Editorials & Opinion

Auctioning Off My Gaming Childhood

Since college, I’ve gotten used to being poor and broke most of the time, but when I was a lot younger I was very spoiled.  I had one chore every day of every week – feeding our chickens and collecting eggs – and my father paid me the tidy sum of twenty dollars a week to do it. Needless to say, most of my money went directly into videogames and videogame-related hobbies. Recently though, I’ve taken to ebaying off various things from my past to afford various things of my future, which has had me reconsidering my younger days with sadness, nostalgia, and reserved glee.

I had the foresight as a kid to buy almost any JRPG I could get my hands on.  Even if they were bad, I had enough cash burning a hole in my pocket that I’d take a leap without necessarily doing the research to see if it is any good.  I ended up with a lot of duds on my Playstation and Dreamcast that I barely played, but I loved owning so many.  But considering I sold off my Playstation long ago to buy a Playstation 2 and my Playstation 2 has long since been dead ever since it plummeted to its demise on a hardwood floor in the middle of a heated game of NFL Blitz, the games I still had left for Sony systems have long been inaccessible to me. It was a pleasant surprise when my near mint copy of Vagrant Story sold for more than I would’ve expected.

Unlike my history with Playstations, my Dreamcast remains an immaculate and very beloved system in my repertoire that has moved with me into every new chapter of my life. Well immaculate save for the fact that I was a stupid kid who thought a console decal would be a great idea.  I had to scratch and claw to get it off, so my Dreamcast looks like a survivor of an actual cat fight: but it runs beautifully.  I actually began a project a couple of years ago of reacquiring the right games and accessories to make the console a staple device for parties as well.  I bought VMUs, extra controllers, controller extension cords, and looked into buying all the classics.

Of course, buying the classics for a system with such rare games proved to be a far too expensive undertaking, so I settled for piracy (sorry Dreamcast developers, I loved you when it counted).  With piracy, came the nerve to just sell off the games I did still have that were worth anything.  Exit Skies of Arcadia, my favorite Dreamcast game of all time (with the exception of Sonic Adventure, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Toy Commander, and Power Stone 2 in select contexts). And whether I play them or not, it helps me sleep at night that my Dreamcast is never THAT far away.

However, today marks the true final step in ridding myself of my childhood’s most prized possessions.  After much debate, I’ve decided to ebay my Pokemon cards.

I remember the addiction I felt toward these stupid things.  All of my money and my attention went toward acquiring more and more of them.  I even managed to anger my father because on one particular family vacation to Florida, I wanted to spend all our time looking for card shops that sold Japanese Pokemon cards.  You see, I come from Alabama where nothing cool exists (unless you love peanuts), especially not something as cool as this:

Yes, this is a Japanese Fossil Dragonite. Being a predictable child beast, I loved dragonite as a kid and I probably would’ve killed for this card if its original owner were someone other than my best friend at the time.  I had the sheer luck of pulling more than one Charizard from the Basic set, so the Fates hadn’t abandoned me entirely.  But when I saw this card, when I held it in my hand, I traded a hell of a lot to own it including my precious Charizards among many others.  I still have no clue what the card says, but I’ll be damned if I am not proud to own it.

Alas, it is in the lot too, along with so many other cards that I once loved and adored and prided myself on owning. I already sold the one Charizard I did manage to keep a few months ago, so it shouldn’t of taken this long to move the rest of the rares I had left. After all, I haven’t played the TCG since middle school and the last Pokemon game I owned was Pokemon Silver. These things don’t hold the sway that they once did.

Except they do, at least to some extent, and I am saddened to see them go.


77 thoughts on “Auctioning Off My Gaming Childhood

    • Come on, they still are! Go listen to the Sonic Adventure theme song and try to tell me that it no longer gets you pumped up and excited.

      I may be older now, but some things never change. Thanks for your comment!

  1. That’s a nice collection of Pokemon cards, I just took a peak at your auction.
    I used to buy and collect them for my daughter and sell the holofoils at the flea market and make some decent money. My younger daughters still are interested in them a bit, they have a few of the DS games.

    • Collecting is especially awesome when you bring in an element of family. The shared since of discovery and excitement is the truly addicting part, not necessarily the things you collect themselves. That must’ve been an awesome experience to have with your daughter, and even better since it helped pay for itself too!

      I went without on many a school lunch to get the cards I did. Not that I cared about being hungry: I was too busy showing off the cards I had pulled to all of my friends!

      • That’s very true. Our whole family was deeply immersed in the world of Pokemon; cards, toys, movies, she even had a Pokemon birthday cake, party and trimmings with hats, streamers and all.
        When I was a kid/early teen baseball card collecting had just started to gain popularity and packs of cards went for .40 cents for Topps and .75 for Fleer or Donruss. I was living in NY at that time and a year earlier the state had a 5 cent bottle return on cans and bottles so my one good friend and I would dumpster dive daily and head to the baseball card shop with the dollar or two that we made in cans to purchase more and more cards. In Jr high I used to sell a single piece of bubblegum for 25 cents a piece and I’d make around $10 daily and that fueled my late 80’s video game addiction.

