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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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On 12/6/2020 at 7:45 PM, bluejay said:

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.

Apple //e is not really a collector's system. And it's not for everybody.

 

Collectionwise there's not enough paper boxes or low-density memory devices storing "game programs". The packaging for II series stuff isn't memorable except for rare instances. And then it's all inconsistent - lending to a haphazard presentation. A boxed II+ is quite the eyesore. So are its peripherals. And a RubberMaid tub of expansion cards is that same old eyesore and a headache stuffed inna box. Let's not even talk about those plastic baggies hanging on a peg. Belongs in a barn.

 

And that 45-year old cardboard so stale! Feed yo'momma's pet rat. Get it out out OUT!!

 

A II series only displays nicely when it is set-up on a desk in a usable configuration. Or like when it's installed in its operating environment. Same goes for the PC. A stack of beige boxes? Blechh!

 

And for big collections it's all in the presentation. Because BC are useless for many things. They take labor and time to maintain. They consume both physical and mental space. They are not born or love or nostalgia. They're expensive and time consuming to complete. And they will sooner or later feel like a burden. Been there & done that, bought the ticket & got the t-shirt.

 

I should open up a service. A 1-800-GOT-JUNK thing. 1-800-GOT-RETRO. Dispose'a your collection 4-U.

 

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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.

That's pretty extreme. But I suppose that can be a reality. All of MAME can sit on single hard disk. With oodles of room to spare. The entire Asimov library sits on just a few mm2 of Silicon. So yes.

 

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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.

I believe system specific controllers are overrated. Over the decades I rather adapted to a mouse, keyboard, simple joystick and paddle set. Couple of general gamepads. That and nicely modded X-Arcade for accommodating Assault, Star Wars, Tac/Scan, and Dotron.

 

Key takeaway is they are all generic and suitable for present & future emulation. Present and future hardware. Something breaks or wears down I can just get an equivalent replacement without the headache of tracking down expensive HTF system-specific items requiring hemming and hawing over their condition.

 

All the up-front work of finding what works is already done.

 

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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.

For sure.

 

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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.

A year is a pretty short time for the stalwarts to embrace sanity. But come around they will.

 

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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.

Ha! I get laughed at for any collection at all. Those I just hand off to the wife. She'll tweak'n'goad them for a while. Plant some fodder. String'em along for days.

 

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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.

Its like coming out of the closet. Likely worse.

 

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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!

You said it kid.. Unless a collector's real hobby is playing "retail manager" by creating shelving with colorful cartridge boxes..? Maybe they have a simulator for that?

Edited by Keatah

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6 hours ago, Keatah said:

You said it kid.. Unless a collector's real hobby is playing "retail manager" by creating shelving with colorful cartridge boxes..? Maybe they have a simulator for that?

I genuinely laughed out loud when I first saw PC builder simulator, but hey, this isn't much more of a stretch. If we make it now it can still be a VCS release exclusive. 

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On 12/8/2020 at 4:43 AM, XtraSmiley said:

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.

That's because most of us are Autistic. Social communication difficulties and fixed interests come with the territory. They are manageable aspects and often don't require any skill that challenges the difficulties that come with the condition. Collections of things is manageable, predictable, and ordered. This is probably my true answer to why I collect. Its one thing I never have to be good at in order to succeed, I just need to pump all my disposable income on it. At some point, we all find our limit, and then it's about whether we slow down, stop, or start reducing. I'd say most users on this forum is at some stage or another of this process. I'm definitely still in the slowing down phase. Not everyone will go to reducing their current collections to tailor it, but many will. Various YouTuber game collectors have gone through this process, making it more visible. For some, game collecting becomes like bonsai, clipping out the unwanted and tailoring your own aesthetics. 

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1 hour ago, Mikebloke said:

That's because most of us are Autistic. Social communication difficulties and fixed interests come with the territory. They are manageable aspects and often don't require any skill that challenges the difficulties that come with the condition. Collections of things is manageable, predictable, and ordered. This is probably my true answer to why I collect. Its one thing I never have to be good at in order to succeed, I just need to pump all my disposable income on it. At some point, we all find our limit, and then it's about whether we slow down, stop, or start reducing. I'd say most users on this forum is at some stage or another of this process. I'm definitely still in the slowing down phase. Not everyone will go to reducing their current collections to tailor it, but many will. Various YouTuber game collectors have gone through this process, making it more visible. For some, game collecting becomes like bonsai, clipping out the unwanted and tailoring your own aesthetics. 

Whoa Whoa Whoa, put down the broad brush.  I resent the **** out of this statement.  I'm not autistic and I'd be willing to be most of the users here and other forums aren't either.  That's just insulting to everyone here and to people who are actually on the spectrum and live normal, enriching, productive lives.  

