I'm sure that everyone has their own unique stories and reasons for why video games mean so much to them. I've read more than a few blogs that explained how games literally kept someone from giving in to crippling depression and darkness. That's part of the beauty of gaming.

For me, gaming has been a very effective antidote to some otherwise unpleasant times in my life. Part of that has been providing me with a means through which I could cope with my sometimes obsessive nature. Now, though I mentioned OCD in my title line for this blog, I think it's only fair and proper to say that I am not TRULY obsessive compulsive. But I have had moments where I could be pretty frickin' neurotic.

I am a very detail oriented person, and extremely curious. That's been the way I've been ever since I was knee high. What that means is that whether I verbalize it or show it, or not, I pay attention to everything and I ask a lot of questions. I soak up information like nobodies business. And once I do that, the challenge is to try and figure out the best application for all that info sitting in my head.

I love anything involving strategy or problem solving. I thrive on that. That's why RTS's and stealth games are amongst my favorite genres. With all those quirks and peculiarities to my personality, it has been interesting to see how this has influenced me as a gamer. I have some habits that have driven people close to me bat$h!t crazy. Things that seem like an important priority to me might make absolutely no sense to anyone else. How so? Ohhhhhh boy. Let me count the ways.


Game Purchases

I am extremely anal about my game collection and the condition I keep them in. If there was such a position, I could easily be a curator for a museum of video games. Whether I go to Best Buy Walmart, or Gamestop, I will not buy a game with a cracked, split, slashed, or otherwise damaged case. Even if the shrink wrap is slightly torn or unraveled, fuhget about it!!!

I never buy games without a case and instruction manuals included. It's not a matter of me thinking I will need them. It's that obsession with detail and precision. A need for things to be PERFECT. To me, a game without all the original pack-in material is incomplete, and I just don't want it. This ofcourse has made my relationship with the Gamestop stores very interesting, to say the least. I love used games, but I hate used games that LOOK used. When I buy used, I wan to have the illusion that with that single purchase, I've just pulled off the sweetest deal of the century. Well... maybe not the century, but you know what I mean. Nothing feels as good as getting a good deal that should be too good to be true. That's why people LOVE garage sales. And how many video games treasures have YOU found at garage sales???

When I go into Gamestop, I will not buy any game that is not in a case in good condition. I won't buy any game that has one of those butt-ugly inserts that tells me it used to be a rental at Hollywood Video. I also loathe the cheap looking inserts that Gamestop itself uses, or their low-res reprints of game covers that still look like crap. I used to not even buy games that had too many price stickers on them until I discovered that a little spritz of WD-40 takes stickers and any other gunk right off.

On the upside to all of this, I have one of the most pristine game collections one could possibly find. Nearly every game I own is practically in mint condition, AND I have regularly played them all! My discs hardly ever have scuffs. I have swapped out broken PS One jewel cases for brand new ones. Yeah. I told you I can get crazy with it. But the obsession doesn't stop there. Oh no. Not even close.

Game Achievements

I am so bad on this one. Really, really, ridiculously bad. How so? To put things into context, when I used to play Sonic The Hedgehog back in the day, I didn't feel I had truly beaten the game until I had freed every little creature, collected every ring, collected the maximum number of extra lives and continues, and collected every score point and chaos emerald.

In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, I was not satisfied unless I had acquired every possible contact on the CODEC before completing the game. I could not finish Doom or Duke Nukem without discovering every secret and literally killing every monster in every level. Even if I was low on ammo and health, I would turn around and go back to take out even just one enemy that had escaped my attention.

In Castlevania: Circle Of the Moon, I had to collect every spell card. In Castlevania: Harmony Of Dissonance: I had to locate every damned piece of furniture. In the Hitman series, I refused to complete any level without a Silent Assassin rating. Is the nature of my affliction becoming clear?

On a lighter note though, the truth is that developers must have been well aware of this aspect of gamers because the truth is that they reward and even encourage these kind of obsessions. And I would never fault them for that because, of all of the things that you could go crazy over, video games are probably amongst the least to be concerned about, unless you're talking about small children.

But despite the ups and downs that have gone with my love of gaming, overall it has been a true pleasure. Most of the time, I walk away from finishing a game with a great sense of accomplishment, even confidence in my ability to solve problems and to think logically and clearly. And as for my game collection? Well, I suppose on many levels, that's what a lot of human existence boils down to. Collecting. If you think about it, there's really no strong or profound purpose to why we purchase, acquire, collect, accumulate and even horde things. Much like hermit crabs who love shiny objects to place on their shells, humans love shiny cars, homes, pretty clothing, etcetera, all to give us a sense of comfort. There's nothing deep to it. It's just simple human nature. But sometimes, simple is good.