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Man-Children

What Your Home Entertainment Collection Says About You

A couple of years ago, I sold all my old video games—some to friends, some on Ebay, the rest to a local used games store. Certain rarities among them commanded premium prices: Panzer Dragoon Saga and Snatcher cleared the $200 plateau, and Chrono Trigger came awfully close. These few hundred games, along with my less extensive DVD and CD collections, produced a bounteous reward indeed.

But why part with such a significant source of nostalgia and good times? Surely no price can be placed on the physical artifacts of my youthful recreational pursuits? My hypothetical kids might have enjoyed firing up the old Super Nintendo or Sega Saturn and taking them for a spin someday! This large-scale clearance was clearly too drastic of a decision.

Yet I undertook the endeavor with gusto. To me, all these discs, cartridges, and “game paks” now symbolized a quagmire of childishness—a reminder of my continued existence as “single bachelor” who hadn’t yet grown up. Still, a sizable number of my buyers were married dudes filling out their own collections or introducing young tykes to the entertainments of yore. Was I wrong to perceive that shelves full of plastic cases adorned with tacky cover art essentially act as woman repellant?

I’m still not sure how to answer this question, other than to say that the girls I date never turn out to be closet gamers, so my decision was probably the right one for me. But isn’t it great that some gals out there apparently don’t begrudge a guy his propensity to immerse himself in the worlds of Master Chief, Solid Snake, and Pikachu? I mean, who wouldn’t cherish the freedom to “be yourself” and enjoy an unfettered atmosphere of mutual acceptance with the one you love?

And yet… what sense of accomplishment can one truly feel in life without attempting some occasional self-improvement? We all (hopefully) experience turning points in our lives where we have to shed the comfortable and embrace new challenges.

Now lest I come across as annoyingly didactic, let me state that I still enjoy the occasional foray into mindless entertainment with a controller in hand. I have long possessed a weakness for the Final Fantasy series in particular, and I have no reason to believe that trend won’t continue. But I do desire a life of more variety and enrichment than can be achieved by indulging in the same activities time after time.

In my case, selling a bunch of old video games was a necessary catharsis. It exposed some of my frivolous consumerism and opened my eyes to new possibilities. Within the next year, I made even bolder choices that led to exciting summer travels, momentous job changes, and the rewarding hobby of improv comedy. All because I dared to get rid of something that I concluded was a hindrance.

So what does your home entertainment collection say about you? If it’s especially large, probably that you are either very self-assured or very complacent. As those are two sides of the same coin, it’s up to you to determine which side you’re on.