games makes sense. You are also right that you could always gain access to a game you want to play through your local friends or the community at large. Do it Lo. I think you will feel much better.

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    1. You're always first in my books, Vintage.

      Normally I don't struggle with decision making like this. I'm very much a "think it, do it" kind of person so the fact that I've been battling myself over this is what's causing me to pause. I should have just stuck to my usual and pulled the trigger right away. I'm probably just psyching myself out now…

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  4. It's your friendly neighborhood Rad Rascal, Ben.

    First off, thanks for sticking with our little podcast, it means a lot.

    This is a subject I'm sure all of us have grappled with, or at least will one day. You get to a point in life where your perspective and priorities change, and your buying and collecting habits change along with that. I'm not a game collector these days and that chapter closed off when I purged my entire collection back in 2014, save for a small selection of my favorites. This was mostly Xbox 360 and PS3 games, and I traded them in so that I could afford an Xbox One. I traded in almost 250 games and ended up with almost $1,000 in EB Games credit. My decision was partly influenced by wanting a new console, but mainly due to the realization that I will never play most of the games I own. They will sit on a shelf and collect dust, nothing more. Purging my collection felt oddly liberating and I don't regret this decision. This isn't an approach I would recommend for everyone, but it gives some perspective on my mindset towards gaming these days.

    The other factor is that my life is different these days. When I was in my 20's, I could amass a big collection of games and buy pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want. I was single and answerable to nobody. Now I'm 36, in a committed relationship and the need to be financially responsible, a concept that I never embraced before I hit the big 3-0, has taken over. Yes, sometimes I miss the carefree days of my youth, but things are different now. Thankfully, different doesn't always mean worse. It's all in how you look at it.

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    1. I love RR, Benny boy! You guys are like family now. :)

      When I read this comment my first thought was, "Xbox One came out in 2014?!" That right there is a sign that I'm losing it. Haha!
      It's funny, being a modern gamer only (or at least focusing more on it) scares me, but it also makes more sense since these are the games I'm missing out on most of the time. I'm really starting to hate the feeling of my games collecting dust and not doing much else, but there's just too many of them.
      I'm definitely feeling the whole "getting older" change. I frustrate myself to no end when I try to embrace my new life and maintain the old one. I need to learn to let go, huh?

      Thanks for your input, Ben. Now go record another Rad Rascals to take my mind of this… (hehe)

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  5. I switched to just collecting the games that I personally enjoy and have meaning to me years ago. I don't feel like I'm missing out and I regularly pare down what I do have as my tastes change. My gamer friends who are seeing my room for the first time usually open with "I thought you'd have more titles" but after looking at what is on my wall they realize there is no shovel ware. All killer no filler.

    Maybe give yourself a trial. Pack some of the games you're considering parting ways with into a box. Seal the box and take it to your parents house. Wait 3 months and see which games you miss terribly. Those are the ones you keep. The others you can do without.

    Loved reading the other responses almost as much as your article. Miss you guys.

    -P1

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    1. Lo,

      I think we've all had similar thoughts and concerns as we age and our lives change and evolve. For me, I've never been a "collector" so to speak. I simply focus on collecting the games I had as a kid or games that were known to be great that I may have missed out on. I also play some modern games with the kids on the Wii U. But I can imagine that if my modest hobby became an obsession or grew to an unreasonable size I would feel as you do. There is such a thing as too much - even when it comes to video games. I think a healthy purge of games you know you'll never play again or have no emotional attachment to would be unregrettable and even liberating. Game collecting, or any collecting for that matter, should remain fun, relaxing and positive. If it becomes obsessive, or a distraction to more important things in life, or if it makes you feel bad about yourself, then maybe it's become something radically different than the hobby it's supposed to be.

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    2. I don't know that I have the patience to do what you do. Deciding what to keep will be a tough move for me, and a constantly changing collection is just beyond my ability to manage. I need to go sort of 'all or nothing at all' with this, methinks.

      Good to hear from you again, my brother. Welcome back! :)

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  6. Hey Lo,
    I totally understand where you're at with this, and while I've only really been collecting for about 2 years now, I've had the same thoughts and questions toward different "branches" of my own collection. "Am I really going to ever own all of the original Xbox games? Do I really need to collect this random NES title that I've never heard of, but everyone says is total crap?"
    So, when that happens, a purge, whether partial or on a grander scale, seems in order.
    Some decide to use the funds to reinvest in other aspects of their collection, maybe pick up something that has a lot of meaning, but has been a hard justification. Others may use the funds to pay down those parts of life that seem to pop up when we start to get older.
    At the end of the day, games can be reacquired or obtained through other means.
    I also found that setting collection goals can help keep things from getting out of hand in the first place, which is why I've focused on a subset of the really popular consoles and only the games that I want to be able to have at a moments notice for the rest.
    More power to you with whatever decision you end up making, but getting rid of that game you feel you may never play again (or may end up on some mega compilation in 5-10 years) is totally reasonable.

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    1. Being a multiple console collector is definitely a tough strain. And I have no idea how people who collect full sets do it. I'd lose my mind spending money on game that suck and whatnot. But like you said, that's a goal to work toward. I guess I never really had a goal, I just try to fetch games I think or know I'll like and that's what my collection is. I have very few games I'd truly be happy to part with - that's what's making this so difficult, I think. I don't want my kids to go to college.

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  7. Fantastic article as always Lo! I'm likely the 'last' person you should listen to when it comes to collecting things - but thought I'd give you my (maybe surprising) two cents :)

    Do it. Go through your collection, slowly or quickly, all at once or a little at a time. Collect up what you don't want, and let it go. Wait what!? What are you saying Dean!? Have the Maple Leafs won the cup!? Well, not quite - and before I get too far, I'd be lying if I denied shamefully mopping up a bit of drool every time a fellow gamer talks about the grand purge - but based on what you've shared, I truly think you'll be happier.

