Behind the times, as usual, I recently finished my playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 4. It was a fantastic game. Upon completion, however, I found myself wondering what I would move onto next. This prompted me to take a look at my collection of video games. Surrounded by swag, I had a simple thought: "Why do I collect all of this?"
Don't get me wrong, it isn't like I was having a moment of doubt and considering taking all of my merch to market. I just don't think that I've ever actively considered why I collect in the first place. Of course, I've got many reasons of my own (which you'll soon discover), but I was also curious as to why other people collect. Hosting an open forum for a small survey was the perfect chance to get an inside look at what people snatch up and what their motive is. I resorted to a basic reddit post on /r/gamecollecting where users were more than happy to share their personal thoughts.
What do you collect?
Personally, I'll snatch up whatever catches my eye as interesting, which is a real bad habit to have. Video games, consoles, strategy guides, figurines, I want it all! I will admit that there is probably more Mega Man and Zelda paraphernalia on my little shelf than anything else, though. It seems like most of the people who shared with me on reddit are in the same boat, with the exception of some users who stick with one company at a time, but you gotta start somewhere. A comment from Mitch (reddit handle /u/Warruzz) gives good reasoning for this, "I collect Genesis at the moment, but that is simply to keep focused and only stray outside of it if a really good deal presents it self." Makes sense. Being able to focus on one thing at a time definitely helps streamline the process.
Speaking of good deals manifesting themselves, Mitch has a website with a section devoted entirely to collections and awesome finds. Visit http://pauseyourgame.com/ and check it out!
Does your collection stay mainly to one brand (Nintendo, Sega, Sony, etc.) or do you have a little bit of everything? Does brand loyalty play any part in your hobby?
Growing up, it was always my friends who had a Genesis or a PlayStation. It wasn't until I was older and able to spend my own money that I started acquiring my own consoles. Because of this, Nintendo definitely holds the most nostalgia for me. /u/humanman42 vocalized perfectly the only sense of brand loyalty that takes place in his (and my own) collection. "... I know more about Nintendo stuff. So when searching through tons and tons of games, my eyes will see the good Nintendo stuff first."
I've branched out plenty, though, as I've even acquired my first complete-in-box Sega Saturn game (with console!). It's so cool to be able to experience all of these titles and systems that I didn't have the opportunity to when I was younger, even if I don't have as much spare time to do so as I'd like.
How long ago did you start collecting and how has it grown?
As with most of the people included in this discussion, I couldn't really tell you when I caught the collecting bug. I do know that even if my room were a mess, I'd always make it a point to hang onto and preserve any boxes for any video games I received. I've got a plastic storage bin with all of my GameBoy Advance cartridge boxes (complete with their corresponding manuals and peripherals) sitting in my garage at this very moment. I never knew why I wanted to hang onto them, I just did. I even still have the big ol' box that my Skyrim Collector's Edition came in. Just can't let the things go.
So I guess you could say I started young, since I can't pinpoint the exact moment. I've only gotten rid of games that I haven't necessarily enjoyed, so my collection certainly hasn't shrank. I wish it was growing in Room of Doom proportions, but we're just chugging along for now.
Is your collection "hands off"/for decoration or do you pull things off of the shelf to play on a regular basis?
It appears that unlike toy collectors, those of us in the digital realm have unanimously spoken:
What good is a game if you don't even play it?? Just like action figures, they were created to be experienced firsthand. I like having the boxes for display, of course, but the only things that are not to be touched are sealed items. Even then, I've been smart enough to purchase doubles of said sealed items to be used as "play" copies, much like how some people have shelf and read/loan copies of books. Still, just like /u/redbearder says, don't go using my GameCube discs as drink coasters. "The games are there to be played, but still be nice and put them back when you're done playing."
What are your future plans for your collection?
If I were rich and famous, I'd probably constantly have the funds set aside to fuel my scavenging spirit. For now, I only make a purchase when I have some extra cash. My biggest aspirations are to get as much Mega Man and Zelda merchandise as I can. From there, we'll see where we move onto next. Maybe Dreamcast titles... I do love giving that console attention.
Most everyone that shared with me is on a system-by-system basis, moving onto the next console only once they've completed a set. We've all got the same "can't stop" mentality as /u/noisyturtle, though. "As for the future, my collection can only grow, and I have no plans on stopping collecting for cartridge based systems. I am thinking about starting to collect/play for the Turbo Grafx and the PC-FX."
Why do you collect?
What it all comes down to is a combination of enjoyment, nostalgia, and a tiny bit of investment in the future. I love playing video games, by myself and with friends. Picking up these titles gives me plenty of material to where if I (or anyone else) ever got an itch to play something specific, I'll be able to pick it right up off of the shelf. It's also fun to just look at all of it. It's a window into the past of game design. There's a lot of fun to be had in reading the descriptions on the back of boxes, looking at the pictures to get an idea of what the game would look like, or leafing through the manuals to discover some hidden in-game move you didn't realize you could perform, or that there's a secret third option below all of the rest to fight Bahamut (not actually in any manual). Nostalgia comes into play especially when I've got friends around and we can share our memories about whatever we see on the shelf. Good times, man, good times.
Perhaps I should explain what I meant by investment in the future. I know I'm going to have children one day, and I would love for them to have the freedom to experience the things I did when I was their age. Having a library of video games and systems will give them those chances to explore and conquer the worlds I traveled through as a kid, and maybe even teach me a thing or two about them. It won't be something I'll cram down their throats or anything, but just knowing that the option will be there is somewhat comforting to me. And hey, if they don't like it, I can just cash it all in for top dollar later on and buy myself a convertible just in time for my mid-life crisis. Or maybe it will be worthless, and I'll just bury it in a landfill with all of those copies of E.T.
Please do weigh in and answer these questions yourself! It would be great to hear individual reasoning and have discussions about differences and similarities. Also, share your collection! Let's see some snapshots!