How much is too Much?
A hobby playing and collecting video-games can get out of control or kept in check. How much of your space will you allow your hobby to take up? A shelf? A cabinet? A room? A house? A small town or country? For all of us it is different, this video shows what my stance is on my own personal situation.
Unleadedlogic's original TAG:
As mentioned previously, I've been going great guns in an attempt to make my overly large collection of 400+ videogame and computer systems more accessible and immediately usable. In other words, figuring out how to waste less of my precious time setting up this stuff and use more of that time actually using what I want to use. Part of that initiative is to take the most "important" computer and videogame systems and put them front and center - and ready to go - in various rooms. I'll discuss the classic videogame consoles in more detail in another post, but basically I've set up a 32" Sony Trinitron CRT to supplement the other basement TV and can now plug in various consoles in that area quickly and easily, though I've changed up where (and how) I'll be making the actual systems themselves accessible. Anyway, where last we left off, I couldn't get my Amiga 600 or 1200 to work, which left me to choose between my Amiga 500, 1000, or 2500HD (with 8088 Bridgeboard). I chose the latter.
With the above in mind, it was of course bugging me that neither the 600 or 1200 were working, so I resolved to address the issue within my limited skillset, and of course when time permitted. Long story short, the 600 is dead, but the culprit in the 1200 was a deceased 40MB hard drive, which was easy enough to remove and replace with a Compact Flash adapter and card with the OS and additional software. In the mean-time, I also got a PAL Amiga 1200, stock, with its own Compact Flash adapter and card with the OS and additional software.
As mentioned previously, I've been re-thinking my collecting activities, including selling off the non-working and duplicate portions of my collection, which presently consists of over 430 videogame and computer systems and countless thousands of related software, accessories, and literature. Naturally, part of that reasoning was "thinning the herd" after all these years, because - even though I am thankful to have a relatively generous amount of space for these types of activities - it has long since reached the point where I well and truly have too much to handle. Why has this become an issue? There's simply too much stuff, there's no time to use it (that would need to be my full-time job), and, when I do want to use it, it takes up most of my available time just setting something up, only to have to break it down and put it back on the shelf again. It's innefficient, and frankly, no fun anymore.
With that in mind, in addition to the thinning - which will take a very, very long time of course in a collection I've been cultivating for over 30 years now - I've been plotting how I can make better use of what I have. Like I said, I am thankful to have a relatively generous amount of space. I have a large basement area, with about half unfinished, which is used for storage, and the other, finished half, consisting of an office room, hallway, workout area, and den area. The main floors of our house contain our active systems, including the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Co-Star, various computers and handhelds, etc., but they are not an option for me to make use of for classic items, other than on an occasional basis. That just leaves the basement, which is, of course, fine, but also limits my flexibility.
Anyway, even though each area of the basement is brimming with stuff and each section serves a specific purpose, either on a permanent or temporary basis, I decided that my best course of action is to pull out the truly must-have-accessible systems from the hundreds available and make them accessible at a moment's notice. This was not easy to do, as I have a genuine passion for each and every system I own, but the bottom line is is that some systems are more interesting, more "useful," or I simply have a critical mass of items for them that they can't be ignored. I decided I'd tackle that task with my classic computers first, followed by my classic videogame systems at a later date. I cleared space on my big L-shaped computer desk in the office area and proceeded to select the systems that met my criteria and would fit on the desk (I'll have some flexibility when I set up the classic videogame consoles to make a little use of the den area as well).
While I have many different models in most of the specific computer series I selected, I tried to choose the one model in my collection that would give me the most bang-for-the-buck. This in and of itself was not easy, as there's rarely a "most perfect" choice when it comes to choosing the ideal model in a series, which in this case also involved being a good fit for the available space. The systems I chose were as follows: TI-99/4a, Apple IIgs, Atari 600XL, Atari Falcon, Commodore Amiga 2000HD, and Commodore 128DCR, with a special appearance by the Radio Shack Color Computer series, which I'll explain at the end. So yeah, as hard as it was, no Sinclair Spectrum, BBC, IBM PCjr, Coleco Adam, Imagination Machine, MSX, Interact, Exidy, etc., etc., items, even though I'd love to have those out and ready to go as much as the others.
My initial goal - which I was able to accomplish - was to set up a basic system configuration for each and make sure it was working properly. I actually had a slightly different mix of specific systems, but, after testing, found some things didn't function as expected or didn't work at all. Over time, I'll add to each system I've set up (and address the other stuff that's not working) until each and every one is set up properly with their respective disk drives, flash cards, transfer cables, etc., to be fully usable with all of the stuff I have available. At the very least, with these minimum configurations, they're ready to go for most quick usage scenarios. I also decided it was important not to have any of them plugged in full-time, so everything gets hooked up and powered up on demand. This is actually simple and will not delay my usage in any way. In fact, the way I have the various monitors and TV's set up, I can hook up other systems as needed without too much fuss, which is another bonus. Anyway, here are the photos and additional explanation:
Hi, all. I'm back this week with another hour long, poorly organized rant about everything from why L.A. Noire sucks as an adventure game to why Arkham City is to quests what bullet hell is to bullets. I also talk about the real reason why we hoard videogames and how, no matter how many games we collect, we'll never find The One.
