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‘Why Collectors Collect’ – Written by a Video Game Collector

nes games
Photo: John Riggs
I love video games. Most people my age do, too, but it was a huge passion of mine growing up and continues still today. Someone asked me why I had so many old video game systems and games for them when all of these newer systems. The easy answer is, “because it’s my collection,” but why have a collection? Do I really get use out of all of my video game stuff I’ve collected over the years. I play them sometimes, but of course I don’t play every game I have every day.

I had to think about it for a moment and dive deep into my soul to find the real reason I collect what I collect.

My answers may be the same for others who collect other items. Here are a few reasons why collectors collect.


Buying Back One’s Childhood
This happens to a lot of people usually right after getting a job. They feel nostalgic and immediately go on a shopping spree to buy back all of the toys and items they didn’t have when they were a child. Thanks to thrift stores, eBay and various other sources, it’s easier than ever to find exactly what you didn’t have or could afford back when you were a child, but now can buy it.

Buying So Nobody Else Will
This is where I’ve gotten in trouble sometimes. I’ll be at a thrift shop and see something I don’t even need, but it’s for a great price. There’s a sense of protection when I see something like this. Like how an animal advocate may see a stray cat and take it in to keep it safe, I see an old video game that I don’t want or need but feel compelled to buy it so I know it’s safe. I don’t want some random person buying this for their kid who shows no appreciation for it. I’ll buy it and maybe give it to someone else. Spoiler Alert: I rarely give it to someone else and it stays in my closet.

It Becomes a Hobby
Collecting is a hobby, but it’s often times a hobby that costs money. Remember the beanie baby craze of the 90s? I still know people with bins and bins crammed full of beanie babies that have no willingness to sell. They’ve invested not only money but time into finding all they could and are very happy knowing their safe and not in the hands of someone who will mistreat them.

With me and my video games, I never considered it a collection until about a year ago. I always knew I had a lot of video game stuff, but I didn’t even know it was a collection until I saw other collections online and said to myself, “I have way more than that and I don’t even collect.” Well, I’ve since decided to embrace my collection and go from there.

Video games are my passion and have been as far back as I can remember. Growing up in a large household (being the sixth of seven children) playing video games was about my only means of escape. Sure, I play the new games, too, but I don’t collect those as much as I collect for the systems I grew up on, mostly the 8-bit Nintendo (NES). If you know someone who collects anything from plates to NASCAR items to Transformers and more, this hopefully gives you a little insight on why they’re collecting what they collect.

If you do have a collection of anything, let me know in the comments.

And if you collect video games and need some sort of outreach, get a hold of me and I’ll help you out. Follow RetroCollective on Facebook and Instagram as well.

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