RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on May 11th 2015 at 09:16:25 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Collecting, multiplayer, hunting for video games in the wild is the best MMO

Oh well.  Back to Words with Friends.  (SlackurJes, if you ever want to play.) Pic source: lazygamer.net

Folks spend their money and time on what they want or what's important to them, gamers included.  Ah, but it's never that simple, is it?  There are as many stories about collections as there are collectors, and probably half as many assumptions about both that are mistaken for various reasons.  In the same way that a person's income, background, religion, appearance, and other factors often lead to very inaccurate assumptions about an individual, often anyone who owns more than a few video games can be labeled quite incorrectly.   

An obvious one is how it's understandably easy to assume someone with a large media collection is somewhat of a materialist in the sense that they spend much of their time desiring toys and physical "stuff."  And there comes a point (that naturally varies for each person) where, to an outside observer, the size of a collection can seem excessive, and even as "hoarding." 

The same thing we do every night, Pinky.  Source: Obsoletegamer.net

Many are quick to answer that it's really nobody else's business; if it doesn't hurt anyone else, who cares?  But I think there are better, less stand-offish answers as well.  Now to be fair, there are folks who develop unhealthy obsessions, and require outside interventions to return to healthy states of mind, but that's a different (though related) topic.

Sometimes a gamer looks around, realizes they own far more than they really want or need, and they decide that a good purge is in order.  Often space gets to be more of a concern as collections grow, or finances dictate the need to sell luxury items.  But what about those of us who have a few hundred, or even a few thousand games, who don't intend to sell any time soon?  Some collectors did not start out intending to collect as much as they have, but they continue to amass more over the years.  Others are very calculating and specific as their inventory grows.  While some collectors sort of 'buy into' a few bulk lots and end up with a sizable amount very quickly.  Again, not that I'm saying any excuses are in order or that there are even reasons beyond having fun; what I am saying is, often, there's something else.  A story.

When I was a little kid, I daydreamed about owning every video game ever made.  I figured I'd slowly pick up a copy of everything ever released, and me and my friends could play anything whenever we wanted.  I've long since left that 'goal' (thankfully!) but not the reputation of being the guy who can usually point out a good match of a game to a person.

For the first decade or so of collecting, I'd often trade or buy low and sell high in order to fund my gaming.  But now and then, a friend would come over and ask about a game I had no desire to play and had already traded or sold.  They would usually just shrug and we'd play something else, but after awhile I realized that I enjoyed keeping anything I knew someone would pick up and play.  As a result, I started keeping games I may not play as long as I had someone in mind who would play them.

I've always enjoyed spending lots of time researching random topics that interest me, and (for better or worse) few things interest me more than video games, video game culture, media development, and anything related.  So I also started picking up games simply because they were interesting, unique, cheap, or notable.  Being an avid flea market, garage sale, and retro game store hunter, over the years my game collection grew to a decent size.  I eventually found the greatest gaming holy grail, a beloved wife who enjoys video games!  Thus, the collection became ours instead of just mine, and we shared adventures like hunting down Dreamcast games (our first system together!) and NES (her intro to gaming, and of course one of my favorite systems.)

Then the inevitable setback.......during a scouting trip to determine where we would move, someone broke into our home and stole almost everything of value, including our media collection.  No one was hurt, but the blow to our security and the broken tether to our material belongings was, pun intended, a "game changer."  We moved with a lot less than what we had owned only weeks prior.

My beloved and I bought another Dreamcast, and while we never intended to 'restore' what was stolen, I still enjoyed "the hunt" and slowly, year after year, we continued to pick up random deals and neat finds.  Then I started working for different retail stores that sold video games, and eventually landed my dream job; managing a mom-and-pop game store!  For several years, I picked up anything of interest that came through, carefully managing our income so I wouldn't just spend each check before I left work.  We began setting up LAN parties and multiplayer games almost every weekend, and social gaming continued to be a persistent source of weekly enjoyment.

Though Single Player had the better ending.  Source: gamemes.com

As our collection grew over the years, I finally had to begin making a discernment.  We crossed a threshold; we would never have enough time to play everything we owned, and I didn't want to feel wasteful and greedy. Or worse, let something that had brought me so much joy over the years turn into an awful burden.  I thought and prayed long and hard for over a year.  Was all of this stuff just really weighing us down?  Every action serves a master; were we just hoarding things, needlessly amassing stuff we assumed we liked, letting video games absorb our lives? 

