Collecting video games: Time travel made possible

From the community

Ah, nostalgia—that sublime elixir that prods me through my daily drudgeries. Dead end jobs, failed relationships, endless bills and setbacks—sometimes I wonder whether, were it not for the buoying, gilded memories of simpler years, I’d just sink beneath life’s tepid sea.

And I’m not alone; even the happiest of souls find solace in their past, when the world seemed unsullied and distant, when life was a safe, automated journey between home and school. For souls like myself, video games became the “filler” between these pillars, magic portals wherein I could reach worlds far beyond my neighborhood. A medium in which I possessed a purpose, be it hero or savior or simply a babysitting dinosaur.

Oh, the memories of being green and always hungry. Yep, being a teen wasn’t always easy!

Twenty years later, these 8 and 16-bit greats still hold the same glamour. While I might wax nostalgic on some past cartoon or movie, only video games allow me to truly venture backward, to revive a time otherwise dead. I can return to the same exotic locales I explored as a kid, finding towns exactly as I left them, filled with the same sights and denizens. I can relive my former glories, saving princesses and blasting aliens, and I can confront my old failings, succumbing once more to Ninja Gaiden. With each console I transform, from kid to teen and back again, both versions needing escape and finding wonder. Indeed, gaming is exactly that—a perpetual time capsule, an eternal meal.

This is why I collect. Not so I can brag about my stack of carts, not because I’m a hoarder or discriminating investor. No, I collect only to remember; my shelves are not rows of carts and discs, but corridors of doors that all lead elsewhere, opposite of here.

Like the doors in Monsters Inc., a game is a gateway to a different land.

So…be a collector! Capture, then preserve and savor, a piece of that living past. Indeed, collecting doesn’t mean owning hundreds of games or spending years chasing every rarity. It just means saving, playing, and celebrating the titles already there—now and forever.

Because someday, you’ll be yearning for today.

Feel free to check out this blog’s sister podcast for more about collecting.