MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Nov 5th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Backlog, Game collecting, retrogaming, video games

I've been inspired, over the last few months, to play more video games. I assume my participation in the RF Generation Community Playthrough through the year has been a bit of an indication, at least in part. I would hope my articles through the year have signaled that, as well. One thing I haven't been spectacular at over the years is time management. As a more task-oriented person, I tend to focus on one thing, and then move on to another. But with anything in life, setting goals is important to getting ahead. As many games as I own at this point, I have more than I'll realistically ever really play through. But at least I can make some plans on how to begin evening the odds.

Step 1: Pull a random game off the shelf, and start playing!
Sounds simple enough, right? And while "random" might not be the way to go, since most of us aren't clamoring to fire up any of the Barbie Horse Adventure games anytime soon, this is at least a way to start investigating the games in your library. I tell the story that, a number of years ago, when my collection was growing rapidly, due to cheap games at Goodwill and pawn shops, I started messing around with PS2 games one day. I played a little of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, and didn't quite click with it. Later on, I threw in Medal of Honor: European Assault. I hadn't played any of the previous games, but with the WWII theme, I felt like it might gel with me. I was right! Quickly enough, I had become interested in the game, and managed to play through to the end, though I never quite beat it, due to the ridiculously evil final encounter. Even so, I managed to put a bunch of time into the game, and enjoyed it. While I might never finish it, I certainly feel like I saw the majority of what the game had to offer, and I felt comfortable moving on.

Step 2: Game time can be limited - make good use of it!
One thing I don't have as much of as I used to is time. I suspect most of us can identify with this. Even with less outdoor activities since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are still busy. Some work from home, and end up working longer hours, or a more erratic schedule, or we find ways to make sure we're connecting with family, get extra cleaning/chores done around the house, etc. As such, we often have to tailor our gaming habits to work around family, work and personal commitments, and more. That's one of the reasons the Shmup Club has been great for me, since I can get an hour or two in a night, and I don't have to sit down for 30 minutes of cutscene reveals, and maybe only get 30 or 45 minutes of actual game play time in. Even so, I sometimes make time for longer experiences, either with weekend streams, or an evening at home alone where I'm just enjoying a game. Whatever your situation, don't neglect the short stints of time when you can pick up and play a classic retro game for 20-30 minutes to scratch that itch. Cherish those times when you can sit down and really dig into a game, as well. Just make sure you can allocate your time well, while also not letting real life responsibilities get moved to the back burner.

Step 3: Change it up, or don't - game how it fits your personality!
With the RF Gen Community Playthrough of Gears of War ended, I was inspired to keep playing, so I pulled out the 2nd game in the series, and within a week or so, I had it beat. I then fired up the 3rd game, and as of a few days ago (at the time of this writing), that's done now, as well. Does it always make sense to go through a series like that, chronologically? No, nor should anyone feel obligated. I was "in the zone" with that style, so I kept going. But don't feel like you have to follow any prescribed way to do it. Hop around from one genre to another, so you don't get too tired of any one thing, and that may help motivate you to play more games. Or, if you're really into a particular genre or style, vary it up in other ways. Maybe play a game that's very futuristic, and follow that with something more historical, or very "real world" in approach. Try a new genre, that is something you wouldn't normally play, just to get a feel for something new. Sometimes, doing something out of your normal routine will not only break up the monotony, but also rejuvenate interest in your favorite genres again, because you can come back to them with a fresh perspective.

Step 4: Play the expensive stuff!
One of the things we as collectors often do is to buy up the more rare or expensive titles, and then they sit on the shelf, untouched. Unless you're a VGA/WATA grader type of collector, or hoarding sealed copies of something to flip later, you probably have half a dozen reasonably valuable games sitting around, gathering dust. Not everyone has a Stadium Events, but a lot of us have a handful of titles that are probably worth $50 or more. Pull a couple of those off the shelf, and give them a try! If it's a game you really like, awesome! If not, then maybe that's an indication that you shouldn't simply hold onto that game, just as a collector piece. It might be time to let that game go, if it's not something you have sentimental value for. I'm not saying you have to sell it, but at least be more familiar with what you have, and get a sense for whether or not the more valuable pieces you own are pricey because they're good games with low print runs, or just run of the mill rarities with no other real value.

Step 5: Make a plan!
Yes, the guy who says he's not a planner is telling you to make a plan. Hopefully, the irony of that won't be lost on you, reader. In all seriousness, though, it's a good idea to have some sense of where you're going in any of life's endeavors. With gaming as a hobby, it's also helpful to at least have some direction. If you can't look through your game library to make a short list of what to play, try picking a genre, and narrowing it down. Use the RF Generation Collection Tools to help audit your collection, to make sure you aren't missing something, or that you have the right variants chosen in the database. Sometimes, the mere act of looking through your shelves or boxes is enough, and something will jump out at you - a name, box art, screenshots, a description, and so on. You may find that you get inspired to play something that you might have overlooked previously. Don't just settle on the first thing that catches your eye, either; make a list of things that stood out, and then use that as a starting place to begin exploring parts of your game library you have yet to play.

These are things I wanted to document, to help me make better choices in getting through my game collection. Hopefully, some of you will find them helpful, as well.

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Nice read!  I also have so many games I won't be able to play all of them. Sad  Don't forget that in the collections tools there is an option to randomly select a game.  Use that tool to choose a random game to play!
@shaggy: Ah yes, the random selection! I often forget that's there, so good call, and something I might have to try. Thanks for reading!
I've been using to track my beaten games for nearly ten years now. I know I'll never finish everything, but I'm still going to try!
@Link41: I've heard of that site, though I haven't checked into it. Might be time to do so Smiley
Regarding Step 4- I've always been more of a collect to play type anyways, but in my experience, at least on the retro titles, the better a game is, the more demand for the game there will be, which in turn drives up the price. Games like Contra and Super Metroid aren't rare by any means, but are usually considered must-own games for their prospective systems, making their price tag much higher than other fairly common games for the NES and Super NES. I've found that a lot of the time with retro games, if a game has a little higher price tag, say $25-$60, it's usually a higher demand title, many times speaking to a higher quality gaming experience. Not fool proof, but something to consider when choosing games to play.
@EZ Racer: That's a good point. And I think that stuff upwards of $200 or more starts to transition from an indicator of the game being good, to the game being rare. There's still plenty of games in that space that are quite good, but when you get to that level of expense, a lot of those become hard to justify.

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