Gaming has seen a resurgence of collecting in the past two decades. Recently I have been having internal battles over it.
No longer did staring at boxes and rows of games yield any joy for me. The drive to collect was dwindling. Joy was still found in playing and expanding my knowledge on the subject. Otherwise I would not have enjoyed my writing submissions this year. But learning about obscure Game Boy games aside, I also have other hobbies. Varied interests can be important for the mind, even if just for burnout.
I never got into collecting hard and fast. It is a practice I have followed for years. This resulted in years of collecting and offloading. A endless cycle of inventory. By the end of 15 years of it though. I have lots of games, but no drive to enjoy them. Picking up titles a boring exercise to me now.
The thing is, the above is just one part of several wholes. It made me feel burned out on the ownership. Changes in my life are also a influence too. So, paring down or curating the space in my life and mind was needed.
Some places suggested objectively looking at what was not wanted. What you have finished and will definitely not go back to. Others said to make a game out of it. The same way the hunt of collecting is fun. Reverse the variables to your advantage. Some say put it away and take a long break. Sadly, none of that did cut it. Even after paring down my Playstation collections, it never looked right to me anymore.
“Once you let a few rare games tumble from your collection, it’s real easy to watch the rest go” Not limiting your choice to cheap titles, but also setting aside the games you have actual legitimate nostalgic value too.
Thing is, this advice ‘for me’ was really good. As he mentions, cornerstones of collections and holy grails tend to keep sets together. Once they go, you realise how much of the rest is unnecessary to you. The advice is coming from someone who knows the field well. But what worked for one will not always work for another. Life is unprecedented like that.
Figuring out what your most loved games or franchises are is easy. Then just set aside everything else. I did not limit that to just games either. The Legend of Dragoon was the first corner stone and after a few weeks I had barely noticed it was gone. In fact, nearly all the RPG’s went quickly. After all, when will there be time for 60+ hour titles in the coming future?
At times though it was really hard and drawn out, like a battle of attrition. This is the catharsis to which I am referring here. The internal battle you may have with yourself while you go through the process. You might change your mind, get angry at doing it or really emotional over letting something go. I never would have imagined a need to purge emotional tension over video games.
Yet after about 6 months it was over. I was left with was shelves of pure joy. But that was not the only thing, for me owning and collecting so many systems is something, I just find less joy in. After all space and time are finite and with more focus choices are easier. I kept SEGA, Game Boy and NES because they were bought with a curated mind.
A lot of people do talk about regret with these things. I do not miss a single RPG, I have hours of memories. Rather than regret, feelings of the burden being lifted was all I felt. Liberating myself in the process.
By doing this I have given myself more energy to focus on new games, experiences and writing. Such as my trips to Scotland or Manchester Comicon back in summer. Summer is that thing in England we see once a century.
There is definitely no wrong way to clear up your gaming clutter or one way to collect. I will likely still pickup games for my two childhood systems and hunt MGS trinkets. The decisions will however be quite informed by my need to own, rather than just play. With that in mind, I am off to deliver some pizza to Peter Englert!
Keep on, Keeping On!
About the Author
Jason Hamilton (Haiirocyon) is a freelance writer and forensic science graduate based in Cumbria, UK. He is rather wacky and really wanted to have an online name just like the kids in 2001. Remember when anonymity was a thing?
Was also one of those kids!