It took awhile, but it occurred to me that the main reason I was still enjoying our collection wasn't really about the games as much as the people in our lives enjoying them.  Almost every weekend we were playing something with friends, on systems spanning the Odyssey 2 to the PS4.  Our 360 LAN has hosted some of our best gaming memories, from tight-knit teamwork "horde" modes to hilarious free-for-alls.  We stayed up all News Year's Eve several times playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero.  Marathon retro gaming sessions, impromptu tournaments, pass-the-controller challenges, all sorts of variations.  And while this comes across as a lot of randomness, there is actually a lot of planning behind it all. 

As I've written before, I desire to be very purposeful, very intentional in anything I do, and this naturally extends to my gaming.  In fact, I view most of my gaming as sort of a series of projects.  If I'm in a Rock Band, it's all about the Band and working together; thus, I save all of my energy bar to save anyone in trouble.  If it's a game with delineated roles, I'm usually the support guy or medic, doing the background stuff to help my team.  I enjoy seeing whatever game we're playing as not specifically a thing to win, but a series of goals I can break down and help out with.

For example, one of my favorite self-designated multiplayer set-ups is something I like to call "Rook takes King"  (a play on the Chess pieces as well as "rookie").  This is when you have a few friends who are really good at a game, and one or two folks who are either inexperienced or "not much of a gamer," but are still willing to play.  The gist is that the team does any and everything to make sure the Rook wins!  If we're playing COD Zombies or Rainbow Six Vegas/2 Terrorist Hunt mode, our goal is to see how many levels we can keep the Rook alive.  If we're playing a CTF FPS, each team has a Rook who is the only one that can touch the flag!  A racing game like Dirt 3 means the Rook has to take first, so the rest of the team's goal is to hunt and crash the rest of the AI competition! Of course, it's really only practical to set this up on a home LAN or a game with same-screen couch co-op as we don't want to ruin the fun for online random players.  'Rook takes King' allows people of mixed ability levels to have fun, while growing the Rook's skills and adding a different challenge for veterans.  In fact, it makes some games play completely differently.  And most games that support four or more players can be done like this including: Bomberman, Helldivers, the later Mario Karts, Smash Bros, any Halo or Gears of War, Towerfall, NBA Jam and many sports games, the 6-player Guardian Heroes arena mode, and even four player Pong.    Not only has this produced some crazy heroics, self-sacrifices that helped win the game, and team-bonding intensity, but it means just about anyone can jump in. People who would ordinarily be too intimidated to play, get a chance to have as much fun as the rest of us.  It's not something we do all the time, but when everyone's up for it, it produces some of the best gaming moments.   
On the flip side of multiplayer mayhem are the quieter nights.  Sometimes a friend may be struggling with things in life and they just aren't up for a big multiplayer bash, but they don't want to be alone either.  So we put together multiple niches that allow someone to almost wordlessly plop on a chair or bar stool near one of many extra TV and game machines. We then turn on a nostalgic title or mental wheel-spinner to play so that they can process their stress, while being around company that respects the need.  And many nights my beloved and I have sat in a two-person recliner and played together through anything we were interested in, be it co-op adventure or a single player shared experience.  I've also mentioned before how several titles we own have old save files or tucked-in paper passwords marking one of the last experiences I had with someone who has passed away.  There are some portables and RPGs that helped me get through some long hospital nights.  And of course, there was the recent experience that Alien Isolation helped me cope with in a special way. 

Over the years, I've noticed I play fewer single player games unless I'm doing my daily stationary bike workout or the occasional wind-down time at the end of the day.  There are the occasional titles that get more time just for fun, but the lion's share of my gaming is done either around or for/with others.  I'm not implying it should be this way for every gamer; we're all different, with different needs and desires and things we find fun.  But there is a consistent danger for anyone who owns lots of stuff; as the saying goes, the stuff can end up owning you.

And so I was pleased to realize that we were indeed using games to serve us, to connect to others, share experiences, exercise, and just unwind.  We certainly have plenty of other hobbies and things we do together with family and friends, but video games tend to be our favorite.  I also realize I have to remain diligent, as our collection could easily create an unhealthy attachment to "stuff" and take too much focus away from the things that are really important to us.  Things could change over the years, though it's hard to imagine my beloved and I no longer enjoying the "hunt" together that has slowly produced our shared gaming collection.  As I look around, I see not so much a collection of games, but a collection of memories, reminders, thought provokers, and stories.  There are various art books, CE figures, and soundtracks that have generated late night discussions with friends or have fueled into-the-morning writing sessions.  Our collection has been a medium in the truest sense, an agency by which much is accomplished......and just a ton of fun.   

