I’m a completionist. In everything I do really. If I try to fix anything, I won’t stop when it’s at least functional. I keep going until its working as its supposed to. In video games, I strive to get every collectable item, finish all the side quests, and do so before finishing the game proper so I don’t have to go through the game again. Also, when I get games used (which is always) I try to get the case and manual to the point where I’ll not buy it if both are not available. With this in mind, you should also know that I’m a big advocate of moving video games to an all digital format. It would mean cheaper prices for consumers and more convenience and support for titles. Steam is a great example of what this digital exclusive version of the video game industry could be like.
Every hidden package, every side mission, I’ve done it all.
Another reason I support a digital only format for games is because of the benefits it would have towards the environment. Without all those cases and manuals for video games, there would be less waste and less clutter. I am a eco-conscious person who recycles, likes to buy eco-friendly products and who has already gotten rid of my DVD collection in favor of AVI files on my PC. Playing Sonic the Hedgehog a lot and being a big fan of The Lorax as a kid will do that to you, I guess.
I saw this video featuring Adam Sessler of X-Play fame, now working as Editor-in-Chief of games content at Revision 3. In the video, he expressed his distress over throwing away his game cases and putting the game discs in disc binders in order to save space in his new house. The aftermath resulted in numerous bags of cases that would be thrown away and replaced by about five disc binders. Obviously, that’s a lot of space saved not to mention a lot of waste that seems below necessary. He then talked about what seems like a primal need to collect items like game cases or various other types of media. This got me thinking and I realized that while I do some things to be helpful to the environment, I too have this inert desire to collect things regardless of my desire to not be wasteful and for a digital future in video games.
So what did I do? I happen to have an extra disc binder and I put all my games that were disc based into the binder. Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii, all of them into one binder. I still have room. As for the cases, for the time being they’re just stacked in my shelf as I contemplate what to do with them. More importantly though is I’ve resolved to care less about obtaining a case and manual when buying used games. I already buy titles on Steam without batting an eye and the same goes for XBLA titles. If there’s a good deal on buying a full Xbox 360 game on the Xbox Marketplace, I’ll get that as well. It’s admittedly rare, as Microsoft appears to just be ignoring what Valve is doing with Steam, but I do have Halo: Reach, Kameo: Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter digitally on the Xbox 360 already.
My Steam library looks like this too.
Backtracking a bit, why did I have this need to collect the cases and manuals to begin with? Well, I remember when I was younger, the box art for games were these flashy but artistic endeavors that got you pumped for the game while also telling you vaguely the experience you were about to have. Manuals in turn were these fully colored books with impressive art in addition to helpful information as to how to play the game. How many times have you been stuck in the game back in the day and pause it to look something up in the manual?
Sadly nowadays, none of this is true. While the front cover is still sometimes great to look at, most of the time they are merely an image of the protagonist of the game with little else and more importantly, you still get that image in digital markets. Manuals have all been removed from games and replaced by flaccid pamphlets that are four pages long and in black and white. More importantly, they are not really manuals as they explain hardly anything about the game. Most of that content has been moved into the game itself via in game tutorials or a How to Play option in the settings menu.
I swear, there’s a meme for everything now.
I know some people who are not in favor of a digital only market because they enjoy their cases and manuals but these have essentially been already taken away. Therefore, my own desire to have cases and manuals to my games is purely on tradition. I will say that for those who want that kind of product should have it available to them as a special edition. Pay an extra five bucks and get a full featured 60 page manual that doubles as an art book as well as an instructional manual with imaginative box art that isn’t covered with legal text and quotes from reviews and previews and is printed on both the front and back of the inlay.
I may sell my cases and manuals on eBay, store them in a box and put it in my storage room, or I may recycle them. One thing I do know already is having all my games in a single disc binder is already extremely convenient. How do you feel about being eco-friendly with your games? What about physical media in general? Comment below and let me know. Oh and here’s the video I was talking about with Adam Sessler. It’s thought-provoking!