I have been playing video games as far back as I can remember. I inherited my sister’s NES with the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt bundle, which is the best bundle of all time in my opinion. Though I wouldn’t call that little boy killing time between playing outside a gamer, however the groundwork was set for a lifetime of gaming infatuation.
Somehow what was once a pure love for this passionate hobby of mine slowly degenerated into a cynical begrudging use of time. Dont get me wrong, I am still a gamer, I love playing games. Though I’ve become a game hoarder, meaning I am more concerned with owning the games than playing them. Read on and find out if you have the same problem and what you can do to fix it.
It’s 2am, I’ve just woken up and the day ahead is empty. There is beer in the fridge and food in the cupboard, this is prime gaming time. I quickly glaze over my 30 or so console games, there are MANY I still need to finish or would like to play again but I decide instead to play something on the PC. So I stare at my desktop, blankly. In front of me is an array of games that would have had the child me wetting his pants in happiness. I’ve got everything from Limbo to Just Cause 2, Max Payne 3 to Portal 2. My options are limitless. Yet as I stare at the icons, back to my console games, and again to the desktop icons like a deer in idiot headlights.
I look at game after game and I dont see countless hours of fun, but rather unfinished projects. Like schoolwork piling up on a Sunday evening. Of the who knows how many games I own I would guess that about 15% have been completed. Bare in mind that I play a lot of sports titles and RPG’s but still, that is an incredibly low number. And why is this? Why do I buy 3 games before I complete one? Why do I own so many but finish so few? No, its not just because I suck, its also video game hoarding.
Hoarding is defined as a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value.
Now, while my games obviously have value the basic principle is the same. I have collected these games from sales on Steam, sales at stores, or just brand new, and its gotten to be so cumbersome that I cant even enjoy most of them because I see each one as an unfinished burden.
I dont hoard other things, and I wouldn’t consider myself OCD, other than a few things. (However most in the medical field don’t consider hoarding an OCD condition even though it’s often called “compulsive hoarding”) I cant help but want to own every single game there is, I want to play everything. But the downside to that is that I cant pull myself to try and finish the games when there are so many.
Disorders similar to hoarding are often treated with medicine, but I think you’d agree that would be ridiculous in this case (unless it’s cough syrup, that’s never ridiculous). No, I am seeking a sort of system for both controlling my urge to purchase games and creating a pattern for completing games.
Steam has become a good friend since I built my PC last year. I love the community, the ease of use, and of course all the sales. Along with Amazon I have really got some great deals on downloadable and hard copy games. Im cheap, and it’s in my nature to want to save. So naturally when a game I have a faint interest in is going at a really reasonable price I want to buy it. Thus far the only real control I have had over that is being broke and unable to afford the games, and even then sometimes Ill just
So when seeking hints on controlling my buying I considered using tips for reducing spending. Because while I am not trying to save money, it will give me the same benefits. So I came up with these three keys to managing my video game purchases:
- Make a list of no more than three games that you want to buy in the next 2 months. Those games can be old or new, it doesn’t matter, just stick to those three.
- Finish a game before buying another. This one can be tricky if a sale is only for one day, but before splurging on something new finish something you already own.
- Don’t be Steam’s bitch. Steam, Amazon and every other retailer has sales because they know they’ll make more selling those items cheap then they would at regular cost because people love sales. And what makes it even more beneficial for downloadable games is they have as many as they want, so its not like they are going to run out. So try to not be Steam’s bitch and fall for every sale.
Finishing What You Own
This is the most important and difficult part of the process and one I spent weeks trying to do. You might be thinking stuff like “he’s not a gamer if he doesnt want to play the games” and “why’s he complaining about having too much to play” but when it comes down to it its a classic case of having eyes bigger than your stomach. How many times did your mom and dad say to you growing up that the meal you were ordering was far too much for you, but you persisted and got it anyway. Then afterwards they laughed as you couldn’t finish it and told you your eyes were bigger than your stomach. The same principle applies here.
As video game hoarders we buy more than we can finish. So what steps can someone take to actually finishing the games they own, and how can we keep interested in games we haven’t played in so long?
I found one great way is, if the game has co-op, play it with a friend. Convincing my buddy to play Dead Island online with me helped me knock 4 hours off that game, I was pleased, the natives of Banoi were not.
Watch trailers and view screenshots of the game or perhaps of the sequel. Far Cry 2 has sat virtually untouched on my desktop since I snagged it in an Amazon deal a few months back. I played it long ago on the 360 but never finished it and figured I would give it a shot on the PC. Unfortunately I was mostly disappointed because it wasnt well optimized and looks kind of ugly on my setup so I lost interest, plus the save points suck in that game. Well to get myself back into it I watched a whole mess of trailers and read up on a lot of Far Cry 3 info. Getting psyched for that game, playing Far Cry 2 was a breeze and I progressed a significant amount as my man Warren.
Many artists who go through slumps or droughts in their work say setting aside a time, each day or week, to work on a specific piece helps them get back into the flow. This can also be useful for gamers struggling to play their games. I am off Monday nights so I allotted 12am Monday night as Metro 2033 time and so far so good, plus Last Light is getting me amped so that’s helping.
Last but certainly not least, get drunk. Now this one isnt for all of us, especially the under 15 audience. (That’s the age right?) But I have found that while drinking I am much more tolerant of dated graphics and annoying plots, in fact a six pack of Yuengling helped me finish Kane & Lynch 2. A game I never thought I’d be able to make suffer through.
Video games are an awesome hobby and a wonderful and safe escape for millions upon millions of people. We will all remember wanting to smash Toad’s face into the castle walls, laughing at Dom shooting his wife and crying when Eli Vance died. Gaming becomes many of us, the trick is not letting it wear you down and always enjoying your games. Also, trying not to become Steam’s bitch is key.
Hopefully, if you’re a video game hoarder, or you just can’t pull yourself to finish a particular game, these tips helped. If not, I’m sorry but you’re screwed. Either way though I bet you’ve got something to say so let us hear it in the comments.