I wasn’t on this week’s episode of Retronauts, but it got me thinking nevertheless about my video game backlog and, by extension, the pile of games I’ve accumulated over the year. I try not to hoard needlessly, and in fact I’m currently in the process of divesting myself of every game I own for PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 since Sony has decided not to bother making any of them playable on PS4. I never had time to even open a bunch of the PS3 games I bought last gen, let alone complete them, and between keeping abreast of current releases for work and going into ridiculous detail for very old Game Boy releases that really don’t deserve it —
— I don’t really foresee myself delving into any of them when I’d have to dig up a deprecated piece of hardware to do so. There’s at least decent odds most of my Xbox 360 library will eventually run on Xbox One, but I don’t see the sense in storing a bunch of PS stuff with my fingers crossed that’ll ever happen with PS4. And if I’m wrong and Sony announces backward compatibility as soon as I ship all this stuff away, well, you’re welcome.
At the moment, though, I find myself wondering if I should keep my DS collection. I have two moving boxes full of DS games, something like 125 in total. Some of them are pretty valuable, some are pretty much without value, but all of them ended up in my collection because I thought, “I’d like to play this at some point.” Many of them I have! But the rest… I find myself increasingly skeptical that I’ll ever have time. I haven’t spent more than a few hours with a DS game in a couple of years. God knows when I’ll play another.
I hate becoming attached to physical things, but the tricky thing about this instance is that these games are more than just things. Inside each little plastic wafer exists the potential for an experience: Maybe an adventure, or a story, or a personal test of reflexes. But something. Still, what good does that do me if I don’t have time to partake of those experiences?
And there’s sentimental value here, too. The DS was my constant companion through my 10 years at 1UP.com — well, nine years of it, since the system wasn’t around when I first started. But it became almost a cornerstone of my career; I decided to give the system coverage that no one else wanted to write out of sympathy for the poor, weird, doomed thing… then I realized it actually had potential… and then, improbably, Nintendo managed to achieve that potential, and before long the DS never lacked for content to write about. It played home to the final vestiges of beloved franchises like Mega Man and Castlevania, filled in the gaps in my Dragon Quest history, hooked me on dungeon crawlers (Etrian Odyssey) and roguelikes (Shiren the Wanderer), and offered even more inventive and esoteric forms of game design as well. I owe a lot to that little system.
I’m not sure that’s reason enough to keep a bunch of dusty games sitting around my house, though. I loved, loved, loved the Etrian Odyssey games, for example, but am I really going to go back and revisit them when two of the three have been remade spectacularly for 3DS? Izuna the Unemployed Ninja was charming, but there are better roguelikes on 3DS. And so forth.
I guess I’m just musing aloud here, but I’m honestly torn. I could sell off the lot of them and, say, be able to afford the shelves and furniture we need to consider our house complete. Or I could keep them and, theoretically, revisit them again someday, somewhere far down the road.
Geez, what a first-world dilemma.