The Backlog: Part 2 – The Game Collection That Could Have Been

This installment won’t be as focused on my unfinished game pile, my “backlog of shame.” Shame will certainly be a prominent theme in this installment but it will be more focused towards my current game collection as a whole. I want to put it out there right now that I am in no way embarrassed of owning a game collection, even crap titles like Harry Potter and Kane & Lynch 2.  The problem with my current game collection isn’t the number of games that I own, it’s the games I wish I still owned.

My game collection is the result of a countless trade-ins at my local EB Games (Gamestop). As a kid I never really had the money to afford all the games I wanted to play, so I had to make sacrifices. Those sacrifices came in the form of trading in my games for newer ones. Working a part time job while in highschool and being really into games meant there were always more games coming out then I had the money for. As a kid working my first job I didn’t really appreciate the value of money. All I knew was that I never had enough for all the video games I wanted. To this day I still don’t think I fully appreciate the value of money. If I did I probably wouldn’t be spending my hard earned cash on something as silly as video games! A thought I considered; but in all seriousness, I have been playing games since I was very young and I care a lot about them, so why stop now?

I eventually learned to not bother to trade in games that were worth such little credit. There were some games I considered too precious to ever want to trade in, but they tended to be the exception to the rule. This was a trend I continued even up until last year. I eventually paid more attention to the trade in promotions that were going on. I started trading in games for pre-orders, that way I earned extra credit towards the next game I wanted. The last game I traded in is also THE last game I plan on ever trading in, Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Black Ops II  is an absolutely fantastic game, primarily so because of it’s personal story, the way the story was told, and the decisions you have to make — which can have pretty interesting effects. I played a bit of multiplayer, but it was the campaign I actually dropped my $60 for in the first place. Treyarch did a great job with the campaign in Black Ops and they did not disappoint with II. Despite my love for the game I still went on to trade it in. If I recall it was on the same day I finished the campaign. Why? Same reason I traded all the others in; so I could save money on the other games I wanted to buy. I also didn’t think I was going to want to play it again (multiplayer or single player) despite enjoying it, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sure, in a way I was saving some money by trading in my games, but looking back on it now, whatever financial gain I got from trading those games in was not worth it. There wasn’t really much of a financial gain at all. I was still spending money to buy those games, it just seemed like I was paying less out of pocket. It ultimately doesn’t matter whether I saved money or not. I have made it a goal to buy back as many of the games I traded in as possible. Considering that next generation may be one where games are delivered digitally I want to try and keep as many of this physical media as I can. It might seem silly to get up and take discs in and out when I can get plenty of games digitally right now, but I still want to put these games on my shelves, even if not many (or any) people other than me will see them. I still want that comfort, the piece of mind — knowing that if i ever wanted to play Unreal Tournament 3, for whatever reason, I can just pull it off my shelf and slap it into my PS3.


Assassin’s Creed 3 certainly wasn’t the best game in the series. But I still regret trading it .

For a bit of context, I’ll list off a few of the games I have traded in the span of about the last three years. Not because I seek sympathy for the foolish decisions I have made, but because if I write these down and publish them on the internet I’ll more likely go out and re-buy those games like I have done with other titles already.

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • SSX
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Killzone 2
  • Killzone 3
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Super Mario: 3D Land
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
  • Persona 4: Arena
  • Fallout 3
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Battlefield 3
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

With the exception of a few games on that list, almost all of them are games I now regret trading in, to the point that I am planning on buying them back. Re-purchasing games can seem almost as silly as trading in the original games in the first place, if not more silly. But the fact of the matter is that I have always valued video games above their sale price. Even when I was still trading in games. Regardless of how much I spend on a single game: $1, $5, $15, $30, or $60. I always could be spending that money in a smarter way. It’s a fact I have accepted, but not one I think about every time I buy a new game. At this point I’m actually starting to feel more comfortable with the number of games I have not completed than the fact I have traded in so many different titles that I now want back.

I might not get to completing every game in the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, but it almost doesn’t matter because I’m just glad I own it and that I can play it whenever I want. I might not have ever finished Rogue Galaxy, but I appreciate it like I have finished it one-hundred times. I value my games too much to consider trading them in or selling them. There are plenty of consumers out there who are going to trade in their games because they just aren’t going to play them anymore and don’t care enough about them to keep them on their shelf. In that case, the trade-in system is perfect for them. I just hope you don’t get a desire to want to play those games again. If you’re serious about buying back older games you could end up spending far more money than if you had of just kept those games in the first place.