 

Being socially awkward isn't an excuse to avoid actually putting in the work to build a more fulfilling life.  If someone is so scared of the outside world and lazy to the point where hoarding plastic junk is the only way you're willing to get a dopamine hit, then you have nobody to blame but yourself when you get that 900th game and realize nothing has changed and have to pick another console to complete.   

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3 hours ago, zetastrike said:

Whoa Whoa Whoa, put down the broad brush.  I resent the **** out of this statement.  I'm not autistic and I'd be willing to be most of the users here and other forums aren't either.  That's just insulting to everyone here and to people who are actually on the spectrum and live normal, enriching, productive lives.  

 

Being socially awkward isn't an excuse to avoid actually putting in the work to build a more fulfilling life.  If someone is so scared of the outside world and lazy to the point where hoarding plastic junk is the only way you're willing to get a dopamine hit, then you have nobody to blame but yourself when you get that 900th game and realize nothing has changed and have to pick another console to complete.   

Well, I think it was I who initially painted with a broad brush and I think it holds true. Most people that are extreme into anything usually are on the spectrum. I'm not talking about healthy collecting, I'm talking about gotta have them all, never play them, affects living conditions and social systems collecting. You know, the shit you see with MANY game hoarders, uh I mean collectors.

 

But this isn't about blame or anything, it's more an observation. 

 

For me, I love games and it takes me back to happy times in my childhood. Also, I make plenty of money (for me) and don't have kids. I own my home, and drive a car I like. What more is there in life? I can't take digital cash with me, so I might as well spend it on something I enjoy. 

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This conversation has taken a rather strange turn, but I want to point out one thing: for those of us who actually play our games, and buy them in order to play them, the idea of a complete set can be a totally different thing, and has more to do with playing than collecting.

 

Among other things it's a way to experience the entire library for a console, ideally with an open mind and with each game on its own terms, rather than via someone else's idea of what we "should" play.

 

That's what I love about people who try to beat a system's whole library, like TheMexicanRunner, Goati, and others like them. They understand the big picture in a way that few do -- in the same way that you can understand a director by watching all their movies, or a composer or band by listening to all of their works -- and they seem to develop a deeper appreciation for everything they play, rather than leaping to typical, off-the-cuff YouTube hot takes.

 

Of course the counterargument is that you can have the same experience with a ROM set, and in many ways you can. But we all know the pseudo-ADHD condition many of us get from ROM sets, in which we can't settle on any one game to play -- and it's not just a question of numbers, but also of the way that ROMs can start to feel meaningless, divorced from the context offered by the game's packaging, manual, etc.

 

I recently got a Jaguar Game Drive cart and found myself having that experience: on a console where I could only play the 7 games I actually owned, and had been able to focus enough to beat the majority of them, now I could play anything...and didn't really want to stick with anything. Having the real thing helps me focus, at least.

 

Also, I can't tell you how many times I've played a game and discovered that some non-obvious gameplay element was only detailed in the manual or other packaging elements. (The puzzle in Marvel's X-Men for NES was pretty obvious to me as a kid, but impossible to deduce without the physical cart or a scan of it!) And tons of games still don't have full manual scans online, let alone the maps and other things that sometimes came with the games.

 

That said, I've only really tried to collect complete sets for two consoles with small libraries, 32X and Intellivision. Came very close with the 32X, with only one game left, but didn't want to pay big bucks for Spider-Man; Intellivision, I've got all but a few games. In both cases I got almost everything on the cheap.

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3 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

....

Of course the counterargument is that you can have the same experience with a ROM set, and in many ways you can. But we all know the pseudo-ADHD condition many of us get from ROM sets, in which we can't settle on any one game to play -- and it's not just a question of numbers, but also of the way that ROMs can start to feel meaningless, divorced from the context offered by the game's packaging, manual, etc.

 

I recently got a Jaguar Game Drive cart and found myself having that experience: on a console where I could only play the 7 games I actually owned, and had been able to focus enough to beat the majority of them, now I could play anything...and didn't really want to stick with anything. Having the real thing helps me focus, at least.

....

Nitpick but having "teh full romz" == "complete collection" so if quantity is what causes the "I can't settle" it doesn't really matter the media behind it.

 

3 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

...

Among other things it's a way to experience the entire library for a console, ideally with an open mind and with each game on its own terms, rather than via someone else's idea of what we "should" play.

 

That's what I love about people who try to beat a system's whole library, like TheMexicanRunner, Goati, and others like them. They understand the big picture in a way that few do -- in the same way that you can understand a director by watching all their movies, or a composer or band by listening to all of their works -- and they seem to develop a deeper appreciation for everything they play, rather than leaping to typical, off-the-cuff YouTube hot takes.

....

What big picture? You do not have to "play it all" 'cause there really is a lot of garbage out there.

You don't try to walk every mile of every road to get "the big picture" do you? 
You don't count every grain of sand in that beach you like to get "the big picture" do you?

I don't want to come in as too hard but the idea that to understand it (aka the big picture) you HAVE to HAVE experienced it all is simply preposterous. 

