Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The first step is admitting you have a problem

I had put off purchasing a Playstation 2 for the longest time because I know that I sometimes have problems with impulse control and going crazy when it comes to buying games. And then I played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in Spring 2005, after that, well, I had to own it, and at that time, it was a PS2 exclusive.

So I bought a PS2 in May 2005. I thought that I had gotten to a point in my life where I could have a game system and not go overboard.

Skip ahead to this morning, and I am looking at something like this:

Which looks bad in the context I have presented it, but it is even worse than it seems. You see, that isn't a pile of all the games that I own for the PS2... that is just the games that I have acquired and have yet to play...

...because I have 100 more than what is in the picture... and there are more on their way to me because of Goozex (which may be one of the few saving graces in all this as I got quite a few of those games for virtually nothing rather than paying 2 to 25 dollars for 30 games).

I have a sickness. I mean, how did I allow this to happen? Back in January, I had a backlog of 12 games. That is a pile of over 90 games. I know I have them, and yet, I can't stop buying more. When I see a decent used game at the store, I feel compelled to buy it because if I miss it, I may never be able to get another copy of it at such a reasonable price again, because on average, I am paying about 7 dollars a title... which roughly translates to about 700 dollars spent on games this year on my part, which given the price of new next-gen games, doesn't seem like much, but for me, that is quite a bit of money.

And it wasn't like I was acquiring that pile of games in a vacuum. Conservatively, I probably played 30 games I had purchased within this past year which means that through trading and a bit of time spent at video stores and places like EB, I picked up 120 games in just over 11 months. To put that in perspective, I don't think I currently have 120 games for the Nintendo, the Super Nintendo, Playstation 1 and Sega Saturn combined. And if I add my Atari games into the mix, I still think I have more PS2 games now than my entire collection of other console games.

I wish I could say that I didn't have a history of this kind of consumer behavior. When I was younger, I have had phases where I bought lots of books (boxes and boxes of paperback science fiction/fantasy novels, new and used and then lots of reference books/textbooks etc), and lots of CDs, and I would always use that same rationale... if I didn't buy whatever that thing I was looking at when I saw it, I would never see it again, and if I wanted it, I would have to pay someone far more for it than if I just bought it now.

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to finding a solution, and in writing about this, I think I may have just taken that important step in the right direction... I've got to be strong and try to fight my urges to continue buying games that I have no hope of playing for quite some time. Because the console is slowly losing shelf space at retailers, my struggle may be aided by that fact, because I can't covet what I don't see after all. So perhaps my Pile of Shame will finally shrink over the next few months.


Arjan said...

hmm I wanted to say impressive but that word is just wrong, very wrong. I've got a pile of that is, that is shameful.

A friend of mine has this thing with warhammer. If a new army comes out..he just has to have it, paints the odd model and then a new army comes out. I think he has thé most armies & models of anyone I know and still doesn't have a decent army to play with.

Megan said...

Holy crap, Matt.

MC said...

Megan: I know it is utterly ridiculous... but I didn't realize how bad it was until I gathered them up from their respective drawers and put them all together.

Arjan: I think that is a good analogy. It used to be that I'd get a few games at a time, master them or get bored and then buy new ones. In trying to get through so many of them now, I don't get the same joy that I probably should from the experience. I am sure that if your friend just committed to an army or two, did the painting and other prep and practiced with them, he could get a good army together... but when you get past a certain point, turning back becomes very difficult.

thom said...

Well, at least it makes me feel better about the 20 albums or so I purchased recently but haven't had a chance to listen to...