Saying “Goodbye” to Video Games: Part II
Make sure you read Part I before you continue…
First, let me say thank you for the kind comments, emails, and in response to part I. I have to say I was a little surprised and almost aggravated that some friends were saying things like “Any stuff I can have?” or “Can you send some to me?” This isn’t about me being Santa, it is about me getting healthy. If you are thinking of doing that after reading this, save your fingers the typing…
Before we continue I want to take a moment to cover some things I forgot to include in part I.
For me, this whole experience is not just about needing to shed the weight of owning all of those games, it’s also about a change in my mindset when it comes to how I think about video games and the metal energy I expend on them. As I mentioned in part I, I spend too much time thinking about video games. Not just the games on the shelf, but the new releases, game announcements, business decisions from the major companies, and even reading analysis of them. To put it simply, I no longer want to give a shit about stuff that doesn’t help me get closer my ideal life. I will still own games, I will still play games from time to time, but it will be on new terms that fit into the life I want to live.
Here is the big piece I left out from part I, when I really get into video games (or a video game mood) I become much more relaxed with my nutrition. I was picking up a pizza on the way home so I could “enhance” the experience of watching a “Quick Look” of a game or rationalize other bad food choices. To simplify, when I really get deep into video game stuff, my mindset around nutrition got worse and I rationalized bad food decisions. Like I had to be full to be ready to enjoy video games.
Sorry if I made you crave some pizza
And again, this article is about sharing how I think and act when it comes to this stuff. You might not understand and I am not asking you to. There are two reasons for this series. First for me to sharing one of my flaws/weaknesses in hope of better understanding myself. Second, the possibility of helping one or two you reading this who recognize a similar issue.
OK, what’s next???
If you have followed me on twitter or heard me on a podcast in the past, you may have heard me discuss an occasional purge of video games from the collection when things got out of hand. Things were pretty bad about 6 months ago. This is where I was at:
This photo is from 6 months ago, but it gives you an idea of where I was at. Even more was in the closet.
Over the next few months I got rid of a bunch of this stuff. But then I went back to Tokyo and came back with a suitcase of more stuff. There was a decent amount of eBay purchases in there too…
The collection fluctuated back and forth, but I was left with about 300+ games (some in a storage container in the closet as well since they did not fit on the shelf). This stuff DOMINATED my living room.
The last month or two I have trimmed things down and I have tried to keep things at bay, but this is different. I have to scale down drastically and make some hard cuts. Before I did anything I needed a set of rules.
1. Keep what you love. What you really love. There should be a positive memory associated with it or a reason in 1A to keep it.
1A. Keep the games you have a strong desire to do an episode of Back in my Play on. I love doing that show when I have the time. This is a positive.
2. Keep games and hardware that will be used to enhance social events (think Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 or NHL 94” on the Genesis).
Still the best party console. Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64, Start Fox 64, Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
3. Music CDs are exempt. Video game music and my small collection of physical CDs/vinyl enhance my enjoyment of everyday life and make some of my mundane work easier.
Two recent additions
Over the course of 2-3 days I passed by my wall of games and attempted to remove 2-3 items each time. First to go were games that I could always get digitally if I needed to play them or things that are common enough to obtain again if necessary. A few days later I had two 30-quart storage containers filled with games and hardware I was ready to let go of. I let that stuff sit in the corner of the room for a few days while I kept going back to the wall. The second container was slower to fill up, but eventually it was overflowing. Every time I walked up to that shelf I asked myself:
What’s next? What would can I part with? What won’t get played in the next 6-months? What has a resale value too high to rationally hold on to?
Then another pile on the floor accumulated…
I also had another container that was for games to keep, but I don’t need out in the living room. This included things like the social games mentioned before that I could put away in the closet and only take out for the social occasions. For example, when I have friends over that want to play some “Marvel vs. Street Fighter” on the Sega Saturn. I wanted to have as little out as possible, restricting it mostly to Famicom/NES and portable games that allow for quick bursts of fun or in the case of the portable games easy access as I pack for a trip. We will get to what remains in a little bit…
This policy isn’t new, but if I give a game two honest shots of an hour and it isn’t fun or grabbing me, it has to go. Otherwise I get in a pattern of starting long 20, 30, or 40+ hour games and get bummed out because I didn’t get to find out how the ragtag group of people defeated the evil person that wanted to see the world come to an end. Better to get those out of the house and in the hands of someone that can save the world.
