Some Backwards Thinking

Screenshot by Flickr User: TheStouffer
Screenshot by Flickr User: TheStouffer

Like so many others at the start of a new year, I made a short list of resolutions with the ultimate goal of getting my life in order.  At the top of the agenda: clean out my stuff from the parents’ basement.  The task was meant to be a sort of gift to my mother, who I am sure is tired of looking at piles of junk covering an otherwise-serviceable living space.  Granted, I tend to keep my assets meticulously organized and well-maintained, but they remain massive piles of junk in the basement, nonetheless.

You see, I have a tiny habit of being a packrat.  A more accurate description of my character would reveal that I am a hoarder who keeps nearly every item that enters my possession.  But after two trips home this year, I have made my way through half of my treasure stores.  Thanks to the efforts of my wife, I have parted with several items: old school papers and receipts have been recycled, unneeded clothes and furniture were donated, I have even managed to gift or Ebay some of my massive collection of gaming memorabilia.  But no matter what anyone says or offers, I cannot get rid of a single video game that I own; the games of my past are simply too precious to throw away.

Many people have tried to reason with me on this matter.  “When was the last time you played your NES?  Do you really need all of this stuff?  Can’t you play this on your computer?”  All of these are valid comments.  It has been quite a while since I hooked up my old Nintendo; the old girl cannot even run on a modern television without a conversion cable.  Certainly I do not need any of my old games.  I have piles of newer titles that I have not even started, so I am in no short supply of entertainment.  And of course I have emulated much of my older collection for the sake of convenience.  In spite of all these criticisms, I will not budge.

Let’s look at this from another angle.  Now that all the hullabaloo of E3 has died down, it has become clear that yet another console generation will abandon backwards compatibility with the previous systems.  All of the games I purchased for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 will only run on their parent consoles.  On top of that, my digital purchases for the Live Arcade and Playstation Network will not carry over, so these titles are tethered to my current consoles until the end of time (or when they break down, whichever comes first).  Despite all of the technological marvels displayed at the latest E3, it seems that even going back even one console generation is proving too much for Microsoft and Sony.

What about Nintendo and the potential of the Virtual Console?  At this time, there are 27 titles available to download on the Wii-U eShop, most of which are licensed Nintendo properties.  Combined with the games available on the Wii eShop, which covers eight different consoles from several companies, players have roughly 450 titles available to purchase.  While this is a great library of games to choose from, these offerings are hardly comprehensive.  Just looking at the games I have stored away reveals dozens of titles that are not included on the eShop, and probably never will be (sorry, Monster Party).

How about buying older items from your local used game store?  Earlier this year, GameStop voided all Playstation 2 transactions, which limits their products to only current gen offerings and smart phones.  This relegates all previous consoles and their games to Goodwill, flea markets, and online dealers.   Oh sure, some of the more fondly remembered classics will get re-releases and bundle packaged, but so many great games are getting tossed out the moment something shiny and new comes along to be sold (and resold) by GameStop.

This leaves the argument of simply emulating all of my old games and pitching the physical copies.  After all, I could make a pretty penny off of some of the more beloved titles in my collection, and keeping my games in a digital format would free up some space.  But there is something lost when playing hunched over a computer screen with the cold embrace of a keyboard.  Call it nostalgia sickness, but playing older console games just isn’t the same without a controller in hand and sitting on a comfy couch.  I am the sort who would prefer to pay for an ideal gaming experience as opposed to piracy or emulation.  But if no one is offering, what choice do I have?

It seems that for the near future, I will be keeping my old games and consoles.  I want to preserve these games and the unique experiences offered by each one, so I can share them with new friends and loved ones.  Besides, no one really uses the basement anymore; Mom can handle the clutter.

-Chip, Games I Made My Girlfriend Play

10 Comments

  1. duckofindeed says:

    Nice post. I can’t get rid of my video game stuff, either, no matter how much space they use up. Huge figurines, duplicate copies of consoles (I got a new GameCube, but I just can’t get rid of its finicky older sibling). And old games. Not going anywhere. People might say, just buy new versions. Download your old Nintendo games onto the Wii, and download PS1 games for the PS3. Get the HD collections of games. And so on and so forth. But why, for example, when I have an N64 that works as well as the day I bought it, should I pay to download all those games to the Wii? I want to play games on the consoles they were made for. Plus, I love having the original copies of old games. Digital copies of “FFVII” are unlimited. But, how many people have the original disks, case, and manual anymore? Physical copies beat downloaded ones any day.

    GameStop’s not selling PS2 already? What’s with them? They refuse to have a very good selection of new games (you seem to have to buy a game within a month or two of release if you want it new), and now they won’t even sell old games? You would think buying used games from people for way under what they sell it for would be to their benefit. You pay me a measly nickel for a game and sell it for $5, but I guess that’s no longer worth it. I’m eventually going to have to get all my games from Amazon, aren’t I?

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    1. gimmgp says:

      Yeah, GameStop is no longer accepting PS2 trade-ins, and once their current reserves are gone, that’s all folks.

      I didn’t even touch on the fact that early models of the PS3 were completely backwards compatible. Can you imagine being able to play all of Sony’s games on one system? *Sigh* A man can dream.

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      1. Hatm0nster says:

        I got one of those PS3s! I always thought it was strange that they took that functionality out. True it enabled them to sell the same games on their store, but who ever heard of functionality getting removed AFTER a launch before the PS3? Weird.

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  2. romsca says:

    Not really a solution, but I do own a Super Nintendo controller with a USB port that I use with an emulator. I’ve seen them with many controllers. Much more comfy than trying to use a keyboard and a bit more practical than trying to coax the old yellow Snes to work!

    Definitely keep your collection. I know so many people who regret selling theirs.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      That’s pretty cool. I’d much rather use the real controller than a keyboard.

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  3. Jacob says:

    I hate myself for how many games I traded in to gamestop for 10% of their value as a jobless pre-teen. NEVER reconsider getting rid of old consoles and games. Even a large collection doesn’t take up THAT much room, that you should exchange hours of memories and an easy way to return to them for a quick buck and some space.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Certainly true. Once you get rid of something, it will also cost so much more than you got for it trying to get it back. Getting a measly dollar per game from GameStop is not worth it unless you are certain you hate the game you are selling.

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  4. Hatm0nster says:

    I can’t get rid of any games I own either. In the last 10 years, I’ve only sold 3 games to gamestop (and those just plain stunk). I hang onto them because I know that one day I’ll want to revisit them as I too think of them as valuable parts of my past. I learned this the hard way, back when the PS1 first came out, my brother and I sold a large portion of our Super Nintendo stuff. We figured we would never want to play any of those old games again, but that’s not what happened. I spent 5 years piecing that collection back together and learned that the short term gain isn’t worth it. It wasn’t all bad though, the search encouraged me to try games that I missed when I was young, games like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana.

    As for emulators, I’m also of the opinion that they really don’t make a perfect substitute. Sure it’s the same game, but not the same experience. It’s a monitor, not a TV; the sounds are different, the speed and rendering is off, and I’m not using the old controller I enjoyed so much. Hang onto your stuff, selling it doesn’t really end well.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I also can’t get rid of stuff unless I hate it. It’s much harder to get it back if you regret selling it. I have one game I’m considering selling that may be a little painful, but I want to get rid of that one because I found it has a glitch that could murder my entire PS2 memory card. It’s a fun game, but not good enough that such a thing is worth it.

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