Sunday, July 30, 2017

Game Collecting: When is Enough Enough?



After collecting and playing retro games for over a decade, I believe I have now reached the (reasonable) end of my want list. When I started, it was primarily to play games that I played as a kid. I never intended to have entire sets for any console. As I would browse online reviews and lists, I would stumble upon other great games that I missed. I always vetted a game thoroughly before I decided to buy, unless I was presented with a great deal.

While I don't consider myself a collector in the strictest sense of the word, I do have sub-collection goals, which are easier and more reasonable to achieve. Mostly shoot' em up, beat' em up, and run'n gun games for my favorite systems. Having an entire collection never made sense for me, considering how many sub-par games there are on each system. I can easily skip past them. I suppose my collection takes more of a personalized character, instead of a "collection".
The NES Mega Man games were aways a big part of my youth, and I still play them to this day.

This became apparent to me at the Midwest Gaming Classic. As I cruised through the vendors tent, I either did not find any games that I was dying to have, or did not want to pay the stratospheric prices for the few left that I do want (like Image Fight/X-Multiply on Saturn). In a tent of hundreds of game vendors, I came away with only filler games, most of which I could do without. Perhaps I felt obligated to pick up something, as I made the trip up there. I bought them because I got deals on filler titles, not because I was seeking them out. This was telling; my collecting was nearing an end.

I can finally say that my collection is nearly where I want it; a curated collection of the games and genres that I enjoy. From what I can tell my "collection" is fairly modest compared to many of the collection pics I see on social media. Between Facebook groups, Pinterest, Twitter and the like, game room and collection pics are the selfies of the retro gamer community. I see collections that are filled with boxed sets, sealed games, and all the accoutrements that follow.  After all, collections are prized possessions and achievements, so why shouldn't they be displayed for all to see? It's fun to see the enthusiasm for the hobby and the creative ways that games are stored and displayed. Even still, sometimes these can be off-putting as a grotesque "look at me and what I have" sentiment persists. There seems to be some "keeping up with the Joneses".

Capcom 2D fighters on the Sega Saturn are a favorite subcollection

I know that I enjoy playing most every game that I have, and that is good enough for me (granted, I have a backlog of several dozen games to actually get to). After watching "hidden gems" videos on YouTube, I get the sense that those videos are scraping the bottom of the barrel.  There are fewer "hidden gems" and any further lists on the topic are strained. For the most part, we have seen the best of what retro gaming has to offer. Sure, there may be reasons why a game stands out: an interesting gimmick, a reason for rarity, or historical significance, but as far as it being fun? We would have seen it by now. I could actually not buy another game and be perfectly happy with what I have.

This sentiment may be coming at the right time, as game prices seem to be at an all-time high. If I started collecting today, I would probably just use an Everdrive, or Retropie, depending on their situation. When people ask, that's what I tell them anyway. I'm not sure if this means my passion for the hobby will fade. I hope not. I like to think of it as focusing my energy on actually enjoying the games I have, instead of seeking things out. That's really the point, is it not?


My Saturn heavies; worth the price of admission (when I bought them)