It’s time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.
This week we Ask Kotaku: What do you do with your retired consoles and PCs?
I used to be the first guy in line at GameStop to trade in my older consoles. I traded in my Xbox toward an Xbox 360, and that Xbox 360 went toward my Xbox One. I was known for showing up at the shop with a bag of previous-generation consoles and accessories, all credit applied toward whichever new thing was coming out.
Then my kids got old enough to play. Now, as soon as a console gets old enough that I stop worrying about sticky fingers and gunked-up controllers, they go to the boys. They’ve got their own Xbox One in their bedroom, another in the living room. I have two PS4s, one Pro and one slim, waiting to be hooked up for them.
The same goes for PC parts. When I got a new computer I used to hop on eBay and sell components for parts. Now everything goes into storage, just in case the kids kill another keyboard or spill milk on a motherboard.
My consoles tend to follow the same path after they get old and become last-gen: They leave my game room, office, or main gaming area and make a journey to the living room. The living room is where my consoles get to retire in peace. People still play them, but not as much and rarely for hours at a time. Like your grandparents at an old folks home, my living room consoles are loved, visited, but mostly left to relax alone or in the company of other old consoles.
Eventually, however, the living room fills up and the oldest consoles or least-played machines are removed and sent to the closet or sold to someone else. Those that escape the closet get a new lease on life. Consoles unlucky enough to get sent to the closet basically die. They might still work, but they’ve been replaced by emulators and backward compatibility. The only time the closet consoles leave are when they get sold at a later date or when we move. It’s a sad life. So instead I pretend the closet is death and they are no longer with us. It helps me sleep at night.
This question’s been on my mind as I’m finally set to replace my 2010 PC build. My mid-tier GPU and all the drives will be making the trek to the new box for the time being, so the old one’s going to be left inoperable. I don’t want an old mid-tower taking up space as a server or whatever either, so I guess the logical thing is to sell or donate the parts. My last two PCs were easier to just give away because I didn’t cannibalise them. (The first went to a charity and the second to my then-partner’s family.)
As for console stuff — which I have quite a lot to get rid of, I hate owning so much physical junk — eBay is the way, because there are a lot of things that cash could be helping me do. But oh my goodness, the prospect of starting on such a large online selling project has been daunting. So instead I just have boxes of old game stuff littered around my apartment. That’s my lifestyle now. I guess I’m not so much haunted by my past as boxed in and surrounded by it.
I keep them (and their boxes)! With the exception of my PS1 and my original Nintendo DS, I’ve never gotten rid of a console. I’ve never thrown away a working console, and at least in my PS2’s case (pictured above), they still serve a purpose. My PS2 is my nostalgia machine, and I keep my 3DS around only to play Ace Attorney games or in the slim but deeply desired chance we get another Elite Beat Agents. I recently replaced my PC, and I still have the old one, sitting in a box waiting for me to decide its fate. My partner thinks I should wipe it and sell it while I think I should wipe it and donate it through an Americorps program I used to volunteer for.
I try to get rid of my old consoles as soon as possible. I don’t want the clutter of lots of machines and am content to rely on backward compatibility, if available, to be able to play games in recent generations.
That’s the theory, at least. I should therefore not own an Xbox 360 anymore, but there sure is one in my closet. And I’ve still got a Wii in a drawer somewhere, even though my Wii U does everything my Wii did.
I’m hard-pressed to remember when I actually did get rid of a console, rather than just tossed it and my good intentions into a closet. I’m sure I gave some of them away or brought them into the office for others to use, but I can’t remember. There’s one exception. There’s one console farewell I do remember. I was in college and desperately wanted an N64 on launch day. I unplugged my SNES and traded in the system and all of my games except Yoshi’s Island so that I could enjoy the wonder that was Super Mario 64. (It was worth it.)
How About You?
Kotaku’s weighed in, but what’s your take? Once your gaming gear grows long in the tooth, what’s its inevitable fate? Have your say! We’ll be back next week to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!