I don't judge where one choses to pour his/her resources at the same time refusing to acknowledge it is an aberration, however safe it may be, is also illusory.

Note, over the years I grabbed and updated as fast as I could the various "rom packs" I was able to find, so I am guilty as charged even if as it relates to digital-only support, I don't need them all, I will not play them all, heck I don't even know their names for the vast majority. I wouldn't be surprised most "full set" collectors wouldn't be able to name the full-set of any system they own with more than say 50 games in it ;-)

 

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18 hours ago, XtraSmiley said:

Well, I think it was I who initially painted with a broad brush and I think it holds true. Most people that are extreme into anything usually are on the spectrum. I'm not talking about healthy collecting, I'm talking about gotta have them all, never play them, affects living conditions and social systems collecting. You know, the shit you see with MANY game hoarders, uh I mean collectors.

The way I see it rightly or wrongly. Healthy collecting is about building something over the years, the decades even. Acquiring and exchanging bits and pieces to achieve a goal. And the goal itself will be changing.

 

I tend to put those loudmouthed youtubers into the collectard category. They make a lot of noise and "discuss" a game no further than where they got it, how much it costs and how rare it is. And especially if they get it graded and keep it shrink wrapped. Never play it. Know nothing about it or the experience it could provide.

 

Hoarders are little different. Most're filling a void. I was one back then. Still need to take note and not load up the truck.

 

In other cases it's just the hunter/gatherer thing.

 

18 hours ago, XtraSmiley said:

For me, I love games and it takes me back to happy times in my childhood. Also, I make plenty of money (for me) and don't have kids. I own my home, and drive a car I like. What more is there in life? I can't take digital cash with me, so I might as well spend it on something I enjoy.

There's so much to do and discover. Plain'ol personal enrichment. Philanthropy. Inventing. So much!

 

23 hours ago, Mikebloke said:

That's because most of us are Autistic. Social communication difficulties and fixed interests come with the territory.

They do indeed.

 

23 hours ago, Mikebloke said:

They are manageable aspects and often don't require any skill that challenges the difficulties that come with the condition.

That's right. The "condition" also rewards one with great attention span and insight that others have a hard time with. Like a savant whom can look at an engine, visualize every internal part in action, and tell you exactly what's wrong and what needs to be done. Or they can operate things that look hopelessly complex to others. Intuition is a wonderful thing. And a scary thing to "normies". Scary enough they have to make fun of and put them down.

 

23 hours ago, Mikebloke said:

Collections of things is manageable, predictable, and ordered. This is probably my true answer to why I collect.

Very well may be.

 

23 hours ago, Mikebloke said:

Its one thing I never have to be good at in order to succeed, I just need to pump all my disposable income on it. At some point, we all find our limit, and then it's about whether we slow down, stop, or start reducing. I'd say most users on this forum is at some stage or another of this process. I'm definitely still in the slowing down phase. Not everyone will go to reducing their current collections to tailor it, but many will. Various YouTuber game collectors have gone through this process, making it more visible. For some, game collecting becomes like bonsai, clipping out the unwanted and tailoring your own aesthetics. 

Right there are many points along the way. I'm just happy to be in the downsizing phase, still! It's all about what I had as a kid, plus some then-unobtainable cost-prohibitive upgrades and peripherals. And of course a partial replacement for the family I lost early on. But mostly it's for fun and discovery.

 

7 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

This conversation has taken a rather strange turn, but I want to point out one thing: for those of us who actually play our games, and buy them in order to play them, the idea of a complete set can be a totally different thing, and has more to do with playing than collecting.

Indeed. I try to play when I get the time. I'm hopelessly backlogged way back to the Pentium era.

 

I bought stuff that looked cool and just never got around to it all. It still looks cool and therefore is my "collection"..

 

7 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

Among other things it's a way to experience the entire library for a console, ideally with an open mind and with each game on its own terms, rather than via someone else's idea of what we "should" play.

One of the reasons why I like sandboxes. My own gig. My own creativity. My own time. Don't need a youtube to tell me.

 

7 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

Of course the counterargument is that you can have the same experience with a ROM set, and in many ways you can. But we all know the pseudo-ADHD condition many of us get from ROM sets, in which we can't settle on any one game to play -- and it's not just a question of numbers, but also of the way that ROMs can start to feel meaningless, divorced from the context offered by the game's packaging, manual, etc.

I've heard of that happening so many times from so many sources but never experienced it.

 

ROMS can indeed feel meaningless - a real danger. Some of the experience is missing. Like the ride home in gramma's old Chevy. Sitting there and reading the box over and over, or even being daring and pulling out the manual so I'd at least know the game variations and joystick actions before I got home. Or just daydreaming about the game, falling into a lull from the engine noise and tires thumping across the interstate.

 

Documentation and backstory is a huge thing if you're doing romz. Especially with computer & RPG games. PDFs scans can help fill the void sometimes. It works alright for me since having an AIO with (then magical) onscreen documentation was an obsession.

