Albuquerque, New Mexico. Feb. 3, 2018. The day of my birthday.

I am in college and attending the University of New Mexico, working on completing my degree in English and Philosophy. I’m thinking of adding a minor in Religious Studies. I’m twenty years old. Never getting younger, just getting older. A sophomore enjoying my current studies at the University. Taking high level courses with juniors and seniors that teach me so much. I look up to them.

My parents handed me a hundred green bills in cash. It was a gift. I was thinking of saving they money, like most normal people would. That never happened. Oops.

Because I love video games.

Unfortunately I cannot dedicate enough time towards my hobbies. However, I still crave video games and still love to support small shops. My backlog of games is ridiculous and feels like an endless catalog. I slowly continue to flip through my personal catalog in hopes of completing it one day.

My first console was a Nintendo 64. It was dated at the time. The Gamecube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 were the powerhouses at the time. Super Smash Bros and Mario Golf were the only games I had. There were two controllers. Then there was me and my two sisters. How annoying.

Matches became much more competitive. It was a match to stay and continue to play. A brawl to not rotate out and idly sit and watch. A competition to emerge and stay victorious. I would grip the weird controllers, sliding the analog stick and mashing the buttons. Holding and pressing buttons in the palm of my hand.

Pressing what became a Nintendo DS Lite a few years later.

I love Pokemon. I grew up with it. And while Sun and Moon were a disappointment, I still am a big fan of the series. My best friend, who I have known since second grade, gave me two phenomenal video games for my DS lite. Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Emerald. I remember dedicating several hours towards each game. And then my friend broke my DS Lite. I was sad. I no longer could play Pokemon Diamond or any DS cartridge game. Only Pokemon Emerald worked. Only Gameboy Advance games functioned.

And then came the Nintendo Wii. The Wii sold like hotcakes. My sisters wanted a Wii so bad. My parents were going on and off the phone. Calling and trying to reserve a Wii. A Wii to buy.

I got a Wii for Christmas. My personal collection started on Christmas. My love for video games launched on Christmas. Super Smash Bros Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, Mario Super Sluggers, and then include the GameCube library that I started to nurture. The list went on and on.

I loved the Wii and I loved video games.

Time went on and I continued to grow. My collection and hobby continued to grow. Consoles started to become a part of my collection. Games would fill in my voided shelves. But I had issues with my parents. I had a storm with myself in middle and high school. I would do my best but my grades never accurately reflected my effort.

My collection, childhood, was shipped and gone to the people tagged and branded in Goodwill. It hurt watching my collection leave. My collections departure hurt more than my poor grades. I ended up being forced to depart for a week with my permanently empty collection, but I came back. I started up a new collection.

So, why do I collect video games?

Simply put: because I love video games. I love reflecting and thinking about my childhood, love having nostalgic experiences. I love rich plot driven video games. And I enjoy the friendships and beautiful experiences that were generated from video games. So I restarted my collection and restarted my life.

I bought into the amiibo hype. I would not consider myself a serious amiibo hunter, however I do love to collect them. My collection of amiibo has continued to grow and expand, just like my game collection. Likewise, my grades and writing improved steadily and launched off the ground in college.

It was ‘buy one get three free’ for any Animal Crossing amiibo. I paid eight to nine dollars at Target for four new amiibos that I could now add to my collection. Amiibo that I bought with the one hundred dollars my parents gave me.

I collected amiibo because I liked them. They reminded me of action figures. I never really got into action figures. I collected amiibo because they reminded me of my love for the nostalgic aspects of video games. You could say I had an aesthetic appreciation for amiibo, which may explain why I collect them.

However, I do not own an army of amiibos. Even though I have an aesthetic appreciation for them, I do not love them enough to want to collect every single amiibo in existence.

My favourite small video game businesses: Gamers Anonymous and Super Gamers Anonymous.

I have had some great experiences at Gamers Anonymous and Super Gamers Anonymous. I wish I could spend more time to truly immerse myself with the great community within Gamers Anonymous. However, I had school and work.

I often tried to stop in though, and would leave with a small bag of goods. The prices have always been well beyond fair. This surprises me considering sometimes a small business would mark their prices above retail to stay financially stable. The argument would always be that you never have to pay for shipping charges with a small business. However, a quick buck is a quick buck while additionally a rip off is a rip off.

So, it was one Feb. 3, 2018, that I walked into Gamers Anonymous. With some money in hand.

Mega Man Zero Two. Complete and sealed. Two-hundred and fifty-two days. Yes, for two-hundred and fifty-two days it remained sealed away in a case. It was mine for $120. Fresh, sealed, brand new.

I walked away with my game and a slick new bumper sticker. A bumper sticker that I could use to celebrate my birthday. One that reminded me that I love video games and love to collect.

So why do you collect video games?

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