Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dear Haters: Why I Collect

Recently a friend ridiculed my collection claiming I could afford more of what they want me to buy if I sold the random, useless video games donning my shelves in my game room.  It bothered me a little but it's not the first time I've been judged for what I feel is an exceptionally awesome collection and man-cave.

"It's dumb, you're not going to play them, just sell them."

How about.. no?

Lemme tell ya why...
The most common ridicule bomb tossed my way is..

"It's a waste of money..."

I see where one might be coming from if you looked at my shelves of games and only saw dollar signs.  But for them to be a waste of money they would be worthless and they're clearly not.  Even the shitty ones are worth money to someone, including me.  People collect all kinds of shit, even worthless things.  Have you ever watched American Pickers or Storage Wars?  People will pay top dollar for useless collectibles.  Would you pay $100 for a Havoline oil sign from 1963?  Probably not but some guy somewhere will because he collects that shit.  Good for him. Video games aren't useless.  They are interactive art pieces captured in an era.  To me, that's pretty cool.  To you, it's just money down the drain and if that's the case, sell me your games and stop being a twat.

If you've ever read through any blog post or talked to anyone who has collected anything ever, very few items are bought at their competitive price.  Exceptions exist, obviously, for the price to exist but unless it's a white whale then price is probably going to get negotiated.  The funnest part of collecting for me is finding awesome deals on semi-rare and expensive items.  My collection is currently worth just shy of $13,000 according to competitive pricing but I've probably sunk less than half of that into it.  Five, ten, fifteen years from now if I decide to sell, the value will surely be much higher.  It's an investment.  Like stock you can have fun with.

"You're never going to play them..."

I actually buy every game with the intent of playing them.  When I hand over cash and the game is placed in my hand, I see the cover art and immediately imagine myself playing it.  That said, there's not enough hours in a lifetime to play through all the games on my shelf.  I'd like to... and maybe once in retirement if my arthritis riddled finger joints can still firmly grasp a controller, I'll try.  It's not like I don't play any of the games I own, I actually play quite a few. I will occasionally yank a random-title off the shelf and slave away at it for a few hours.  Just the other day I beat Robocop for NES for no other reason than it was sitting there and I fucking felt like it.  It was awesome - not the game so much, but the reward of being able to do it because I own it.  If you had the money and interest to own every car, you'd sometimes drive the rusted out '82 Pinto because variety is the spice of life.

But if I can't play them all, it doesn't mean no one can.  I'm always open to having people over to play through anything on the shelf, it's another part of the reason I collect.  It's a good social avenue for nerds like me.

If you collect anything, like baseball cards, are you going to sit there and look at all of them?  What else can you do with a baseball card except display it and revel in it's value and the fact that you own it?  A video game can either be proud shelf fodder or a fun experience.  I don't think people understand how collections work sometimes.  

"It takes up too much space..."

The collection does take up quite a bit of space but a collection sucks if you can't properly display it.  My walls are lined with shelving units and I recreate the art and cases for my loose items to make it look uniform and nice.  I take pride in that and it makes the collection appear more valuable if you can show it off in a way that makes people "wow" at it.  One of my favorite collections that just recently sold was this one by a guy who goes by NintendoTwizer on some message boards I frequent.

It's a thing of beauty.  Even if you don't collect or have any interest in video games, you have to admit that looks fucking fantastic.  I hope one day my collection looks this sleek and accessible but that's all part of the process.  Again, it's like collecting interactive art and it should be displayed as such.  It takes up space but I've devoted my space to the hobby.

"It's dumb..."

I disagree.  Most of the value is sentimental and priceless.  I have as much fun at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, game festivals, on craigslist, and game trading sites as I do playing many video games.  My fiance and I both look forward to Saturday morning thrifting and she's a good eye for finding games for me as well - it's fun quality time and I look forward to summertime so we can cruise around and pinch pennies together.  Finding buried treasure in other people's junk is akin to finding Easter Eggs as a six year old.  It's the same joy the American Picker dudes get when they find a gas light from the 1940's in a heap of old bicycle parts.  Some people don't understand that and that's totally fine.  Not all hobbies require you to be a small-time hoarder like this one does.

 I take pride in my collection and at this point it's big enough to pay for itself.  I'm now able to buy things I already have and revive and flip it for a profit to fund my collection.  I don't even have to sell it for what it's worth most times and still come out on top, you just have to have an eye for good deals and be patient which thankfully I've been.

You don't have to understand why I collect or what goes into it but don't dis it just because it's not something you're interested in.  It's fun and profitable for me.

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