 

7 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

I recently got a Jaguar Game Drive cart and found myself having that experience: on a console where I could only play the 7 games I actually owned, and had been able to focus enough to beat the majority of them, now I could play anything...and didn't really want to stick with anything. Having the real thing helps me focus, at least.

 

Also, I can't tell you how many times I've played a game and discovered that some non-obvious gameplay element was only detailed in the manual or other packaging elements. (The puzzle in Marvel's X-Men for NES was pretty obvious to me as a kid, but impossible to deduce without the physical cart or a scan of it!) And tons of games still don't have full manual scans online, let alone the maps and other things that sometimes came with the games.

Yes. I often pull out the manual or put it up on a second monitor when I'm playing something. Some cases it's necessary because of the complexity of controls. In other ways it's the first act of "opening the door" in a virtual world.

 

I like to experience a game the same way I did as a kid. This could mean having those Prima strategy guides nearby. In fact those "How to win at VideoGames" books from like Consumer's Reports or Reader's Digest or whatever "autumn home family styled" company was a thing back then - are the manuals for the arcade cabinets.

 

7 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

That said, I've only really tried to collect complete sets for two consoles with small libraries, 32X and Intellivision. Came very close with the 32X, with only one game left, but didn't want to pay big bucks for Spider-Man; Intellivision, I've got all but a few games. In both cases I got almost everything on the cheap.

At one time I had a ton of 8-bit systems and media. Today it's only 3 platforms I go after. The PC being one of them. Need to specialize in sub-sub-genres so to speak because the whole ecosphere is literally millions of titles. Have to. And even then..

 

Yikes that sounds like work. But I'm not making a list and checking off titles. Just enjoying what I can when I can. And keeping it so I may look back upon these times as good times.

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6 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

Nitpick but having "teh full romz" == "complete collection" so if quantity is what causes the "I can't settle" it doesn't really matter the media behind it.

 

What big picture? You do not have to "play it all" 'cause there really is a lot of garbage out there.

You don't try to walk every mile of every road to get "the big picture" do you? 
You don't count every grain of sand in that beach you like to get "the big picture" do you?

I don't want to come in as too hard but the idea that to understand it (aka the big picture) you HAVE to HAVE experienced it all is simply preposterous.

Right. And while I "collect" astronomy programs for the PC (one of the aforementioned sub-genres), I most definitely don't have them all. A nice folder/portfolio will do. I've a special place for the software that I used to track eclipses back then. Same with the first PC-based software I got that plotted planetary orbits and computed ephemerides/charts, that's special too. It's vintage enough, DOS 5 and Windows 3.1 different enough, that it's amusing, nostalgic, and reminds me of the good times. Loved the aura of crisp simple text and EGA/VGA graphics. Gots that "research" and "control room" look. Still does today.

 

6 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

I don't judge where one choses to pour his/her resources at the same time refusing to acknowledge it is an aberration, however safe it may be, is also illusory.

Note, over the years I grabbed and updated as fast as I could the various "rom packs" I was able to find, so I am guilty as charged even if as it relates to digital-only support, I don't need them all, I will not play them all, heck I don't even know their names for the vast majority. I wouldn't be surprised most "full set" collectors wouldn't be able to name the full-set of any system they own with more than say 50 games in it ;-)

I sure as hell couldn't. I can barely name my TRS-80 Pocket Computer PC-1 stuff. That's 20-something tapes, a small number of books with type-ins, and my own stuff. And while I can name a few hundred Apple II titles, there's what, 17,000 or more. So it's a tiny-ass fraction.

 

With MAME roms coming in repositories, torrents, pre-stuffed HDD romsets, or GoogleDrive downloads and TOSEC packs, its a no-brainer to start there. And that's a hollow experience. It's all too easy and has little meaning I assure you.

 

I had the pleasure of playing the arcade games early on in the first arcades. Many of us have. It was a sober and depressing thought to see my fav games removed one by one as newer lesser appealing games replaced my old favorites. This went on from around 1986 through 1994. Around 1995-1996 this renaissancical magic wave called emulation washed over PC gaming. With every surge, games I thought I would never ever play again suddenly became commonplace. Every couple of a weeks a new release washed ashore. Depositing a tiny set of gems. It was total fun curating and following development. Just like collecting cartridges or keeping a hi-score book from the old days.

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10 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

Nitpick but having "teh full romz" == "complete collection" so if quantity is what causes the "I can't settle" it doesn't really matter the media behind it.

Right, and I agree that quantity is half of the equation and can happen with a big ibrary of any kind. The other half (with ROM sets and flash carts) is just the...detached meaninglessness of a bunch of files. Ultimately I think the issue is one of investment, in the literal and figurative sense: as with everything else in life, what you put into something tends to correlate with what you get out of it.

 

10 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

What big picture? You do not have to "play it all" 'cause there really is a lot of garbage out there.

