I made the mistake today of looking for some of my older games, and much to my dismay I discovered my collection has grown more holes in it while I wasn’t looking. Between console obsolescence and younger siblings stealing your shit your library eventually becomes a shadow of its former self.
My physical Super NES is long gone, but between the Wii’s Virtual Console and ROMs on my computer, I still have my entire game library, however ALL the physical copies are gone. I couldn’t even tell you where they went. The last thing I remember of them was a wall-mounted game rack that I don’t think I’ve seen in over a decade. The only physical remains are (almost) all the instruction manuals that came with them.
I picked up a used NES and a few games right before the N64 launch, and while the corpse of the NES itself is enshrined in a place of honor in my entertainment center, I doubt it’s worked in about a decade and I know not where any of those physical games went. As for the N64, I’m sure it and half my games are still at my parents house somewhere. I definitely have the other half of the games and a good number of controllers, despite not having a system to use them with. These again are backed up as ROMs on the computer (and a couple on the Wii VC too).
I am very thankful to have all those games in a way I can still play them, no matter how beat up or lost the originals may be. Sadly some of my newer games aren’t so lucky. I’m pretty sure that after the Super NES, the console I had the most games for was the GameCube, but it might have been the PlayStation 2. Unfortunately, both of my collections have sizable holes in them, so I cannot be certain. My copies of Final Fantasy X, Rogue Leader, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, LotR: The Twin Towers and more are missing. I’m sure my brothers have all of them (and in all fairness I don’t think FFX was ever mine…), but I don’t think there is much more depressing in a game library than to discover a Zelda game is missing. Sure, Wind Waker HD is coming out, a fact that many coworkers can’t stop reminding me of. Which would be awesome if I had or planned to get a Wii U.
As far as I can tell, PS2 and GameCube games are in that window of the past where they’re disappearing just like all that came before them, but I can’t reliably play them digitally on my PC like I can with the previous generations. I can hold out hope that one day that won’t be an issue anymore, and I will once again be able to take down the Death Star II in Rogue leader. For now I will just have to remember them fondly, and play more Mario 64.