I made use of eBay, Amazon Trade-in, and Craigslist as outlets to get something back for the games. Maximum return in value was not my main concern. I had big lots of games and didn’t want to spend hours postings on Craigslist and eBay and deal with shipping and pickups. Only the higher $50+ items got individual postings.
Since some asked for a glimpse of what I let go, here is a partial list:
One of two bins filled with stuff. The other was full of games.
- Playstation 4 and all games
- Wii U and all games (bye bye digital purchases!!! Oh Nintendo…)
- Xbox 360 and all games
- Playstation 3 and all games
- Super Famicom x2 (don’t worry I still have one)
- Super Nintendo
- Nintendo (NES)
- Sega Genesis and all but 6 games (still have one)
- Nintendo DSi x3
- Nintendo DS Lite x5
- Playstation 2 and all games
- PC Engine and all games
- Tons of loose games
I am not going to list it all out, but I counted about 180 games from the Neo Geo Pocket Color to the PS2, to the PS Vita, to the Famicom, to the Sega Saturn. Literally enough games to fill a one and a half 30 quart storage containers. This included about 20 DS games, 40 Famicom games, a dozen Sega Saturn games, and many more across other consoles.
So what remains? What survived the exodus? I kept it simple. Whatever was left (and not on the social gaming storage container) had to fit on this 3 shelf bookcase I picked up for $24 on Amazon.
Maybe best to show you with a picture:
Actually a damn nice bookshelf for $24 with free shipping on Amazon.
As of this writing I still have a “current gen” console with the Xbox One to play big releases (I don’t plan to keep any games, only purchase at a discount and resell) and to make use of digital services like Netflix and of course, the WWE Network. Also remaining are two portables I love in the 3DS and PS Vita (my current consoles of choice since I can have short 5-30 minute play sessions when the time is right), and a nice line up of retro consoles including a Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, and N64. And you can bet your ass I am holding on to “Gimmick!’
See! It isn’t all gone! I will use this as another opportunity to reiterate this isn’t only about getting rid of games. I even got a package today with the Special Edition of Persona 4 Dancing All Night (I have discovered I love music/rhythm games that allow for short 5-10 minute sessions. And of course, you know I love video game music). It is about no longer being burdened and preoccupied about video games in an unhealthy way.
Just arrived today including a 2-disc soundtrack
With what remains I have a bunch of fantastic games I have yet to play (both old and new) and a wealth of wonderful memories inside those plastic carts, ready to be unlocked when I want to revisit them. Now they don’t dominate my life and my living room.
That Isn’t the End of the Exodus
This purge is not the end of it, even as I wrap up this piece, I have taken a few more games off the wall and put them in a new “Out Box.” And I am sure when I am back in Tokyo this December I will pick up a few things that will then cause for some more items to leave to keep the balance.
If I had to chose my favorite aspect of video games, it would definitely be the music, especially “chiptune” music from the 80s and 90s. Composers of that era had to create 30-60 second loops that would be enjoyable even after you heard it the 500th time. If you grew up playing video games in that time period You can most likely hum a few chords from “Mega Man,” “Streets of Rage,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” or, “Super Mario Brothers.” Just hearing one of these tracks can transport you back to your spot in front of the buzzing television and your console.
Over the last year I have build up a nice library of video game soundtracks purchased from Amazon Japan. It might sound crazy to those that live outside of Japan, but publishers and record labels are regularly releasing soundtracks from games old and new. Every few weeks I jump on Amazon Japan to see what is coming out or what was restocked for possible additions.
As I mentioned earlier, video game soundtracks are omitted from any purging since they bring me nothing but happiness and joy. I even picked up two soundtracks recently rereleased on vinyl! It is a whole different experience listening to something that doesn’t have the next track one button away.
Some old video game music on vinyl
I could talk about video game music for another 500 words, about how I have discovered some games thanks to their beautiful soundtracks…But I have to take this article home (pro wrestling reference).
The First Step
As I wrap up part II of this series,I already have notes for a part III (trilogies are always cool, even The Matrix). And I really do feel fantastic. Like I have set off on a new chapter or even book in my life. I have made a decision to improve my life and refocus on what is important to me. What is going to help me get to the goals I set 3 months from now, 6 months from now, 3 years from now.
I hope the Part I and II of this series helped you reflect on how you are living you life and what changes you think will get you on the path of leading your perfect life.
Also I recorded a big episode of The FitCast discussing mental health and the process of course correcting your life with Rog Law. Look for it soon.