I swear I must have OCD. I’ve never actually been diagnosed with it, but I’d be very surprised if I didn’t have it. For example, I have a burning and illogical desire to own every moderately good video game ever made. Yet, at the same time, I also have a burning desire to sell off all but like 10 of my most favorite games, and just play those games for the rest of my life. So maybe I’m bipolar. Whatever. I’m not trying to diagnose my psychological disorders here. I’m just trying to obliquely point out a very serious problem.
The problem is that there are too damn many video games. I’m serious here. I currently own 127 video games, and that’s after recently selling off more than 30 games. (Yes I know exactly how many games I own. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I keep track of what games I have, what system they’re for, when they came out, whether they’re in physical or digital form, and whether I’ve beaten them or not. OCD. I has it.) Even so, I have yet to finish at least half of the games I own. I don’t know if I will ever have time to finish all the games I own, and yet new games just keep coming out! It’s madness, I tell you! How is a father of two small children supposed to cope?
The real problem is I don’t know where the happy medium is between buying really good games and having time to actually play really good games. I want to own every good game ever made, so I go on buying sprees and load up on good games, and then I get overwhelmed by all of the games I own that I will probably never have time to pay, and so I end up getting rid of a bunch of games so that I can keep myself sane. It’s a vicious spiral, it is.
One thing that is contributing to this problem is the rise of cheap downloadable games. It used to be that if you wanted a video game, you’d have to go down to Toys R Us or Electronics Boutique or Wal-Mart or whatever, and actually buy a slab of plastic that cost 40 to 60 bucks. Of course, you can still do that (except now you have to go to Gamestop instead of Electronics Boutique. R.I.P. Electronics Boutique), but you no longer HAVE to. It’s now possible to get great quality games directly over the internet for 15 dollars or less.
Of course, the availability of cheap games that I can obtain without leaving the house or even putting on pants means I buy way too many of these things. Of the 100+ games I own, only about a third of them are on a physical medium of some kind. Plus, downloadable games can’t be resold. Which means that if I buy some game on a whim, and then later decide I don’t want it, there’s no way for me to recoup any of my investment. At least with a physical game, I can get some of that money back if I decide I have too many games and need to get rid of a bunch.
On the other hand, downloadable games don’t sit on my shelf and glare at me accusingly because I haven’t played them in months/years. They just sit silently on various hard drives and I don’t have to worry about them until I actually go to play them. OCD FTW.
So the real question here is, what do I do about this problem? I clearly can’t just not buy any more video games. Trust me, I’ve thought about this and it’s really not possible. So I have two viable options. I could change my attitude. Or, I could change my behavior.
What do I mean by this? Well, when I say I could change my attitude, I mean I could just get over the fact that I have more games than I can possibly play. After all, if I die with unfinished games sitting on my shelf, that’s really not that big of a deal. I could just keep going on the way I’ve been going on and realize that it doesn’t matter if I beat every game I own or not.
Or I could change my behavior. Up until recently, I just bought games whenever I could afford them. I’m not a wealthy man by any means, but I certainly can afford more video games than I can possibly play. So I could just buy fewer video games. For the most part, this is what I have been doing recently. My goal is to basically not buy any more games until I’ve finished all of the games I currently own, except for a few downloadable games that I have no interest in ever finishing. This basically means I won’t be getting any new games this year, although I do intend to make exceptions for my birthday and Christmas.
Once I have finished all of the games that I want to finish, then I will start buying games again. My rule will be that once I buy a game, I have to finish it before I can buy another game. That way I will be less likely to get overwhelmed by too many games. It will also mean that I’ll be less likely to get a game that I don’t really want, because I’ll have to be much more picky about what games I get. It generally takes me several weeks to get through a game, so I’ll really only be able to get a handful of games every year.
Maybe someday, when the kids are all grown up or whatever, I’ll have tons of time to play video games again. But by then I’ll have bad eyesight and terrible reflexes, so I won’t be able to play video games anymore anyway. Ain’t life grand?