31/07/2011

The way I am #8 - This blog

I mainly used this blog to list my collection and the most important items. It's something I did without the intention of showing my collection to everyone. I did this for fun, to see my pictures and my editions listed like this. I come here a lot of times to read the older posts and edit the text sometimes - there are still many errors around, but some I will probably never correct.

As you probably noticed this was the first time I filled this blog with so much text and no pictures at all, turning it into a boring blog. Few people would have the patience to read through all this stuff I wrote, I know they want to see pictures.

The blog will not be flooded with ridiculous amounts of text like this. I will resume to make short posts about the things I own with the usual badly photoshopped pictures I enjoy so much doing. It's been over 5 years since I started this blog and it's still up and running.

For those who had the time to read all this stuff I wrote, I thank you for that :)
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30/07/2011

The way I am #7 - My goals, the Future

I could basically copy paste what my "friend" Gemini Phoenix (I would rather refer to him by his real name...) wrote at playstationcollecting because most of the things he wrote are also true about me. It was his text that inspired be to write all this gibberish in messages numbered from 1 to 7 anyway. I hope he doesn't mind if I borrow his text:

"I have a job. It’s not very glamourous, but at least it’s something, but it’s going nowhere and was initially intended to be a stop-gap whilst I decided what I wanted out of life. (...) I never did know what I wanted. I can do better, I know that, but I’m stuck in my ways. I have many friends and an active social life, although I will admit that collecting games is my main interest and hobby of choice. My friends and family are tolerant of my collecting, although some don’t quite understand why I bother with such materialistic hoarding. I don’t know the answer to this myself either. I suppose I just haven’t finished growing up yet, and am probably desperately trying to hold onto my youth – But then, isn’t everyone? Trying to justify it to others is significantly harder than justifying it to yourself!"

In a way I envy those who have settled down with someone else in order to start a family, or push to better themselves academically, but I don’t see what all the rush is."


The same is true for me. I could write that with my own words but I don't think it would come out so well. So I borrow his text but I credit him for this. But this is where I have to write on my own...Right now I don't have a girlfriend, nor I even bother getting one. I loved a few girls in the past, but I'm not the sort to hook up to the first that catches my attention. I never had much luck with the girls that I really liked, but I did almost nothing to catch their attention anyway - maybe because I'm a coward in many ways. I ended up turning down those that liked me just because I did not feel anything for them. The ones I really liked are out of my life anyway, I just let it go.

Like Gemini, I also feel like I lost the boat and missed my chance to do certain things in life and I'm not quite sure if this is the road I've chosen or the one I followed by accident. I, too, feel like I'm going anywhere, not making any progress.

As a collector, I think I've come too far already. At the same time, I think that I still I can go much further than this if my enthusiasm and my life allow me to. I've said it multiple times in this blog: this collecting road was tough and only possible through dedication, work and love. Why I care so much about things that many people consider futile yet surpasses me but I don't think too much about it because I know I have my personal reasons.

I plan on keeping collecting. It's now part of my life, part of my personality. I've achieved a massive knowledge and I will keep learning new things as time goes. I now feel my collection is irreplaceable.

I will keep on collecting and go as far as I possibly can. I would like to open my own "museum" some day, but that dream is way too far away. I'm still young, I guess it's too early for me - or maybe it's already too late but I barely know where to start. My life may even turn around someday. Who know what will happen in the future and how further I can climb the collecting ladder? But I already started and I will keep climbing.

It was nice to write all these messages even if some don't seem to make much sense, but I feel happy for writing these things the way I want to :)
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The way I am #6 - A lesson everyone should learn

This is going to be a little hard to explain. Some people who met me before would call me hypocritical if they came here to read this and I fully understand their point of view, but what I write here is honestly what I think. It's not easy to explain though and I'll make it as short as possible...

Being a collector was not just a hobby I took lightly. At first, maybe, but once it became more serious I started to see how that hobby was changing myself. As a serious collector, I always care about the condition of the games I buy - I refuse to buy incomplete or damaged games. So much dedication in assembling a good collection makes no sense without quality patterns, and I've set mine a long time ago. I'd rather buy everything in sealed condition but we all know that it's not possible so I focus in getting everything as close to "new" as possible, with tolerances of course.