There will come a time where our stuff will pass on to someone else, be it our kids or friends, and I've come to a place of peace knowing that besides the childhood nostalgic pings of some games from my youth, I will happily do my best to one day hand down our collection.  I hope in the future this stuff serves its purpose elsewhere as well as it has for us. 
There are almost as many stories about collections as there are collectors.  What's Yours?

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Man, this was a great article. I think you tugged on my heartstrings here. Recently I have become more of a single player kind of person but I used to love playing multiplayer especially when I had rough things come up in my life. I think I am getting that desire back (not because of rough things), and want to pick up games that others would enjoy playing even for a few minutes.

I used to love hanging out with my brother and take turns going through a single player game. For me it was about connection. That's why games are great to me. Especially as they have become more social. One of the reasons I like the Dark Souls series is that I feel like I am playing and beating a game with others.When I see messages left and I leave messages, I feel like I am a part of something larger.

I like your Rook idea, sounds really awesome and fun. Thanks for sharing
One of the things I miss most about gaming is gaming with other people. The majority of my close friends are not really gamers and when the wife and I get together with other couples, the focus is typically on hanging out and talking or playing board games. Don't get me wrong, I love these other things as well, but gaming with others is an entirely separate and wonderful thing. I have very fond memories of going to other kids' houses when I was young and us just playing video games for hours during the day and even into the night. Of course our parents hated this and chimed in with the constant, "Why don't you guys go outside for a while," which of course we ignored. People who don't game, don't really understand the bonding and great conversations that go along with gaming with others and tend to look at all gaming in a negative light. I don't know what it is, but gaming through headsets just isn't the same (I did this for years with WoW); I need that more personable interaction.

My collection and subsequent gameroom acts as a safe haven for me. It's a place where I can go to feel at peace. It doesn't matter if I am playing games, just being around them washes away the stress of my overworked adult life. For a while, this was the only thing my collection represented, but now, I love to share it with my kids and any cool adult visitors in the "know" (you know what I'm talking about, you don't take just anyone into your gameroom Wink ). I can see how many collectors might be funny about people handling their games, but I let my kids go in an out at will and pull anything they want to off of the shelves or grab controllers to play with off of my pegboard. My 3 year old son especially loves the zappers! I sincerely hope that this can be a place for us to share and blow off a little long day steam as they get older.

In terms of visitors, I'm kind of like slackur in that many of the games and even consoles I keep are more for others than myself. Sure, there are systems that I more rarely play and could sell off, but sometimes seeing someone light up and ask, "Does this work? Do you have this game? Can I play it?", really makes me smile. The wife and I once had a big party at our house and I took a guy come up to my room. He stayed up there for over 2 hours playing Airwolf on the NES. Ha! 

Great article slackur!
"So we put together multiple niches that allow someone to almost wordlessly plop on a chair or bar stool near one of many extra TV and game machines."

Since I've moved I've been shuffling systems and TVs around trying to find what will work. I would love to see some pictures of your set up for some ideas.

Thanks for another great article!

@singlebanana: I've always found pinball games to be great icebreakers at parties. Does the same thing happen to you? People just seem to gravitate to them....
Man, singlebanana, you hit it on the head.  Adult life is so chaotic and those game helped so much.
Awesome article, Jes!  I think my collection is an extension of my fear that I will not have anything to play one day.  I started collecting when I worked on the assembly line at Ford I bought games so that I would have something to do while I was laid off (which did help).  From there I went through many phases of not collecting and buying everything I see, until I reached my current incarnation, which seems to be about more cheap digital games (if I get anything at all).

When I was a kid we used to play the Mario Kart Battle Mode in a very specific way.  You would drive around, picking up items, but only keep the green shell.  Then you would into a jumping turn (a sharp turn) and fire off the shell towards the wall.  If you did it right the shell would go rocketing off at very high speed.  Repeat five to six times (I can't remember) and then Battle Mode starts!  The extra challenge of trying to avoid the madly ricocheting shells whilst trying to kill your buddy was a ton of fun.
@Addicted: I'll be honest. In my home, it doesn't happen as much as you'd think. Sure, I have a few friends who are pinheads who own their own machines and want to go play when they come over, but for the most part, I don't have many adults who come over and ask to play. They seem fascinated that I have them, but they don't care to play them (and I offer). Kids seem to love them the most, since most see them for the first time when they come to my house. It's odd, but I feel that sometimes people just don't want to unwind and have fun. They'd rather just have some beers and talk about their jobs all night or how much they work out.
@singlebanana: Sorry to hear that. At least your machines are finding a new audience in kids.

