Screenshot by Flickr User: seamonkeyelephantseal

Gimme More – The Urge To Collect More Games

Screenshot by Flickr User: seamonkeyelephantseal
Screenshot by Flickr User: seamonkeyelephantseal

When I added video games to my many geeky hobbies, I never realized how easy it is to watch your game collection go from one or two games to ten or twenty games piled high in a corner.

My gamer friends have told me there are maybe just a handful of games they completed in full, while the rest are left partially started or not started at all. Despite knowing this, they all can’t resist the urge to buy more games as the newest, hottest titles continue to come out every year.

Collecting games, like you collect baseball cards or a stamp collection, was a foreign concept to me. In my opinion, it made more sense to finish a game you already owned first before buying a new one, or waiting for a price drop so the game is cheaper to purchase. I naively thought how silly it was to keep buying more and more games until you couldn’t keep up. I eventually caught on that the urge to collect more games is a lot stronger than one might think.

Why is that? Why do gamers want to have more games in their possession than they can actually play in a day? A week? Or even a month? What I discovered from my friends and from my own experience is if a game has been reviewed highly and looks cool after watching the game trailers, we will buy it.

We are easily swayed by awesome graphics, a fun or different gameplay system, and the story. It may also be the latest, hottest title everyone is currently playing. You want to be among the cool kids playing what everyone else is currently playing. You want to trade stories of how this boss fight was epic or discuss what that shocking ending meant. It could also be a way of avoiding spoilers faster if you get the game the day of its release.

Personally, I don’t buy too many games the day it’s released. I’m a bargain shopper by nature and I really don’t see the point of throwing down $40 or $50 on a single game, even if it’s one of the best games to come out in a month or year. I also have to really want a game that badly to get it on the first day or week of it coming out (I’m looking at you Dragon Age 3). I’m content with waiting until the price drops a bit or when there’s a sale. Once I do see the game I’ve been dying to get for a while go on sale, there’s no holding me back from buying it straightaway.

This also brings me to another reason why we seem to accumulate so many games––price drops and sales are our best and worse friend in the world. During holiday shopping seasons, I’ve seen a good number of the newly released games go on sale at decent prices from the regular. It calls out to me like a Siren’s song. Before I know it, I’m whipping out my credit card and hitting purchase before I even have a chance to figure out what just happened. It’s also comforting to know a game is in my possession, waiting for me to play it when I’m ready.

I also think we can’t help but collect more games because we want the available option of playing it when we want to. This has happened to me recently when I was trying to figure out what to play, but didn’t feel like playing the current game I’m trying to finish. “You know, I don’t feel like playing anymore Fire Emblem Awakening right now. What should I play instead? Oh, let me start playing Telltale’s The Walking Dead. I haven’t tried it yet and I’m in a story driven game kind of mood.”

If I didn’t have The Walking Dead among my piles of games, and I wanted to play it, there isn’t much I can really do about it other than to choose a game I have already beaten but has a high replay value, like Mass Effect, to satiate my urge for a story based game.

There’s this desire to want to play everything when realistically we can only play so much. For some of us, we have summer vacations from school where you can have a marathon gaming session and reduce your building backlog. For the rest of us who are working adults and have responsibilities in the real world, our time isn’t what it used to be. We’re lucky if we can carve an hour or two of our time to play a level here and there. Backlogs for us is just a reminder that we may never get around to playing everything, despite our best intentions to try.

I think I’m okay with knowing this. As one good friend said to me recently, to comment on his monster size backlog, “When I die, maybe I’ll just have my consoles and games buried with me. I can play them in the afterlife.” Not a bad idea.

24 thoughts on “Gimme More – The Urge To Collect More Games”

  1. One of my issues is that games seem to stay in stores a short time nowadays. If you wait, you can either get it used only or not at all. And I don’t want to have to order the game and risk it getting damaged in the mail. So I end up buying it earlier than I need to. And like you, it is nice once a game you want is bought and safely at home. And sometimes, you do indeed just need a game when it’s released. There is a pretty decent chance I’ll be rushing out and buying “Kingdom Hearts 3” the day it’s released like I did with “Kingdom Hearts 2”. (What a wondrous day that was.) There is also a decent chance I’ll end up buying it before I buy a PS4 (because frankly, I don’t know if I’d buy the PS4 in the first place if it wasn’t for “KH3”), just to make absolutely sure it will end up in my possession. Safe and sound.

    1. I have noticed that finding a game new in stores, even though it’s only about a year or two older, is a problem. I know there are games I have wanted to buy on Amazon that ended up being sold as used or new in some places, but they charge a lot to buy it. I can see how this urge to buy more games, especially when it first comes out, would be an attractive option in this case.

  2. @duckofindeed – That’s something that drives me nuts as well. I want to pick up Valkyria Chronicles, but Gamestop sells used copies for $25… or I could pick up a new copy on Amazon for $20. That’s cool and all, but it would be great if I could find the damn thing NEW somewhere…

    Anyway, the reason why I collect games and purposely build a backlog, is because I never know what I want to play next. I LOVE having such a variety to choose from.

    1. That is indeed a pain. Often, your choices are buy a potentially damaged used game from GameStop or buy a brand new game from Amazon that could get damaged in the mail (I have never had a disk damaged in the mail, but the cases have been damaged a couple times, which rather bothers me). You know, if you have one nearby, you could always try Target or something. No one seems to think of them for games, so sometimes they have stuff when everywhere else is sold out. I just bought the HD collection of “Jak and Daxter” and “Ratchet and Clank” there, when it was used at GameStop half a year ago.