My main concern in getting the games in the best possible condition only makes sense if I am going to take very good care of them and preserve them in the same condition I get them. However, there are WAY TOO MANY OBSTACLES in order to do that...
1. Most videogame retailers don't care how they take care of their games and special editions - even specialized stores treat some of them like trash that must be sold to anyone.
2. Same goes with national distributors who open games to place stupid mandatory stickers and crappy manuals.
3. Even the national law is against my principle of buying games in the condition I want unless I order them from a different country.
4. And then, there are the post service, we all know how bad they treat our packages.
5.To add to all that, there's the price of the games over here. This makes my task of collecting sealed games or limited editions a hard one. It disgusts me...

And this is how I learned an important lesson. First, I've learned to take very good care of my games. I realized that most people - people who specifically work with videogames, people who sell or distribute games -don't give a damn about their condition. I've seen GT5 Signature editions, rock bands, guitar heroes and all sorts of bundles, limited editions, boxsets, whatever, in a VERY bad shape even as soon as they get released, with alarms, stickers, price tags or protection stripes damaging the boxes. I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND how those ignorant people expect to sell a 180€ limited edition that seems somebody was playing soccer with it on the release date. And that's just a tiny example of all sorts of things I've seen all the time EVERYWHERE. It's simply disgusting. Some editions clearly say "Collector's Edition" on their cover, yet ther are treated so badly... who is the collector that's going to buy those editions in trash conditions? Can those people be really called collectors?

But then I look around... and I realize that it's just not games that many people don't care about. Many people in general don't care about anything at all besides their own lives. They don't care if they drive "nastily", they don't care if they spit on the floor, they don't care if they smoke, drink or make too much noise, they have no sensibility for little details in life as much as they live fine with themselves and their tastes. They don't care about their wrong actions as much as they are in accordance to the law, just slightly off or even totally off if the circumstances allow it. They take many wrong actions on purpose just because they feel more comfortable in their daily lives by doing so. They don't face society as they should in my opinion... And I'm not talking about criminals or anything of that sort, that's a whole different level. I'm talking about regular so called "honest" people.

Being a collector has been like a self taught lesson to me that expanded to the way I live my life and how I am. The sensibility I gained for being a collector taught me many things including how to care about every step I take every day. I try to live my life seriously and enjoyable but always care about the little details that almost no one even thinks about. Some people just don't bother caring about too many things that go beyond their way of thinking. They lack that sensibility. For those very same people, I am stupid for spending so much money in games.
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The way I am #5 - Games and Art

Unfortunately for videogame collectors, there are still many people out there who simply don't understand us... They spend 1000s in cash to buy a great car. They spent over 500 to buy an Iphone. They spend 100s each year in drinks, cigars, go to parties or dinners... Yet, when we spend 200 or much more on one of the greatest videogames ever made , they call us crazy. Unfortunately, that's how the majority of the outside world sees us. It's ok to collect stamps, coins, even cars or painting. But when it comes to videogames, that's just childish.

Videogames, such as many other things, are a form of art to me. The dedication, love and effort some creators put behind certain games is as much or even more than the ones artists usually put in cinema, music, etc. It may be a form of entertainment, but there are some games over there that require a lot of talent and most importantly, creativity. The funny thing is that most people who say otherwise have only a very superficial and casual experience with videogames.

In fact, one of the things I like the most about videogames is the soundtrack. Especially from those japanese titles such as RPGs, some Shmups, even fighting games. The Battle themes for some RPGs starting with the 8bits and ending on the newer generation consoles are remarkable, epic, undiscribable. Yet some blind people refuse to bvelieve that. Some of the music gives me the chills just to listen. Others make me very emotional by reminding me of certain moments of games that are unforgettable. I, on the other hand, can no longer stand any type of music that goes on the radio except for a few particular songs. I hardly ever listen to anything else besides music from movies, series or games. But that's only me. I know I am an exception but I also know there are a few more people who think like me. Xenoblade OST is my current favourite, but there are so many good ones, even from the 8bit era. An example: the Moon theme from Ducktales on the NES. A "random" music from a random level in one disney game that was so remarkable it received a few 12s of recent remixes. Same with all Final Fantasy games, and one that I must point out because I think it's awesome: Lufia II on the SNES. Metal Gear, Wild Arms series, Lost Odyssey, Castlevania series... I could go on and on and on with a list of amazing OSTs for both great games and not so well-known ones.

