Collecting Games - How and Why? [Self Reflection]

Avatar image for squidracerx
Posted by squidracerX (1070 posts) -
No Caption Provided

This is SELF REFLECTION, so if you collect games (or comics or whatever) and love it - dont be upset. I'm not hurting you or your collection :)

This is my perspective whether you agree already or disagree; even then one day your circumstances may align to help you relate with me.

I think my father summed it up well once - collections are like chains you form around yourself, you lug them throughout life.

Ive felt this way for a while, but it really hit me today when i watched a particular "collecting" video on YouTube. A guy who owns a game store dropping like $1500 on collecting game stuff for his own collection. Some was cool stuff. But some was utter garbage that was just "rare". Why did he want that!?

It wasn't this video that shaped my view, but it was a "straw and camels back", situation - that it was just one more guy dropping thousands on his hobby, and people being like "oh, great collection!". Yeah, for $100's a week dropped on this hobby it had better be good collection right!?

I've seen an ever increasing amount of "collectors" on YouTube. They've always been there I guess, I've just been watching more. And at first I was really blown away by seeing a guys "complete Nintendo 64 Collection". So impressive! But now I feel like these people are only known for this collection, and define themselves by it, and its not a necessarily positive thing...

The more YouTube I watched, the more cynical i got, (about many of these collections). Great, you have money, you have room to display them. But then you dont even play these games or read these comics... And at least these guys can justify it by people clicking their videos to watch (profit/followers). But how many thousands collect and dont show it on YouTube. What is this culture? Why do we do it? is it healthy? (For us or Earth). I'm not saying hobbies are bad. And collecting stuff (records, games, art) is 100% a hobby. I do it too! But is owning a lot of stuff really impressive? Is that the coolest hobby? Who doesn't like to be surrounded by things they love, but when is enough enough? Why cant 50 games make you happy? 100? 1000? 50,000?

Id go watch older videos of these YouTuber's showing how they got these games, id watch more and more channels doing the same thing.

I start to see that for many of these guys, there is no childhood memory for a specific collection. Its not like I still have my NES collection from when i was a kid, (sadly had to sell it), and found it in the garage and put it out on display. Many of these guys/girls never even owned the system they are collecting for. So the nostalgia factor isn't there...

Then i watch other channels, and I start to see that lots of other people have these complete collections too. So yeah, i love museums, and the historical aspect, and its cool you have this hobby, and it is still rare - but you have a collection for a system you never even had, you arent even playing 45% of the games anyway, and its not even unique? Why are you doing it?

Then i see how much they spent for some of this TRASH. "Hey its a complete collection", yeah but some of the games are just flat out SHIT. And people are paying "oh i just dropped $1000 on these 2 NeoGeo games." WTF!? That's not impressive, if you are just rich enough, you can afford anything. Throw enough money and you WILL get that complete collection.

I start to get less and less impressed the more I watch. Combine this with my life experience -- I have a Dad with a superb comic collection from when he was a kid, (not ever bought for value, but for love, and we all read those comics). I have a brother who collected things we arent interested in, and he just passed away at 40. And I just moved across country, and couldn't take a lot of my "collections" with me.

This gave me new perspective. My Dad always planned on passing this comics we all LOVE onto me and my brother. But with him passing it means they go to me. And that wasn't the plan. i see how sad that makes my Dad, that my brother never got to be part of this beloved collection. I mean we read them and loved them, but whats the point really? What if i passed soon? Neither of us have kids ot pass it on to either. All that time my Dad moved the comics, and space storing them etc... It changed the meaning of a lifelong collection over night. So this put it into perspective for me - one fire, one flood, one death -- and that collection might not be what you had always planned it to be.

And speaking of my brother's passing, funerals are expensive. I'm glad the collection was there to help us with the burden, but my Dad never planned on selling these comics -- yet here he was; and its awesome that Hulk #1 and X-men #1 could pay for his funeral costs. But this wasn't what it was supposed to be for. Now the collection is missing not only my brother to appreciate it, but some key defining books.

