When I think about the computers and games I’ve owned in the past, I can see how video games, consoles, and computers have developed to consider space and effort.
I began with the Commodore 64, an 8-bit computer system that had its games loaded onto cassettes.
I will admit now; I loved it. I still remember with fondness how I inserted the tape, typed in LOAD, and hit the return key to boot up the games. And who can forget the rainbow of colors for the loading screens?
After the Commodore 64, I went through the SEGA Master System, SEGA Mega Drive, and I even had the Mega Drive II.
It was those consoles that first introduced me to video game cartridges. Big, chunky, and somewhat inconsistent around dust, they took up a lot of space.
The thing about game cartridges is that they require big boxes. Large, colorful things with simple artwork on them representing the game you were about to play.
Looking back at that time, I get a sense of nostalgia and a hint of pain. Both are because those days are long gone, and a part of me thinks that maybe the late 80s and early 90s were the best years for gaming.
And how could it not be? When you wanted to find a game on your shelves, you only had to find the name of the game on the spine of the box and pull it out.
The video games in the 90s acted as games and a piece of artwork to decorate your bedroom with, particularly when it came to the Nintendo 64. which really took box art seriously.
Then, we had the original PlayStation, and I can say it as somewhat of a boast that we had it on day one of its release.
PlayStation games came on a disc, as they still do, and the cases for their games were slim, square, and came with a clear top so you could see the game manual.
They were ugly, but they were new, modern, and rather than a designed case, they focused on putting the game’s graphics on the disc and its manual.
And another thing to point out is that a game’s manual would also take up space.
Okay, you could keep it in the game’s box or case, but quite often, you’d find them stuffed into a drawer or in a cardboard box which was full of spare wires, broken controllers, rogue game discs, and dismantled cases.
I’m smiling now, remembering the PlayStation game storage towers I had that contained all my PS games and the odd music CD from Linkin Park and Sum 41.
But here’s where the problem also begins. As I got older and continued buying consoles, including the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360, space for games and their cases began to run out.
Suddenly, I had hundreds of physical copies of video games from two decades of gaming.
And that doesn’t include the games from my handheld Gameboy consoles.
But as I moved out of the family home and started working, I had no place to set my collection.
Instead of proudly displaying my games on shelves or in gaming towers, they collected dust in ruined cardboard boxes.
It hurts because just a few months ago, I threw away my Master System, Mega Drives, N64, PlayStation, original Game Boy, and their games due to another move and a lack of space.
But, as with everything, gaming continues to move forward, and I continue to build my video game collection. I just do it another way.
CD KEYS, GAME CODES, CLOUD GAMING & DIGITAL GAME PLATFORMS
I bought and built my first PC back in 2000, something I had always wanted to do since playing Rise of the Triads, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, and XCOM: Terror From the Deep on my uncle’s Windows computer.
Since then, I have slowly built my gaming collection digitally on platforms such as Steam, GOG, Origin, and Epic Games.
The first game I bought on Steam was back in 2005, and the first game I bought on GOG was in 2010.
At this time, I was also playing World of Warcraft when it first launched and EVE Online back when everything in the game was gray.
I have spent the last decade buying, pre-ordering, and purchasing CD keys, game codes, and gift codes from CD key sellers and digital game platforms.
My Steam library is getting ridiculous, and I have hundreds of games listed on my Steam account as having “no recorded activity.”
But, Steam is only a part of my collection. My games are spread across GOG, Battle.net, Epic Games Store, Origin, Ubisoft, and the Microsoft Store.
And that doesn’t include all the standalone game launchers that currently fill my desktop with shortcuts.
I honestly couldn’t tell you every game I own or which platform I own it on.
And the question is, would I have bought all of those game keys, CD keys, or gift codes if they weren’t digital?
Digital games save space, are linked to an account, and you can buy them at a lower price by comparing them on Allkeyshop.
Gaming is quickly moving towards cloud gaming, with companies such as Meta, Microsoft, Xbox, Netflix, Sony, and PlayStation heading towards the metaverse.
All of this is because, ironically, buying games digitally and downloading them straight to your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or PC from Steam, the PlayStation Store, or Microsoft Store takes too much time and space.
We are constantly downloading games from GOG, Epic, Steam, Origin, PlayStation, and Microsoft stores and uninstalling other games to make space for the new ones.
Our hard drives are always filled with games that we will play once, twice, or maybe a few times before we need to uninstall them again to play something else.
Our shelves are no longer filled with video game boxes and cases, but our online and local digital storage bursts with too many DLCs, Call of Duty battle passes, and Fortnite cosmetics.
So, steaming seems the following solution for gaming as we look to expand our video game collection further.
It’s funny when I think about it. I recently threw away my physical copies of games and consoles from decades ago because I had no space for them.
Will I be doing the same again in a few years but with Steam, GOG, and Epic?
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