If you’re old enough to have survived middle school, you’re old enough to know that life is full of regrets. You wish you had gone to that concert before that band broke up, you wish you’d taken Karen to prom, and you really wish you didn't eat that street cart tamale – and those are just examples from the real world. Now enter the world of gaming and you’re full an entirely different set of regrets: the Atari Jaguar, Half-Life 3, and Xbox One’s release at E3 to name a few. Gaming is serious business for those who partake in this lifestyle (some people would call it a waste of time, but don’t worry, I stopped reading my parents texts and returning their calls long ago), and if you've been gaming through at least a couple of console generations chances are you've bought a game you ended up hating or made the mistake of loaning a favorite game to an unreliable friend (RIP ToeJam and Earl).
Still, most gaming regrets are easily reversible and won’t put you on suicide watch. Sometimes, however, gamers make a grievous error in judgment and commit what some may call gaming’s cardinal sin: selling their entire gaming collection. I’m talking games, consoles, controllers, memory cards, boxes, booklets, strategy guides, the works, all gone in the blink of an eye. What in the hell could possibly cause a dedicated gamer to sell one of his most prized possessions? Well my fellow gamers, all it took for me was a (ex-)girlfriend who didn't understand video games.
I won’t go into too much detail (mostly because I've repressed a lot of that fateful time in my life), but after some major convincing, I put my entire collection up for sale on eBay, only saving my Sega Genesis. Here’s the summary of what I lost: my original GameBoy and GameBoy Color with peripherals and games (mostly Pokémon), an SNES complete in box with multiple games including Earthbound and Super Mario RPG, a Nintendo 64 complete in box with multiple games, a PS1 with multiple games including FF7 and FF Tactics, and finally, a PS2 complete in box with multiple games and peripherals.
I’m going to let that sink in a moment. Just think about that. For anyone reading this post with an extensive collection of games and consoles, imagine pouring hundreds, maybe thousands of hours into them across 16 years of your life (or more), then one day letting it all go. Can you put a price on all those memories, all those gaming marathons, all those friendly (or not-so-friendly) multiplayer shooter matches? Apparently I could, and it came to a whopping total of $350.
|I can actually hear you all facepalming right now.|
This is my gaming shame, and I will never live it down, no matter how hard I try. In a moment of fleeting yet complete and monumental idiocy, I practically gave away a large portion of my childhood, something that had been with me for as long as I could remember. That collection meant so much more to me than the sum of its plastic parts. It contained memories of gaming with my father and it was a welcome escape from the real world when it seemed too much to handle. Hell, it helped develop motor skills that I use every damn day to avoid car accidents or getting hit in the face with a volleyball. And it’s gone…all gone.
Over the years, as I bought new consoles and slowly integrated into the adult world, gaming became less of a hardcore hobby and more of a passing interest. Initially, I thought this was because I was just “growing up”, becoming more mature and thus too old for video games. Now, looking back I know I was sorely mistaken. Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but I seriously believe that the day I sold off my collection, a small piece of me died. It changed me as a person and a gamer. I had practically sold my gaming soul, and for what? To make a few extra bucks for a girlfriend who obviously didn't understand who I was (FYI, I ditched her ass less than a month later, but the damage was already done). For the next few years I was content with my Xbox 360, but the fond memories of Super Mario RPG, Earthbound, Ocarina of Time, and Final Fantasy IX still crept into my mind, haunting me. Those thoughts were always there, reminding me of my sins even if I was initially too ignorant to acknowledge them.
Fast forward a few years’ time and the soul-crushing weight of the real world had done a pretty thorough job of making me miserable. Sure, I had a job (which is a lot in today’s recession) and it paid well, but something was still missing; something was always missing. It took me nearly two years after graduating college to realize what that was. One day when I was feeling particularly miserable, I actually physically sat down and mapped out what I loved, what I was passionate about. One thing stood out above the rest, something that had been there before I had started school all the way through two college degrees – video games. In this instance, the light bulb didn't just click on: it straight up smacked me in the face. I love, and always have loved, video games.
It was at that moment that I knew what I had to do. I had to shrug off the weight of the world, if only just enough to free myself to start gaming again. Once that was done, it would be time to right wrongs and start building that retro collection again. Sure it would take a lot of time, and even more money (seriously, have you seen the price of retro games these days!?), but it would be absolutely worth it to regain that piece of myself I had lost so long ago. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I sold all those games in the past, for without them I may have never figured out what was missing in my life and what I was passionate about – who knows?! Whatever the case may be, I know two things for certain: no matter what happens in my life, I am a gamer and will always need video games to keep me at my happiest, and if a girlfriend ever suggests selling your game collection, well, that’s okay – none of us liked her anyway.
[Ed Note: Graduated Gamer understands that not all girlfriends/wives hate video games. I know this for a fact, because I've found a pretty fantastic Graduated Gamergirl who loves gaming and understands that it’s a part of who I am, which is a lucky man.]