I've amassed a fairly (un)healthy amount of game-related stuff in my time. For years I relentlessly bought assorted gaming crap, just to tickle that part of my brain that releases weird chemicals as a reward. Consoles, toys, keychains, cartridges, diskettes, discs, even candy have all been purchased by me in this pursuit. I would come home and pretty much every day there would be a package or two for me to eagerly rip into. Sometimes it was a console, other times a weird japanese gaming mascot that made funny noises. More often than not, though, it would be some Megadrive / Genesis game that I'd bought regardless of entertainment quality.
Sega stuff is great to collect; there are loads of different games and console iterations out there. The carts come in hard plastic cases, as opposed to Nintendo's infamously flimsy cardboard efforts. And as far as getting collectable items goes, some of the Sega stuff ranks as very rare when placed alongside the gaming world at large. There are a few titles that had relatively limited runs and, as a result, their price is pushed up.
I was hit with a belated blast of this post-purchase slump recently. I'm shifting into a new house soon. I've also managed to squash my compulsion for buying retro gaming items. Last night, in anticipation for my impending move, I took my boxed Mega Drive / Genesis games out of the drawers they live in and placed them on the floor. There they were, over 130 games, just sitting there...
The sad thing is, it just didn't (and still doesn't) look like many to me. I've got other drawers full of other games for other systems, but my Sega collection is meant to be the big set piece. It's supposed the software equivalent of Bruce Willis dragging orphans from the burning wreck of a tank as he guns down three menacing androids, all set to an immensely stirring choral soundtrack with Chuck D shouting rhymes over it. But looking at it instead brought a bout of ambivalence.
At first I just felt a bit deflated, with all the years of collecting the damn things condensed into a couple of square metres of floor space. Then a wicked feeling stirred in me: I needed to buy more. Obviously my collection was incomplete, and the only way I'd quell my annoyance at this fact was to add to the sad pile on the carpet before me. Luckily, for whatever reason, this pang of wanting passed me by pretty quickly and I got on with sorting out stuff to pack. But for a second there, I'm sure the corner of my eye was twitching in an alarming way.
I guess what I'm saying after all this is that collecting can turn into a very dangerous game. No matter how much you get, there will always be another seemingly unobtainable item to chase down. I've come to a realisation: sometimes it's bad to let your hobby get a grip on you in such a way (unless your hobby is something noble like saving orphans from burning tanks). Once your hobby starts ruling your thoughts and directing your behaviour, then it's probably not a hobby anymore. It's an obsession.