Slow-motion Disaster

Right now there's an eBay listing for an incredible bundle of video game consoles, games, and peripherals. The entry is here. It includes a brand new, unopened Playstation 3, an XBox 360, an XBOx, a GameCube, a Dreamcast, a PS1, a Nintendo 64, a Super Nintendo, an NES, two Nintendo DSes (both DS Phat and DS Lite), a PSP, two GBAs (regular and SP), a Game Boy Pocket, a Game Boy Color, a Game Boy Printer, a Sega Game Gear, a Neo Geo Pocket, and a Virtual Boy. It also includes a rather large inventory of games for each of those systems. The bidding starts at $25,000, and if you purchase it for the Buy It New price of $75,000 he'll throw in a brand-new Wii.

This collection is the result of a lifetime of video gaming on the sellers part. So why is he unloading it? "Well, the only reason I'm considering selling this collection is to have enough money to buy my girlfriend of 3 years the engagement ring she deserves this Holiday. I hope to surprise her on Christmas Day with the perfect ring and proposal (and having some extra money to help pay for the wedding wouldn't hurt either). So really, when you think about it, not only are you getting so many videogames ... but you're also investing in a love that will flourish for a lifetime."

Wow. I mean, that certainly dedication, but this seems like a really... unwise choice to make. I could understand cleaning out your collection of games you don't like much or don't play anymore to raise some money. But this is selling off his entire hobby, that he's been engaged in for probably about 20 years. Still, I can see it being rational to cut off all ties to video gaming if he'a taken a look at things, decided he really has completely lost interest in video games, and is certain he's not going to regain it again.

But the circumstantial evidence makes me really doubt that that has happened. Look at what's on offer. The Playstation 3 is noted as unopened. The XBox 360 is not. The 360 came out last Christmas, so he was in the market for (expensive) new consoles within the last year. He also bought the $500 version of the 360, the choice of the more hardcore gamer. And he's offering 16 360 games in the lot, including Gears of War, which came out only about a month ago. Unless he bought GoW exclusively to sweeten the pot for this sale (which seems unlikely, given the magnitude of the collection), that means he was still very much into video games as of a month ago at the earliest. So his decision to expunge the hobby from his life seems to have come quite recently.

Needless to say, I think this is all a very bad idea, and not just from the perspective of a video game player. Making a sacrifice for your significant other can be fine, but making an enormous, outsized sacrifice for your significant other could lead to a lot of resentment down the line. What happens after Christmas, after the glow from the incredibly selfless gift that he made has worn off and life continues with his fiancee (and, eventually, wife)? What happens when he wakes up and realizes that perhaps he wasn't ready to give up on video games after all? I obviously don't know him, and don't know how he'll react, but it seems like there'd be a high probability of getting extremely resentful over it. There would, I think, be a great tendency to link the marriage and the fiancee to the loss of video games, and to place her as being responsible for it.

I obviously don't know him, don't know her, don't know anything about their relationship. For all I know, this is a very smart and mature move to make and will lead only to happiness down the line. Still, I would argue that in general one should be cautious about making large, possibly unneccessary sacrifices in the name of romantic gestures.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on December 17, 2006 12:30 AM.

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