I used to have a ton of video games in the 80s and early 90s. Hey I was kid/teenager with zero athletic skills, what other hobby was I supposed to have? Of course the first batch of games were mostly Christmas or birthday presents. When I was old enough to get a crappy mall job I spent a good portion of the earnings on more games. By 1995 my collection was roughly somewhere in the low hundreds.
Then along came two evils that almost wiped-out my game library: trade-ins and emulators. Until 1996 I spent 8 hours a day surrounded by video games but could only afford a few here and there. Then I discovered that I could download and play every NES and Genesis game for free. Who needed cartridges anymore? I traded-in a huge number of games to buy stuff for systems that weren't yet emulated.
Over the next few years my collection stayed relatively low. 1996-1999 I was in college full-time and didn't have much availability for gaming. Living in a small apartment didn't help either. I moved to a bigger apartment in 2000 but didn't buy too many games then. I did finally bought a Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast, but only 3-4 games for them. In 2001 I got married and moved into a three bedroom townhouse. Of course one of those rooms was reserved for a future inhabitant so my wife and I shared a small office in the spare room. It was cramped and I wasn't going to make it any worse by buying even more stuff. I was going to graduate school in the evenings anyway and didn't have much leisure time to spare.
In 2005 we moved to a larger house; four bedrooms, finished basement, all the standard things I guess. This meant I finally had a dedicated computer/game room. Nah it wasn't huge, regular bedroom size, but it was still very exciting. It filled-up rather quickly with the stacks of game systems and computers that tightly packed our previous office. My original goal was to make it something of a hybrid computer lab and game room.
So to finally get to the point... in early 2006 I realized that I wasn't really into working on old computers any more. Heck, I don't really enjoy working on new computers either. What I really wanted to do was get into video game collecting, to find all those games I traded-away or couldn't afford back in the day. I dumped all that computer junk to make room for video games. I started stocking up on games through a serious eBay binge. It was an easy way to find stuff but was missing something. The real fun would be finding old video games "in the wild" - at garage sales, thrift stores, rummage sales, in boxes on the side of the road - truly hunting for classic gaming treasures.
Trophy Room 2010
2010 had a weak garage sale season but stores were filled with great finds to make up for it.