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Sparking Joy

SPARKING JOY

Difficult Decisions

Joe Merrick

When I was fourteen years old, I traded in my N64 and entire collection of games so I could buy a Gameboy Advance with… sigh… Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, 1080 Snowboarding, Mario 64, Goldeneye, Smash Bros., Lylat Wars and many others, all gone so I could pretend I had something with the power of a playstation in my hands.

The floodgates opened, and for a long time in my life I was in a cycle of trading games in to get new ones every week. After a few years of this behaviour, I started to pine for the games I used to own, and I realised I was wasting just as much money buying back my older games than I would have got for them in the first place.

I made a vow: I’d never trade in a game ever again.

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This meant that, eventually, I had a massive collection of games and every single one of them was a banger. I had every console plugged in and ready for action under my TV. I had the perfect set-up.

Team years of not trading in games, however, meant that my bookcase was at bursting point. I knew where and what everything was, but any tourist in my realm of games would need a map to navigate the mess.

This month, I decided to have a clear out. Somewhat inspired by Marie Kondo, I went through my collection and roughly followed her rule: does this game spark joy? I didn’t want to be too heartless in the moment then regret my choices though. The sensible approach would be weighing up whether or not I’d actually play a game again, but that isn’t the rule I applied.

Instead, I thought about the memories attached to a game, and about whether owning the game in itself makes me happy. It lead to some difficult and bizarre decisions, but I’m sticking by them.

I got rid of Splatoon 1. I love the game, but Splatoon 2 has superseded it in almost every way.

I kept my PS2 demo disc with Metal Gear Solid 2. I’ll never play it again, but it’s too important a part of my gaming history.

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I’m selling Bayonetta 1 and 2 on Wii U; the big collectors edition as well! It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to it, but if I want to play either of them again, I’ll see if I can get them on the Switch. Even if I get it physically, it’ll take up a lot less space on my shelf.

Gran Turismo 6? Gone. Gran Turismo 5? Too important. My very first (fictional) Honda Civic is in there and I don’t care if GT6 has more tracks and cars.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? Kept. I don’t think I can bring myself to ever play that game again, but something powerful within me refuses to sell a Metal Gear game, and I have to listen to that force.

The result of all this is that I now have a (still sizeable) collection of games that truly mean the world to me. It’s an odd selection of games; neither comprehensive nor encyclopaedic, but every one has sparked joy in my life and I think I’ll cherish them forever.

 
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