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I can't stop buying video games I already own

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New platform, you say?

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

At 2:59PM on September 28th, less than 24 hours before the launch of the SNES Classic, I felt a deep, familiar pang of regret about not purchasing one in advance. I’m generally against the idea of preordering anything, but the order window for the Classic had long passed. If I wanted to buy one on launch day, my options were as follows: get in line hours early and hope for the best, or follow someone who did get one, and mug them.

Desperation makes a woman do crazy things, but the most outrageous thing about my internal ordeal is that I already own every game I’m dying to play on the SNES Classic. Earthbound and Super Mario RPG? Picked them up on my Wii U virtual console ages ago. Would you like to know which copy of Final Fantasy III I own? The answer is “all of them.” Literally every version that’s been released in the US (and oh, there have been many), I’ve owned at some point. The same goes for Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and so on; all these games are titles I already have access to in some way.

A Link to the Past

The urge to re-buy old favorites is a powerful one, and an impulse I’ve succumbed to many times over the years. Am I irresponsible with my money? Probably. But there’s a nostalgic charm that drives me to reinvest in my favorite old games. I own many of the original SNES cartridges in working condition, but they’ve become relics of my childhood: look, but don’t touch; reminisce, but don’t actually play.

Given the chance to acquire digital rereleases of these games, or physical ones on sturdier media, it’s an easy yes. The first time I picked up a second copy of Final Fantasy III (aka Final Fantasy VI), it was for my PlayStation. I relished the chance to play it again, this time with some upgrades. Years later, I got a copy for my Game Boy Advance. Just a few months ago, I purchased it again to play on my PS Vita.

Like so many of the other games I’ve bought many times, it’s the playable equivalent of comfort food. I pick up these games for a few hours when I’m feeling down. I appreciate the convenience of having them on several devices; if I’m preparing for a long plane ride and only want to bring one handheld, for example, I’ll take whatever affords me the most options. And as games are rereleased, they’re often accompanied by tweaks or upgrades that make the experience a smoother one.

Even with no modern features, I view these purchases as a chance to expose others to things I love. My friends might not pick up the SNES Classic, but I can still convince them to try Earthbound somewhere else. I’m pleased to say I’ve welcomed yet another release of Final Fantasy III into my collection, along with the rest of what the SNES Classic has to offer. It just took a few hours of wasting my life in a line.