Enough Is Enough: How to sell (and cope with the loss of) your old, boring games


Look at it. Isn't it just lovely?

It's mine, you know. I just ordered it off Amazon for less than a hundred bucks! And it's listed for two hundred ninety-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. But thanks to some astute deal-watching over at Cheap Ass Gamer, I got wind of an offer I couldn't pass up: By trading in $50 worth of used games to Amazon.com's Trade-In store, your next video game or video-game accessory (that part's crucial) purchase will be 50% off.  The ION Drum Rocker is probably the most expensive game accessory Amazon offers, and it's one I've been dying to own ever since I first played one almost a year ago.

I didn't waste any time. Within minutes I was tossing games into piles, not unlike how a monkey organizes its feces -- "Must Keep," "Should Probably Keep So Friends Will Admire Me" and  "I'm Not Sure Why I've Got This but Maybe It's Good." A few quick price checks later and I knew I had more than enough games I could part with to make the deal.

It should have been a no-brainer. But I hesitated, and guilt washed over me.

I couldn't help but feel that, by completing this heinous ritual, I was splitting my soul into several discrete fragments that forged horcruxes and ensured my immortality. But, well, come on -- just look at this drum kit. Who cares about that preserving-one's-humanity nonsense?

The shipping date drew nearer, and the shipping box grew sparser. I knew I'd eventually have to say goodbye to a half-dozen or so of my games -- games I'd purchased because I genuinely hoped to keep them in my collection. But like any bad relationship, these games each had their fair share of dirt hiding under the veneer.

My therapist suggested I explain my reasoning in writing for shanghaiing my games to inglorious servitude at Amazon Corporate.

Item Quantity Trade-in Value
Resistance: Fall of Man / PLAYSTATION 3 1 $4.50
Tales of Symphonia / GameCube 1 $8.25
Super Mario 64 DS / Nintendo DS 1 $11.00
Animal Crossing: Wild World / Nintendo DS 1 $9.00
Cooking Mama / Nintendo DS 1 $8.50
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection / Xbox 360 1 $10.50

Resistance: Fall of Man

I liked Resistance: Fall of Man. I really liked it, actually, in spite of its flaws. But like so many first-person shooters of its generation, Resistance has an ending -- and little reason to return afterward. But what really convinced me to get rid of Resistance 1 was its sequel, which significantly upped the quality of every aspect of its predecessor. Who needs Resistance 1 when you've got Resistance 2's co-op, massive multiplayer battles and a far more engaging single-player story to follow?

Tales of Symphonia

It's okay if you don't remember this one; I forgot I even owned it. Although hardcore Japanese RPG fans herald Symphonia's visual style and lengthy story, I always found the game tedious at best - and disgustingly cutesy at worst. And before you judge, this is coming from an adult male who paid full price for Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil; saccharine-sweet style isn't enough to deter me from a solid game. But toss in derivative combat, a lumbering storyline and a total lack of any distinguishing features, and you've got Tales of Symphonia. However, if you toss Tales of Symphonia into a box, you get a cool $8.25. Sounds good to me.

Super Mario 64 DS

When the Nintendo DS first launched in late 2004, it suffered from a dearth of worthwhile games. But in an effort to make lemonade from the dozen or so lemons that launched alongside Nintendo's latest handheld platform, I bought Super Mario 64 DS with the hope of keeping myself occupied until the inevitable Metroid or Zelda arrived. But I found the game far more aggravating to play than its original incarnation on the Nintendo 64, for two crucial reasons:

  1. The button controls were too imprecise
  2. The touch controls were baffling

The most fun I had with it came from the clever stylus-based minigames that were bundled with the cart. But they're also found on New Super Mario Bros., which I intend to have buried with me when I die, gripped menacingly between my stiff, brittle fingers.

Animal Crossing: Wild World

I love the concept of Animal Crossing, but it's just no fun for your creepy little avatar without some friends to share in the delights of your Wild World (and to help bear the burden of Tom Nook's loan-sharking). It's a far better experience on GameCube, and the same can probably be said for the Wii version, but on DS it feels like a lonely, desolate plot of land, populated only by a collection of creepy, animal-like goblins. Into the box it went.

Cooking Mama

This is the crappiest collection of stylus gimmicks I've ever seen. Why it spawned a litany of spinoffs and sold through the roof is beyond my ken. I was relieved to rid myself of Mama and her fiery, disapproving stare.

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

A while back, we ran a review of XSeed's clever Retro Game Challenge. The game tasked the player with a series of challenges based around old-school Nintendo games...or rather, homages to the games many of us recall fondly. Rather than requiring the player to outright finish each game, the challenges were varied in both objectives and difficulty.

This seems to be how Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection was constructed. Backbone filled the game with a few dozen achievements that took maybe ten hours to complete. Rather than cheapen the experience, though, they made it palatable for a modern market. Games were treated simply as brief tastes of an older generation of design; ten or fifteen minutes with one game, and you're ready to move onto the next. It was an enjoyable experience from start to finish, but by the time I had completed it, I was ready to move on.

- - - - -

The minute the games were out the door, I immediately felt as though a burden was lifted. Many of these games hadn't seen the light of day in months, if not years. But most importantly, all of them had reached the point where I knew I had nothing to gain from holding onto them. And frankly, when people see boxes of old games stacked in your closet, they start to view you in an uncomfortable, Howard Hughes-y light.

Ultimately, it's a small price to pay to fuel my childhood rock-star fantasies - as opposed to, say, buying hundreds of downloadable songs in Rock Band.