Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Nostalgia Investment

The other day I spent some time going through and organizing my video game collection in alphabetical order just so I could get an idea as to what I have and what I'm wanting to get.  While looking through my catalog of games, I noticed that, for a "Next Gen" console, I own an awful lot of remakes/re-releases...at least 7 by my count.  I didn't dwell on it too much until I did the same for my 3DS and GameCube: I have several games that have released on a previous console that I know I paid for once before.  I sat and thought, "Damn, that's an awful lot of exposure to the same game!"  But it had me thinking; is it really worth the money to invest in nostalgia, or am I wasting my money?

Let me further elaborate: I hate purchasing games over and over again.  I feel that I'm being asked to buy the same product twice, normally with small improvements over the original release, and that I'm giving game companies money just because I enjoyed a game once (I'm looking at you, Nintendo...Ocarina of Time was a good game, but not, "Lets release it on 3 different consoles at $40" good.)  I'm very much against buying a game you already own on another console, UNLESS it's a complete and total remake (for example, the original PS One Resident Evil and the GameCube Resident Evil.)  I argue that, if you really enjoy a game, you should keep your console and a copy of the game(s) to avoid additional costs.  My concern is that I'm paying big money for little or no reward.

I also want to mention that I included any game that was a release, regardless of if I had purchased it before, just so I didn't have to argue with myself if it "truly" counted while figuring out if my money was worth the purchase.  I assumed that it would be a good chance to get an idea if the games I'm buying were worth the investment as well without having to go through the entire collection as well.  

I decided that I needed to review each title and find out if I got my money's worth out of the game.  To find out, I normally put a dollar amount to each hour of game play spent.  If the total turns out to be either at or above the cost of the game, then I have come out ahead...and if the opposite is true, then I'm at a loss.  So, I approach it with the mindset that 1 hour of game play is equal to $6...which means that a new release game that's $60 should give me a minimum of 10 hours  (that includes if I beat it once and decide to replay it.)  

Surprisingly, I found that I'm not purely investing in nostalgia.  Out of the initial 7 games, I concluded that 5 of them were worth my investment.  Mind you, I picked them up at various prices, which range from $20-$60, but I was getting at least that much out of those 5, and, in some cases, a little bit more.  The other 2 were, unfortunately, not so worth it; they have been sitting in a binder since they were bought, which means they're basically space occupiers at this point.

What I did find that was surprising was that a game's cost affected this.  The 2 games that I haven't started (yet) were at cheap costs: one was $7, and the other was part of a "Buy 2 Get 1" promotion, so it was free since it was the cheapest of the 3.  I thought I'd move on to analyze my 3DS and GameCube collections, but that posed a bit of a problem.  The 3DS games I own are mostly digital and from the Virtual Store section, so most of my games cost between $3-$8.  The GameCube games weren't all store bought or paid for with cash; I have been trying to catch up on titles I missed the first time around, so I trade some of my other games for the games I'm missing via online bartering.

That's when it hit me: I have a Steam account!  I decided to do the same comparison with my games on there.  

After going through the same process with my Steam collection, I went through a total of 12 games that I previously owned on another console and found that the same was true as before; if I paid more for a classic, I would tend to invest more time than if I paid less.  Of the 12, only 3 were played enough to be worth the initial investment.  The other 9 were either played a total of 10-20 minutes or not at all.  

So, what did this mean for me?  Am I splurging too much on the same game(s)?  

I decided that, while I had games that haven't been played, overall I was getting more than what I paid for.  For my PS4 games, I invested enough time in the 5 games that it took care of the cost (and then some!) of the other 2.  The Steam games were barely noticeable from a financial standpoint...I bought most of them in collections for a $1-$7, so, if I put 1-2 hours in 1 game from the bundle, I got my money's worth.  

Most of the games I purchased were for consoles I either never owned or no longer have...in the case of the latter, I am guilty of being part of the "trade and save" cycle that most game stores pull you into.  I'll post another time how I feel about that, but I will say that I'm no longer sucked into that.  But I am glad that I have been making purchases that aren't going to waste.  

I'm happy that the games I either enjoyed or may have missed out on the first time are available to this day to enjoy.  There are some games, like Super Mario World, that I'll always enjoy spending time going through over and over again.  I lament that there is focus on only a few franchises, however, and would like to see some other previously released games get a remake or re-release.  Can we get another Eternal Darkness or Jet Force Gemini perhaps?

I'm glad that my concern has been diminished...though, I should complete my back log of games before the next holiday season hits!  

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