By squidracerx 9 Comments
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!