Now if i was a rich YouTuber - who cares, I can buy Hulk and X-Men back again someday right? But i wont, i dont want to. Not only is that a huge waste of money to pay collecting prices for something you already owned, but they wouldn't be my dad's comics. i wanted HIS comics. Not Hulk #1. I wasn't alive for that, I wasn't in the store spending my allowance on it. he fought his parent to keep them from being thrown out! that would have been my collection.

And i see the burden of a collection. My brother collected stuff because he loved it (D&D manuals, etc). But we dont want that stuff. I really see - you cant take a collection with you. Can wee sell that stuff? Maybe, eventually my Dad will get around to pricing it out. But other people shouldn't be waiting for you to die to sell your stuff. Enjoy your collection while you have it....

And then i see my collection. i moved across country. i left so much behind (Thanks parents for the use of a room!).

i like the comics, and CDs, and action figures, and statues, etc Ive bought. but now I dont have room. Will i ever be able to go get them and drive them out here? Will i want them by then? Some CDs i really like that I have even though they are worthless now (I have over 3000 CDs). But many are genres Ive outgrown. I dont want them. They are worthless to sell. So you may think you want these video game collections in the future, but you may not. i have a huge Steam library, i told my niece to have my password in case something happens to me, (its 1000+ games!) She was like "i dont really want it". Ohhhh that hurts.....

So I think its time to reflect - the Earth is at a critical point of mass consumption. I guess old game collecting is recycling, but it really is this consumer life - and electronics are VERY bad for the planet (the rare metals mined to power phones and consoles etc). So even if it is your money to with what you will, mass consumerism does hurt earth with mining and garbage waste. Just the envelopes and bubble wrap that these guys get stuff mailed in would make a huge difference.

And on a more personal note -- WHY ARE YOU COLLECTING?

Just brainstorming - but what reasons are there for collecting (types of collectors)? I think these can overlap as i have a friend who 100% collects coins for value (to pass on to his kids), but he LOVES it:

A - The guy who's trying to impress people. You have the biggest record collection, Jay Leno has the most cars. Could be to brag and show wealth. Could be to draw attention (biggest collection of bottle caps or something).

B - The historian. Was really into this stuff, you want to get it all before it disappears. Would probably donate it eventually because the collection is what is important.

C - The lover. You already HAVE the collection. Its what you had as a kid. You might add to it, (I loved my Muscle Men collection, i did add a few that I always wanted but couldn't find as a kid, and ebay was new so it was fun to track them down). But I already had most of it. You dont collect for value. Will probably open the items and display them. Wont really plan on selling. Would rather share this love with others!

D - The investor. This whole collection will be worth 5 times as much. You dont open things. You might not actually care about the items, you just know they are worth money, (I have a friend who collects beer trays, i didn't even know thats a thing, he only does it for $). My beanie babies will make me rich!

E - Inheritor. It wasn't your collection but you got it from someone. Maybe you like it, maybe you want to sell it. (I have a ton of Japanese/Asian stamps from my Uncle, I dont care about them. I have read they are worth a lot these days, but I have no idea how to find out or where to sell them!).

F - Time waster. I know people who collect because its fun and give them something to do, they collect, and move on. Its fishing poles one year, football memorabilia another. Could just be your friend does it so you jumped on board, (my mom did this a few times - with pie birds ugh).

G - Caught Your Eye. I know people who never collected anything. And something caught their eye. Amiibos got some people :)

H - Impulse. The cereal box has one of 5 toys, i have 2 already , i need the other 3 now! This pack of cards says it has one rare one guaranteed! This Spiderman issue is #1 again! I have to buy it! (Probably the least healthy collecting as its just marketing and you're being manipulated).

I know I fall in the Lover or Inheritor categories mostly. i open boxes (sometimes save them but not usually).

