[Promoted from our Community Manager’s inbox, here’s another fantastic Guest Writer! This article comes from community member Jim K (Lithelephant). He talks about how gamers love to buy, buy, buy, and never finish. Affluence for all!]
It is time we came clean as gamers. We may not like to admit it or we may simply even deny that the problem exists. However, if you dig deep, look hard, maybe even squint a little, you will know it in your heart to be true: gamers have way too many games. We are inundated with game after game, some good some bad, some we haven’t even played. Some we continue to buy out of nostalgia, some we buy out of love for a trailer or may even just the concept, but the problem remains. Are there simply too many games out there? Do we simply buy too many?
Before I go any further, let me give you some examples from my own life. If I were to take a look at my Sega Genesis collection, 98% of which was collected during the Genesis’ primetime, I would say I have over 50 games. FIFTY. I know for a fact, that I have not beaten every game that I own for the Genesis…so what on Earth was I doing with 50 games!? You assume I would finish a game, then get a new one, or maybe I would love one game so much that I played it over and over (in the case of some that is actually quite true…I miss you Quackshot). Now I know what you’re thinking. “Oh come on, you were what, in like 3rd grade when you were playing Genesis? You simply were a kid! Gotta have that new toy!” Well, yeah. I guess that’s true…so let’s move on to my next system.
Unlike most kids getting their Playstations and N64’s, I got a Sega Saturn. Don’t get me wrong though, I love that thing, I still have it hooked up in my room. But let’s count the games on that one shall we? I own about 25 games for the Sega Saturn. I bet some people didn’t even realize it had that many games! The story was still the same; I loved some games and played them over and over while some I barely touched. But, I kept getting new ones. Now I’m still in that young part of life. Next was N64.
I got an N64 when I was about 11 years old. I have owned over the years probably 25-30 games for the N64. That’s approximately 100 games so far and I haven’t even TOUCHED handheld systems. But I digress, I keep listing this system by system as was my intention, but there are simply too many games so I will simplify it for you. Playstation: 30-35 games. Playstation 2: 20-30 games. Xbox: 15-20 games. Xbox 360 – 15-25 games. Gameboy: 20-30 games. Gameboy Advance: 15-20 games. DS: 10-15 Games. Game gear: 10 games. I also have about 100 games on Steam. That’s nearly 350 games if I round it out. With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the real point of all of this: why on earth do I have so many games?
What is it in a gamer that makes us desire a new game so badly? Is it just that pervasive consumer culture that leads us to want what we don’t have? Are gamers just naturally more susceptible to advertising without even realizing it? It’s somewhat mystifying to realize that the attitude I had as a child, that sense of “Oh my gosh, I have GOT to get that new whatever!” has become my mantra for gaming. However nowadays, it tends to go more in line with pricing. Steam sales have been both a blessing and a curse to many a person, with their fabulous selection and their devilishly low priced sales. They dangle that cheap, juicy worm right in front of us until it snags our lip and they yank us out and shake out our wallets.
With that in mind, perhaps it’s just the effect of our culture nowadays. Video games, movies, TV, it all throws crazy stimuli at us at 300 miles an hour and one simple thing just can’t hold us like it used to. It’s as if our own media culture has given everyone a smaller form of ADHD. If it’s cheap, just a taste is enough. One little thing to cure our boredom for a moment is all we need before we need something new to feel that rush again.
New. That brings us full circle. Do we, as gamers, buy too many games? Do we put something back on the shelf before we can really appreciate it? I think we do. This is of course a generalization, but I think it will always hold some truth. Gaming companies keep giving us more of what we want and we love them for it. But unfortunately, unlike some addictions, ours comes in far too many flavors, colors, and far too often.
I know I have rambled a bit here, but for me, the question was do I buy too many games? Yes, I think I do. I don’t think I will ever get around to some of the games that I have. I hope someday that I do. But, alas, as long as they keep putting out new ones that bring out that childhood attitude in me, I will simply be forever at their mercy. Joyously, at their mercy.