Consoleation Time Machine: When Collecting Isn’t Collecting
It’s been a wonderful and fortunate journey that I’ve been undertaking over the last couple of years in terms of building a library of older video games and consoles.
I started in earnest to build my PlayStation 2 library about two years ago, while I was still living in Arizona. I added a few original PlayStation games when I could, but it was easier to build my PS2 library while working at GameStop because the games were so plentiful and my employee discount made it even more affordable to do so. I could buy more PS2 games for $50 than I could buy Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games, and pulling my GxTV out of storage allowed me to play the games on a CRT for better image quality, rather than the stretched out and blurred imagery that would show up on a high-definition monitor. Before long, my library grew into the triple digits, thanks in no small part to really cheap games for a few dollars each… even though many of them no longer had their cases or manuals.
It wasn’t long after that when I realized something: Although I was collecting games, I wasn’t a collector. I was building a library of games to play for years. Not having cases or manuals didn’t matter as much to me as having access to the games and being able to play them when the idea struck me. As soon as I came to this conclusion, my library count accelerated as I bought any games that looked like they were a decent deal.
As of this writing, my PlayStation 2 library is over 425 discs in size. Some discs are doubles, with one disc complete in case with manual and the other just a standalone disc. Some games are in their original cases, and still others are complete in cases. I have a lot of games without cases, too– more than 185, in fact. I have two small bins that I use to store the games without cases, and two plastic drawer units that I keep the games with cases in. The drawers are full enough that I have to take some out of a drawer at times when I want to get to or play something in the back of the drawer. It’s problematic, but a pleasant problem to have.
My library of original PlayStation games is more than 130 discs in size, not including digital PlayStation games that I’ve purchased from the PlayStation Store over the years for the PlayStation 3. I’d like to expand this library further, but games are harder to find locally and disc-based media is susceptible to scratch and label damage. I get nervous at times buying PlayStation games second-hand; while I’ve had reasonable success with purchases working properly, a few discs do not and just sit in the library. Video Game Castle in nearby Chicopee, MA, has a decent selection of PlayStation games… although their price points are a bit steep. I might try to expand my search this summer south of the Massachusetts border into Connecticut.
Last year, as many of you know, I added several consoles to my library: NES, SNES, Genesis, and Gamecube. My NES library is over 60 games in size, while my SNES and Genesis libraries are over 50 games each. My Gamecube library is still small– less than 20– but I’ve managed to secure many of my favorite games for the platform already. I received a Nintendo 64 as a gift earlier this year, and that library is approaching 20 titles as well. I’m still looking to get NBA Hangtime and NFL Blitz for the N64, but have been holding off until I can secure some memory paks to save game data on.
I’ve been fortunate to have friends who have helped me build this library by donating consoles and games, and I’m extremely grateful for that. It means a lot knowing that they find my undertaking worthy enough to add some items to. My NES, Nintendo 64, and Gamecube were all donations or gifts, as have several games in my library. I can’t put into words what it means to be the benefactor of such generosity, except to say that I’ve spent time playing and enjoying every gift and donation that I’ve received, and I’m very appreciative.
I still have consoles on my radar that I’m hoping to add at some point, though it’s hard to do when unemployed. I’d love to get a SEGA CD to attach to my Genesis and fire up some classic FMV games as well as hit the ice with NHL ’94 on disc. I’d also like to add an original PlayStation to my arsenal; while the PS2 does the job for most titles, I prefer playing PlayStation games on original hardware. Xbox and Dreamcast are on the radar too, but not quite as high on the priority list.
Even as the curtain fully rises on this new generation of consoles, I’m still going to spending a lot of time trying to expand my retro library. I find it very enjoyable to find decent deals or pick up games on the cheap that I’ve never played before. Tag sales, thrift stores, and flea markets can offer surprises and the thrill of discovery that we just can’t have when buying games for new-gen or last-gen platforms. I think those are a couple of reasons why I enjoy this so much, along with reliving different time periods in my life and associating certain memories with certain games.
So… no, I’m not a collector. No case? No instructions? Not sealed? Got a few scratches or scuff marks? No matter. If it plays and can add to my library for future enjoyment and fun, it’s got a place in my library. Yes, even all of the sports games that nobody wants anymore. It’s a library that I’m very proud of, and will probably be my legacy after I’m dead and buried.
I’m more than okay with that, too.