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Full Set Collecting : Is it an unhealthy obsession to be a completionist? Merely the attainment of a childhood dream to "Have them all"?

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Curious as to others thoughts on this. Why do you do it, when is the full set enough, or can it get too extreme (Such as needing to procure all variants, etc).

 

In the end, a person should do what makes them happy, so long as it is not hurting anyone else, but I am curious as to what motivates others, and if they have been the subject of ridicule or bashing due to the pursuit of a full set.

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The only full set I have or want to have is for the SuperGrafx. Why did I get a full set for SuperGrafx? Well, honestly... it's because there are only 5 SuperGrafx games. At that point, you might as well, especially since none of them are expensive aside from 1941 Counter Attack, which goes for more than the entire rest of the SuperGrafx library combined, including the SuperGrafx itself. It's expensive to the point where it's actually cheaper to go buy the original arcade board than the (quite excellent) SuperGrafx port. Buying it was painful as hell and it's the most expensive game I've ever bought, but it's also my favourite SuperGrafx game and one of my favourite PC Engine games in general, so it was worth it to finally have my own copy. The other reason that I bought it is because Analogue announced the Duo. I thought that that would increase the prices of PC Engine games in general, so I decided to buy it just in case it becomes even more rare and expensive than it already is since more people will have systems capable of playing SuperGrafx games.

 

As I mentioned, this is the only complete library I own and it's the only one I want to own. I see no reason to spend money on games that I have no interest in playing. I'd rather not spend my money on those games that are both rare and trash, like Action 52 and other garbage like that. Sports games? Not wasting my cash on those, and there is a reason that the junk bins in video game stores are overflowing with Famicom and Super Famicom sports titles that nobody cares about. Now, the individual can do what they want; as long as you aren't consumed by your desire to have games to the point where it becomes unhealthy or you go bankrupt buying Neo Geo AES games, do what you want with your money.

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Videogames are of the devil. Buying any is unhealthy.

On an unrelated note i have about 25-30 complete sets.

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It started as a search for more fun games and developed into "one of each" in the era of plenty. Soon, bags of games arrived in the den weekly.

They had to be sorted.

Soon, lists appeared. Boxes, plastic containers, sleeves, bins, tubs, shelves, storage units. Maybe I won't keep everything.

That was the moment I realized what I really enjoyed about my collecting and decided to not keep any games I'll never want to play again (with a few exceptions, of course).

That was something like 15 years ago and I'm still getting rid of stuff I don't want.

My advice is enjoy collecting however it works best for you, but don't let it control you.

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I used to collect stamps. At some point, I realized... I'm never going to get them all. The happiest people specialized... one country, or just stamps with dogs on them.

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2 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

The only full set I have or want to have is for the SuperGrafx. Why did I get a full set for SuperGrafx? Well, honestly... it's because there are only 5 SuperGrafx games. At that point, you might as well, especially since none of them are expensive aside from 1941 Counter Attack, which goes for more than the entire rest of the SuperGrafx library combined, including the SuperGrafx itself. It's expensive to the point where it's actually cheaper to go buy the original arcade board than the (quite excellent) SuperGrafx port. Buying it was painful as hell and it's the most expensive game I've ever bought, but it's also my favourite SuperGrafx game and one of my favourite PC Engine games in general, so it was worth it to finally have my own copy. The other reason that I bought it is because Analogue announced the Duo. I thought that that would increase the prices of PC Engine games in general, so I decided to buy it just in case it becomes even more rare and expensive than it already is since more people will have systems capable of playing SuperGrafx games.

 

As I mentioned, this is the only complete library I own and it's the only one I want to own. I see no reason to spend money on games that I have no interest in playing. I'd rather not spend my money on those games that are both rare and trash, like Action 52 and other garbage like that. Sports games? Not wasting my cash on those, and there is a reason that the junk bins in video game stores are overflowing with Famicom and Super Famicom sports titles that nobody cares about. Now, the individual can do what they want; as long as you aren't consumed by your desire to have games to the point where it becomes unhealthy or you go bankrupt buying Neo Geo AES games, do what you want with your money.

At one point I wanted to go for a complete SuperGrafx set. Then I saw how much 1941 and Ghouls n Ghosts go for. Once I found out the Turbo Everdrive will work on the SuperGrafx it ended the hunt. The only one I ended up getting was Battle Ace.