    2. I have to admit that I do like the idea of having a ton of games available at the ready whenever I want. Sometimes you’re just in the mood to play certain games and you want that specific game to already be in your possession.

  3. Simpleek, we have over 200 games at home, and all the consoles available in the market….. I want the games available to me anytime that i want to play it.

  4. I’ve never been one to buy something and not play it (well, aside from a couple of impulse buys on Steam), but that hasn’t stopped me from accumulating a large library over the years. The temptation to just get everything awesome that’s coming out is so incredibly strong sometimes though.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the cause though. Gaming is about experiences. It’s about interacting with all manner of worlds, characters, plots, powers, and choices. It’s in our nature to want to experience as much as we can so we can, in turn, share those experiences with our friends. What good is playing games if you’re not getting good memories or stories to swap out of it?

    1. Indeed. This is why there’s a ton of bloggers like us out there who, after playing an amazing game, want someone to talk about it with in-depth. I know this has been the case with Bioshock: Infinite when it first came out, though I haven’t played the game yet. I do know so many people were blown away by the story and ending so much that the discussion about what it all means has been going on for quite a while.

  5. Great post! As you probably know (from my lengthy discussions of this on Twitter), sales are the bane of my existence. It’s worse on Steam, when it’s always accessible and it’ll take you under a minute to buy the game, but it’s definitely hard not to get games when I see them in the window of a shop either. As you said, unfortunately marketing strategies work too well sometimes and if you have tons of gamer friends, you can’t get away from hearing about the latest games at all. I think your friend is onto something. I may have to get buried with my games too! :D

    1. I know, right? At least if we can play games in the afterlife, there will be plenty to keep us busy! :) It really is impossible to want to buy the newest and latest games when you have friends praising the game or the game is marketed really well. I’m finding it hard to resist sometimes too!

  6. Nice post. I have found that what my friends are planning on buying has a huge influence on whether or not a game will be added to my collection. With multiplayer games, it makes sense that I would want to enjoy an optimal experience by playing with all of my friends when they buy the game. But with single-player games, I often just want to be part of the conversation as our group is playing a game, as opposed to the guy who plays later, and misses out on heated discussion/debate.

    It may sound silly, but I have had more than one situation where my enthusiasm for a title is met with, “Hmm? Oh yeah, that game was pretty good, I guess. Sorry, it’s been a while since I played it.”

    1. Thank you! I agree that friends can also factor into what games you’ll end up spending your money on. Usually if my own friends tell me this game is great, then I tend to consider getting it.

      You make a good point. It’s hard to play a highly acclaimed game much later than everyone else because by then a lot of gamers has moved onto the next big thing and rarely talk about a title that’s a few months old. I’m lucky that when I get into a game my friends have already played and I tell them about it, they still act with enthusiasm when we talk about it. Their excitement increases mine tenfold.

    1. I do agree that Cary is an awesome blogger, but your comment is directed at the wrong person. Cary didn’t write this post, I did. Either way, she does deserve all the praise for her writing.

      1. Animalcrossingfan03, thanks much for your comment, whether it was for me or simpleek (an amazing writer in her own right.) We’re really glad you enjoy our posts. If you’re looking to improve your blog or writing, the best advice I can give is to just keep at it! Find your voice by writing what is true to you, not what you think other people want to read. And never think that no one is paying attention…the blogosphere is an amazing place to find and be found!

  7. It’s silly when you think about it, but yeah, collecting is addicting. ^^;; I’ve got a terrible game backlog, but I still keep buying. Deals/sales are part of the reason for me as well. I really cannot resist buying something when it’s a good deal, but I also buy things because either I’m worried if I’ll be able to find it later or I want to support the publisher. I’ve done the latter with all the Aksys otome releases, for example. There is also the rare case where I buy a game immediately because I want to play it immediately. This is usually the case for Pokemon and Fire Emblem. My manga collection is also pretty bad (currently own 200+ volumes). My backlog isn’t as bad though, because it doesn’t take as long to get through a volume of manga. I think for me it’s also partly fuelled by having a very addictive collecting personality. uwu

    1. Collecting is indeed a lot of fun. I just like to watch any collection of mine grow, whether it be video games or comic books. Just seeing that new item sitting there in my collection makes me quite happy.

      And I, too, will buy games because I’m afraid I won’t be able to find it later, which is a fate that has befallen me on many occasions. Sometimes I can then just get a used copy that’s in good condition, but often times I’m not so lucky.

      1. Tell me about it. I’m still kicking myself for not being able to get Xenoblade back when it first released. Although it honestly could not be helped due to circumstances, but now it’s so hard to find and so inflated in price. :(

      2. I know, exactly! I looked into that game, and it’s ridiculous! With the next generation of consoles, I’m seriously considering buying games I want as soon as they come out, even if I don’t yet have the console, just so I can get them when they’re in stores. I can always buy the console later when the price drops.

    2. The deals/sales will get you big time and will make your backlog grow! Games I’m more overwhelmed with than manga. Manga I can sit and read hours straight. Games take some time to complete and it usually depends on if you don’t get stuck on something either. Very hard to have the hobbies we have when we want everything. :P

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