I’ve been gaming since I was 6 years old. A kid in kindergarten was raving about having this awesome machine known as the Nintendo Entertainment System and I was intrigued. I asked my parents to get me one for Christmas. After all the presents were opened, there was no Nintendo and I was exposed to my first disappointment of my life.
My parents said that Santa couldn’t fit it in his sleigh and that I should be a good boy for next year and get the paper off the front step. As I sulked down the stairs and opened the door to reach for the newspaper, I was greeted by an undiscovered package. I forgot about the newspaper and lugged the loot upstairs and ripped open the paper. It was a Nintendo Action Set! It came with 2 controllers, Mario/Duck Hunt and a Zapper. My dad had to move the bulky 27inch Zenith TV away from the wall to plug in the RF switch since I was too small to move the hundred pound monstrosity myself.
As I grew, my collection grew with me. The GameBoy came in 1989, the Super Nintendo was added in 1992 with Super Mario World, then a Sega Genesis with Sega CD. Nintendo 64 was the last console my parents bought me. By the time the next generation of consoles was released, I had a job with my own money and I was able to purchase a Dreamcast with Sonic Adventure in 1999. The next year I purchased the Playstation 2 and a year after that, I sold it to buy a Gamecube. With the exception of the Playstation 2, I still have all of the original consoles in my collection.
I didn’t really start collecting until 2004 when my friend Dave suggested that we start putting together a list of the 20 best NES games to have in our apartment in Chicago. It took two years to actually move to the city, but it took about a year to add the titles we were looking for. I acquired all of the Mega Man games, Bad News baseball, Bubble Bobble, Tecmo Super Bowl, and a handful of other great titles that fit well into a plastic Nintendo shelving unit that I got from the Salvation Army for a dollar. Those 20 NES games have now grown to 100 titles and I have expanded to collect everything from Atari 2600 to Xbox One.
I’ll be 32 next month and while I have a pretty sizable collection, I find myself not having as much time as I want to play. This is a problem for a lot of collectors; we have too many games and not enough time to play them. As I get older, I gain more responsibilities and video games get cast aside. I currently work a full time job, a part time job on Saturdays, go to school part time and have a wedding to plan. On top of those responsibilities, I also have a fiancée, friends to hang out with and a dog to take care of. Time is limited, but I still have time to play video games even with all of those other responsibilities taking priority.
I have been lucky enough to have a partner who is supportive of my video game hobby and I’m able to dedicate an hour or two a day to it while still satisfying the needs of the relationship we share. For the past 10 years, I’ve been focused on accumulating games instead of playing them. My last purchase, Bubble Bobble Part 2, was the last major piece to a long running NES collection. After I plunked down $295 for one of the rarest games for the system, a weight seemed to have had been lifted and I was able to focus on playing games instead of collecting. I have been using the site http://howlongtobeat.com/ to see how long it takes to beat certain games and put those with lower times to complete on my list.
As it becomes more and more socially acceptable to play video games as an adult, I don’t have to justify using my free time to play video games. As long as my other responsibilities are satisfied, I’m able to use this time as I please. When we purchase a home, I’ll be able to dedicate an entire room to video games instead of a small den in a 1 bedroom apartment that we share. It will also help to get a second TV to hook everything up and play as I please. Video games are a hobby just like woodworking or model making. Just because it requires a TV to use, doesn’t make it any less of a hobby.