But yeah, the more i watch YouTube. I see some people collect what they like - a girl named Kelsey for example, (found her on Metal Jesus (she owns Pink Gorilla Games), showed her collection, and she has a lot of stuff she likes - you can tell her personality just by looking through her stuff.

But most others I saw - you wouldn't be able to tell them apart or tell who's collection it was. Some sacrificed more than others for sure, (had less money so it was harder for them to buy), some had childhood collections they added to, and some collected back in the day when it was cheaper to do so-- but in MY OPINION subjectively most of these massive collections really lack personality, and I'm less and less impressed by them the more I see. They get a complete set of one system and move on to the next spending cash without abandon.

Again, they may not collect "to impress", and thats fine. But you can tell lots of these folks are trying to impress you... So ask yourself - why am i collecting? Whats the end goal? Can I afford it if I dont get my money back someday or tragedy hits? Do I have room? Do other people want to deal with it when I'm gone?

I see my friend with 2000 records, and its cool, but I think back to when i had 3000 CDs and I'm like - "that just f#&king sucks when you have to move, (its so heavy) and you cant listen to all that music". And i look back at all the punk albums I'm not ever going to touch again.

I honestly think I'm just as happy as him with my 30 records that I bought that are my literal favorite hand picked albums - and I think my collection is way more personal.

To me: A rich guy can have a collection of 100 million dollar guitars i can never afford even one of. But Ive met people with impressive collections because "this was my first guitar, my Dad died and left me his, I played with Eric Clapton once and he signed this one", etc...Much more personal than the rich guy who just buys infinite expensive Jimmy Hendrix guitars.

That's why I hated Magic the Gathering. the rich kid who can build his deck is always going to win (90% of the time). The most fun i ever had with Magic is when KB toys was going out, - they had a "starter box" on sale for nothing. So I bought like 4 boxes, went home, and 4 of my friends played with the same exact cards - it came down to who actually played best! (And luck). Much better game that way. HAVING Magic cards was great - but I didn't need to have them all.

Like getting my NES games as a kid as you do, (trades, presents, rentals you dont return ha-ha), and looking back at what I had and what i played. That's a cool collection to me. There is something neat to "complete" collections too. Museums are awesome. But especially where you have no attachment to many of the games, and wont even play many of the games, (i see collectors on YouTube say all the time "its sealed but I'm not going to play it anyway" - that hurts!), it just makes some games that maybe someone else WOULD want to buy and play more expensive. its a double edged sword sometimes.

And like I wouldn't mind having a Virtual boy or Power Glove on display for nostalgia or kitschy reasons, but to go after a whole complete Virtual Boy set when you never had one as a kid? That's where it falls apart for me. If you have enough money you'll get it. Is that impressive? My cousin has money and just gets tattoo after tattoo. he loves it, great. but Id rather have 3 tattoos with real meaning.

I dunno, guess everyone has different collections for different reasons, some people aim at games, some aim at having anything Sonic branded (why!?), some want statues, some want plush. I have a box of DC action figures ill probably never display again... To each his own. But just seeing how much $$ some people dropped makes it less "fun" for some reason? Its less "hunt and search and chance" and more immediate business gratification.

I for one want a complete nice box of FF1 for NES someday. For pure nostalgia, it meant a lot to my brother and I, by far our most played game, and as he just passed away this year it would mean a lot, (part of why I see collections as silly I think). But I dont need to go re-buy every game I had on NES, (all those collections gone to time), or go for complete NES collection, that collection is gone now.

And to me that type of collecting just makes the price skyrocket for average folks.... This one game would mean just as much to me.

So sometimes, planning, making the complete collection because it will be worth a lot as an investment - I get it. But I'm glad my Dad didn't do that with his comics -- its not why he had them. My brother and i LOVED comics because he let us read those issues, not sealed them up in plastic graded in a vault. Reading X-Men #1 in my hands shaped me as a kid/adult. I could go re-buy X-Men #1 now someday, but it will never be MY DAD's copy. So I wont.

