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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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2 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

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.

Some time ago I made nice numbered portfolio-like folders for the best of emulators, sciency stuff, astronomy software, technical simulations, Doom Duke & Quake stuff, and other personal fav categories. Gussied up the outside covers with (not-too-busy) subject-related metallic embossed line art. Inside there's tab-indexed printed reference cards and command lists, introductions, hand-written notes, maybe some keyboard overlay references. About 50 pages per folder more or less. The covers have slots for media such as SD cards. Outside spine is simple, a number and the subject matter. Not hard to make. Not expensive either.

 

A seemingly good way to add physicality to software that's distributed online. Slightly reminiscent of the days when you'd buy a program at BigBox retail and install it directly to HDD. And fits nice with contemporary noir minimalism decor.

 

I kind of did this with my first floppies on the Apple II because the II is totally not conducive to aesthetically pleasing shelf collecting. It was a kid effort. Used the Apple Software Bank binders. And it sort of looked nice. I had the right idea but not the eye to make it look good. Not like now.

 

2 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

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 don't know if having folders for programs slows anything down. Likely not. But they lend a sense of presence & permanence.

 

Updating and making them is a fun wintertime pastime, like scrapbooking and knitting. Fits in with a happy day of family crafts when everything is snowed in.

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46 minutes ago, Keatah said:

I don't know if having folders for programs slows anything down. Likely not. But they lend a sense of presence & permanence.

 

Updating and making them is a fun wintertime pastime, like scrapbooking and knitting. Fits in with a happy day of family crafts when everything is snowed in.

I knew a guy in college who used to spend time carefully managing the appearance of his magneto-optical disks -- not the physical media themselves, but the contents. He'd organize them meticulously, and supply custom icons for every folder, set it up so that the folders would spawn in geometric patterns, etc.

 

A friend of mine used to scoff at it, and thought that the guy was just being pretentious and seeking attention (if you were in the computer lab, it was kind of eye-catching to see him at work). But then he talked to the guy and asked him, and his reply (made humbly and a bit hesitantly) was "I don't know, I guess I just like it to look nice." And my friend felt like kind of a jerk.

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I don't think I go that far with organization. But I have put time and thought into it. Organic tree growth and a mind-map sprawling over time. A personal thing.

 

One thing I do is try grabbing the source code, documentation, faq's & how to's, and changelogs & developer's notes for downloaded stuff. It increases the time spend D'L and updating. It becomes the equivalent of a printed manual or support package.

 

For some titles I'll also archive older versions for nostalgia or practicality. Sometimes for coverage of features thrown out in later releases. Think deprecated file formats as one reason.

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

Is it an unhealthy obsession to be a completionist? YES like every obsession it is not healthy.

 

Merely the attainment of a childhood dream to "Have them all"?   mmmmmmhhhh the more I think about it the more I can't remember a single moment of way back when that I thought "Geez, I want them all" ... literally I remember getting rid of games I didn't like, avoid like the pest genres I didn't care for (mostly sports game in my case, but not all of them) ... I think the first time I thought about "Have them all" is when I got Snes9x up and running (I've never had an SNES before) towards the end of the '90s.

Wrt to carts I grew up with a 2600, and I remember labels like these:
61I0jzlHG2L._SL1000_.jpg

and 

305_5939781808b463.67546316_Atari_202600

 

no wonder I kind of didn't care.

Never really cared for the outer boxes either, I didn't throw them away but I never really spent much time perusing them 'cause they were just the boxes of mass produced goods.

As a kid did you really think I want to "have them all"?

My console years were somewhat short mostly around VCS2600/Coleco then time for a C64 (nothing really in between), then onto Amiga, PC and during the mid 90, PSX, Saturn and N64 ..... aside the early consoles I had access to backups all along etc ... and yet ... even then .... can't remember the feeling of wanting to "have them all" but for sure had more games around than for the earlier systems ... my distaste for sports based videogames was the same all along (with rare exceptions, like Daley's Thomson Decathlon on C64, Hyper Olympics on MSX, F1 on PS1 [cause I liked the local language commentator], Winning Eleven PS1 [cause my friends loved it and I wanted to multiplay with them]) and still is.


Was I so weird as a kid for not wanting to "have them all"? I actually don't remember any of my friends with consoles or computers other than one guy with the bug to want to "have them all", but in his case he was mostly wanting to have a "backup" of each, and then literally thrash it 2 days later and only keep around a "crate" worth of stuff vs a whole basement (he was basically mostly "trying" them if that makes any sense to you).

 

And I remember some wretched games I played because I had nothing else .... and no I would not do that again given the choice.

 

 

In my more recent years (started collecting around 2010, and it about coincides with me joining AA) I did feel that way though, especially wrt to physical consoles ("fullset" ROM were already easy enough to find) ... I thank @Bill Loguidice here on the forums for sharing a few years back a spreadsheet with his then humongous collection, he made me realize I didn't need to be preserving anything (fake reason I gave myself to rationalize the behavior) AND 8 bit fatigue (I started collecting from Saturn etc.. going backward in time, once reached the 8bit I got a few and got bored, literally), my wife states that I used to get those clunkers to repair-them/recap-them/mod-them/somewhat-mend-them and then just move on.
 

