From Gamer to Collector to Gamer Again
Hi. I’m Mark. I have a problem. I buy video games without usually playing them. PSN flash sales? I'm on it. Humble Bundles I don't need? Done. Clearance item at a store? If not me, someone else will get it. Yes, I know this is par for the course for most gamers. However, as someone who teaches video game courses, maybe it’s time to, I dunno, play them? Ultimately, this will be an exercise that combines my academic research with a hobby that I have enjoyed since the tender age of 3. Further, it was time for me to take inventory, so let's just accomplish all tasks at once.
Unfortunately, my back log has been growing since approximately 1996. Should I subscribe to the Marie Kondo method and start getting rid of my games? Hell no! I’ve only traded in two game in my life and I got burned. I traded the cartridge and box for A Link to the Past and the mediocre PS1 RPG Beyond the Beyond for Mech Warrior 2 and NFL Gameday 1999. The first is a classic, and I was an idiot. The second wasn’t exactly a cutting-edge RPG, but there were shades of Shining Force, which made it a decent experience overall. In any event, since that day, I’ve just hoarded all my games.
That said, maybe Marie is onto something with her “Does it spark joy?” approach. During the dissertation process, I accidentally became a competent scholar in genre studies. Although that’s the academic side of this claim, from a gamer standpoint, as I reflect on the most meaningful games I have played in my life, they tend to be those that either bring out the best in a specific genre or meld genres together in innovative ways. I guess you could say that the games that meld genres or blur generic conventions spark the most joy for me. Well, would you look at that? We’ve got a name for this blog!
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go through my back log of games (both these physical artifacts and those that I may or may not have forgotten that I downloaded). However, we’re not specifically looking for games that are acclaimed, mischaracterized, or legitimate stinkers. Our rating system will be 1-10 “Sparked Joys.” If a game seems formulaic or doesn’t particularly do much with generic conventions, it will receive a low “Sparked Joy” score and will be relegated back to the gaming shelf to collect dust. If a game leaves an impression on me or blurs generic conventions to the point that the gaming experience isn’t easily replicated, it will receive a high “Sparked Joy” score and will earn a special place in this corner of the Internet.
Even though I have a back log to go through, if you would like for me to review a game to see if it sparks joy, I would be more than happy to do so. For now, let’s see what we have to work with over 20+ years of game collecting!
This is a cool idea! I remember you saying you had never played one of my favorite video games, Banjo Kazooie for the N64. I know you probably have a ton of games to go through but when you get the chance, I would like to see what you think about it!
Hey, Ryan. Sure thing! I’ll see if I can find it down the road. I’ll keep you posted!