      • That’s awesome! I’ve done comics and coins. My brother did the sports cards route, but I never got that into it. I also did beanie babies, but that isn’t one of my prouder moments.

    • I like to look at trading as the original game. It just has an innate, dynamic fun to it that I think most everyone can get caught up in (especially when stakes have emotional ties).

      And thank you so much!

  2. God must love you, I wish for a PSP since I know what FF is but I still use computer instead of it =.=
    Near my 1st school there was a store sold the PKM ball and card, pity my I don’t know how to play at that age =D, just watch anime

    • I guess I was the opposite since I never actually got to watch the Pokemon show when I was younger. We didn’t get a channel that showed it, so I had to settle for the games and the cards!

      Thanks for the comment. 😀

    • At the time I hated even doing that much, but I look bad on it fondly. There was a lot of excitement, horror, fun, and cuteness to go around. I grew up in the deep south and my dad was raised by his great grandmother, so I suppose he was just trying to keep me in touch with some of my roots.

  3. It is wonderful that there is new technology and new great games always coming out! I started out though with Pokemon as well. I hope people don’t forget about Pokemon! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I sold off my collection about 2 months ago, I miss my complete base set the most, I worked so hard to complete that and maintain it in pristine condition. However, priorities shift I suppose, while I was sad to see them go I know it was for the better. I still have my GameBoy Color and Pokemon Blue cartridge so whenever I need some good nostalgia I just bust that out, I still hold the B button when trying to catch a Pokemon because i’m positive it helps.

  5. I have many games I’ve held on to, despite the fact that their just sitting and collecting dust. They’re an important part of my childhood, and hard to let go. It’s a reminder of my foundation as a nerd.

  6. While sorting through my little Star Wars collection a few years back, I identified a couple of things that didn’t resonate with me anymore. Some were things I had bought for a dollar or at a garage sale to decorate my sci-fi themed bedroom and they simply had no sentimental value. I put them aside in a box to sell or donate. It’s normal that our tastes change over time. Sometimes you feel the need to let them go and that’s just a sign that you should.

    I know there are objects I’ll never get rid of, however. I received my Star Trek TNG figurines for Christmas as a kid and loved playing with them. I still have them all and the accessories too. I really don’t think keeping them means I need to grow up in any sense or that I should get rid of them: it’s great to hold on to childhood memories that make you happy.

    It’s just a matter of keeping around the things that are still important to you and letting go of some to move on to something new. The memories will always be there anyway. Congrats on being FP!

    • Growing up is never something you can apply broadly. I don’t think in order to qualify as an adult you need to auction off your childhood. In my own experience, it has been a sign that my interests and priorities have shifted. What isn’t particularly obvious from this one post however is that those interests have shifted into building a better PC or getting back an Xbox so I can play Halo 4 or discussing the deeper social and philosophical meanings of entire genres of games.

      I’ll never forget to be a gamer, I just might not have as much proof as I once did! Thanks for the comments. 😀

  7. You’re a brave and strong soul for being able to get rid of these. Sigh.. When you’re much older, will you possess any artifacts from your childhood? Great post by the way, I chuckled at the Alabama and peanuts part.

    • Thanks for the comment!

      It’s more the memories that have the value, rather than the objects themselves. I mean, I hadn’t looked at my Pokemon cards for ages until I ‘unearthed’ them from their burial place (the top shelf of the closet, where all things go to die and be forgotten).

      I still have a lot of stuff from when I was younger that I’d have more trouble losing. For instance, my fake (but eerily realistic looking) owl decoration. I used him as a mascot for a pick-up PE soccer team in high school: Mr Hoot Hoot’s Hoot Owls. I would never dream of losing him.

      More game related, I still have a bunch of old game manuals. My favorite are the Ultima Online and Everquest ones since I’ve got notes scrolled in them.

  8. I remember when I sold my rare Poliwhirl 😦 sad times. Good luck with it! I’m currently staring at the rather large stack of YuGiOh cards I have acquired over the years thinking, gosh…do I really NEED two Dark Magicians? Really?

    • When I sorted through my cards to find the rares, I was astounded at the volume of various Pikachus I had. I kind of hope the next TCG does away with common cards and just has all uncommons. At least then I won’t get twenty repeats!

  9. I hate to retire childhood memories or even adult memories. I keep many “artifacts” and “fossils” in my attic and room. I am still far from a hoarder but some things are very difficult to just toss away.

    • I have an ancient Final Fantasy Tactics poster. I got it from the Brady Games strategy guide and when I moved to my new house as a kid, it was the first thing I put up. It isn’t on the wall anymore because it is worn and torn, but come hell or high water it isn’t getting tossed out!

  10. Oh, Pokemon cards. I remember the days of holding card-battles during lunch break, and scouring run-down shops for the best sets. I remember treasuring in particular a special edition Pikachu card which was handed out at the cinema doors to the first film. All my cards are now held together by rubber bands and memories and gathering dust somewhere in my closet. I don’t think I have it in me to sell them; I have this sentimental idea of passing them onto my children even if Pokemon’s gone out of fashion by then.

