Saturday, September 04, 2010


Cleaning House

I approached the sales clerk at Mega Media Xchange with a clear plastic storage bin. It was full to the top with DVD cases, cartridges, controllers, a Nintendo 64, and various tangles of wire.

"Normally with a load this size, especially on the weekend, we would have to hold it overnight and give you a price in the morning," she explained. "But if it stays as slow as it's been, we might be able to give you a call later tonight."

"Actually," I put in, somewhat embarrassed, "I have four more bins like this in my car."

"Oh! Well, that'll be an overnight then."

I brought the bins in one at a time and stacked them up on the desk. A small group at the door stopped and watched with interest.

"What's in there?" one of them said.

"Everything," another chuckled.

He was right. An NES, an SNES, a Genesis, a Virtual Boy, an N64, a, a PSOne, and a Dreamcast. And piles of games. And accessories. And strategy guides. And movies.

"You don't have a PS2?" one of them asked.

"No," I said, trying to smile politely.

Today was a long time coming.

I've been reconsidering my possessions lately, starting with video games. I don't regret buying any of the things that I sold today. They gave me marvelous experiences that I'm grateful to have had. But neither do I regret selling them. They occupy my time, they dominate my thoughts, they clutter up my living space, and they gobble up my money.

For a long, long, long time now, I've felt weighted down by all this STUFF I've collected over the years. The hell of it is, when I do sit down to play with my N64 or SNES or whatever, all I ever feel is bored. I've had these adventures already, some of them dozens of times over. I know what's going to happen. It's not challenging, it's not surprising, it just takes up time. But in the past, when it's come time to clean house and trade stuff in, I've always balked. "Oh, surely not Super Mario 64, that's a classic. Not my gold Ocarina of Time, that'll be worth something someday!"

This week, I've finally had enough. I went through all of my stuff and gave it a cold, dispassionate once-over, looking for stuff to get rid of for once and all.

The NES was the easiest. The games just haven't held up to my interest, and the ones that have are already on my Wii. The Dreamcast was also pretty easy. It's not like I can play Samba de Amigo anymore, Phantasy Star is forever Offline, and I've got Sonic Adventure on the Gamecube. So I started my stack with them.

The N64 was also pretty easy. Super Mario 64 and Super Smash Brothers are on Virtual Console, not to mention surpassed by remakes and sequels. I paused to consider Harvest Moon 64, but no. My Game Boy Color already has all the farming sims I need for the moment. Mario Party 1 & 2 don't hold up at all; I think I'll be content with Mario Party 5 on the Game Cube.

The SNES was where things became difficult. It's been one of my favorite game consoles forever. Super Mario All Stars, Clayfighter Tournament Edition, Sim City, Super Mario RPG -- all excellent games. But the most bitter pill was saying goodbye to Earthbound. Like Andy at the end of Toy Story 3, I was resolved to part with my entire menagerie until I came to that last one and found that the hooks it left in my heart still pulled. I was tempted, in fact, to keep the system just for that game.

But how many years has it been since I've played it? How many years until I would play it again? I loved that experience dearly, but how many times do I need to have it? The point of this exercise was to grow up and seek new adventures.

I thought again about trying to sell it online. It goes for a pretty penny on eBay. But that seemed like a needless hassle, and what would I do if someone decided that there was something wrong and they wanted their money back? Maybe Mega Media XChange won't give me the same price a collector would -- and certainly they'll get more money from a collector -- but I think I'm content to pay that price to keep from dealing with those sorts of people.

So onto the pile it went.

And if I could do that, well, I could do anything. The Virtual Boy went out, the PSOne, the, the Genesis, the Nomad. Then Game Boy games, GBA games, DS games, Game Cube games, Wii games. Not everything I own, but quite a lot.

I haven't gotten an offer yet; they did warn me that it could take all night. They told me up front that they could give me $600 without flinching, and I have a feeling it'll rise when they see some of the stuff I've got and how well I've kept it. It's maybe a tenth of what I paid for it, but hey, I got the experiences I wanted out of them. Overall, I feel pretty positive about the adventure. We'll see where things go from here.


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