The Great Game Sale

I'm selling most of my video games.

For most people, that might not mean much. A game is a game, after all, and while a lot of people in this world get quite a bit of enjoyment out of video games--as an industry, it has surpassed movies in terms of sales--they, as a whole, undoubtedly see them as simply another form of entertainment.

Not me.

I've been playing videogames since before I was going to school. My father bought me one of those all-in-one Pong boxes back in 1984 or thereabouts. It hooked up by those old UHF/VHF hooks to the back of our little 19" TV in the living room. It didn't last long--a cheap model, to be sure--but it entertained my four-year-old self.

When my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas, an Atari or a Nintendo, I adamantly answered: Atari. Why? I wanted to start at the bottom, I think. Even then I had something of the collector spirit. Christmas '87, I had a brand-new shiny Atari 7800 under the tree.

I can remember walking down the aisles of games in Toys 'R Us and picking out one. They were expensive, and they didn't actually have the games out there. You'd get a little paper thing, and bring it to the front of the store, and there was an entire little area where some person sat around and fetched the high-cost items. I remember the excitement of waiting for them to fetch the item for me.

As the years went on, I got more systems. The NES, with my first exposure to RPGs. I remember getting the SNES the Christmas that it came out and playing Super Mario World in my room all day. [By this point I had a TV in my room, with the NES hooked up to it. The Atari had to stay in the other room, since my new TV only had a coaxial hookup and not the old hooks.] The last system my parents bought me was the Playstation. I've received a Genesis, a Saturn, and a Dreamcast as presents, and I bought a Playstation2, an Xbox, and a Gamecube during my tenure as a game reviewer.

Throughout all of this, I played games avidly. Well, no, that's not true--by the time that I bought the Xbox and Gamecube, I was down to playing games fairly rarely. But until I turned twenty-one, I found games to be the most fascinating form of entertainment out there.

Then . . . something happened. Perhaps it was the burnout from reviewing games. Perhaps it was the general oversaturation of the market with The Same Damn Game over and over. The diamonds grew harder and harder to find--Ico, Rez, and later Jet Set Radio Future--and the rest started to look like overcooked crap.

I think it only really hit me that I was tiring of games-for-games-sake when I realized that, despite the gorgeous graphics and intriguing systems, Final Fantasy X just wasn't doing it for me. By this time I had already decided to stop reviewing games, as it was taking up too much of my time. FFX ended up being the last game I reviewed professionally.

So, I'm selling most of my video games.

I generally don't mark stuff as unsellable until after someone asks for it. I promised a dear friend of mine that I would beat Vagrant Story sometime during my life, so I'm keeping it. After getting a number of offers for Mario Golf 64, I decided not to sell that either, or any of the other golf games I have--they're strangely addictive, and great party games. So they stay. After I was trying to convince someone to buy Vanguard Bandits, I think I've decided that I want to keep all of my strategy RPGs. I have every one released for every modern system barring the Saturn. There's something about the genre that appeals to me, and I think I'll keep them around.

But what of the rest? I'm willing to sell my Final Fantasies. I've already sold the two big-console Klonoas, to someone who I know will enjoy them as much as I did. Some games, like these, are fun. But I think they'd do more good in other people's hands instead of mine. I'll keep the art--Rez will have to be pried out of my cold dead hands--but the rest, for the most part, can go.

I never thought I'd say that about my games. I think it's a stronger sign that I've advanced in my life than the writing I've been doing recently. I remember, a few months ago, blowing USD 300 on video games that I knew, deep down, I'd probably never play. But I wanted them. I was buying for the collection's sake instead of my own.

There aren't many gaps in the collection yet--I have so many games that even the non-trivial sales I've done so far have barely put a dent in it. But I'd like to sell more, to people who will give them a good home. It's not about the money, although the money doesn't hurt. It's about realizing that an addiction that I had, to the idea of "having a game," was just that--an addiction. Not a real need, not a life goal, but an addiction. One that feels good to break.

Real good.

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Last Updated: 2002.08.16.2226