116: Deconstructing Collection

Deconstructing Collection

"What's strange about the collecting circuit is some collectors rarely even play the games they covet. 'The backlog is the only major downside to collecting,' says Ryan Underwood, a programmer with over 1,100 games. 'Between new games and the old stuff I hunt down, I don't think I've played a single game, uninterrupted, since I was in grade school.'

"Aaron Linde explores the collection compulsion."

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I can relate. I have about 250 games in my own collection, paltry next to some but obsessive compared to others. Most of my collection is just games I've purchased over the years to play and then held onto (I never trade in my games), but I've made a few purchases of older titles just to have them, and paid through the nose for a few of them too. Nothing quite so insane as 20 grand for a Nintendo cartridge, although I've sucked it down on eBay for games like Ultima Underworld, Freespace 2 (sealed!), Battlespire and Redguard. Collector's editions have indeed added a new level of hassle to the whole thing, in that I almost inevitably end up springing for CE and enduring the withering glare of the wife, but in the end it never stops being worth it.


First -- Ultima = Can never go wrong.

Second, I have a similar affliction, but with machines...I can't stop collecting machines...

The only old machine I still use is one my five Commodore 64s, though I have 3 Commodore Vic 20's, a Commodore PET, an Apple IIe, and a few boxes of obsolete modern PC parts.

To add to this, I would willing (like a coke fiend) take any old system off the hands someone willing to just unload it--it's amazing how many people have just trashed their old systems. Just think--TSR-80s, Amigas, countless Commodores of whatever model, and all other early PCs that, once the IBM compatible (or the *hack hack* Mac) became the mainstay, just got pitched...

Not to mention the copies of games with them...I still have my original Gateway to Apshia cartrigde for C64, in it's original box...along with (I don't know how many) other games.

It's not just the games -- though they bring the money -- some of us are also stuck on our machines, even if you can emulate them on the PC -- try hooking up the old Epyx eroginomic joystick a modern PC...W,A,S,X,[Ctrl],[Alt], and mouse look do offer the same experience. Not to say one is better than the other...they are just different...and both old-school and modern are equally important.

Modern designers should be forced to play old-school games -- maybe they would get what we loved about the old machine (not including load times)!

Chris @ GameScholars . Org
-- GameScholars.org

I almost slipped into the endless gyre of game collecting. Last year I picked up just about any hard to find PS2 RPG and SRPG that I could get my hands on - just in case. The year before I bought a REPLACEMENT copy of Valkyrie Profile and because it didn't work all that well (thanks in part to how frail the game really is, and mostly to my ancient PS1), I returned it for Ikaruga. But what started it all was a friend of mine who burned his first print of Disgaea out a sort of misplaced "rock and roll is the devil" mentality. He gave me all of 16 his PS1 games... mostly Squaresoft and Enix, and vanished off the face of the earth. Then when times were tough, instead of selling any of my 25 gamecube games I had purchased and played to completion over the years, I sold games that were far more valuable to make ends meet. I wasn't attatched to games that I bought out of a sense of rarity. I would never get rid of games that meant something to me. I have a Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete that I won in a bet. It's one of my favorite games, and playing that and Chrono Trigger with my children some day will out last the impulse completionism that led me to buy the Shadow Hearts games. (I still won't let go of my NIS SRPGs though (ever(even if they take up WAY too much time)))

I don't collect games just for the sake of having them. If I don't have time to play a game, I don't buy it, its that simple. But I am pretty picky sometimes. I never buy anything with "greatest hits" written across it, instead I'll seek out a used version of the original printing. And like many serious gamers I'm sure, I never sell a game. I never know when I'll want to bust out my Genesis + 32X and play Virtua Racing (though admittedly, it hasn't happened in at least 4 years).

This is one thing I will miss about digital delivery. I buy almost all PC games on Steam now, and it looks like consoles are headed in that direction too. Digital delivery just makes too much business sense to fight. But I'll miss pulling out my few impressive gems that I had the foresight to pick up long before they sold out or went greatest hits.

I've never quite understood the collector mentality or reasoning.
I have never bought a game or game system for sake of being part of a collection.
I have bought games that I didn't end up liking, but who hasn't done that?

I prefer physical copies of games for consoles, these can be traded if the games are mediocre or bad.
I won't go out of my way to buy games that don't have the greatest hits text printed on them.

Why does there seem to be a notion that "if you're a serious gamer then you never sell your games"?
I suppose this pack-rat collector mentality of "holding on to everything" is part of what drives people to have such large collections of stuff.

For PC games, I like digital distribution, it means I don't need to have find room for more useless boxes.
Most game manuals that have been coming out recently have been so short and disappointing that it's not really worth even having them.

Nice article Aaron Linde,


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