Great article as always. Games have always been a place for me to feel good. Life can be tough, and there usually aren't simple victories. Games give that feeling of accomplishing something, even if it is virtual. It pulls me away from the mundane daily issues and lets me feed the primitive side for a bit.

I'm lucky enough to have several gamer friends. We don't get together as often as I'd like, but it's aways a lot of fun when we do. It creates a lot of bonds, and gives us a place to unwind.

@Fokakis79: I couldn't agree more about Dark Souls. It's a series that really makes you feel like you are plugged into something larger.

@singlebanana: Do you even lift, bro? I'd have a tough time carrying on those types of conversations. Chitchat has its place, but when you know someone more than just general acquaintances that would be rough for any length of time. I'm sure the beer helps. Wink
amazing post, slackur. As always.

For the past year I've been playing a weekly Thursday night game with three friends. And they started as "guys I know online," but developed into friends thanks to Thursday nights. It's become something to look forward to. Something that nets stories to tell on Friday - usually about something stupid I did in-game. But always fun. Three guys that I've never met IRL, but that experience of playing games with others, taking smack or just small-talking during slow parts... it really has brought me back to my younger years of playing games with friends.

So yeah - I agree. Sometimes it's not so much about the game, but the experience of sharing it. It's why I'm happy to buy a game they suggest for Thursday night, even if it doesn't look like something I would have enjoyed solo.
Loved this piece!

It all started for me with an Atari 7800 I "inherited" from my older siblings and the reaction on peoples faces when I tell them I still have that very same Atari is usually priceless. When my son first started playing games on his own, he started with a 3DS (he's 6) and uses the Wii and PS2 that are in his room. His face cannot be re-created when I showed him Pac-Man. He was almost disgusted. But my daughter was fascinated as she hadn't played too many games at that point, and still doesn't all that much. Friends of my younger brother in law have similar reactions too, since even though it's only a few years age difference, I grew up on Atari and they grew up on the Playstation.

I think I will have similar feelings about being at peace in my game room when I am actually able to have my own space for it. Sharing with my wife is damn near impossible and she is very much NOT a gamer, which makes it harder for me. Aside from my handhelds, the Wii U gets the most use because of the off-TV option. I can only hope to have my own gaming space soon.
Awesome post!  There are times when I feel like I've become a bit of a hoarder of games, snagging large lots from pawn shops, etc. so I can get stuff while it's cheap.  And while I don't consider myself an overly material person, it's something we're always in danger of becoming if we let that stuff define us.  Hopefully, I can continue to collect and not succumb to the "Haha, look at all my stuff!" mentality.  That would be the time when I'd have to let it all go.  Thankfully, spreading my collecting between music CD's, vinyl albums, and video games, means I have to be a bit choosier as to what I buy and when, and that helps keep me level.

I wish I could cultivate the kind of experiences you mention here.  I have a couple gaming friends, but most of them, aside from a coworker, live over a hundred miles away, and it's just not practical to get together very frequently.  They almost all have wives and children, and just don't make their way my direction often enough.  I can go to them, but again, I have a wife, and since we're trying to adopt (another expensive proposition), AND we're foster parents, I don't have the luxury of picking up and driving 3 hours to go see them more than once in a great while.  I wish there were more video game aficionados in my small town, because it would certainly make my collection more meaningful, in similar fashion to what you've experienced.  I have had some of that joy recently, having done respite for another foster family and spending a bunch of time on Mario Kart 8 with a foster boy, and having my coworker/friend over and introducing him to the Sega Saturn (which he had never seen or played), but those experiences are too infrequent.  I much prefer couch coop to online gaming, so if I could have more people to come over and play, that would be great.  And while my wife is a gamer, she's far more into the Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing side of things to come play Mortal Kombat or Darius Gaiden with me.
Very awesome article slackur!! You put a lot of things in perspective :-)
@Fokakis79: I really, really enjoyed Bloodborne, and true to the Souls series, it has an interesting and immersive take on multiplayer.  Fascinating how a game can combine single and multiplayer elements so naturally, even with a purposefully convoluted setup.

@singlebanana:  It has taken us many, many years of spontaneous invitations and cultivating friendships to have these type of Friday nights.  Sometimes we only have one or two guests, other nights we may have two dozen!  But we're always inviting new people.  The crowd changes every few years, though we have close friends that have been coming over for over a decade and a half.  It does take a bit to keep it going; there is a definite Western mindset that keeps folks in their homes, using social media and online games for their socialization instead of just getting together for fun.  Even when they do come over, it can take a long time (sometimes years!) for some folks to eventually get to where they can just be comfortable, pick a game themselves and play.   

