Kicking the bucket

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 — 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.

9 thoughts on “Kicking the bucket

  1. you seem to have terribad luck when it comes to insurance emergencies and other assorted financial scares so maybe just save the collection to sell when you really need the cash. that way you get to be drearily sensible but also enjoy the ability to experience retro game challenge on a whim whenever it strikes your fancy.

  2. Wow, Jeremy. You have successfully made me feel really bad about starting to grow my game collection. I’m second guessing bidding on a PS2 lot now.

    I just turned 30 and have been in the financial position to buy frivolous things like old video games, manga, and comic books for the past couple years. However, this post makes me wonder whether it’s all worthwhile.

  3. My rationalization for keeping my DS collection around is that it’s software, more than almost any other console, is so tied to it’s hardware. You can get similar experience playing SNES games on a Wii U, or playing a PS1 Classic on a PS4, but the nature of the DS hardware makes it so unique that nothing will ever quite be the same.

    So decades down the road when I’m bored of whatever state the industry is in, I know I can crack open the DS collection and I’ll have something bizarre like Knights in the Nightmare to take a stab at with my stylus. And at the very least it will be a unique experience.

  4. I am one step further in that I’m not really buying or playing games at all, neither physical nor digital. Even in rare instances where I am able to afford a game, I tend to choose not to purchase it because I know I’ll never have time to play it. Naturally, physical games I’ve owned sit on shelves in my home and collect dust and I wonder why I keep them around if not to simply symbolize an erstwhile life long set adrift.

  5. I’ve been reading your articles for a long while now, and I’m not surprised to hear you second guess the DS sale. You’ve had wonderful articles about that system, and I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on it.

    There’s something aesthetically appealing to the DS that I don’t think we’ll see again. I hope you keep at least some of them for nostalgia, an afternoon years from now to boot up a favorite and reflect on the past. As a plus, many could go up in value as handhelds and physical releases become scarce.

  6. Funny I should stumbled upon this article at this time. I’ve been thinking a lot about my DS Collection as of late, definitely not as big or impressive as yours, but 80 games or so…I lost track some…holy hell…six, maybe seven years ago?? Huh. Hell, I am much younger than most of your readers, the GBA and more so the DS (Lite) is what I grew up on. Made a lot of great memories with the Lite and later the DSi. I’m at that point I life where I don’t know where to go with it, or what to do with the massive collection of other video games I have amassed in my few short years of having a job. I’m proud of my massive collection, but wonder; is this really what I need to be attached to?? Definitely need to consolidate, and maybe slim down a bit..

  7. You do know you come from a family of “hoarders” on my side right? One aunt with an ever growing Wizard of Oz collection, another with a Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer habit, me with my Pocket Dragons (which are thankfully no longer made, forcing me to quit), and your grandmother who loved her multiple teapots. Then of course your grandfather who kept EVERYTHING out in his shed. The horrors of cleaning that out are still with me. Two dumpsters full of trash plus half a truckload to charity have me purging some things so you won’t have to do it later. (I still can’t live by the one book in, one book out rule, so you and your siblings will have to deal with the books. Every DiscWorld novel in hardback and a couple signed, plus an growing collection of illustrated kids books. I’m so weak.)

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