Again, tons of reasons and ways to collect. I guess none are better than others objectively. But I know for me, I'm going not aim for less quantity, but things that really mean a lot to me, and i will enjoy them while I'm on Earth. Ill try to not obsess over not getting complete collections, or their value, or missing one or two of something. Try to buy only games I really want to play. Etc.

I did just see that giant sized Bulbasaur Funko Pop at Target though.... No no no!

Avatar image for squidracerx
#1 Posted by squidracerX (1070 posts) -

I think you know you have a problem if you ever say the words I hear on YouTube all the time; "I didn't really need this, and its in crappy shape (or a crappy game), but it was only $5/$10 so i couldn't pass it up".

YES YOU COULD HAVE! Don't buy shit you dont want. Save 4 or 5 of those up and buy 1 $50 thing you did want.

Avatar image for squidracerx
#2 Edited by squidracerX (1070 posts) -
No Caption Provided

Avatar image for fisk0
#3 Posted by fisk0 (6935 posts) -

I guess I'm mostly B, C and a little F. I've never been interested in the "I have the complete collection of every game released for the NES" or "every issue of Zap Comix" or whatever, but I do collect things I'm interested in, I own all the PS3 games I found remotely interesting for example. That collection does not include what many others would deem must-haves for the system, but everything I think I'll ever be interested in playing. Kinda the same thing when it comes to comics - I own all the issues of the Epix magazine that contains comics by Benoit Sokal and Nazario - but I have no interest in actually getting the magazine's complete run or anything like that, I'm fine with leaving it with the comics I'm actually interested in reading. I also have a decent sized CD, vinyl and cassette collection for the same reason (though I guess when it comes to cassettes I've had a bit more of a collector's mindset - getting every tape I can get my hands on by a small 70/80s underground industrial label).

I definitely don't get anything for the purpose of making a profit by selling it later, most of the stuff I have may be de-facto rarer than what goes for ridiculous prices as rarities on Ebay - but it's mostly because it's small print runs of things with a very niche audience rather than stuff with more demand than availability.

Avatar image for squidracerx
#4 Edited by squidracerX (1070 posts) -

@fisk0: 100%, Ive bought something i was on the fence about because i knew in a month or two the "collectors market" would make it too expensive to buy if i waited. Ive been burned because of waiting too long too :)

My Dad did started collecting cassettes back in the day, (nothing specific, just any tape), he was like the last guy i knew who had a cassette player in his mini-van. i was always like "just get a CD player, its like $100!". but he held on, got this big cassette collection. Then the car broke down, he got a new one (with CD player obviously), and had all these cassettes he couldn't play anywhere anymore and no one would buy. he was like "i should have just got a CD player back then huh?" ha-ha

Ive been trying to get better with movies. I have probably 3000+ DVD/Blu-Rays in boxes, but with the move i gave a lot way.

Id always justify it because going to a movie is like $15, and renting is like $5 anyway, so why not just BUY the movie when its on sale for $10 (and they all go on sale for $10 eventually).

But just this week I saw a few movies on sale at best Buy for $10, i had all 3 of them in my cart, and then said "no, go to red box instead!". I went to red box instead, rented all 3 for $4 (had a coupon), and i liked all three movies but would not want to watch them again. Saved space and $26! Sales are hard to pass up. Id say its an addiction at times.

Avatar image for superkmx
#5 Edited by SuperKMx (24 posts) -

I agree with a LOT of the points you make. I have friends that collect games, DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, etc, and I just don't get it as I watch the bookcases and shelves take over their entire lounge, hallways, and garages. When I last moved house, I got rid of 2,000 or so CDs and 90% of my Blu-rays and DVDs, because I couldn't remember the last time that I'd actually used any of them.