 

 

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I don't actually remember wanting to "have them all" either, not as such. I certainly would have loved to have as many Atari games as possible, for example, but at the time I was most interested in getting certain specific games (some of which never came out, like LOTR or Ewok Adventure).

 

Did I want to play them all? Basically speaking, yeah -- I wanted to beat every NES game that had an ending, even back in the late 1980s. The games that had no ending, I didn't care about.

 

I can't imagine attempting completism of either type (ownership, "beat every game") for the library of any computer. Even if you restrict yourself to commercial or even retail releases, there's just too much, and too much of it is garbage, and magnetic media are too fragile.

 

At least console games generally run at a reasonable frame rate and have sound hardware and sprite support, but on those 8-bit computers with no hardware sprite support or dedicated sound chip/tone generator, there are games that fall below a minimum threshold of playability. Maybe I'd consider it for the Tandy CoCo, since I grew up with it and the library is modest.

 

My main completist project these days is to beat every tennis game released for 20th century consoles (not computers). I'm nearly halfway there, believe it or not.

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I wanted them all, but not necessarily to play to completion. Naturally there wouldn't have been time. I wanted them all because cartridges looked nice in those 70's style cassette holders. A wall of them was a childhood want till it wasn't. When I invented an imaginary AIO console the want for a cart library faded. When I came to accept having it all would be overwhelming the want for a cart library faded even more.

 

A secondary reason was exploring the primitive AI in the cartridge shells or rom chips themselves. How did it do it? Always a nebulous fascination. That a computer could play Chess was beyond sci-fi. What was in there that made it work?

 

---

 

Proper preservation efforts will include hi-dpi scans of boxes and manuals. All six sides and cover-to-cover including blank pages. Anything else is fallacy. Ink on boxes fades, paper manuals turn yellow. And both develop fungus colonies. A one-man effort is wholly utterly inadequate and should be evident to anyone trying to preserve such prolific media such as videogames and all their varaints. Digital material won't ever fade or become unusable. Digital data can be migrated across media as new methods of storage come into favor. Digital games will always be playable through some type of emulation or virtualization or simulation. Even now we rely on PC emulators to run old games on modern systems.

 

I was going to say a museum with staff would be ideal. But I don't trust a museum to properly record gaming history. So much of the history is wrapped up in lesser-known titles. Including niche hardware. Off the mainstream trail. Videogame museums tend to miss too much of that. VG museums tend to present pop culture and curate around what's already commonly known.

 

A brief example may be Pac-Man. Everything is those goddamned ghosts and power pills. Or anything "Mario". Sick and tired of it. A more obscure example would be an exhibit on the Apple II. They're not going to mention Beagle Bros. or Applied Engineering, let alone Hayes & Novation. Big big names back then.

 

Best solution is online repositories fueled by donations and quality uploads of material. Not any one repository is best. So a living list is a good starting point. In otherwords find it on the internet.

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I used to have the "collect them all" attitude. I would maintain collection lists, buy games I had no intention to play, upgrade carts with poor labels as I found them, etc. After a while I found I was straying away from the reason I came to the hobby in the first place: playing fun video games. These days I've gotten pretty selective about what I buy... With free time being more scarce than money at this point, I've found it's important to spend your time doing what you actually enjoy. You know, playing games.... instead of being a glorified bookkeeper. 

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8 hours ago, BDW said:

I used to have the "collect them all" attitude. I would maintain collection lists, buy games I had no intention to play, upgrade carts with poor labels as I found them, etc. After a while I found I was straying away from the reason I came to the hobby in the first place: playing fun video games. These days I've gotten pretty selective about what I buy... With free time being more scarce than money at this point, I've found it's important to spend your time doing what you actually enjoy. You know, playing games.... instead of being a glorified bookkeeper. 

On the "buy games I had no intention to play" tip, this is what's kept me from striving for a complete Intellivision set, and what discourages me from attempting most any other complete set.

 

Now, I'm pretty omnivorous as a gamer -- I'll play sports, board games, visual novels, strategy games, total shovelware, potentially just about anything. And having a ton of cheap games can be nice, in the same way that getting a pile of cheap vinyl or cheap books can be nice: options, the thrill of spontaneous discovery, etc.

 

But the thought of spending big bucks to own Learning Fun I & II, the system's educational titles, was just not happening. Even owning them would be a drag, since I'd have an object I didn't really want, but whose monetary value forced me to take care of it. I also got rid of my copy of Triple Challenge, a very nice CIB copy at that, because who needs a game that's just a compilation of three other games I already own?

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10 hours ago, Keatah said:

I wanted them all, but not necessarily to play to completion. Naturally there wouldn't have been time. I wanted them all because cartridges looked nice in those 70's style cassette holders. A wall of them was a childhood want till it wasn't. When I invented an imaginary AIO console the want for a cart library faded. When I came to accept having it all would be overwhelming the want for a cart library faded even more.