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Speaking from experience, I'd say using my income as an adult to get stuff I couldn't get as a kid is the main reason why I buy the video games and memorabilia that I occasionally buy. I can't imagine myself collecting for the PlayStation or anything that came afterwards because I never developed any nostalgia for those later consoles (aside from Castlevania SOTN and maybe Mega Man Legends). If I endeavor to assemble a collection of video games, I'll be satisfied with a partial collection that encompasses the games I genuinely care about, I'm not going to force myself to buy shovelware crap just to say that I own every last game for a particular system. That means if I go on a shopping spree, there will be an end to it at one point, and I won't have spent a fortune to acquire everything I set out to get.

 

So is there such a thing as toxic nostalgia? Seeing the large collections some guys have assembled seemingly just for the heck of having complete collections, while being fully aware that they'd need five lifetimes to actually play all the games they own, I'd say toxic nostalgia in indeed a thing, but it can only really be called "toxic" if one is spending beyond his disposable income. If he has the money and has nothing better to spend it on, then hey, it's a free country.

 

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48 minutes ago, Punisher5.0 said:

At one point I wanted to go for a complete SuperGrafx set. Then I saw how much 1941 and Ghouls n Ghosts go for. Once I found out the Turbo Everdrive will work on the SuperGrafx it ended the hunt. The only one I ended up getting was Battle Ace.

Unfortunately, it's much more difficult to get SuperGrafx games and consoles outside of Japan because their prices are greatly inflated compared to what I see in town. Aside from 1941 Counter Attack, all of the rest of the games can be had for 15000 yen at most in good condition. If you come to Japan some day, get a few of them while you are here!

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Oh it's entirely an unhealthy obsession.  Mind you in some cases it may be the lesser evil, but still, it's not good trying to be a completionist whether you're talking loose games, complete, or if you're just nuts(stupid?) sealed ones just to stare at them either way you got a problem if you're just getting to get as it's a sign of an addictive personality and lack of self control.  I mean you can argue some away when that whole set is so low you'll run out of games before you run out of fingers and toes, but that's kind of an exception to the rule compared to most in the hundreds if not thousands.

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8 hours ago, widowsson said:

a person should do what makes them happy, so long as it is not hurting anyone else

That's the golden rule. If you can maintain it, then there's no problem. But, yes, I suppose many people fail at either the first and/or second part of it.

Edited by youxia

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I decided a long time ago that I would only ever try and go for UK releases, which makes the prospect of collecting sets a lot easier as its almost always less than US and Japan lists. This comes with the fact that many consoles can't play these games due to region lock/picture variation anyway. 

 

I have a few complete UK sets, but not many. And they are all small libraries. A few years ago I bulked and started to buy romcarts. Having a R4 card for DS given by in Laws a few years before ruined me, as I had virtually an entire library of games at my fingertips. I had largely given up emulation on pc because it didn't 'feel the same'. Looking at NES prices (2nd console I owned after 2600) made me realise it was impractical for me to own entire sets of the larger, more popular console libraries so romcarts it is. 

 

I still buy though, some consoles have games not easily run on a romcart or multicart, some are small libraries that I would like to have 100% in (some include non UK releases too because libraries is so small). 

 

My buying is more specific now, and I'm starting to buy homebrew which is something I never used to do before. My tastes is changing, and so is my collecting. As some parts of collecting is now prohibitive to those of low earning backgrounds, I'm choosing to not engage.

 

Edit: to answer the question properly: UK physical releases, any version (including foreign that work), no variation doubles. I collect to play, getting a set is a bonus. 

Edited by Mikebloke
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On 12/4/2020 at 7:03 PM, widowsson said:

Curious as to others thoughts on this. Why do you do it, when is the full set enough, or can it get too extreme (Such as needing to procure all variants, etc).

 

In the end, a person should do what makes them happy, so long as it is not hurting anyone else, but I am curious as to what motivates others, and if they have been the subject of ridicule or bashing due to the pursuit of a full set.

 

When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's I bought cartridges because they were fun to play. My wants quickly grew to encompass more systems and even computers.

 

In the early 80's I figured I had enough stuff to call it something. A library? A collection? An arcade at home? My bedroom was the neighborhood hub for videogames. And it was fun!