You don't try to walk every mile of every road to get "the big picture" do you? 
You don't count every grain of sand in that beach you like to get "the big picture" do you?

I don't want to come in as too hard but the idea that to understand it (aka the big picture) you HAVE to HAVE experienced it all is simply preposterous. 

I don't judge where one choses to pour his/her resources at the same time refusing to acknowledge it is an aberration, however safe it may be, is also illusory.

I'm not sure why it's necessary to use pejorative words like "preposterous" in what ought to be a civil and pleasant discussion: why go there? This isn't a point-scoring competition or even a debate.

 

That said: is there a big picture? Of course there is. There's zero doubt that TheMexicanRunner has a more comprehensive perspective on the NES library thanks to having played through every game on it. To take one example, he knows what the hardest games actually are, as opposed to what the hardest games are claimed to be (and it ain't Mega Man, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, etc.).

 

More generally he's had the opportunity to form his own opinions, rather than rely on received YouTube wisdom and the like, because by actually playing a game at length you learn things about it that aren't obvious from superficial, 5-minute sessions. Sometimes a really impressive-looking game turns out to be hot garbage, unfair and joyless, under the hood; sometimes a really ugly, janky game with weird controls turns out to be a pleasure to master.

 

Who said anyone "has" to "play it all"? I certainly wouldn't say that anyone has to. But firsthand knowledge usually has more substance than secondhand "everyone knows" stuff, so I appreciate it when someone takes time to actually experience the art form itself, especially on its own terms and with goodwill.

 

I value their perspective more, that's all, in the same way that talking to someone who knows the complete works of Beethoven is a different experience from someone who just knows the greatest hits. People in the former category can make unexpected connections, and see large-scale phenomena, that people in the latter category can't.

 

And if the point is that video games aren't deserving of this kind of care, scholarly attitude, or whatever, and that it's a waste of time or "aberration" to apply those things to video games? Well, I'd simply note that -- as a wise musician once noted -- everything is a waste of time. Ultimately we're all going to die, and everything that makes us who we are will be utterly destroyed and forgotten. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

 

In the face of that, one of the few things that makes life seem worthwhile is when we come to understand new things -- when we grasp them through experience, or by acquiring new skills, and grow as a result. For me, playing games has done that (as part of what I'd like to think is a reasonably well-rounded life), and the games that people dismiss as "garbage" have often given me more of that than the alleged AAA titles that bore the crap out of me because they look nice, sound nice, and play like a guided tour whose purpose is to kiss the ass of bored teenagers with wispy mustaches who want to feel important.

 

Now you could, I suppose, argue that video games don't deserve to take up that kind of space in our lives. But then, if we use that as our standard, we really can't justify spending even a minute playing video games, and should instead dedicate our every waking hour to things like helping others. So in that regard, I see no difference between playing video games at all and playing them with the kind of mindfulness I described -- it's just a question of degree, and no one here is in a position to throw any stones, ever.

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A great discussion for sure.  I will say that since I have started in this hobby, and been active on the internet about it, I have definitely gotten a new appreciation for just how many people suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder or some variation of it.  It really impacts a lot of people in this world and it makes me sort of sad that such a beloved thing as a childhood love video games could cause distress.  Please don't think I'm accusing those posting in this thread personally of suffering from OCD, but this thread simply reminded me of that fact.

 

I had a breakthrough a few years ago where I decided to divide the hobby into 4 groups:

  • Collecting
  • Playing
  • Repairing / Tinkering
  • Programming

With a 5th category that is generally no fun that can be called something like "curating."

 

I find that I go through phases where each one will become more interesting to me, and I'll spend some focused time there, but it is healthy for me to take breaks from each category from time to time.  I do make lists and set priorities for how I should actually PLAY my games, and I associate with some of @thegoldenband's statements and opinions.  For instance, I recently got out all of my original GameBoy carts.  I did an inventory and compared what I had to the running lists I keep.  I set some priorities and decided to play 5 GameBoy games every day for about a week.  This led to a bunch of interesting discoveries about the GameBoy and those games.  For example, I played one game that had a review from a magazine calling it "The worst game they reviewed in 1991."  I enjoyed that game a lot and appreciated the variation it provided in my little experiment.  I could have easily done the same thing on an emulator, but I was not really motivated to do that at all.  Something about the physical carts really appeals to me (in some situations).

 

I guess in summary, I would say something like completing a collection of anything is usually a trap that probably won't lead to happiness.  My advice would be to evaluate what it is you really like to spend your time doing and then prioritize that.  Otherwise, you may find yourself compelled into activity that just doesn't make you happy.

 

@Keatah - I am intrigued by the absurdness of a simulation game about "curating your video game collection."  That was a joke of course, but I think I would have to at least investigate that if it was real.

