Game One Thousand

So. I like games. That's probably fairly evident to anyone who's spent any time poking around on this website. It's even more evident to anyone who's spent any time at my house; the first comment most first-time visitors make goes something like, "Holy crap, that's a lot of games!" Depending on how well they know me, I may point out that they're in alphabetical order. Or not.

A little poking on this site will show you a ramble I wrote earlier, The Great Game Sale, where I professed to be over the addiction of buying games. I was happily selling off my collection (except for a few "prized" games, of course), and all was right in the world.

Yeah, right.

Since then, I've bought back pretty much every game I sold. I've realised that buying games is no more an addiction for me than, say, breathing or eating. Like those actions, it does me more good than harm (except, obviously, when done to excess); also like those actions, I seriously doubt I could live without games for any extended period of time. If nothing else, at some point in my life I can open up a museum of classic games. When all of these Playstation and Playstation 2 games become, you know, classic. All of that reasoning is pretty much irrelevant, though. I just like games. They give me warm and fuzzy feelings.

So. I'm not selling games. I'm still buying them. And I have a nice list of "every game I own." That is, of course, a gross misnomer. It doesn't list any PC games, mainly because that would be a thankless task. Do I list every Ultima in my Ultima Collection separately? What about stuff on floppies that are buried deep in the bowels of my parents' attic? No, the list is far from complete. It doesn't even list all of my console games; I never got around to dragging my Atari 7800 out of its box and cataloguing all of the titles I own. (At least I'm honest. The filename is gamelist.raw.incomplete.)

Nonetheless, I have made a rigid ritual of entering new games as I purchaes them. I don't even allow myself to put them into their proper console unless I've entered them into the canonical text file, and since I have a "test everything immediately after purchase" fetish, it works well for keeping the list as up-to-date as possible.

And, every once in a while, I do a quick wc -l and see just how many games I have in the list.

A couple of weeks ago, I realised I was getting dangerously close to the four-digit mark. One thousand console games, give or take. As people say, "Holy crap, that's a lot of games."

I thought heavily on what I wanted to get for the thousandth game. I figured it should be something special, a sort of keystone to the collection, indicative of my favourite genres, favourite developers, something that I could look back on and say, "Yeah, that's a good thousandth game. That really says what it's all about." Whatever it is.

I spent hours scouring websites looking for new releases, old releases, anything that would fit. I hit up NCSX and considered old Japanese games that caught my interest years ago, when I didn't have money to waste on frivolities like imports, but nothing seemed special enough. Nothing jumped out at me and said, "I should be your thousandth game!" Sure, Paper Mario 2 would be a good choice, but it's not coming out for a bit, and who wants a sequel to be their keystone anyway?

I thought and thought. An RPG? A tactical RPG? Definitely something in that field. Square? Already own all the ones brought over here, and imports don't really speak "thousandth game" to me. Yes, I have my share of them, but the vast majority of my collection consists of American releases. So. An American RPG. Damn shame I pretty much own every one released here since Beyond the Beyond for the Playstation, and those I don't own (Panzer Dragoon Saga . . . -sigh-) I still can't afford.

What, then?

I brought the collection up to #999 (XIII for the Xbox, if you're curious) and ground to a halt. The next game I bought would have to be the game, the keystone, the title which summed up my thoughts on gaming and put them in a DVD-style case.

I thought and thought.

I realised: there is no such title. No one game could possibly sum up my taste in games, my taste in life, my experiences with blips and bloops and angled controllers and text that scrolls TOO DAMN SLOW and stupid-looking guys who jump from platforms magically suspended in midair and long expositions mauled by bad English translations and long expositions that suck even with good English translations and spaceships blowing up other spaceships because, well, just because and people moving around on square grids and Ico and Rez and Final Fantasy and, and, and . . .

Besides, what the hell is game number one thousand anyway? The count's already off; I have hundreds and hundreds of PC games not listed, at least twenty Atari games that are missing, and . . . it's just a number.

(I'm at #1009, as I write this article. Game number one thousand was bought on an impulse at a local Sam's Club, while I was waiting around while the rest of the family browsed the aisles. It's as representative of my collection as any game would be, which is to say not terribly representative at all.

If you're absolutely dead-set on finding out what the game is, view the page source. It's right about . . . here. It really doesn't matter, though. Indeed, I think you'd rather not know. Pretend it is that ultimate game, the one which symbolises the rest.)

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Last Updated: 2004.08.15.2154