Welcome to VGHC 3.0 and the first Hall Way therein! I have a list of post ideas that are put underneath a label I call “Special Occasion”. Well, there is no more special occasion than the launching of a brand new version of the house that gaming built and so today I am tackling what may be my biggest pet peeve in the universe. I hate this more than DLC, more than broken games, more than just about anything gaming related you can think of. I have ranted on this topic on numerous podcasts and on Twitter a number of times. I am, of course, talking about writing on cartridges with marker.
As a collector, I am always looking for cartridge games. I know the rare ones, I know the cheap ones, and I know the ones I love and haven’t been able to find. When I finally find that game I have been looking for, my first emotion is usually elation. I check the contacts to make sure they are still good, I check the actual plastic of the cartridge for cracks and damage, and then I check the labels in the hopes that said label is still in tact. It seems more and more though, that during this inspection I am finding someone’s name written in marker on the cartridge. I immediately put that cartridge back where I found it and walk away on principle. How could someone have so little respect for the history of gaming as to deface what in many cases are national treasures? Why? So your bratty little irresponsible seed spawn can go 15 minutes without losing it or without forgetting his name? So you can remember your kid’s name after a long day of drinking to forget? I know, I know, but Tom, you can clean the marker off. Yeah, mostly, as long as I scrub the living daylights out of it with a substance that encourages the use of chemical grade protective gloves. I still will always see the faintest of shadows of the betrayal that took place at the hands of a Sharpie and a clueless parent.
If you are that concerned about losing your game, maybe it is time to take a look at your personal habits. Maybe after you misplaced the car, the TV, the bathtub, and half of your back lawn, you should have had a pretty decent clue that you weren’t ready to own anything smaller. If you are concerned about someone taking your game, perhaps it is time to look at a better neighborhood. Maybe you should invest in some home security or perhaps an angry dog. Or maybe you could come to the realization that if someone did somehow escape your laser focus, penetrate your defenses, and manage to pilfer one of your prized possessions, HAVING YOUR NAME WRITTEN ON THE CARTRIDGE IS NOT GOING TO HELP THE SITUATION!
Now, I realize that some of you reading this are violators. You may be thinking right now that there is no way you can ever enjoy a cartridge game unless you have personally autographed it. I realize that no amount of ranting on my end is ever going to change your behavior patterns, no matter how wrong they are. How about a compromise? Write on a piece of scotch tape in marker, then apply the tape to the cartridge, but not over the label. That way, you can have the security and comfort you like to have and I can go to my local retro gaming emporium and not convulse with rage. It’s the only humane thing to do. In fact, it’s the right thing to do and there are 3 ways to do everything: the right way, the wrong way, and the Hall Way.