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Will video game collecting still be a thing in the future? Let me know in the comments if you think game collecting will be around in the future. Why do you think that, be it yay or nay?

Transcript(ish)

Hey Future Caleb, do people still collect Videogames in the year 2078? The focus of that question is, of course, on the Videogames part, not the people part, because as you, Future Caleb, are well aware many non-people do collect Videogames in the future. Roaches, specifically. After discovering how great a home a warm PS4 makes, it stands to reason that roaches would eventually start playing and collecting Videogames. If you live inside a game console, why not take in some games. It’s like when an interior designer thinks, well, I’m surrounded by paint, I might as well start huffing it. You know, typical dregs of society interior designer stuff.

But gamer bugs aside, is game collecting still a thing in the future? This question was originally conjured as I anticipated the dominance of digital-only games in the future, but even with this apparent digital hurdle, I would imagine that yes, game collecting is still a thing in the future.

People love to know things. And people love talking about how much they know things. This is a certainty unaffected by time or culture. And collections are one way to expose that knowledge while also allowing the opportunity to engage, to share that knowledge, sometimes, though not always, with the goal of establishing a community of like-minded people. When you are reading your favorite book in public, you kinda hope a stranger notices and sparks up a conversation, even though the solitary act of reading sends a mixed message. So, a different example: when you wear a tshirt with your favorite musician, you kinda want strangers to approach you about this shared interest. Imagine a collection of band t-shirts, wearing a different one every day. Building that community of like-minded people, would surely become easier.

So as long as people play games, as long as other people want to know about games, and as long as people want to build communities around this common interest, game collecting will exist. Just as stamp collecting will exist, even in the age of printable postage, and just as in the future people collect fedoras, even though hipsters were largely eradicated during the Great Hipster Purge of 2064.

Basically, this video could be called “Do people still collect anything,” because the artifact itself is irrelevant so long as human nature still encourages ownership, community, and storytelling. Though, I’d be lying if some days I didn’t hope for a random genetic mutation to kick off an evolution away from these things. Sometimes, it sounds nice to have nothing, have nobody, and have no story to tell. I think I just wished for death. You don’t know how good you have it Future Future Caleb. Don’t worry Future Caleb, I’m sure you have plenty of good years left before becoming future future Caleb.

Let me back up and give some context to this belief about ownership, community, and storytelling as it relates to collecting, by reminding you of your 2016 home office update.

In 2016 I updated my home office, which I will timidly call a game room. This redesigning process allowed me to ponder a few things about gaming. I thought through the functionality of the room, how best to position the TV in relation to my chair, where to store my console accessories, and also, I put a fair amount of thought into the aesthetics of the room…paint color, wall decorations, and most proudly perhaps, my console set-up, complete with green Mario Brothers pipes to hide the cables. Future Caleb, if this ingenuity is still a high point of your life, consider your life one that contributed greatly to society.

These redecorating decisions were sometimes influenced by the room set-ups I see on YouTube from a variety of game collector channels. This source of, and conscious thought put toward, video game collections is weird, because I don’t collect videogames (seriously, here are all the videogames I own). This realization then forced me to ask the question, Why do I watch so much YouTube content about videogame collecting? Seriously, I watch 1-2 hours most nights.

On the surface, content about collecting–whether that be games, stamps, books, anything–would seem to serve only those with shared interests. I can watch a documentary about how tea kettles are made but that doesn’t mean I collect tea kettles or even want to be part of a community that cherishes tea kettle knowledge. However, if i watch two hours of videos every night about tea kettle collecting, it would stand to reason that I do want to be part of the tea kettle community. And collectors are people who have validated the common community interests and act as nuclei to a community. (yes, I did have to look up whether or not a single cell could have more than one nucleus; and I’m happy to report that yes they can. Which is good because this entire metaphor is already wavering pretty hard)

And I believe that each one of those nuclei can contribute to the community in different ways. Clint over at LGR has a vastness of knowledge about old computers that is implied by the vastness of his collection. It takes someone special to collect something so technically daunting. He’s a nucleus, and he’s earned that title. Even if he never relayed his knowledge via video, just seeing images of his collection would convey his position in the community. His collection is a quick way to show legitimacy.