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55 minutes ago, wongojack said:

For instance, I recently got out all of my original GameBoy carts.  I did an inventory and compared what I had to the running lists I keep.  I set some priorities and decided to play 5 GameBoy games every day for about a week.  This led to a bunch of interesting discoveries about the GameBoy and those games.  For example, I played one game that had a review from a magazine calling it "The worst game they reviewed in 1991."  I enjoyed that game a lot and appreciated the variation it provided in my little experiment.  I could have easily done the same thing on an emulator, but I was not really motivated to do that at all.  Something about the physical carts really appeals to me (in some situations).

Oh, man, that makes me think of The Amazing Spider-Man on the Game Boy. It got absolutely savaged by a certain well-known YouTube reviewer (someone whose work I generally enjoy) as totally unplayable, impossibly difficult, and one of the worst on the GB.

 

Meanwhile, I fired up my cart, played it, and beat it within 2 hours of first trying it. Yes, the game had frustrations, but it's basically a straightforward platformer with one annoying quirk in the controls, and I enjoyed it.

 

My point isn't that I'm better at video games than the reviewer, or even that I'm more willing to wade uphill. It's that treating each game as though it had meaning and value -- rather than viewing it as yet another obstacle to the Greatest Hits that are the only games we "should" be playing -- comes more easily when you have the physical object, because the physical object replicates the experience of what owning games was actually like at the time of release, and provides a kind of structure that encourages self-discipline.

 

(And conversely, most reviewers don't really know what the hell they're talking about, and stick to the most superficial aspects when reviewing: does it look nice? Is it already popular? Does it make me feel heroic and like I'm "in charge"? If so, it's a good game. Bonus points if it's Japanese in some obvious way.)

 

By the way, one big reason I don't emulate much anymore: lag. I used to roll my eyes at people complaining about lag; then I went from playing a game on an emulator and struggling, to playing it on real hardware and beating it immediately. I play better without lag, ergo I enjoy it more, as simple as that.

 

The funny thing is that I've almost completely stopped collecting since about mid-2017. All I buy any more are new releases and, very occasionally, a real cart for an NES game that crashes on my system (since my EverDrive N8 seems to draw a bit too much power for some games to be 100% stable).

 

Outside of the Intellivision and 32X I never wanted a complete set, just cheap games to play whenever I got around to it...since to paraphrase one of Harlan Ellison's characters, “Who wants a library full of [games] you've already [played and beaten]?" I did like the idea of having a comprehensive understanding of the relatively small libraries for those systems, though -- to play the hell out of (i.e. beat) every single game -- and in fact I still do.

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6 hours ago, wongojack said:

A great discussion for sure.  I will say that since I have started in this hobby, and been active on the internet about it, I have definitely gotten a new appreciation for just how many people suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder or some variation of it.  It really impacts a lot of people in this world and it makes me sort of sad that such a beloved thing as a childhood love video games could cause distress.  Please don't think I'm accusing those posting in this thread personally of suffering from OCD, but this thread simply reminded me of that fact.

 

I had a breakthrough a few years ago where I decided to divide the hobby into 4 groups:

  • Collecting
  • Playing
  • Repairing / Tinkering
  • Programming

With a 5th category that is generally no fun that can be called something like "curating."

 

I find that I go through phases where each one will become more interesting to me, and I'll spend some focused time there, but it is healthy for me to take breaks from each category from time to time.  I do make lists and set priorities for how I should actually PLAY my games, and I associate with some of @thegoldenband's statements and opinions.  For instance, I recently got out all of my original GameBoy carts.  I did an inventory and compared what I had to the running lists I keep.  I set some priorities and decided to play 5 GameBoy games every day for about a week.  This led to a bunch of interesting discoveries about the GameBoy and those games.  For example, I played one game that had a review from a magazine calling it "The worst game they reviewed in 1991."  I enjoyed that game a lot and appreciated the variation it provided in my little experiment.  I could have easily done the same thing on an emulator, but I was not really motivated to do that at all.  Something about the physical carts really appeals to me (in some situations).

 

I guess in summary, I would say something like completing a collection of anything is usually a trap that probably won't lead to happiness.  My advice would be to evaluate what it is you really like to spend your time doing and then prioritize that.  Otherwise, you may find yourself compelled into activity that just doesn't make you happy.

 

@Keatah - I am intrigued by the absurdness of a simulation game about "curating your video game collection."  That was a joke of course, but I think I would have to at least investigate that if it was real.

On another forum i showed pictures when i bought a couple shelf units from a closing gamestop that went back to funcoland days.

I posted pics of them filled with rarities and a 50% off sugn on top.

I wrote under it man you dont find stuff like this at videogame stores very often.

It was followed by a stream if where was this!!!

 

I then divulged it was my stuff at home lol

 

I then mentioned it was the jr. video game store owners play set :rolling:

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On 12/9/2020 at 9:06 PM, thegoldenband said:

They understand the big picture in a way that few do -- in the same way that you can understand a director by watching all their movies, or a composer or band by listening to all of their works -- and they seem to develop a deeper appreciation for everything they play, rather than leaping to typical, off-the-cuff YouTube hot takes.