 

In the mid-80's I became overwhelmed with ports and B-grade games and games sporting different (or more levels) because it came on disk or was on a computer. Keeping all the consoles in nice condition was near impossible. Keeping track of all the titles was more than a full-time job that didn't pay a dime. Space was becoming a serious problem. Especially when you had to "build" your way through a pile by moving stuff from one part of the room to the next. Wading in slow motion. It quickly became untenable and I grudgingly, defeatedly, lost interest in videogames altogether. It was a depressing time.

 

The dream of an all-in-one TRS-80 Model III look-alike "UltraVision" remained just that. A dream. And it was fading. Only saw one or two ads for the mythical console. The technology just didn't exist to make a box capable of playing every game ever made. And it seemed like the technology to bring arcade cab games home would never exist.

 

It was fun to write short Sci-Fi stories about the necessary advancements to do it. My gradeschool buddies and I discussed things like Superman's memory crystals and processors that could execute instructions before they were called upon by the program. We imagined huge garage-sized 1000 megabyte hard drives. And processors with memory mixed together on the same chip for massive speed. Active interconnects so that the data signal could be computed as it traveled down the wire to the next chip. Shit like that. Seemed like all that needed to happen to make my dream AIO come true.

 

Today, those advanced technologies exist, all of them, and more. That plus emulators and a modern operating system made my AIO a dream come true. Nearly 40 years in the making. Almost exactly how I envisioned it, and with the Sci-Fi technology we wrote about.

 

Of all the early systems I kept my original Apple II and TRS-80 Pocket Computer material. And some vintage PC stuff. The rest is covered through modern-day emulation.

 

It's so much more pleasant having just a few systems. Your attention isn't pulled in 20 different directions. And bonus points if it's your original childhood setup.

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On 12/4/2020 at 7:03 PM, widowsson said:

Curious as to others thoughts on this. Why do you do it, when is the full set enough, or can it get too extreme (Such as needing to procure all variants, etc).

 

In the end, a person should do what makes them happy, so long as it is not hurting anyone else, but I am curious as to what motivates others, and if they have been the subject of ridicule or bashing due to the pursuit of a full set.

Only for a short while did I entertain collecting label variants. Thankfully I gave up after a few weeks. The futility of it all. Not only that, a question to ask is are we collecting videogames? Or are we chasing after media & program distribution methods, boxes of polymers and paper? Because the essence of a videogame is just patterns of electricity following rules of logic. And it makes sense to store them as efficiently as possible in as little space as possible.

 

I'll be the absolute first to bash and make fun of collectors that spend tens of thousands of dollars chasing after rare variant of a box or that one last game. Or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. There's simply no point. None that I can see.

 

I believe the act of collecting is to fill a void. And it could be anything from videogames to electrical insulators. There's also the desire to relive the good times. And every acquired piece brings back those good times for just a moment. When it fades you gotta do it again. That was my deal.

 

But once I realized the AIO was a real possibility and rolling - my wants and desires for collecting and accumulating suddenly dwindled to near nothing. I only do select spare parts and maintenance items nowadays. Childhood goal achieved!

Edited by Keatah

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To each their own, but I will say that I think all the time and money that completionists put towards hoarding games would be better spent towards experiences and fostering social connections and relationships.  At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of plastic and cardboard on a shelf, it won't be some life altering event, your life will be exactly the same as it was before you slid the last box or case onto the shelf.

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I've collected once before as a person who wanted to first collect the games I played and loved as a kid, then towards games I DIDN'T get to play as a kid.  Once I got most of what I wanted I stopped, barring something interesting that I find at a convention for a decent price.  Alternatively, now I find games at garage sales for next to nothing sometimes and I make the choice to either to add to the collection or sell off for some money.  It's actually a nice feeling to know that I always have the choice of playing on flash carts or some sort of emulation to make up the difference for games that are out of my reach or absurdly expensive.

 

My collecting has had a small evolution when it comes to the NES, however -- I started down the path of collecting Famicom Disk System games due to a friend and a couple of cool YouTube videos and now I'm absolutely obsessed with finishing the set in some form.  Since it's only 210 games for the full set and a relatively small form factor, it's quite simple enough to take my time on it.  I'm nearing 140 of the set and it literally only took me a year or so, breaking even on my investment every time.  It'll be my only full set of games and I'm completely happy with that.

 

In the end, I'd say do whatever makes you happy.  If you are pleased with collecting (tons of) full sets of games, go for it, and don't let anyone dissuade you from doing so.  Usually people that do this are jealous, or spend way too much time worrying about how people spend their own money or live their gaming lives.  You only have the one life to live, so do what makes you happy.  It's definitely an obsession if it matters, haha.