The Immortal John Hancock offers his contagious passion. He is not–and he’s said this himself–into high production videos. Rather, he lets the simple existence of his collection speak for his legitimacy almost as much as he speaks for it himself. You can hear in the way he seems to trip over his words sometimes which shows just how excited he is as he talks about his collection. This guy has been collecting for over 25 years and has over 26 complete US game collections.

Jason, over at Metal Jesus Rocks, offers his refreshing curiosity, most notably expressed in his many hidden gems videos. Often he’s new to the console of discussion. And because his own game collection is quite large, when Metal Jesus expresses his unfamiliarity with a game or game system viewers who aren’t yet community nuclei are able to see that perhaps the barrier to entry into the gaming community isn’t as high as it may seem. Metal Jesus gives the rest of us permission to be ignorant, which is definitely needed, especially as game collecting continues to grow, and more and more people are contending to be a dominant nucleus. (I hope game collecting never gets competitive, but I’m generally a pessimist when it comes to groups of people)

John Riggs, of Rigg’d Games, is the only person on this short list who doesn’t showcase his collection in his videos. But he’s found a niche of gaming related content–fixing broken cartridges as part of his Open Cart Surgery series. I think collections are put upon pedestals so often that it’s easy to forget that these things do have a life-span. John’s role as a nucleus is to keep things grounded. Never let the community get too full of itself. I could throw Norman Caruso, of Gaming Historian, into this group, too.

As I mentioned earlier, I watch a lot of gaming YouTube content, so these four channels mentioned above are just a small slice of the channels I enjoy.

I hear some of you out there, “not all collections are meant to be tickets to a community.” I’ll agree. Some collections are simple aggregations of curiosities. The Avanos Hair Museum curator probably isn’t an expert on hair. He’s simply the recipient of a weird practice where female tourists offer their hair to be hung on the wall. Though, perhaps I am forcing him into the wrong community. Perhaps he is a nucleus to the “I’m a woman with too much hair and want a strange man to cut some of it off for me” community.

But when curiosities meet expertise, that’s when even non-collectors like myself get involved. And I think that intersection is why game collecting still exists in the future. There will always be curious people who want to be part of a community with shared interests. Though, I will assume that game collecting in the future will exist at an even further periphery than in does today in 2017. Though I don’t believe the impending dominance of digital media will eradicate collecting, it will have an impact. So, let’s talk about the digital medium.

There are many reasons why digital media won’t take over physical media in the near future. Our economy is structured in a way to support physical products. That alone will keep physical games alive for a long time. Restructuring an economy is hard to do.

But, even more important to remember is that as long as  human nature still encourages ownership, community, and storytelling, collecting will continue. Game collecting, I see has comparable to music collecting. As music went digital, vinyl collecting came into fashion. As digital games become more ubiquitous, we’ll continue to see an increase in limited physical print runs and collector’s editions in order to keep stuff for sale. People love stuff. Acquisition is a human trait. Nomadic cultures with limited stuff exist, sure, just as some people actually prefer to be choked during sex. It exists, but it’s not the dominant method. At least not yet. My apologies to you future Caleb for my intolerance of the large demographic of nomadic erotic asphyxiators. They are your neighbors and we should welcome them, and we have to respect that wearing a noose all day is part of their culture.

But it’s weird, right?

Current viewer, let me know in the comments if you think game collecting will be around in the future. Why do you think that, be it yay or nay.

And to answer that question you are thinking. 7. It took me 7 attempts to say nomadic erotic asphyxiators.

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To you future Caleb, say hi to your grandkids for me.

Research/Sources/Credits/Inspirations (this is not a comprehensive list, as that would be impossible, especially the “inspirations” items)

  • http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/19/cockroaches-may-be-inside-your-ps4.html
  • http://kotaku.com/console-repairmen-explain-why-cockroaches-love-ps4s-1794393470
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4426510/Sony-s-PS4-infested-cockroaches.html
  • Stamp Convention By Philafrenzy – Own work, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13971805
  • http://time.com/3663568/vinyl-sales-increase/

Mentioned

  • LGR: https://www.youtube.com/user/phreakindee
  • Metal Jesus Rocks: https://www.youtube.com/user/MetalJesusRocks
  • John Hancock: https://www.youtube.com/user/swlovinist/
  • John Riggs: https://www.youtube.com/user/riggstalgic

Music Credits

  • Reunited Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • 8bit Dungeon Boss Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

 

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