Recently, I took advantage of the days off between Christmas and New Years that I get from my job to go back and play a game that I have been meaning to for a number of years: Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. While the game was fun and had aged surprisingly well for a game released in 2004, finishing it left me feeling off. The problem wasn’t so much the game, but the realization of burning through the time off playing it, finishing it, and concluding I hadn’t really accomplished anything by the end of the game. Sure I had had a bit of fun and was told a story, but most of the writing for video games really isn’t that good, and as good as BioShock Infinite is, I doubt people are going studying it the same way as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
I suppose part of this was triggered by watching A Dose of Buckley – 30 Is The New 20 on YouTube and other such commentaries and realizing that, yes, in a lot of ways most of us in our twenties are just spinning our wheels and video games are just another way of doing that. As part of this realization I sat down and took a hard look at my video game collection and realized that the odds of me actually playing most of the games I have, let alone replaying or finishing some of the games I have started is very slim.
At the time of this writing I have about 75 console games plus another 30 or so in my Steam library. Since I tend to play RPGs more than any other type, each of those games represents between 30 to 40 hours of game play assuming I actually finish the game. If I were to go of the more realistic route of playing until I got bored, annoyed, or stuck, it would still take me around 20 hours per game based upon past records. So that means that it might take 2,000 hours or more (likely much more) to play the each of the games in the collection enough to decide to move on to the next game. The problem is that, I’ve also come to realize that there are other things that I value more than sitting on the couch playing a video game.
As such, I started to sell off my console game collection. Now I’m not the first person to do so, and others have talked about this more eloquently than I have, but it just seems like the right time to do so. As I eluded to in my article about buying collectables as an investment, console games hold some value that you can get back out of them. However, I’ve been watching what has been going on with video game prices for awhile now and barring rare games it really looks like the market has pretty much peaked on the older consoles. The newer consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are designed to remove most of the value from used games and for current generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, the fact that you can purchase most of the really popular games on Steam seems to put a damper on their values.
Now this isn’t to say that I’m suddenly about to start campaigning against video games and refusing to ever play them again. I’m still keeping my Steam library and I’ve recently played Civilization V and I am very much looking forwards to episode two of The Wolf Among Us being released. However, my attitude towards video games has changed quite a bit over the past month and at this point I’m looking for more meaningful use of my time.