    • Lunch is a magic time where only excitement can occur for a young kid. You aren’t forced into a seat like in the classroom nor are you forced into physical activity like during PE!

  11. I still have all of my Pokemon cards but I don’t think I could have the courage to ever give them up… About a year ago or so my boyfriend re-bought the Dreamcast so he could get hold of all of the Shenmue games, which he has now done so. And he has not regretted it since. As for me, I still have my GameBoy Colour and games and I don’t think I’ll ever give it away as it was a part of my introduction and love to video games, especially JRPGs.

    It certainly is wonderful to reflect on those pieces of nostalgia, when the most simplest of things bringing that big smile to the face. A great read, thank you. Always keep hold of the great memories! ^_^

    • If I still had a working Playstation, I probably would have never been sold off any of my RPGs. Especially my Squaresoft ones since they brought me deeper into into gaming in a way distinct from my siblings and cousins.

      • It can be quite hard to find a good conditioned Playstation now, and find one at a good price also. It is really interesting how games, particularly Squaresoft’s, have brought you more into gaming more so that your siblings and cousins. Always makes you feel grateful to those as it made you become who you are : )

  12. Nice read, Delver. In India, you see, Pokemon was never popular until it was syndicated on Cartoon Network. It was a massive hit among kids. Lays cashed on it and sold Poke’mon tazos and jengas. They were a rage among Indian kids. I still remember, I used to trade jengas in my school just to complete my collection.
    It was fun. 🙂

    • I never really thought about the game’s successes beyond America and Japan. I really appreciate the added perspective and the fact that we can relate about it so easily across different cultures!

  13. Excellent post. I sold my Atari 2600 and a decent collect of carts years ago to help pay for the first Xbox, and even though I barely touched it, it was tough to let go — I still have my game consoles on the very same wheeled faux woodgrain cart my parents bought for me for the 2600 years ago, complete with an Atari RealSports sticker on the front. What made it easier was getting a really nice e-mail from the buyer of my 2600 who was completely happy with his purchase — I didn’t have a digital camera so I couldn’t put pics up with eBay auction, and I kept the console in near-pristine condition, so what he got was far more than what he expected. At least it got a good home with someone who appreciated it, rather than just sit in a box at the back of my closet.

  14. I remember tons of fun hours with my video games during my childhood days!! I’m a 1980s kid who enjoyed the Family Computer (Nintendo NES) and Sega Mega Drive. I also got a try on the ancient Atari game console.. haha. Now, all my consoles and game cartriges are placed safe on my cabinet. I can’t toss it away.. so many fun memories behind it. 🙂

    • My family was slower on the having the latest and greatest when it games to technology, so I played a ton of Nintendo when I was younger. There is still a SNES sitting comfortably in my living room for a reason!

  15. Haha 😀
    You brought me back down in memory lane when we used to eagerly save pocket money to buy a pack of Pokemon cards and trade ’em. I remember trading off 5 cards for the supreme “Mewto” card. What great times those were!

  16. Great post! I’m glad you’ve still got your Dreamcast, what a great console.

    I can read a few bits of the Japanese card that are written in hiragana or katakana, but I’m afraid I’m lost with the kanji parts (the Chinese characters). The name of the Pokemon in Japanese is “Kairyu” (“ryu” translates as dragon, but I’m not sure what “kai” means).

    Underneath the pic it says “Doragon Pokemon” (with ‘Doragon’ being a transliteration of “Dragon”, simple enough).

    In the stats bit, next to 40x it says “tataki tsukeru”, which translates as “to strike” – basically, attack.

    Below that, “nigeru” means “escape”.

    That’s about as far as my Japanese goes I’m afraid, but I hope it helps!

  17. For me…music was my thing (and still is). I’ve recently found myself re-buying CDs I owned and loved, but got tired of listening to and ended up selling them.

    Fortunately for me they are not expensive since they are so old now.

  18. I live in Japan and I have that exact same pokemon card. I remember カイリュー being one of my favorite pokemons.

    • It really is amazing how simple games can bring two kids from across the world together. I definitely think that I owe a huge credit to Pokemon making me a person more interested in foreign cultures, which is honestly quite priceless.

  19. I too share your reverence for the Dreamcast; so sad that it was so under appreciated. I remember playing Soul Caliber for hours on end with a buddy of mine. I haven’t thought about that in years. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

  20. Haha, very cool. I remember downloading Pokemon Green before Blue and Red were released here in the States. I had to read my Nintendo power walk throughs to get through the game since it was all in Japanese!

    • Oh, I know! I only just moved away a few months ago. I was lucky enough to go to school in Tuscaloosa and not be too far away from Birmingham for the past few years, but I was born and raised in the southern part of the state. It’s mostly small towns and farms there.

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  23. Oh I dont think I would have the heart to get rid of any games. I never played the Dreamcast, but I played the Super Nintendo as a child, and in 2007 I bought a SNES and started collecting the old games I loved so much!

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