How to Establish Collecting Goals
If you take a look at this picture you will see 9 systems represented, it is the very definition of unfocused. If you look more carefully you can see the games tend to be skewed towards RPGS, but that seems like a pretty thin link. So what does the .Hack series for PS2 have to do with Bomberman for the TG16, or Spot for the Gameboy? The only thing that truly ties them together is that they were cheap, or at least a good deal. With good deals coming fewer and farther between it is very tough not to take any deals you find and take the consequences later.
I am not advocating against taking good deal and making trades with the extras, in fact that is a great way to keep your costs down and also meet other collectors. What I am saying is when you do wind up with a pile that looks like this consider what your collecting goals are. Early on in my collecting days I would have kept all of this, displayed some of it and boxed the rest until I "figured it out". Pretty much I would have been a hoarder, collecting does take discipline and if you are like me it is easy to get overwhelmed with gotta catch'em all mentality. Having clear goals will make your collecting life a lot easier as it will give you a path and keep you from recklessly buying games for the sake of buying games.
My recommendations for creating goals.
1. Decide what you want to collect and what type of collector you want to be. Long and long ago I wrote a post about types of collectors, check it out if you want suggestions, but don't feel limited by this list.
2. Figure out how much money you can reasonably set aside for collecting. Retro game collecting is expensive so be realistic with yourself. Make sure the amount of money you can spend aligns with the type of collector you want to be.
3. Set a time table. Having a time table keeps you moving steadily in one direction and helps you plan your purchases, but you don't need to be so tied to it that you feel you can't adjust.
4. Know how much space you have for collecting, knowing this will help you keep your goals realistic, if you have a 1 bedroom apartment maybe full sets aren't for you.
These four questions tie together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of their parts. Make sure that the answer to each question is in harmony with the next. If your answer to question one doesn't jive with question four the whole thing will break down. Once your answers for these four questions are complimentary setting your goals should be realistic and easy to follow.
I know this post sounds like it shuns the idea of the hunt and the random good buy, but that isn't true. You can go off path and you shouldn't avoid good deals, if oppurtunity knocks be ready to answer the door, but also be ready to adjust your goals accordingly. My goal in this post is to give you some tips to avoid buying games just because and cluttering up your house. I see a lot of new collectors get overwhelmed, blow all of their money and in the end wind up with a subpar collection.
Addressing the picture at the top of this post.
For me what I really wanted out of this pile was the Playstation RPGs, as one day I would like to have a complete PS1 & PS2 RPG collection. Maximo is a bonus as I am fan of the series but all the NES and Gamecube stuff is strictly trade bait. Even though I don't currently have Bomberman TG16 in my collection is going to be traded or sold because right now it doesn't fit my current collectors goals, I am not collecting TG16 right now. Another problem with Bomberman is that it is not in it's original box, the fact that I got it for $1 and don't own it doesn't mean it needs to stay.