Gaming systems tend to be pricey when initially launched. Sure, after a year or so on the market, you might see price drops, but traditionally they’re a hefty investment. You simply can’t walk into the store and buy just the system; you need extra controllers, games, cables, memory cards, online subscriptions, and more. By the time you’ve walked out of GameStop, your wallet is empty, and your checking account wants to take revenge. So with that said, here are my top 7 reasons why I will never trade in a system, no matter how badly I want the newest machine on day one.
Nostalgia – Look at the recent frenzy over the NES and Super NES classic systems. Consumers went ballistic over these things, causing mass shortages and in certain cases, outrage over a lack of supply. Gamers love the past, and these two gems represent all that was great in the video gaming world from the 80’s and 90’s. If I didn’t have my working NES from 1985, I would have run out and bought the NES Classic in a heartbeat. To this day, I pop in games such as Castlevania, Super Mario 2, and Double Dragon, spending hours reconnecting with the games that defined my childhood. Nostalgia is huge right now, probably because it allows us to block out all the terrible things going on in today’s world, if only for a little while.
Amazing games have great replay value – I am willing to bet there isn’t a single person who reads this who can say they’ve never played through a game more than once. Whether it’s discovering a hidden path not followed before, collecting every trophy and bonus, or noticing things that didn’t stand out in a previous playthrough, great games will always have lasting replay value. Even if I earned a hundred percent on something, I’ll still go back and play it again; knowing the full story and outcome shouldn’t stop players from enjoying a highly entertaining game from the past. I can tell you exactly how Metal Gear Solid ends, but that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the hell out of it repeatedly. The roll of the credits doesn’t have to mean you should seal the game in a vault, never to be seen again. We should cherish the industry’s finest achievements and give them the multiple replays they deserve.
You don’t really get much these days for used systems – Let’s face it, the amount of credit/money you get by trading in games and systems can be insulting at best. By the time you want to trade something in, it’s been out for at least a couple years, and they’ve released a 2.0 version, making your unit even less valuable. It’s simply not worth trading in a beloved console for the pittance stores want to give you; infuriatingly enough, they manage to turn around and sell it for a quite the profit.
Last gen systems still receive great games at the end of their life – With the release of a new system, the older model gets less appealing in the minds of gamers. By ignoring your old faithful console in favour of its successor, you potentially risk missing out on truly imaginative titles. Let’s take the much maligned and often despised Wii U, a system that didn’t sell very well, and made zero impact in the world. With the release of the Switch, gamers rejoiced at the return to form for Nintendo and its beloved hardware. The killer IP for the new system was, of course, Zelda: Breath of the Wild; a stunning masterpiece that deserves the game of the year title it just received. Problem is, at least for me, I couldn’t afford a Switch at the time. Between the system, the game, pro controller, micro SD card, case, screen protector, and extra Joy-Cons, I was looking at hundreds of dollars I didn’t have. What I did have, however, was a Wii U. I bought the predecessor to the Switch so that I could play the HD versions of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess; it was worth every penny to see those games in full HD glory. When Breath of the Wild was first announced, it was going to be a Wii U exclusive; the game looks and plays great. Though I now have a Switch, I don’t think I’ll ever purchase another copy of BOTW, because the Wii U version is amazing in its own right.
I spent too much time and effort building up a library of games to simply sell them off – The Xbox 360 had an eleven-year run, selling over eighty-four million units in its lifetime. Over those eleven years, gamers plunked down an unfathomable amount of money on games and peripherals; there is no way you’d get a fraction of what it’s really worth by trading it all in. I can’t speak for our readers, but I know I meticulously curated my systems and games, and after eleven years, I am not going to part with any of it. Don’t forget, the 360 generation pioneered digital downloads, so you don’t even have the option to trade in a bulk of your games as it is.
They’re like tiny works of art on my shelves – Video game consoles are more than just plastic and metal boxes; they’re works of art, having taken months or even years to design and craft. Love them or hate them, each machine is unique, right down to the placement of the power button. I currently have a select few of my systems set up under my TV, each one meticulously cared for and maintained, ready for use at a moment’s notice. I don’t simply see the entertainment value in them, but rather, the immense aesthetic value as well. I may not actively play all of them, but I still get enjoyment in their mere presence. It’s a goal of mine, once I have more space, to hook up and display all of the systems acquired over the span of my life; each unit will have its own designated space and given the respect that it deserves.
Unmitigated regret – I started this piece off by saying I would never trade in a system; this was a slight lie. Back in the late 90’s, I decided I wanted a PlayStation but didn’t have the money for it (see my memorable moments feature for more on this). In a rather unprecedented move, I gathered up my Super Nintendo with all of its games, marched over to Electronics Boutique (predecessor to GameStop), and traded it all in for a shiny new PS1. At the time, I was ecstatic to have my next-gen gaming machine; everything about the system wowed me. Years later, I can finally admit I regret doing that with every fibre of my being. I loved my Super Nintendo; along with the original NES, it defined my childhood. To this day, I will never forgive myself for parting with my beloved SNES, and I can only hope that whoever bought it, gave it the good home the system deserved. I did manage to buy another one years later, but it’s not the same.
At this very moment, I still have a working NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Switch, Game Boy Color, 3DS, TurboGrafx-16, PlayStation 1, 2, 3, 4, Vita, Xbox, Xbox 360, and a Dreamcast to keep me busy. Video games are more than just a way to pass the time; they’re a way to explore one’s imagination, to take yourself somewhere that’s not humanly possible. Where else can you explore ancient ruins, navigate a post-apocalyptic world, or travel through space and time trying to save the universe. Just because I beat a game, doesn’t mean it’s now useless. That’s what makes games and gaming so great; you can always go back and re-immerse yourself in a new world, and take on the role of someone or something else for a while. To all our readers, I simply ask that you think about what you’re doing before you go and trade something in. Video games are like old friends; every now and then, you’ll want to get together and catch up for a while.