Foam and cry with me by downloading this downer now!
Matt's Podcast Episode 8
After checking out the latest, typically profound Stuff No One Told Me comic, The weight of things, it got me thinking yet again about my own life and habits, and in particular an area that relates to Armchair Arcade's mission, which is primarily to chronicle the complete history of videogames and computers. As a co-founder of Armchair Arcade, I've obviously been a part of shaping said mission, which is no surprise as it's clearly a reflection of my own life. As I used to like to say, I have three basic loves in my life: family, working out, and of course, technology, with a big focus on videogames and computers.
As you probably know by now, I have a ridiculously large videogame and computer collection--more stuff than can be appreciated in one lifetime, stuff I've been accumulating for the better part of my 39 years on this planet in one way or another. It is in that particular area that that comic speaks most to me, as, as much as my collection brings me joy, it also feels like the beast I must constantly tend to, and, most sad of all, constantly feed, with little time available to stop and smell the actual "roses," which is usage of the very items that elicit the warm and fuzzies in me, both in recollections of positive childhood memories (again, as in the comic) and to satisfy my present desires.
I think as much as we'd like to think otherwise, I do believe we can have all of the same feelings of "weight" about digital goods, i.e., items that only exist as bits of information stored somewhere other than a physical medium we retain all rights to, like a record, cassette, disk, optical disc, etc. Again, there's a certain burden of guilt of lack of usage because there's simply not enough hours in the day. It's part of the reason why I avoid any and all MMORPGs--not for fear of addiction, but rather for fear of not being able to put time into it to make it worth the effort. "First world problems" as they say...
Naturally, abundance in that area also breeds indifference. I always like to use MAME as an example. It's something we would have practically murdered for as kids in the 1980s, but shortly after gaining the ability to replicate literally thousands of arcade games in the late 1990s, we as a whole became somewhat indifferent to the idea. It's there, it's free, it's accessible, it's everything we hoped for, but the "chase" is over. The dream has been realized and it's overwhelming. In other words, it's all in our possession without barriers and it somehow became far less special than when we had to plunk down .25 or more per play. In fact, digital subscriptions like Netflix and OnLive can feel like that too, where we can somehow complain about the lack of selection despite hundreds or even thousands of possible on demand selections that we couldn't possibly have the time to explore even a portion of.
So, can I rid myself of my possessions like in the comic and set myself free? Although I've fantasized about it, probably not. I don't think most of us could or ultimately would want to. You'd have to be at a very specific point in your life with very specific responsibilities. I guess all I - all we - can do is acknowledge the problem, try to keep it under control, and for goodness sake, try and really enjoy this trip through life a bit more. To put it another way, think about and smell those "roses" now and again, whatever form they may take...
While we typically think of videogame and computer collecting as simply acquiring hardware, software and accessories, there are also the occasional cool one-of-a-kind items, like this original cover art painting for the legendary Castle Wolfenstein (featured in Chapter 2 of our book, Vintage Games), apparently created with alkyd oils. If I were rich, I'd definitely get into this kind of artwork collecting moreso than what is traditionally considered art collecting.
So I ask, if you had the financial resources, would this collecting of the more "cultural" aspects of videogames appeal to you as well?
Hey guys! Another video this time a response to an awesome question "Why do we collect Classic games?"
Please chime in with your own response and opinions THANKS!
Well, after going almost a year after moving into a bigger house, I've finally finished unpacking my whole collection of vintage and modern computer and videogame systems, software, literature and more. I didn't bother to go into much photographic detail or move anything on the shelves (or describe anything in the photos at this point - sorry). Some point soon, I"ll do a video feature on this stuff, then begin to go into much greater detail with articles and in-depth video features. Regardless, this is a huge weight off my back to finally get this stuff out to a reasonable point of access for me. Just in time too, as I needed to start taking photos again for my upcoming book anyway and the publisher all but threatened to take a hit out on me...
The list of my systems here, where yes, I do stretch the definition a bit of what constitutes a "system".
The link to Flickr with all (185, linear) the photos, here.
Ah, the wonders of eBay. While you can occasionally get a hard-to-find game for a low price with lots of luck - say maybe $35 with shipping - other times you'll see boxed software go for ridiculous prices that no mere mortal can afford, like SSI's classic "The Warp Factor" for the Apple II, with a very recent final sale price before shipping of $449.44! Even though it's sealed, it's still an amazingly over-the-top winning bid. As is usual with SSI games - particularly pre-1986 SSI games - the cover artwork is beautiful and there are nice extras inside the oversized box. A fine specimen or not (though this one is actually a bit crushed!), average-to-good game itself or not, it can't help but make you reflect on the meaning of collecting, particularly as it applies to our hobby.