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  1. X88MPH

    Great article, I really enjoyed reading it.
    Personally, I could never part with any of my games, they mean too much to me, even if I never play them. One of the prize possessions of my game collection is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Old Door for the Gamecube. Though I lost my Gamecube a long time ago (not by choice, it was stolen), I managed to play through until the very end on the Wii, to notice that I had no healing items for the final boss. I haven’t touched it since. I still tell myself I’ll go back there some day, play it through, maybe over the summer. Then again, glass promises, ‘eh?

    • Thanks! I’m happy to hear you enjoy reading it. 🙂

      It’s easier to accept I might not get around to playing ever game and I’m totally okay with that. Frankly I just want the games there in case I ever want to play them again, which is part of the reason I really like PlayStation+. As long as I keep giving Sony my money I can play any of the games I got for “free”. Even if I don’t keep all the games on my system I can access them when I want and it’s a really great system. Same sort of deal with my physical games. Though I hold my physical copies to a much higher value than any game I bought digitally.

  2. gingerboy507

    I trade in almost ever game I purchase. I know alot of people think how credit we get is a joke but I will take $20-$30 for a game that I know I will never play again than have it sit on a shelf and collect dust.

    Hell 2 weeks ago I traded in Halo 4, Far Cry 3, Binary Domain, Assassins Creed 3, Family Guy, Dishonored and a couple other games and got $200 credit for them. I added it up and I spent about $350 for those games combined and got well over a 100 hours of entertainment from them. So for a $150 I got about 5 full days of fun. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    There are of course the games I will never sell like Mass Effect series, Dragon Age, the Gears of War series and both Black Ops games because those are great games I almost always go back too during the summer slump.

    To get to your point about regretting trading in games it is very rare that I rebuy a game. Out of probably 100 games I’ve sold this gen the only ones I’ve bought multiple times were Burnout Paradise, Bioshock and Gear of War.

    • I would certainly trade in enough valuable games to make it worth my while, but now every game I buy is one I consider special , even if it doesn’t end up being very good or a game I’ll ever actually finish. It might sound a little cheesy but it’s true.

      Fun Fact: I was looking through my collection a little while back. It could be a lot bigger as I talked about in this piece but that’s not really the point. The point is that when I got to The Walking Dead, my Game of The Year last year, I had an idea. “Why not trade this bad boy in?” Considering the personal and unique story the game takes you on, I might not ever play it again. Me from 3 or 4 months ago would have picked it up and put it somewhere else to remind me I needed to trade it in.

      But I stopped and thought about how much I enjoyed the game, what it was like to play it and experience it for the first time. I came to the realization that if I ever wanted to play it again and cherish it, I would have to keep it. Other wise it would have just gone on the list of games I regret trading in.

      I’m in no position to tell anyone whether they should trade their games in or not.. It would be nice to save a little money buying games. I traded in a ton of games to save some money on the 3DS I bought which now collects dust. But the cost of losing a game I might never be able to play again is too great for me. Especially when it’s nothing but a headache trying to find older games from your childhood.

      I’m not a more noble consumer or fan of games because of the way I have now chosen to manage my games. Trading in games can be a good way of saving some money. And I have traded in many games.. So I’m not going to talk down to the idea like I was any better half a year ago.

  3. blazblueneko

    I used to trade in a lot of games but I’ve kinda learnt I generally end up regretting it so I’ve only traded in the games that I definitely will Never want to play again or I look for cheap games in charity shops and try to sell them for a profit, this article was a great read and I also have a large game collection of shame lol I’m working my way through them now one at a time ^_^ oh yeah cool tomba\tombi pic!! I bought it this weekend for 30 p and forgot how crazy that game is

  4. ThaJM

    I find prevention to be the best cure for excessive piles of shame. These days i tend to agonize over what game i buy, instead of what game to sell. Games i have a passing interest in will be purchased later, probably in a digital format and definitely at great discount. If i buy a game below $15 i don’t consider the effort of selling them worth it.

    Also, won’t you want to play your treasured games as you get older? My memory is pretty terrible, and even thinking back on my all-time favourite games, i can’t remember much. The walking dead is a pretty linear experience, so i might understand not wanting to play it again though.

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