I have a collection of games, don't get me wrong, but I think I'm in category C. I'm sitting in front of two full bookcases of Saturn/PS1/PS2/Xbox/Gamecube/Dreamcast games as I type this but aside from a couple of rarer titles, they've all been picked up at relatively bargain basement prices and - most importantly - are only things that I actually want to play or am intrigued by. Or, they're things that I think would make for a fun stream for when I finally get back into streaming. If I'm not definitely going to play it, I either don't buy it or don't keep it. If I play it and I know I'm not going to play it again, it goes.

I didn't used to be that way, but I feel much better about my "collection" now that I am.

One friend of mine collects absolutely anything videogame related. His dining room is lined with LED-lit cabinets filled with games consoles on display. Can't play them. Can't touch them. Doesn't do anything with them. Isn't even a TV in the room to hook them up to. He's paid hundreds for plinths and cable hiding doohickeys and other things to show off his collection (because that Dreamcast Fishing Rod needs a spotlight all to itself, apparently) and it all seems to be for the benefit of Instagram and Facebook.

He must have thousands of terrible quality or terrible condition PS1/PS2/Xbox/GC games just stacked in boxes and if you ask if he has a specific game, he can't tell you because he doesn't know. But every day on his Facebook account is the same. "Just got this sweet deal on eBay for all the Splinter Cell games for OG Xbox. Woo!" or "I was at a thrift store and I JUST COULD NOT pass up this Mary Kate & Ashley game on PS2! #LicenceToDrive AMIRITE GUISE?"

I showed him my OSSC recently and told him he could use it to hook all his old consoles up to his modern TV. His response was "Yeah, but £150 seems a little bit steep!"

Next day he was showing off £200 worth of signage that he'd bought for his Master System display case.

I'm kinda thankful that I'm missing the part of the brain that understands that. But hey, I guess if he somehow gets some enjoyment from it, then more power to him.

Avatar image for squidracerx
#6 Posted by squidracerX (1070 posts) -

@superkmx said:
(because that Dreamcast Fishing Rod needs a spotlight all to itself, apparently)

I laughed out loud at that one :)

Avatar image for superkmx
#7 Posted by SuperKMx (24 posts) -

@superkmx said:
(because that Dreamcast Fishing Rod needs a spotlight all to itself, apparently)

I laughed out loud at that one :)

Hehe, the fact I'm not even exaggerating is the best thing.

When I was at his house and saw that he'd bought a little stand and spotlight for the thing, I almost bust a gut. :D

Avatar image for facelessvixen
#8 Posted by FacelessVixen (2638 posts) -

I'm kind of doing this with console and handheld games these days; because I feel secure in having physical copies of my old favorites as opposed to ROMs, and also because I have the spare cash to take care of my relatively small hit list.

Guess who's buying an Xbox 360 this year...! ♫

Avatar image for squidracerx
#9 Posted by squidracerX (1070 posts) -

@facelessvixen: Cool, I try to buy most systems eventually, (when I've had the money), but Xbox and 360 came out while i was in college, so i had the Sony and Nintendo consoles, but missed Microsoft - I did have PC though so many of the games I still got to play; (Gears, Halo, Viva Pinata). But I still missed a bunch; luckily the Xbox One seems to play most older games you'd want though, so i actually have been buying some old Xbox/360 games to play. I just got Crimson Skies and Crackdown (then they made it a free download doh!). And then the Halo collection, Gears collection and Rare Replay opened a bunch of my "to play" list.

Limited Run Games just announced the last Vita games they will be making, (like Guacamelee), since Sony stopped blank Vita carts production. I was tempted to "collect" a few of the last titles to own them, but then saw they are all $30, and i have a lot of the games announced digitally already... So again I made myself not do it.

Only problem with even physical media now -- most of the time these days, day 1, the whole game isn't on the disc anymore. So for older systems its still awesome to have disc/cartridge, but i worry about this generation onward. Spryo's collection for example, you had to download most of that content! Its almost like this generation on you will just have the box on your shelf...