Now about visuals... Videogames have been an amazing resource of inspiration for architecture, imaginary worlds, amazing landscapes, towns and cities, places that don't exist and never will and some that do. In recent years thanks to all the technology we were able to live these worlds even better. From the 16bit worlds full of colours and animations to the most recent 3D experiences, videogames have always created worlds and stories with a totally different feeling that nothing else has done before.

I could write more and more about this, but I think it's enough. It's a little pointless to write these things though. Most people who visit this blog must love videogames as well. They already know what the rest of the world must think. The people who should read this won't do that. And even if they did they wouldn't change their minds.
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28/07/2011

The Way I am #4 - So what do I collect?

Well, my mind was all set to write the rest of the things I wanted to write a couple of days ago, but unfortunately I am too tired and I can't quite remember what else I was going to write at that moment. But still, I just feel like writing. So that's what I am going to do.

I've told you a little bit of my story already. However, before going any further, I'd like to talk about the things I collect. It's true that sometimes I buy some games that are not so good or special. However, I usually have a reason to buy a particular game except in a few occasions.

First, I started to buy all the good games I missed when I had money for almost nothing. I also tried to find factory sealed copies of my favourite games in the meantime, as well as special editions of the best games. Soon enough I put together many special editions and my interest in these started to grow even more. I started to buy other limited editions for games that I did not care so much before. As a collector I was about to face the hardest challenge I ever faced: getting those press kits. It was pretty hard, really. If I didn't love my collection, I'd probably just give up in the process after growing tired.

I also realized that my favourite genre was by far RPGS so at one point I also focused in getting all the RPGs I could find. So my collection grew a lot on PAL RPGs.

Once I collected the majority of games I wanted for each particular console, with time and luck I started to find other rare and obscure titles that I would consider to be a shame to miss them.

The factory sealed madness started pretty soon when I decided to get my favourite games in sealed condition. However, this objective was never accomplished. The only reason why I wanted those sealed games was because that was the very best possible condition for a game that could be found, and as a collector I always care way too much about the condition of my games, specially the ones I trully love! The second reason why I started to collect factory sealed games was simply because there was no time to play all the games. So I started to leave some games unopened. Finally, the third reason why I collect sealed games is... simply because I realized how fascinating it was to have a collection of factory sealed games, in their best possible condition. It's a total different level that many people fail to understand and even I have problems explaining why it's so fascinating.

Nowadays, I collect so many games that it's hard to make a list with the criteria I use to chose wether a game is worth being in my collection or not - and I'm not talking about the condition here, I'm really talking about games or specific editions of games. And - believe me - I do have criteria to help me decide.
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The way I am #3

Year 2004
I forgot to mention that I also bought a Gameboy color somewhere in 1999 or 2000. And a Game Boy Advance when it came out. But since I would prefer to play the home system instead of handheld games, I did not had much more than 4 or 5 games for each of those handhelds.

Back to 2004... University was a good thing, yet something that killed me inside as well. I am a very pessimistic person, I always think I'm behind the others so I usually try to work even more to catch up with them. I know now that it's all psychological... But the truth is I worked so hard to succeed in the University that I placed my social life behind and I wore myself out even before starting a real job. I will never be back to what I was. My rhythm was very high. It took me years to realize that. I always thought I needed to work more or I wouldn't make it. How stupid I was... By the time I made it to the 4th grade, I had spent many nights without sleeping and some of those were totally unnecessary. I did every class at the first attempt, never left anything undone. But was it worth it? Many depressions and almost a break down due to excessive dedication took away a small part of my life in the first 4 years. My personality was changed, my head was a complete mess. I drifted away from some people I loved... Took me some time to recover from all that...

