The Collector’s Syndrome
Before long, I had quite a lengthy list of titles, many of which, I didn’t even have time to play anymore. My collection of unfinished titles include such classics as Breath of Fire III and IV, Final Fantasy Anthology (V and VI), Arc The Lad Collection, Beyond the Beyond, Guardian’s Crusade, Wild Arms (finished 2nd ignition) – and a few others whose titles escape my head at the moment. Of course, this is only as far as console gaming is concerned. I still remember when I first discovered SNES, Genesis, GBC and eventually Arcade and GBA emulators.
I started downloading every single GBA rpg in existence. To this day, I’ve yet to finish a single one of these GBA titles. Well, at least I finished the original Chrono Trigger for the SNES. Furthermore, I really loved collecting freeware games that I’d play for a few days and then just leave lying around cluttering up my then limited HDD with only 30 GB of space to spare. From these freeware games, I first came upon the demo versions of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Perfect Cherry Blossom from the touhou series. This was about the time when I was first introduced to doujin games.
Nowadays, with HDD space no longer an issue and with blazing fast download speeds, collecting the latest doujin titles is a snap. Just search for the latest torrent and snap it up. Of course, if you’re feeling altruistic, you might actually want to pay for it and order the game legitimately via any of the specialty import stores that abound all over the internet.
What Really Matters
The point however, is that while I was busy collecting all these games, I lost track of one important thing, and this is, that it is always better to play the games that you want to play today. Don’t wait for tomorrow, the next day, the next week, or when you feel that you have time to appreciate the game in its full splendor. The fact of the matter, is that you might not be able to enjoy the games as much as you would have if you’d played them as soon as practicable for you.
Here’s something from personal experience: I’ve always adored the Arc The Lad games for the PS1. I liked the cutesy sprites and the Chrono Cross-esque overworld map along with the fun and quirky characters. However, when I tried to start playing Arc the Lad III nowadays, I realized that the game just isn’t as much fun as it would have been sometime back in 2002 or 2003. I now understand that while the younger me would have enjoyed these games, my older self is much too spoiled by modern gameplay mechanics, better graphics and less awkward storytelling. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps for you lovers of classic games out there, it doesn’t matter how the sprites are represented, or how cumbersome the gameplay feels, but for me, attempting to play a pre 2005-ish game in 2011 just feels forced and unrewarding. Now again, I must stress that I really would have liked – even loved the example: Arc The Lad III back then. But now, I realize that I could be playing Fate/Extra, Tales of Innocence, The World Ends With You, Radiant Historia or God Eater: Burst – or for that matter, any of the 20 or so PS2 Jrpgs that I’ve yet to make a dent on.
In short, the pre-ps2 era rpgs just feel a little bit too date, a little bit too lacking in production values to make them an enjoyable playthrough for me today. I dunno, maybe that’s being shallow, but I don’t want to be a hypocrite here. I just can’t enjoy these games to-day! (don’t mind the spelling, a little in-joke there.)
Not everyone is like me, of course. Everyone’s circumstances are different. However, as a gamer, if you find yourself falling into the same “trap” as me. It may be time to re-evaluate your gaming and collecting habits. Play the games that you want to play today and stop being obsessed with building your personal gaming library, buying the latest gaming hardware, or digging your claws into game-related collectibles and memorabilia. The library will build itself naturally as long as you keep longing for and playing the games that you really want to play – today.