Collection 3.0

January, 2019 M.E. Williams

I was recently watching one of my favorite YouTube channels, Toy Galaxy, and in the video Dan was talking about why he sold the vast majority of his toy collection to focus now on what he calls “Collection 3.0.” After watching the video, I began to think about my past, current, and future video game collection. Thus, the idea of Bokujin’s Room and Collection 3.0 came about. Read on to hear my story. Also, check out the Toy Galaxy video. It's a great watch.

Collection 1.0

Collection 1.0 began, basically, with an Atari 2600 and Atari 800XL computer way back in the early 1980's. From a young age I was enamored with interacting with my TV rather than passively watching it. When I was very young my parents were resistant about buying an NES for me or even for the household, so it wasn't until 1989 when I had saved up enough of my own money to finally purchase my own NES.

Having a proclivity toward introversion even at that young age, I got out of the house enough to stay healthy, but I spent the majority of my time in my bedroom developing a deep bond with the stories, worlds, and characters that lived in these tiny PCBs surrounded by hard shell plastic - the game cartridges. In the 30 years that have come and gone since 1989, my love and passion for the art of video games continues to grow deeper with each passing year. Video games helped to shape my taste in music and books, spurned curiosities in space and science, and provided me an escape in what was otherwise a hurtful and tumultuous religious upbringing.

By the time I was in my teens, I was the envy of my friends who all thought I had rich parents. Little did they know that the grand majority of my collection I purchased by myself with little help from my folks. I've worked a stead job since turning 15, and during the last 5 years of my adolescence my collection grew leaps and bounds. I had everything from a Neo-Geo AES, a Jamma arcade set up, and over 27 game systems and hundreds of games. This time in my life taught me that in order to get the "things" I want, when I want them, I'm going to have to work hard to make it happen.

Collection 2.0

Like most 20-somethings, I was struggling to get by. I also knew I was sitting on a gold mine in my video game collection. Having to finance my college education and most of my life completely independently by that point (due to many circumstances beyond my control), I sold off parts of my collection piece by piece between the ages of 20 and 25; most often for much (I mean MUCH) less than the item’s worth just to get rid of it so I could afford to eat for another week. I kept around a few relics, but by the time I was 26 the vast majority of my collection was gone. By then, I had only my Playstation 3, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii. Thankfully, though, emulation of older consoles were pretty solid by that point, so I switched to an almost entirely digital collection by 2007.

In 2012 I built my first high-end gaming PC. I set up my entire OS to be a selection screen for emulators and built an amazing Steam collection of modern and classic games. Even though most of my retro collection was in emulation, I would always support modern releases of classic games digitally or otherwise. I owned every compilation set of games from Atari, to Sega, to Nintendo, to Capcom that I could get my hands on. I spent WAY too much money on the Wii Virtual Console for games that I could have easily just booted up on my PC emulators (often with more accurate results). I always wanted to ensure publishers knew that these games will still sell. To this day I am still a staunch believer in the repurchase of retro games to keep them alive.

Collection 2.0 was not entirely digital, but almost. Up until the end of 2018 I kept around a Playstation 3 (mostly due to my large digital library), a Playstation 4 Pro, a Nintendo Switch, and a completely modded Sega Saturn I've had around for years. To accompany the Saturn, I also had an old and dusty CD organizer with a bunch of games - most original, and some copies.

I had heard that you could get some high quality reproductions of Saturn games in this modern age, so I thought I'd take a look around the internet to see what I could fine. Low and behold I found a treasure trove on Etsy. I ordered a couple favorite games and a couple others that I didn't get to spend much time with when I was younger. The feeling of playing on real retro hardware after playing on emulators for so long lit a fire in me that I hadn't felt since I was younger. I wanted to explore this feeling more, so I jumped on board the FPGA clone console craze and started to get back into the world of retro game collecting - but with a personal twist.

Collection 3.0

Since December 31, 2018 I have begun building what I’m calling Collection 3.0. This collection’s soul purpose is to provide me with a curated library of great games that I can enjoy and play for years to come. I am also building this collection as an inheritance of sorts to a future beneficiary, museum, or electronic historical society. This collection does not focus on high-priced, pristine, unopened copies of original games - these games will be played and studied for their art and entertainment value. That said, unless otherwise unavailable, every bare game cartridge or CD that is added to the archive will receive some sort of protection - usually a sturdy plastic case to sit among others on a shelf. The goal is to have an organized and cataloged library. I'm keeping extensive notes on the exact condition of each game, contents, and other factors on multiple spreadsheets to ensure every detail is tracked.

To help set some boundaries, I've created a list of rules that will help curate an extensive and impressive collection while also keeping costs down.

Collection 3.0 Rules

  1. Complete games are not essential.
    • Neo-Geo AES games will be sought out complete due to their inherent collect-ability and their place as key items in the archive.
  2. Bare carts will receive a reproduction plastic case for protection, and for the archive.
    • SNES games will receive a reproduction plastic case even if it is complete as to not destroy the original cardboard box.
  3. Games purchased only for the purposes of collecting will be complete, and only those games I have a strong emotional connection to - these do not have to be in mint condition, but good enough to be cased in a protective shell and not touched.

  4. Reproduction cartridges/CDs are allowed if and only if:
    • A game greatly exceeds what I'm willing to pay for a particular console's game.
      • Example: I will not pay more than $160 on a Mega Drive game, complete or not.
    • The game in question never had an English translated release and is otherwise unplayable due to the language barrier. (i.e. Seiken Densetsu 3).
    • The reproduction must be high quality with specially sourced new PCBs and EPROMs OR a well made conversion.
    • The game in question contains an altered rom (i.e. Rom-Hack).

Closing

All of this eventually led me, and you here! While Bokujin’s Room will be a place for me and other nerds to geek out over video games, I will also be writing stories chronicling my journey to Collection 3.0 and musings around the experiences I have while revisiting these cherished games.

Cheers, and thanks for stopping by!