But it was in that 4th year when I also found out a few things to boost my collection a little further... Ebay and internet sites to start with. I actually started using Ebay one year before, but only to purchase a few items and not to collect more seriously. I found myself buying the older games for PS1 and even for Master System and Saturn that I missed or couldn't afford before for just a few pounds each. I was in heaven! I also found out some games and limited editions that I had never seen before. I had to get the most important ones! I also started to visit second hand stores and found a lot of great things. Money was short because I did not have a job, but thanks to all those great sources I managed to buy several games every month for pretty cheap prices! That's when I started to collect. But I was so worried about the condition of the games I bought... I just wanted mint and complete games just like every other game I had. My quality standards were very high I must say, but unfortunately, quality had a price I couldn't easily pay.

Little by little I started to buy the special editions I was missing thanks to ebay. First, I only bought editions of the games I really wanted... but sooner than I expected, I started to move on to the other editions of games that I didn't really want but were still worth getting. Suddenly, I heard about press kits for the first time ever and got my first two thanks to my friend Luis Barros. I owe you a lot for those two editions my friend. That day was special: it was just the beginning of the next step in my collection.

By visiting 2nd hand stores I also found some other consoles I never thought of collecting such as Mega Drive, SNES, N64, Dreamcast and most of the systems I never had the chance to own... and some of those I found were as good as new, including their boxes in mint condition. It took me a while but little by little I started to move on to other systems instead of just focusing on the ones that marked my childhood. I met other collectors who had impressive collections listed in forums, including some who dedicated their collections to a single system or a single company. I started to learn a lot and felt more and more interested in raising the number of systems in my collection.

Year 2005
I was totally messed up and realized I was finally going to fail at one class - the final and most important of all, but I had no more energy to do it even if I wanted - and I didn't give up until the very ending, but eventually I was forced to give up. It was one of the toughest decisions in my life. When I realized I was putting too much effort in university, I decided to finally take it lighter and start practicing some sports - martial arts mainly, something soft preferably. I went to practice taekwondo. The next year, 2006, I was repeating that class I failed while starting my internship and had some extra time to play games and to search for the titles I wanted. I started to feel my social life coming back to me after 5 years straight.

That's when my collection started to grow seriously. I graduated by the end of 2007 and found a job soon after, already in 2008. I can't quite say when I started collecting... maybe in 2004? Maybe when I got my Saturn? Have I always been a collector? In a certain way, yes, but I only consider myself a real collector since 2004! When I finally accepted the fact that I loved games and wanted to collect them.
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The Way I am #2

When I was 11 I received my first videogame console. It was a Sega Master System II. Some of my friends had it as well and I though that I would be able to trade my games with theirs so I could play more titles that way. My first game ever was Sonic the Hedgehog. At least, that was the very first original game I had. It came bundled with the console. I also got a few other games later. Getting a game for me was one of those things that made me happy. Believe it or not, I still think that playing videogames was and still is one of the greatest entertainments for anybody.

I was not really the sort of kid to keep all my toys in great condition and take really good care of them. Except the very few that I really loved or were tought to get, such as a KOUSOKU SENTAI DX TURBOROBO from Bandai Japan that I still have. However, when that Master System came, it was like me having something... I don't know... something important that had to be very well taken care of. So I kept my games, manuals, boxes, leaflets, everything in pristine condition. I also learned that I could not get one game every month like the regular toys, so I used to play the same game again and again and again and I was not satisfied until I did everything that had to be done.

Year 95
A few years later, I got a Sega Saturn. When that happened, my parents gave away my master system console and all the games. I feel so sad, but I guess those things happen to nearly everyone. Every collector surely feels sorry or regret for games they lost or sold in the past. I got the console and had to wait one month until I had enough money to buy the first game. It was Bug! In nearly 2 years I only got 7 Saturn games, some of those were bought when their price dropped. I missed many RPGs that I really wanted to buy back then such as Dragon Force, Shining Force, Shining the Holy Ark and Guardian Heroes. Those games were not that common and I was really misinformed about the release dates but I remember I went to the store searching  for those particular four titles when I had the money. Instead, I ended up buying other games because those were not there at the moment I went to the store. A kid like me couldn't wait to get a new game so I had to find replacements whtihin a couple of minutes before my parents got bored of waiting while I was trying to decide what to buy. Instead, I bought other games such as Nights, Tomb Raider, Dragon Ball Z, Virtua Cop 2... and I do not regret buying those. Tomb Raider was so good that even my mother would only allow me to play it when she had the time to watch that game! Yes, my mother, who was against videogames, made me play that game only when she could watch!

