I’ve been contemplating this for a long time. I sold my NES, along with most of my video games, earlier this year. I did it in fact to raise money because I lost my job and the unemployment check was a ways off still. Letting go of all those distractions eating away at my finances was one of the best things I could do. There’s more to this story than that.
I am not going to go so far as say I am completely done with video games. Even though I sold ALL of my retro consoles and handhelds, of which I had too many to list casually here, I kept my Playstation machines. There’s a reason for that.
This isn’t about me becoming an adult. I am not making the claim I have outgrown Nintendo. Far from it in fact. I am also not making the claim I will never buy another Nintendo product again, we all know I will. What I am saying is I am letting go of collecting the physical carts and machines from days long gone, and why I think you should too.
There are a lot of factors that went into this decision. On a personal note I felt like a fool spending money on retro carts to justify the ROMS I had downloaded. Listen, I bought enough games from Nintendo multiple times to not give a crap about snatching a digital copy of Super Mario World off a torrent site. Its not like I am going to buy the game again. I also realize buying the carts is a fallacy. Again it went back to conscious. I felt like I owed somebody money for those ROMS so I bought carts, also to collect but I’ll get into that shortly. Once I realized I was giving my money to scalpers and resellers I realized I was actually feeding a broken system that rewards scoundrel’s who pray off people’s nostalgia. Clearing my conscious I decided I would stick to the emulation and leave collecting carts to fools with more money than I have.
What about owning a tangible thing? Or playing on real hardware for the experience? Oh you mean sinking extra money into repairs, cleaning supplies and special tools to replace batteries and worn cart connectors? No thank you.
This isn’t a sermon on why you should emulate. I own physical Playstation games and consoles. It’s a lesson learned on the aftermarket value of nostalgia, fueled by Youtubers such as the Angry Video Game Nerd, Pat the NES Punk, Norm the Gaming Historian and the like. Nothing wrong with collecting or collectors, per se, but I think there is something broken with fueling a capitalist machine that preys on emotions.
Putting that aside there is also the space factor. At the time I was living in an RV with very limited space. I had already made the decision to throw away all my CD DVD and Blu Ray cases opting instead to store the discs in CD wallets. This system has worked out well for me mostly. There isn’t an easy way to consolidate a stack of NES or SNES carts though, save for loading the ROMS onto a flash cart and reselling the old “tapes” as my mother used to call them. I decided that also wasn’t for me.
Then there is the act of collecting itself. Going to the video game store and burning fossil fuel driving from one store to the next hunting for deals and scouring for that missing game. All in order to buy a piece of plastic I was literally going to place on a shelf. Like I said I turned to emulation back in 2001 and never looked back. Here I was contributing to the further destruction of our planet in the name of reliving a piece of my childhood. Oh was that selfish or what? The guilt of knowing once those carts outlived their usefulness the would end up in landfills, or worse yet polluting the ocean, really jolted me.
This isn’t about environmentalism either.
What I realized was not only was I contributing to a destructive system system that is wasteful, harmful to the environment, predatory to its customers and overall dangerous to my own mental health, I came to the conclusion there is no justifiable reason for me to continue buying NES carts. Not to mention the failure rate of the hardware.
There is a part of me that thinks it was irresponsible for me to throw away so much money chasing after games I already had on my laptop. What sealed the deal for me is once I realized I was buying games just to own them, games I had no intention to ever play, I had to change. With DVD’s I will watch all the movies I have in time. I do have streaming but they offer value outside the film alone as many come with special features worth visiting.
I am not against collecting nor am I done entirely. I plan on buying a Gameboy and Nintendo DS family of consoles in the future and focusing my energy collecting for those. Mainly because emulating those is rubbish and because I can store stacks of GB and DS games in a fraction of the space as a handful of NES and SNES carts.
Nostalgia is absolutely a powerful drug. Once you realize it is a drug you can free yourself from it’s grip if you try hard enough. I am not saying everyone has to follow my decision nor do I mean to say disparaging things towards those who do collect. Do what makes you happy but keep in mind there is a real impact to the environment and our society when you make those kinds of decisions. I will try to be more responsible in my habits while also finding a more productive way to spend my limited resources. I LOVE Nintendo. I am easily blinded by nostalgia. I also know it is time I realize there is a better way to “collect” and enjoy those old games, and I don’t have to feel guilty over my chosen method. I don’t condone piracy in the slightest. I can, however, show Nintendo multiple receipts of Super Mario World if they care to get butthurt I keep a copy on my laptop I don’t share with others. At the end of the day we are all dust. We need to remember our time is short. I don’t want to devote my energy to the Cult of Nintendo Collecting anymore.