By and large I believe retro game collections should be amassed to be played. Sure, all this stuff looks good on a shelf, but if you’re not playing those games, if you’re not losing yourself in alien worlds, hunting desperately for one more enchanted crystal or working up a frantic sweat trying to stay in the final round against Sub Zero, then you have to ask yourself if collecting retro video game stuff is really for you.
Perhaps you’d like to start a stamp collection, instead?
Unlike many other forms of collectible, video games offer not only the thrill of the hoard, but the thrill of the interaction too, something I’ve covered in more length here. There are some rare exceptions though. There are a few items even in my own personal collection which I don’t play, or use. I own them purely for the sake of owning them, for the sake of knowing I rescued them from the world like Indiana Jones nabbing an ancient idol from a long lost temple, but I figure it’s okay to pepper a well played collection of gear with the occasional shelf-only piece. One item I don’t think I’ll ever open and play, is my minty never-been-used SNES console. It’s in absolutely fantastic condition, among the best I’ve ever seen, and I think it’d be a crime to take it all out, set it up, and actually use it.
There’s a certain gleeful appeal in knowing no cartridge has ever been inserted into the machine, no-one has ever mashed the shit out of the controller in order to trigger E. Honda’s one-hundred-hand-slap. The device is by and large in the same condition it would have been on on the store shelf. It’s the ultimate in time travel here folks, the whole insect trapped in amber ride.
I figure it’s okay to have one SNES that I keep in this condition considering I own two others, one of which I’d consider my regular ‘workhorse’ SNES. I did have two units in this condition, but sold the other one for a princely sum on eBay to fund something or other. Likely another gaming purchase. Jesus, I’ve got issues.
Mint SNES aside though, I really do feel it appropriate to get on my soapbox and become preachy about playing your collection of games. Don’t let them all sit on a shelf gathering dust! What a waste of talent, imagination and style if you do. Those cartridges, CD’s and disks are the key to hours of entertainment done in a style that’s so rarely matched in these days of photo-realism and big budget titles. So don’t get into the bad habit of grabbing stuff just to line a shelf.
Make sure you load up that tape, insert that cart, or load that CD. Give as many titles as you can the chance, if only for a moment, to trigger a happy memory of gaming past or – even better – create an entirely new one….
PS – I don’t have anything against stamp collectors, really. I think it’s totally trendy. I’ll try and remember to send you some of the stamps from my next delivery of gob-smackingly amazing gaming merchandise, I promise.