@Addicted:  If you PM me a text-able number, I can send you some pics.  Smiley

@monkees19:  Having the right kind of dedicated space is quite crucial.  We moved through many smaller homes before finding our final house, and couldn't be happier with the space it provides.  Being able to game with family members is a special kind of awesome, especially with kids.   

@MetalFRO:  Dude, first of all, I've really enjoyed your articles lately on the site!  Secondly, I pray the adoption process goes well, as I know just how crazy expensive and difficult that process can be.  Third, kudos to you being foster parents!  Lots and lots of work, but so important and worth it.  Fourth, try going the opposite direction; my beloved and I work together on planning out how to go through games like Harvest Moon, share Animal Crossing towns (until I terrorized our fellow villagers with shovels to the head and holes everywhere) and she's often up for arcade-style stuff if we can set it to free-play credits or unlimited continues, where I can still work on my skill and she doesn't worry about dying.  Twelfth (I lost count), you introduced a friend to the Saturn and name-dropped Darius Gaiden, so you win the Golden RF Box of the month in my book!

Thanks for all the positive feedback, guys!  And like Monkees19, if there are any stories behind how your game collection became what it is, lets hear 'em!
@GamerNick: I must compliment you on your G.I. Joe NES boxart avatar.  Great game, so underrated.

@slackur: Thank you, good sir!  I hadn't thought about some of what you said there, will have to keep it in mind.  My wife and I did the Animal Crossing town swap thing when we bought the GC original, but since then we haven't really kept up with it.  I lost interest after that, and never touched the Wii version.  I doubt my wife would give up her 3DS long enough for me to really get anywhere in New Leaf!  My problem with the other suggestion is, she just gets frustrated with games too quickly if they're not super easy.  Case in point, when we first bought Spyro 2 as a new release, she would play the easy parts, and any time there was any platforming or major gliding parts, or boss battles, she'd hand the controller over to me.  I'd love to have her play a shmup with me, but she has no interest.  Whenever I play Darius Gaiden or G-Darius, she's like, "Is that the stupid fish game again?"  So even with free-play enabled, I doubt I could get her to bite.  But who knows, maybe I'll reel her in one day?

And thanks for the "award"!  I was fortunate enough to pick up a Saturn just after it died in the US, so I bought it and a handful of games dirt cheap.  Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to foresee the Saturn US market shooting up 10 years later, so I passed up on a ton of great games when they were cheap.  I could have had near-mint copies of Mega Man 8, Tomb Raider, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel vs. Street Fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 2, and the list goes on.  Still, I can enjoy what I have, and since I have a Pro-Action Replay cart, I can pick up import titles on the cheap when I come across them Cheesy
I really enjoyed reading everyones post. I know...some of my happiest moments im my entire life were just hanging out with disposed-Hero when we were kids. Not a care in the world. Plug in a game and just getting lost in an adventure together. That's what did it for me. I try to recapture the fun we had when we were younger every chance I get. Adult life gets in the way a lot. But whenever I get the chance I plug in a game, shut out the world, and just feel like I'm 12 years old again, hanging out with my best friend on a Saturday night, no worries, no bills, no responsibilities, and just genuinely enjoying being alive. There's nothing else that puts me at peace quite like that. Or makes me as happy. The world can throw whatever obstacle it wants at me from 9 to 5....but when I turn on that game, it's just me, and my best friend, having the time of our lifes like when we were kids...., and that's one of the few things that really, and truly, just makes me feel happy and at peace with life, and the world in general. We had sooo much fun when we were kids that nothing comes close to comparing to the joy I had just hanging out with my bud, getting lost in another world together. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I really credit my love for games to that. And I try to recapture those emotions every chance I get. So....yeah...It's not just a game to me either. It's a past time,.....an escape...a trip down memory lane.....a friend.....a laugh....a reminder....a joy....and a PRIVLIDGE.... It's a feeling that I think each one of use has felt at least once.....and we loved it so much we never wanted to let it go....and I don't see anything wrong with that....I'm proud to be a gamer....AND PROUD to have been able to share the experience with my best friend....Swear I wouldn't trade it for anything....and I try my damn-dest to re-live it every chance I get.....Cheers Disposed Hero....Your the man dude, and I'm proud to call you my friend man.....(tear) lol...I'm really tearing up ova heaaaah....lol... well.....that's my story....Loved writing/living every minute of it...

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