Edited by Sho

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2 hours ago, Sho said:

In the end, I'd say do whatever makes you happy.  If you are pleased with collecting (tons of) full sets of games, go for it, and don't let anyone dissuade you from doing so.  Usually people that do this are jealous, or spend way too much time worrying about how people spend their own money or live their gaming lives.  You only have the one life to live, so do what makes you happy.  It's definitely an obsession if it matters, haha.

Not exactly. Collecting to the point where it just piles up is simply no fun. It becomes a burden. Then downsizing happens.

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I finally completely understand people using modern loader solutions. I don't want to buy any more physical games either, and I'm even considering getting rid a few of my systems that I don't like or use as much like my old Mac or my Apple //e.

In my opinion a fun collection doesn't exceed the size of two shoeboxes full of media, physical releases of a select few of your favorite games. Modern solutions for anything else. If it weren't for the feeling of using the original keyboard or controllers I'd get rid of everything go the emulation way all day. And obviously that's exactly why I don't want to get rid of a lot of my stuff.

And in most cases, I'd say yes, full set collecting is an unhealthy obsession. If you have the entire set of 700 NES official games I can guarantee you that you'll look back to see emptiness and regret, not the sense of fulfillment that you expected to see. And if you don't you will within a year. But if the "complete set" consists of 10 games then that might be something that you'd be happy about.

There's also the special kind of fun when someone laughs at you for having a tiny collection without knowing the reality of owning hundreds of games and systems.

Obviously the last few parts are speculations since I'm not at that point yet. But given that I'm slightly embarrassed to show people my collection and get the response "how the hell have you managed to gather all this crap at your age?" I think I've experienced enough of this to make a good guess what it might feel to be like that.

P.S. wanting to full set a console is a stupid desire anyways. What use is a game when all it's gonna do is sit in a shelf barely being looked at every once in a while?  Just buy what you want to play!

Edited by bluejay

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17 hours ago, Keatah said:

It's so much more pleasant having just a few systems. Your attention isn't pulled in 20 different directions. And bonus points if it's your original childhood setup.

This right here, I was going to hit the like button on this, but that's why.

 

I keep trying to slowly rip the band-aid off, but since I have a decent sense of organization and I don't share my stuff out of the house it hasn't become a problem.  Currently trying to to offload the console and remains of the PS3, PC Engine Duo/CG2 is coming up too, a few more 80s tabletops and more modern tv games, etc.  I'm where I'd like to keep the growing up with stuff just on the shelf, and just actively tinker with Gameboy more or less from the past and that's about it.  It's just too much to try and focus on.

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Up next!:

Is it an unhealthy obsession to sit around judging how others choose to collect?

 

:rolling:

 

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I have no interest in collecting full sets because I have no interest in most games for any system -- I enjoy playing RPGs, strategy games, and Classic game collections. I have limited-to-no interest in shooters, platformers, puzzle games, and most of the other modern genres. 

 

Were I a completionist collector, I would have to purchase children's games, edutainment titles, all sports games(!), music games, and tons of other junk that I would never play even for a moment, and that would serve no purpose but wasting precious money and storage space.

 

Other than games, I am an avid bibliophile, and I am actively collecting everything in print relating to certain narrow aspects of Canadian history. I will never attain 100% completion, but my specialized collection rivals/surpasses that of some major academic libraries.  

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On 12/6/2020 at 8:01 AM, zetastrike said:

To each their own, but I will say that I think all the time and money that completionists put towards hoarding games would be better spent towards experiences and fostering social connections and relationships.  At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of plastic and cardboard on a shelf, it won't be some life altering event, your life will be exactly the same as it was before you slid the last box or case onto the shelf.

While I agree with you, I think there are a couple of things that happen. 1. Not everyone derives pleasure at the same things. For many, social interaction is uncomfortable or difficult. I've noticed this with many collector types, not just games. 2. Some people are trying to fill a void and buying "things" they believe fills that void.

 

I'm going to downsize my console collection shortly, but my arcade collection will be with me until I'm dead! I'll let you decide if I'm a 1 or 2!

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Used to be a collector who wanted everything and anything. But now I've now specialized. Brings me greater pleasure. At the same time less people are interested unless it's their specialty as well. Then sub-specialties become involved, making discussion rather downtempo.

 

It's a universal phenomenon. Water beading on a waxed car.. Galaxies clumping together..

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