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Elsa's blog
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Elsa avatar 1:12 PM on 02.22.2012  (server time)
The Duck Collector

I once bought a ceramic duck and put it in my bathroom as decoration. My sister then gave me a lovely watercolor of a duck. Soon others followed and the bathroom gradually filled with ducks... more pictures, little wooden ducks, another ceramic duck... then it spread beyond the bathroom - and it happened. A friend came over and said "oh, you collect ducks". No, I don't collect ducks dammit! I bought a ceramic duck and maybe a few of the wooden ones - but the rest were gifts. I looked around and I had "become" that crazy Aunt who collected pigs. Pigs in the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room. Pig salt and pepper shakers, ceramic pigs, pig cookie jars, pig towels - little beady pig eyes staring at you from nooks and crannies all over the house. It was creepy.

I promptly re-painted and re-decorated the bathroom and gave away all my "duck stuff" except for a few left on the window sill. I guess I'm just a non-collector. I don't like to collect "stuff". This holds true for most things. All those figure skating trophies I won as a child - gone. Love letters from early boyfriends - gone. I live in a small house with no "spare" rooms - no second bedroom, no separate rec room (it's part of the dining room) - just... no room.

I love gaming and now that I'm retired from my career, I spend most of my time consumed with gaming - be it here at Dtoid reading and writing about gaming...or playing games, but you would be hard pressed to know it from my house. There's a PS3 in the living room.. discreetly tucked in the shelves of the TV unit along with a stereo and DVR. In the other room, the PS3 is tucked under an old TV unit with an Xbox on the top shelf. The TV itself is attached to the wall on a pivot and turns 180 degrees either way ... so that it faces into the dining area, or so that it faces a daybed (where I sometimes game, though usually I game on this chair).

Yes, it's a rocking chair! (actually a rocker/recliner). I just realized that I'm almost 50 years old, I wear bifocals... and I game in a ROCKING CHAIR! Ugh, next thing you know I'll be putting aside Modern Warfare 3 and playing Knitting Mama. Oh, and the cat in the background is usually stealing my chair, which explains the cat hair blanket on the chair.

No big wall of games... no video game posters, pictures, figurines or plushies. There might be the occasional game scattered about, but when I can tear my butt away from actually playing games or reading Destructoid and actually do that "housecleaning" thing, they usually get tucked away into some DVD storage boxes in the TV unit in the living room. I'm also now using a very small DVD shelf unit that once housed my book collection. My books are being sort through and disposed of as I am now an avid fan of digital books and read them on both my iPad and iPod. I'll keep a few treasured books... but the rest will get donated somewhere. When the storage areas get full... I trade my games in, or give them away.

This is the living room area with a PS3 where my husband games. Games are mostly hidden away in DVD containers, so the living room sort of looks like a living room and not a gaming room.

I don't get "collecting games". I do get the concept of keeping games that some day I might re-play, but for the most part I would usually prefer to play a new game rather than re-play a game where I know the plot. I loved Dragon Age: Origins. I played through the game and got my unique story. I even went back to some earlier gamesaves and tried to get some different endings. I then decided to start the game again and play as an evil male mage - but after an hour I just couldn't do it. I found myself making mostly the same decisions as I had previously made because those decisions were natural to me and it just felt somehow wrong to be doing things differently. Re-playing the game was actually ruining it for me, lessening the experiences of my first playthrough. It was also boring. I've kept a few games for sentimental reasons... but oddly, the sentiment is rarely attached to the quality of the game and is more often to do with memories of playing the game with friends or with my husband. The original Resistance game will always have a place in my games because it was the first game I played with my husband. He was the "other guy" in the co-op split screen run of the game. Warhawk was another game that comes with many happy memories of my husband and online friends. My copy of MAG will always remind me of Dtoid and Red, Clockwork and Byronic Man - and the many, many fun online evenings spent with them and my husband. These are a few of the handful of games I will keep for sentimental reasons, and additionally there are some that I call "library games". These are games that I retain because they are useful for when friends or relatives come over. Little Big Planet is a wonderful library game because it's easy to plug this game into the console and keep my niece or any child occupied. It's also an easy game for a non-gamer adult friend to play in co-op mode (I played this game with my 56 year old sister-in-law when she visited a few years ago!). Singstar will stay as a party game for when groups of friends are over and enough alcohol is consumed for grown men to start singing I touch myself by the Divinyls or to attempt singing Bohemian Rhapsody.

The games I want to keep is a very, very small number, and the rest simply have to go - because I'm not a collector. There are no figurines, no posters, no plushies. I once received a poster for a Ratchet and Clank game that was signed by all the developers as a prize given during the beta for the game, but I gave it to the guy at my local EB Games store to give away to someone who loved the Ratchet and Clank games and would give the poster a proper home.

My own gaming set up... which will eventually go into a better storage unit where they are hidden away... and where my cats will quit trying to sit on the Xbox on the top shelf!

I still have some of my very old games... Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn, Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale for the PC. I'm pretty sure I still have a copy of Zork on a 3.5" floppy tucked away in a drawer. They'll likely end up in the garbage at some point as they're on media that just isn't really used anymore or for windows versions long since dead. In fact, if I can't rightly remember where those games are even stored, then when I do come across them I know that they'll end up getting tossed. In fact, re-playing those particular games would likely ruin the very fond memories I have of them.

While I think it's awesome and wonderful that some people collect games and game-related items... I also think it's entirely possible to be a gamer and not have a massive collection of games or any gaming related items. My home is a reflection of "me", but "me" is more than games, and mostly "me" isn't a collector - of anything. Well... maybe I'm a collector or memories - but those don't take up too much space!

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