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Posted on Jan 23rd 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under collecting, resolutions

For gamers and collectors, the advent of a new year commonly brings goals and resolutions as with any other aspect of life. In the past I have tried to tweak my habits to get the most out of the medium, and I have usually been able to maximize my enjoyment of the hobby, or at least evaluate my own behaviors in an honest way. My goals for both playing and collecting video games in 2018 are reactionary to the way I approached them in 2017. I'm going to reign back the deluge of spending and quantity of titles played.

I kicked off 2017 by playing as many games as I possibly could, beating them by any means necessary. My newly modded thrift-store Wii blew my mind in a sense that it was the first console mod I did by myself, and it was the first time in all my years of emulation that I felt completely comfortable from a tactile sense playing the games. Using the Wii classic controller, I felt a one to one recreation of the games in a way that is as close as possible to playing the original games on original hardware, while using modern hardware on a modern television. Purists can cry foul, and God bless them. My modded Wii is one of my prized possessions. So, I felt energized for the first time to play through as many of the tens of thousands of roms I threw at this console to explore consoles, genres, and game series I had not looked at in the past. The first weekend I messed around with this new toy, I played through a handful of games in a single weekend. I saw my list on the "Beaten in 2017" thread growing quickly, and subconsciously challenged myself to add as many game to the list as I could. I went on a tear of rolling the credits on as many games I possibly could, using emulator cheats if necessary.

As the year went on, I branched out into including more modern games, but I typically skewed towards shorter titles. I was, without a doubt, going for quantity over quality. In the summer, I purchased a GPD XP and the emulation floodgates were open all over again. Now that 2017 is over, I can look back on my list and recognize it for what it is; a list. Though I wouldn't in any way say I regret the way I approached gaming in 2017, I am completely changing course in 2018. I already have a post in "Beaten in 2018," but I have to acknowledge the fact that no one except me cares how many games are in it. So finally, I present my goal for the new year pertaining to playing video games: I will seek out depth and richness in the gaming experience, regardless of the length of the game and to a certain extent the challenge. I will seek joy and bliss in each title I play, and where I cannot find it, I will move on. In doing this I hope to be able to slow down and savor each title in a way that doesn't glaze over or rush any experience.

As I look back on how I collected games in 2017, I have to acknowledge and assess my profligate spending on video games and consoles. In 2017, I spent just over $2,000 on video games from Amazon alone. If I step back and take an honest look at myself, I admit without reservation that I was only getting satisfaction out of spending the money and receiving the packages. As a collector (who has no objection to emulation), I am in possession of far more games than I can ever play in my entire lifetime. I'm going to be blunt, I judge my spendthrift ways in the past year as a completely irrational and unreasonable act. When I think of other things I could have done with just that $2,000, I know 2018 has to be different. I put a lot of thought into this next goal, and in the end I believe it ties in beautifully with my first goal. I will not spend any money out of pocket on video games, consoles, accessories or anything else video game related in 2018. It sounds drastic, but I've set up a few qualifications for myself to prevent this endeavor from becoming a quick nonstarter. First of all, games for the Playcast are excluded. If I can't acquire a planned playthrough title through trades or borrowing, I will not bar myself from purchasing it. Speaking of trades, they are on the table, as are games and gift cards given to me. This idea was borne out of avoiding frivolity, not fun or gaming itself.

As I write this in the second week of January, I have already seen benefits of both goals. I'm currently playing NieR: Automata and I am taking my sweet time with it. I'm playing it solely for the enjoyment of it, and not as another tally mark on a list. What's more, to hedge against the spending goal, I have carefully taken advantage of a certain major video game retailer's trade-in policies to amass a large amount of trade credit which has also had the side effect of slowly shrinking my collection through individual evaluation of each title therein. I will check in here and on the podcast as the year goes on. Wish me luck!

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Good luck on your goal! I always try to keep two games going so I don't burn out and always have something fun to play.

1. A longer narrative driven game that I can make progression and mark milestones with
2. A shorter game or quick action game that can be enjoyed without requiring a lot of startup time
I can relate to the goal of playing fewer games and getting more fulfillment out of them.  I easily completed more games in 2017 than in any other year, but looking back on it, the subconscious desire to complete as many games as I could made gaming feel more like work than a hobby.  This was exacerbated by the crazy idea I had to play as many new releases as I could during the year, something I will definitely not be doing this year.

