Life After the Purge

It’s been 19 days since the purge that reduced my gaming collection to current gen consoles with physical games that fit on only two small shelves in my closet. Over the course of those days I have noticed changes in my habits I find interesting.

Thinking about it all, the most noticeable is my more relaxed approach to gaming. With so fewer games in my collection to play, I’m no longer feeling the pressure to barrel through them as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next. I had the habit of aquiring games at a ridiculously stupid pace with no hope of even finishing even one before my next monty haul. Often times I would scarcely enjoy my time playing and if dialogue became too much of a slowdown, I’d skip it. My gaming habits were primarily just to tick things off a list in hopes to get my collection under control. Even rationlising myself as a collector having kept all my consoles since childhood and aquiring things just to “have in my collection” offered no change to this burning desire to play through every single one. It made no sense to me.

In life, there are a lot of things that end up collections and the other big ones that come to mind are books and movies. I have an old college friend whose walk-in closet is nothing more than a DVD library. The collection is impressive–thousands of movies. I didn’t need to rent movies, I could just visit her and borrow something. I had asked her if she ever watched any of these movies more than once, she answered with an unsurprising “not-a-one.” I asked her why she kept them and her response accompanying a shrug was “I might someday.”

That day never happened for me for anything. I avoid buying movies I’ve never seen in favour of those I will actively watch again. I prefer to actually go out to see something or rent something as far as new experiences go.

When it comes to books, I read voraciously when I sit down to do it, so I always buy a few books when I’m out to do so. If whatever it is I’m reading turns out to be not-so-good, I get rid of it without caring I’ve left it unfinished. If I don’t get to one of my new books within a certain period of time, I get rid of it, too.

Logically, it seems as if I should have held video-games to similar practices, but instead I amassed them and hoarded them with the desperation of a greedy child on Halloween. I have no idea why. I enjoyed everything I owned, but when it came down to playing something, my free time would disappear trying to nail down a choice and often only playing things for several minutes before switching to something else. What should have been an entertaining diversion from life turned out to be a chore an exercise in anxiety (a thing I deal with).

These days when I sit down to game, I still don’t often know what I want to play, but when I narrow it down to mood, I simply continue playing whatever it is I’ve been working on. I’ve been able to enjoy the games more and enjoy my time with them and it amazes me how profound and quick this change happened from just a mindset.

Also, my library isn’t expanding beyond control. I don’t even have the urge to snag up things of interest on sale or grab others I discover on the spot. I’ve been quite content with what I currently have and that’s precisely where I want to be. I do not miss anything or feel any regret from the purge. I just feel good and happy again and that’s all that counts, really.

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3 thoughts on “Life After the Purge

  1. You and me both. I recently parted ways with a huge fraction of my games collection, including a Dreamcast due to the same reasons as you. It was liberating when I did so because I held these “pieces of dead weight” for a long time and not once having the desire to go further with them.

    Sometimes a purge is a good thing, for the sake of one’s well being. Great read by the way.

  2. I still have a fair chunk of games in my collection, but I understand the sentiment of letting go. When I got my PS3, I sold about a 1/3rd of my PS2 collection; games that I knew I was never going to put in again. I stopped collecting things for the sake of having them, and now I only keep the games (on any system) that I feel I will want to play again some day.

  3. I used to collect DVDs in mass in the early 2000s. Like you with games, I eventually sold a bunch. I still have many I don’t want anymore, but the last time I tried to sell them they didn’t attract buyers like previously. I do have a good amount of Blu-rays, but I know I’ll watch most, if not all, many times again in the future. In fact, most of them are of movies I’ve already seen many times before. This way I know it’ll be worth the effort to keep them.

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