 

A secondary reason was exploring the primitive AI in the cartridge shells or rom chips themselves. How did it do it? Always a nebulous fascination. That a computer could play Chess was beyond sci-fi. What was in there that made it work?

 

---

 

Proper preservation efforts will include hi-dpi scans of boxes and manuals. All six sides and cover-to-cover including blank pages. Anything else is fallacy. Ink on boxes fades, paper manuals turn yellow. And both develop fungus colonies. A one-man effort is wholly utterly inadequate and should be evident to anyone trying to preserve such prolific media such as videogames and all their varaints. Digital material won't ever fade or become unusable. Digital data can be migrated across media as new methods of storage come into favor. Digital games will always be playable through some type of emulation or virtualization or simulation. Even now we rely on PC emulators to run old games on modern systems.

 

I was going to say a museum with staff would be ideal. But I don't trust a museum to properly record gaming history. So much of the history is wrapped up in lesser-known titles. Including niche hardware. Off the mainstream trail. Videogame museums tend to miss too much of that. VG museums tend to present pop culture and curate around what's already commonly known.

 

A brief example may be Pac-Man. Everything is those goddamned ghosts and power pills. Or anything "Mario". Sick and tired of it. A more obscure example would be an exhibit on the Apple II. They're not going to mention Beagle Bros. or Applied Engineering, let alone Hayes & Novation. Big big names back then.

 

Best solution is online repositories fueled by donations and quality uploads of material. Not any one repository is best. So a living list is a good starting point. In otherwords find it on the internet.

Isn't the museum thing what John Handcock is trying to do? To tell the story of all systems, etc?

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On 12/11/2020 at 9:22 PM, Keatah said:

I wanted them all, but not necessarily to play to completion. Naturally there wouldn't have been time. I wanted them all because cartridges looked nice in those 70's style cassette holders. A wall of them was a childhood want till it wasn't.

....

So as a kid you actually wanted them all just to put them into cassette holders? ..... you did not have genres you couldn't care less for? or maybe you did and yet thought it was a good and sane endeavor to possess them just so you could put them in cassette holders?

Maybe I was .... weird then.

I never once thought "gotta have all the golf games" ... "please yes one more shougi game" etc.... I know I liked most arcades and those I wanted for home when/if possible but even there until Arkanoid (1986) came out for example I can tell you I couldn't care less for owning any Break-out game, and aside Arkanoid (and to a lesser extent Arkanoid 2) I have not really sough after them since.
I am a sucker for Street Fighter 2[+] (and yes I do suck at playing it) and I have all incarnations I can think of for Saturn and Dreamcast for reasons I can't quite explain ... go figure, I rarely ever play it (so yes that is totally irrational and unhealthy on my part, thankfully I did not look for them for earlier or later consoles much [I think I have copy of SFII Hyper for XB360] again for reasons I can't quite explain).

 

I am not saying you should like what I like in the least, just it is a little unsettling to me that one "gotta have them all".
For years and years I couldn't even try text only adventures (I did try a type in one once and I wasn't impressed) and to this day ... I don't care for them, you might like them I understand that, but that there's no one genre that you'd rather keep the space empty instead to me is a very very alien concept.

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I wanted every intellivision and colecovision game from a very young age. About 10. And having always been a collector...since much before 10...as long as i can remember back...it made perfect sense to collect them all and try them all. Both those systems never had a game i didnt enjoy to some point.

I think its just you either understand the mind of a collector or you dont and it seems insane...and well thats fine too.

People collect alot of different things but videogames is 1 of the only ones that you can do something with different for every piece....over and over.

Stamps, cards, coins amost nothing after the original collecting. Comic books is another that actually functions over and over but to me videogames much surpasses that joy.

Playing them, collecting them, preserving them, learning the history of them, uncovering unfound games, dumping games, meeting great friends in the hobby, showing them to your kids, to friends, trading them, bringing them to display at shows....the list goes on and on. No regrets here yet and its been constant for 37 years for me. Maybe some day that changes...who knows. Its the only hobby i have never stopped so far.

Its certainly different for every person as most things are. There are many things the majority of people do that to me seem insane and not at all enjoyable. 

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3 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

So as a kid you actually wanted them all just to put them into cassette holders? ..... you did not have genres you couldn't care less for? or maybe you did and yet thought it was a good and sane endeavor to possess them just so you could put them in cassette holders?

 

For years and years I couldn't even try text only adventures (I did try a type in one once and I wasn't impressed) and to this day ... I don't care for them, you might like them I understand that, but that there's no one genre that you'd rather keep the space empty instead to me is a very very alien concept.

Sure there were some genres I didn't care for. Sports. RPG. Fantasy/Anime. And definitely NO fighting games. FG has gotta be the worst of the worst. But - hadda get them all. The mind of a collector as Stupus said.

 

No apologies. No shame.

 

Edited by Keatah
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