No, what you just described is buying a VCR and then trying to get every movie ever made on VHS.

 

If you mean understand a director, then it would be like getting all the Metal Gear Solid games and beating them.

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16 hours ago, Keatah said:

There's so much to do and discover. Plain'ol personal enrichment. Philanthropy. Inventing. So much!

Sounds like things you like to do, and you should.

 

I enjoy traveling and games, not philanthropy and inventing!  :P

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Roms causing hyperactive switching between games is a fallacy. It isn't the cause, it's a revealer. The cause is inherent or previously existing in the person and the roms collections just highlight it.

 

Much of society is sped up and hyperactive because of social media's instant communications mode. And that just carries over to "rom browsing". There's absolutely nothing saying you can't pick 1 game from a list of 200 and play it for one hour. If you need to switch after 10 seconds, that's a potential issue needing attention. No pun intended.

 

---

 

On curating. I don't necessarily thing curating is a drudge task. Far from it. A guilt-free and stress free way to curate a roms collection is simple. Dump everything into one repository. Everything. Don't delete anything. That's important because it enables you to go back and discover new things, or take up interest in a new genre.

 

So..just pull out your favorites and put them into your favorites folders. From time to time I may add one or two. Do the same thing with every system you emulate for. It's not something to be done overnite, but something done casually over the years. And that's important. As soon as you're "forced" to do it now, it blows up. Not fun.

 

It's very reminiscent of buying a cartridge every week as a kid. Each new addition adding variety to what you already have. Indirectly cementing your existing material in the annals of history.

 

I learned to pace the process and modulate it early on in the 1990's when MAME got rolling. A new release every few weeks, supporting 20 new titles maybe, was like going to the store. Got to browse the shelf/list and pick out one or two games to bring home.

 

Of all the VCS roms available I may have like 200 or so that I always revisit. MAME is just under that. And you can have subsections like space shooters or puzzle games, or technical utilities. There is no hard fast rule.

 

You can grow it organically with as many branches (or not) as you like. Whatever makes sense. A huge single folder of every game for a system is jam packed with fluff. For example you won't find many sports games in my stuff, I just don't go for them. But you will find vectors and variants. And many space shooters. Also have a love for the first VCS catalogs.

 

Edited by Keatah
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On 12/6/2020 at 4:11 PM, Keatah said:

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

Maybe for you and some others.  Not everyone has a space issue or collects everything without pause or forethought.

 

You said it yourself that you wanted everything and anything previously (after my initial post).  That's a big issue right there if you have no consideration for space or viability.  Many people fall into this trap because it becomes absurdly easy to buy up lots of games.

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On 12/9/2020 at 10:06 PM, thegoldenband said:

This conversation has taken a rather strange turn, but I want to point out one thing: for those of us who actually play our games, and buy them in order to play them, the idea of a complete set can be a totally different thing, and has more to do with playing than collecting.

 

Among other things it's a way to experience the entire library for a console, ideally with an open mind and with each game on its own terms, rather than via someone else's idea of what we "should" play.

 

That's what I love about people who try to beat a system's whole library, like TheMexicanRunner, Goati, and others like them. They understand the big picture in a way that few do -- in the same way that you can understand a director by watching all their movies, or a composer or band by listening to all of their works -- and they seem to develop a deeper appreciation for everything they play, rather than leaping to typical, off-the-cuff YouTube hot takes.

 

Of course the counterargument is that you can have the same experience with a ROM set, and in many ways you can. But we all know the pseudo-ADHD condition many of us get from ROM sets, in which we can't settle on any one game to play -- and it's not just a question of numbers, but also of the way that ROMs can start to feel meaningless, divorced from the context offered by the game's packaging, manual, etc.

 

I recently got a Jaguar Game Drive cart and found myself having that experience: on a console where I could only play the 7 games I actually owned, and had been able to focus enough to beat the majority of them, now I could play anything...and didn't really want to stick with anything. Having the real thing helps me focus, at least.

 

Also, I can't tell you how many times I've played a game and discovered that some non-obvious gameplay element was only detailed in the manual or other packaging elements. (The puzzle in Marvel's X-Men for NES was pretty obvious to me as a kid, but impossible to deduce without the physical cart or a scan of it!) And tons of games still don't have full manual scans online, let alone the maps and other things that sometimes came with the games.

 

That said, I've only really tried to collect complete sets for two consoles with small libraries, 32X and Intellivision. Came very close with the 32X, with only one game left, but didn't want to pay big bucks for Spider-Man; Intellivision, I've got all but a few games. In both cases I got almost everything on the cheap.

I really like this take, and it's something of a path that I've been going down myself, particularly with Famicom Disk System games.  Since I've started I've beaten a number of games to completion and found not only a much deeper appreciation for the console, but also of the Japanese Famicom that I never owned and also of the NES many games of which were originally ON the Disk System.  If I never sat down and played these games, they would just take up a part of my home much like any other collector.

