It may shock you to hear it, but a combination of 25 years of gaming and a refusal to throw anything away can result in a distressing accumulation of crap. I’m not talking about plastic instruments (although I have my share of those); I mean random, all-but-useless items that sit in my entertainment center and remind me that they will be around long after I’m dead. I’ve collected five of these artifacts here in the hope that someone reading this will understand that these things are as difficult to part with as they are to make useful.
This article is a catalog of shame.
I am old enough to remember a time in which we had arcades here in Nebraska, and I have fond memories of playing light-gun games like Time Crisis, CarnEvil, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I recall the weight of five dollars’ worth of quarters in my pocket and the sound it made banging against the machine when I stupidly tried to dive out of the way of enemy fire, but most of all I remember the feel of a plastic gun in my hand and the steadfast certainty I felt that this, above all others, was the ideal way to play a shooter.
It should come as no surprise that when I saw Time Crisis 2 at GameStop years later, the first thing I did was buy it. The second thing I did was go to the nearest used-game store and purchase an additional GunCon so I could relive what I believed to be the ultimate achievement of my arcade “career”: playing a 2-player session all by myself.
Unfortunately, Time Crisis 2 takes just over an hour to complete, and it has little replay value. Enough time has passed that I could probably have some fun with these controllers today — if only I could remember the arcane configuration of wiring that allowed me to connect both guns to the PlayStation 2. I had it written on a sheet of paper once, but apparently that was okay to throw out.
2.) DK Bongos
To be clear, these are not technically mine. However, I did buy them for my girlfriend as a gift, so I still feel bad when I look into the closet and see them sitting in there. The bongos came in a bundle with Donkey Konga 2. She played it maybe two or three times, and I have never touched it.
We put these stupid drums into storage so soon after I'd brought them home that when I pulled them out for that picture up there they didn’t even have any dust on them. Buying a bad gift is one thing, but buying a gift that is so bad that it is immune to the ravages of time is something else entirely.
3.) Extra Wii Remote Jacket
I thought I was so smart when I got this.
Back in 2007, people were rocking Wii Sports so hard that their controllers were flying out of their hands and destroying their TVs and lamps. Nintendo’s solution: a cushioned sleeve that makes the Wii Remote feel like a He-Man figure’s head.
The jackets were free; all one had to do was contact Nintendo and place an order. When I called, the helpful representative said I could have up to four of the weird squishy things.
“Oh, I won’t need four,” I told him with the kind of knowing chuckle that one will always look back on and cringe, “but I should be getting a new controller soon. Better put me down for two.”
In fact, I got my second Wii Remote two months ago packaged with Skyward Sword, and it came with its own jacket. I knew that was going to happen, but I’ve kept the one Nintendo sent me for reasons entirely unknown.
Seriously, does anyone want this thing?
4.) EA Sports Wireless PS2 Controller
Those stickers lie — this controller works. We got two demo units in for a Madden 04 promotion when I worked at a toy store years ago, and I talked my boss into letting me keep the one that I hadn’t drilled holes into (I had to attach the other one to the shelf the display PS2 was sitting on so nobody would walk off with it).
It wasn’t a bad second controller, but it was too small for my freakish man mitts, so it wasn’t ideal for the hours my girlfriend and I put into Star Wars: Battlefront 2. I get a hand cramp just looking at it.
5.) Empty Pre-Order Boxes
Until recently, the Best Buy I frequent sold pre-orders as empty game cases for which customers paid five dollars. Sometimes they contained codes for exclusive content, but they were usually just empty boxes with pretty pictures on them. The store has now switched to an electronic system complete with a fancy touchscreen interface, but I’ve kept the old cases as a reminder of a simpler time in which I could walk into a store, spend money, and leave with a box that represented a game I would play someday, but was not even close to being that game.
This story has a happy ending because I’ve started using these cases as placeholders. When I play a game or lend one out, the pre-order box fills its space on the shelf. My collection stays in order, and I don’t have any gaps or unsightly leaning. I also found the startup disc for my router stashed in one the other day, so I guess I’m using them for that, too.
What random stuff do you have lying around? Let me know in the comments.