Right now, I'm only playing a couple of games concurrently instead of several, and I don't feel like I need to rush through anything just so I can move on to the next.  I've been taking my time more with games, and in hindsight trying to finish as many games as I possibly could feels kind of silly because, well, who cares?  I'm even putting down games that I'm not enjoying very much, something I always had a hard time doing in the past.

As far as spending less money on games... well, I'm not there yet.  Smiley
Good article, dude.  Having had to pack up an entire games collection and move them to a new place, and unpack them all to be re-shelved, a part of me has to second guess my decision to ramp up collection efforts over the last 3-5 years.  Despite that, I don't plan to slow down, because I'm looking at my collection partially as a long-term investment.  Some of these games I will never play, and that's okay.  If I can buy cheap now and sell later when the nostalgia hits, or things become harder to find, I can reap the benefits from that.  As my collection grows, I know there will always be something interesting for me to play.  And I do like the vast choice I have with all the different games and consoles at my disposal.  But I applaud you for trimming back, and wish you good luck in pursuing only meaningful gaming experiences this year.

@Addicted: This is a good idea.  I usually try and alternate between large and small games, but I kind of like this idea, and might have to adopt it.  It would make sense to do long games at home, and shorter, smaller games at work on lunch break.  That might be a good way for me to get my indie game fix.
Interesting article. I admire your ability to reflect and make the decision to reign things in. It's inspired me to do the same. In defense of playing a ton of games last year, 2017 was an unusually great year for games so the desire to play them all is understandable. That said, I'm kind of scared to tally up how much I spent on games in 2017, esp considering that I only played most of them for a couple hours. As it is, I only finished 3 games last year, only 1 of which was released in 2017, and it was a mobile game, Monument Valley 2.

I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to spend less on games this year. I have such a backlog of stuff from 2017 and earlier that, like you, I have more games than I could ever play in my life. I'll never stop loving games, but the older I get and the more I take part in my non-gaming interests, the idea of what else I could spend that money on is almost paralyzing for me to think about. There's lots of things I still want to accomplish in my adult life, and some of them aren't cheap. Eventually, something's gotta give.
Dude, very nice article.  I too was taking my playing goals far too seriously last year, but under the advice of friends I reined it back a lot and began focusing on quality over quantity, or at least not forcing myself to play through what I don't like.  It really came to head when I played Bad Dudes on NES and realized there was no way I was going to devote the time to practicing just so I can mark it "green" on The List.  A long game and a pallet cleanser is basically what I am aiming for these days.

I too don't have a problem with emulation, though I have problems playing games I don't own, so what is in my game folder of OpenEmu is what I have, and I really think it is 100% due to my massive ROM collection I had downloaded and never got around to playing.  I had so much fun just downloading all of those massive "Gamebases" and the 300GB Meagre DOS collection that I didn't really get around to playing anything.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading about your journeys in the near future.
@bombatomba: I remember when I learned how to burn Dreamcast "backups" a friend of mine said "have fun burning a ton of games and never playing them!" I definitely believe there's satisfaction in the mere activity of hoarding roms. In fact, at times when I had an urge to spend money and knew I really shouldn't, I would instead waste a ton of time looking for some obscure game to download.

@MetalFRO: I've moved twice in the past five years and both times, the collection was by far the biggest pain in the ass. Any time I feel like trimming the fat, I always have that in the back of my mind. I think I could get rid of a lot more stuff if I wasn't stifled by the "inconvenience" of selling on eBay, etc. It is work. I've been able to dump a few swaths of games on a buddy of mine who works at gamestop. We caught a promo where you'd get +40% if you traded more than four games. Otherwise you're not getting any value, and even with that promo I had to comb through a lot of stuff looking up values to make it worthwhile. I often wish there was some kind of magic trade-box that I could just dump what I didn't want into it and get some kind of reasonable value for it. The work that goes into excising games from a collection is definitely a hindrance. 

You guys rock. I really, really appreciate the response to this post. Thank you all so much!
I went through a similar thing a couple of years ago when I was doing the 52 Game Challenge.  I started grabbing games that were shorter just to get to credits 52 times.  This year I am doing no challenges.  I call 2018 the Year of Playing What You Want.  I'm finally getting to Fallout 4.

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