 

I've also made that same argument many times when it comes to owning full ROM sets -- for every person who has a ton of physical games and has paralysis on what to play, you have the same problem for someone who has a full ROM set of games... the same paralysis exists, if not becomes worse.  Then choice is made much easier when you can have context for what you might want to play, like flipping through a manual or checking out the artwork and such.  The same argument could be made for going online and looking up guides or artwork online and so on, but for me it always seems like it doesn't hold true in my experience talking to people.

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14 minutes ago, Sho said:

Maybe for you and some others.  Not everyone has a space issue or collects everything without pause or forethought.

 

You said it yourself that you wanted everything and anything previously (after my initial post).  That's a big issue right there if you have no consideration for space or viability.  Many people fall into this trap because it becomes absurdly easy to buy up lots of games.

Right. I did as a kid. Now many years later I've got the space. But not the wherewithal to spend the time with the upkeep and dusting and re-acquisition of it all. Hence my focus on minimalism for physical hardware.

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Just now, Keatah said:

Right. I did as a kid. Now many years later I've got the space. But not the wherewithal to spend the time with the upkeep and dusting and re-acquisition of it all. Hence my focus on minimalism for physical hardware.

I think that's more of a change with yourself then, and that's totally fine as well. 

 

We thankfully live in a time now where both physical and digital forms of most older hardware can mingle and co-exist in ones home to one's own taste now.  You can have next to nothing and do everything on your PC or emu-box of choice, or you can have a few consoles and play with a mixture of physical carts and ROMs.  You could also go full bore physical media and play with some fancy upscaler.  Or fall short of physical media and instead have flash cart or ODE solutions.  It's really a great time to be alive and no one should feel the burden of keeping physical media if it doesn't make them happy any more for whatever reason.

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Yes it was a change in myself. Little doubt about that. I could have stayed on the path to getting it all, completist for 10, 20, 30 something systems, whatever. Just the time and effort was overwhelming. And like you say there are many alternate solutions. Mixes of solutions.

 

I still have to pull myself out of the one-way is best thinking. "This way" and that's it. Most folks here have been nice about that and stuff.

Edited by Keatah

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The most important part of collecting, regardless of how much/how little you're aiming for, is to fit it into your life- not the other way around.

 

Don't go into debt over acquiring games. Don't forgo necessities to get games. Don't get more than you can comfortably store. Don't blow off obligations, social or otherwise, to buy games. Buying games can be a big part of your life, just not all of it!

 

There is a difference between 'no friend, I don't want to go to your cousin's wedding & hang out with strangers, I'd rather check the flea market that Saturday'; & 'sorry mom, I'm not gonna make it to your birthday dinner, this shop 2 hours away got in this game & I have to go buy it now!' (Doubly so if you return her gift on the way home to offset the cost.)

 

I guess the point is, you need to have a life outside of your stuff.

 

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15 hours ago, XtraSmiley said:

No, what you just described is buying a VCR and then trying to get every movie ever made on VHS.

 

If you mean understand a director, then it would be like getting all the Metal Gear Solid games and beating them.

Naah, the North American NES library doesn't even come close to that. It doesn't even come close to getting or watching every movie released on laserdisc. And consoles like the N64 are a fraction of that.

 

You might be underestimating how prolific certain composers and (to a lesser extent) directors are. Still, the complete works of Bach would take about 180 hours to listen to, which seems low to me but I guess must be correct, vs. 3435 hours for TMR's NESMania (though that included a lot of chatting, taco breaks, songs, raffles, and other interludes).

 

No idea where Telemann, Vivaldi, Hovhaness, Milhaud, et al. would fit into the picture...

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11 hours ago, Keatah said:

Roms causing hyperactive switching between games is a fallacy. It isn't the cause, it's a revealer. The cause is inherent or previously existing in the person and the roms collections just highlight it.

Cause, no; facilitate or encourage, I'd say yes. I certainly don't read e-text the same way I read a book, and I don't treat an MP3 player the same way I treat a turntable. The medium and its access methods do affect us, though to be clear I've also put 30 hours into a game I only have as a ROM on a flash cart, without changing games once.

 

If you're really into a game, you'll be really into it in whatever form, but the means through which we access it definitely have a psychological effect -- even the ceremony of taking the time to get it affects the experience.

 

In a way, the taking of time is the point -- the thing that slows us down, the obstacle that's organic to the process but also serves a function in terms of our experience. (It can also be annoying as hell, of course, especially if you're loading a game from cassette on certain 8-bit computers, or from disk drive on others...)

 

I think it's the things that don't grab us right away -- the potential slow burners -- that sometimes suffer the most from being another ROM in a list, MP3 in a folder, movie in an omnibus torrent. "Engage me now or go away", but of course that very feeling is a vice.

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