Year 97
When Tomb Raider II was announced, I soon realized it would not be released for Sega Saturn. It would be only for PS1. I didn't have a PS1 and buying another console of the same generation back then was unthinkable. So I was quite disappointed... I thought so much about it that... I felt like I had to do something. I still had 6 months since I heard about the game, so I had to do my best to save enough money to buy a PS1. And I made it with extremely luck - seriously - thanks to a one day promotion at a particular mall before the end of the year, where the price of the console dropped to half. And thanks to my father for travelling really early that day to get it to me before it was sold out.

That's when things became a little serious. Over the years I missed many games, but step by step I made a great selection of titles. In 5 years I managed to get nearly 30 games, all top titles of all sorts: racing, survival horror, adventure, action, shooting, platforms, fighting, RPGS... I remember one game called Final Fantasy VII. I knew NOTHING about it, except for that TV show that was saying it was one of the greatest successes in Japan and it was coming to our country in 3 months. It looked like crap to me, honestly. But one day, nearly 5 months later, I walked to the store to find a new game to buy, and I saw it. The box was huge, the price was fine, it had 4 cds! For a boy like me, a game with 4 cds must take a hell lot of a time to finish and I need games that take time to finish because I don't have much cash, and that tv show was saying that it's good so... Nah, I will leave it here. I remember it doesn't look good.That same night, I made one of the greatest decisions of my life: to go back to the store the next day and get it. A couple of weeks later I thought I had found the best game I've ever played.

Year 98
I still had my Saturn but I realized Sega had abandoned the console. I remember I had to make a choice between Saturn and PS1 so I chose Saturn because I loved Sega, but I felt that I was betrayed when suddenly all the good games were going directly for the PS1 and the catalogue for Saturn was getting very very short... So when I first heard about a PS2, I started saving money.

Year 2000
It took me almost 2 years to have enough money to buy the PS2 before the release date and I was ready to buy the console when it came out... but I didn't. I simply wasn't able to spend all the money it took me 2 years to save all at once. I only bought it one month later when the second batch of consoles arrived thanks to my friend Rui who gave me the motivation to do it. Thanks a lot Rui :)

A couple of years later I went to the University. My spare time was reduced to nothing because I was a very dedicated student. I was a very unsafe person, so I tried to work hard because I was afraid to fail and not being able to graduate because the stress, excess of work and fatigue ware taking over my mind and all I could think was to give up. I only bought and played the really important titles such as MGS2, Final Fantasy X (the first summer holidays were completely spent playing that game!). I was a little off collecting videogames for a few years. But some things changed back then.
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27/07/2011

The Way I am... #1

I know, I know, there are still some pictures that I did not add to the text, so some of the few who visit this blog may be thinking what are some of the editions I just recently mentioned but showed nothing yet. But I came here this time to write my thoughts as a collector. This blog was originally intended to just post pictures of my collection and show some special editions to a restrict number of people who know about this blog's existence.

First of all I must thank Gemini Phoenix, a serious collector well known in a few forums I visit. The post he wrote at the PlaystationCollecting website (http://www.playstationcollecting.com/general/in-too-deep-no-regrets#more-478) about his thoughts as a collector reminded me of my thoughts as well. And I really felt like writing something about my thoughts as well.

When I was younger I've always blamed my parents for not buying me a videogaming system. Not only it was expensive for a portuguese family like mine but my mother was against children playing videogames. In order to play, I had to go to shopping malls and wait for my turn to play at the display consoles. That, or visiting my friends' homes. I've played many titles like that since my parents (particularly my mother) didn't want to buy me a console. I don't blame her now though. Maybe the reason why it was so hard for me to get the first console is the reason why I love videogames so much nowadays.

There are several reasons why I want to write these messages. First, to show how collecting so seriously became a part of my life and helped me making the person I am today. But I won't be able to do that without explaining my past as a collector or why I took this hobby so serious. Secondly, to express my thoughts about my collection, about myself, about my social life. Finally, I would also like to clear some ideas about collecting videogames so seriously and what I expect from the future. So let's start with the history of me in the following post...
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