    Echoing the sentiments of everyone here, if you feel like you can distinguish the games and collectibles that you truly have an attachment to, then you're ahead of most. Hang onto those games that give you the most enjoyment; and use alternative means to enjoy the rest. As the great Sir Oxford once said, a hobby is "a small horse or pony." But he "also" said that a hobby is "an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure." And when your leisure time or pleasure starts waning, you gotta adapt.

    I know either way you decide to go, it'll be the right choice for you :)

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    1. On the contrary, I'd love to hear a professional collector's opinion on this!

      And some sound advice it was. Except the part about the Leafs winning the cup… what're you, crazy?!
      I think if I were able to detach myself from any chunk of my collection, I wouldn't be struggling with this so much. But I've never collected anything I didn't want, so choosing that top 10 or whatever is going to be a hell of a lot harder than it sounds. I don't know where to start! :(

      Thanks for the input, Dean. :)

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  8. I've been having similar thoughts, Lo, but haven't come to any conclusions myself. I have "talking points" I've come with. Perhaps they'll serve you better than they have me, so far:
    - It's universally agreed that we are in a "retro gaming bubble" in terms of prices. There is also the fact that console hardware will start dying (and electronics have a failure rate curve called the "bathtub curve" which means a lot of them are going to start failing at once at some future time). When this happens, the value of physical copies of games is going to plummet. There may be no better time to sell than right now.
    - We are all getting older. You are likely never going to be better equipped (physically and time-wise) to manage your possessions than you are right now. Do you foresee yourself becoming more physically fit with more free time in the future? If not, then there is no better time to trim your collection than right now.
    - It is costly to maintain a collection: insurance, storage, purchasing items collection cost itself. The collection is a liability, not an asset (unless you think the bubble will continue to grow).
    - But, there is one good reason to keep your collection and keep on collecting: it brings you joy. If it is a positive influence in your life, then that cannot be overvalued.

    So, it would seem there are a lot of reasons to get rid of the collection. In spite of that, I've not taken any action myself, though I have begun to be more receptive to the possibility.

    Good luck with your decision, Lo.

    -Eric (MightyQDawg)

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    1. With any luck, I'll be in some horrific, science-gone-wrong accident that renders me incapable of doing anything but playing games. Then I'll have all the time in the world. For now, I'm simply trying to decide what I can part with. It's been a lengthy process, to say the least. Thanks for popping in, Mighty Q!

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  9. It seems like everyone has advice on this one, Lo!

    No advice here, but just wanted to say that I don't really have a "video game collection", per se. I definitely don't collect like most everyone in the Club. I really only buy games that I loved when I was younger and want to have available to me whenever I want to play them, with the exception of a few series. Sometimes I pick up some stuff because it's cheap, but for the most part my collection fits into a few Rubbermaid bins in the basement (which is where it's been relegated since my son came along and took over my games room - thanks, kid).

    Personally, I'm very happy with my little collection. I've made a small, tight list of games that I really want to own and I just aim for that. Also, I'm not afraid of digital. Even if a game I really want to own physically is on my list, I'll pick it up for cheap on a virtual console just to play it. I figure it doesn't hurt if it's less than $5.

    Some day I'd like to put my collection back out on a shelf, but it certainly won't be really impressive like a lot of other clubbers, but as long as I can grab one of my favourite games whenever I want and pop it into a console to play, I'm happy.

    Don't let the collection ruin the fun! Then the terrorists win!

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    1. Being an "all-gens" gamer puts me in the awkward position of trying to hunt down all my childhood favorites as well as trying to keep up with the new releases. That's a lot of what's pressuring me, I think. If I were retro-only, I think this would be a rather clean cut decision. But I've never bought anything "just 'cause." I had every intention of playing everything I own, it's just becoming impossible, time-wise. And I didn't need a kid to discover that! :P
      Thanks for the visit, Ry!

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  10. Do it, Lo. I've purged a number of times and have never regretted it. It's one thing when you sell off some games in your youth because you have no other means of getting those new expensive titles, but as you get older purging is necessary. As you said, there are other things to do with your life that require the time, space or mental capacity that you are devoting to 'the collection'. If you want to change, grow or go down a different path, you're going to have to sacrifice. Just know that even though you purge, you're not going to get rid of the games that mean the most to you.

    Just weigh the two options: New exciting experiences that you find yourself dreaming about over and over...or a stack of video games.

    I might just give my own collection look over right now...

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    1. Not sure why I'm listed as 'unknown' but it's Vox.

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    2. How do I know you're not Fake Vox, Mr. Unknown...

      I wish I had the "just jump" mentality you have in the matter. Normally I'm very much a decisive person when it comes to these sorts of things, but this feels a bit like shipping my children off to college, across the country, not entirely sure if I'll even see them again. It's necessary, but painful.

      Thanks for the encouragement, Vox.

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  11. These aren't just games in my view. Getting all philosophical, these games are memories and little bits of self value. "My life is good because look how much I possess" sort of thing. Two years ago I ended a long relationship, and cleared almost everything out. All new clothes, she kept all the photos, new apartment. For me, it felt like renaissance. Even if you're not seeking a restart to your entire life, my view if there's great stuff to be had from moving on, keeping the core stuff you love, but leaving room for new things. I found out what I was really like and what I really liked in that process.

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  12. I liked those stores while they were here. I think that there is something truly special about them.

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