I’m always amazed by how many different sorts of people enjoy video games, and how many different ways they play them. The most unusual of these I’ve had the pleasure to come across recently was the Sealed Video Game Collecting community.
Rather than buy games to play, they look to build a collection that preserves the games – untouched by human hand. Although at first I was a little dubious, as I got to know the community and understand what it was drove their passion, I had a lot of respect for what they do.
Not only are they (perhaps) the only place systematically archiving untouched video games, but they also have a lot of knowledge about the games they collect. This extends beyond the usual how to play and win a particular game, to the availability and rarity of each title.
As one collector shared with me recently:
Sealed Game Collectors may seem unusual to those that just buy games to play, but we are preserving and valuing the art and artifacts of gaming for future generations.
Maybe you’ve not come across a sealed game collector before. We are no different from any other collector , we just like stuff to be new and untouched by human hands. The sealed game collector takes the hobby to the next level – both in terms of difficulty and value.
But, like toy collectors who never play with their products, we can be painted as rather dour boring individuals. The truth couldn’t be further from that though. Most sealed game collectors started collecting because they want to preserve these games for future generations. That’s why I do it, because I love games.
The main driving force behind my collection is to complete my sealed N64 and Gamecube sets. This is a tall order but quite possible given enough dedication, time and money.
That idea of preserving games for future generations reminded me of another acquaintance. Ian Simons is part of the team at the National Video game Archive in the UK, which is a more academic approach to preserving this heritage for generations to come. Their mission is to “The National Videogame Archive will collect, interpret, make accessible for study and research and, where possible, exhibit videogames and the associated ephemera of videogame cultures.”
Two very worthy ways, I think, to value and enjoy a hobby that is just starting to come of age in our culture.