I remember being disturbed from the talking mannequin while watching the 2009 romantic comedy Confessions of a shopaholic which convinces Isla Fisher that a $120 Henri Bendel scarf is all she needs to win a job interview. It was creepy because I, aching for anything loose and glamorous in the Macy’s West 34th Street storefront, as the glossy magazines taught me, would also have ignored her shallow eyes and bought the scarf (if I wasn’t 11). “Point up this scarf is that it would become part of a definition about you, about your psyche,” the plastic woman says to Fisher, beaming. “You know what I mean?”
Video games don’t sell like department store scarves, but like all products, artistic or otherwise, they really are things to sell. I can imagine an animated Master Chief standee rising a bulky $200 collector’s edition to me in my biopic about daydreaming—Confessions of a Recovering Impulsive Shopper– or some $70 Harry Potter nonsensepulling me close to take a look at the box: “The dot up this game is that it would become part of a definition of you. But even though the glossy covers still call to me, I am more saddened that the garbage heaps of the world are turning into hills and then crusts over the oceanand that recent inflation it also makes excessive buying personally unsustainable. So I’ve learned to switch from unnecessary purchases, and this Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), I think you should too.
I know waiting for a discount can be practical, though, especially for an expensive hobby like gaming. A 2014 survey by market research group NPD noticed that “half of PC gamers who play games [PC games] they expect there’s always a fire sale right around the corner,” and so they wait to pounce. This is still true and observable, with sites like IsThereAnyDeal.com tracking digital game sales in real time and even the more general r/BlackFriday loaded with links to Microsoft and Steam. And from digital sales are ongoing, I understand players may want to use the blast sale days as ways to grab our narrowing chances at physical property.
But my frustration with Black Friday isn’t its presentation of opportunities — I like saving money, you know — but the kind of opportunities that force-feed us. “Buy this game and you will really become a gamer,” the sales copy dressed in bright, primary colors seems to yell, “you can become who you see yourself!” Be yourself, who you want you to be, but hand over the money first.
In reality, it’s impossible to be a gamer – let yourself breathe, learn about a game, and play it – if you buy games as often as the industry requires. And while the games seem to parachute onto us throughout the year, appearing en masse and out of nowhere, they are even stretching despite the very obvious damage the combination does to quality and to the workers.
More is not more. But some gamers are still willing to give in to the silky handling of expensive trailers; some self-reported buy 10 to over 100 games a year. “I buy soo much too many, but they’re usually looking for them at a great deal,” said one Reddit user a thread about annual game purchases. And how many finish? “I’m not sure how many games you actually play, though,” the same user continues.
“As far as we know, men don’t shop,” she begins By Vogue 1924 “Shopping Philosophy,” incorrectly. “They buy things; but there is no glory in that, no thrill. 100 years later, players experience contradictions. Buying a new one call of Dutya franchise seconds away from becoming a puddle amorphous mass of military propaganda with slightly variant graphics, it’s all about glory, a chance to crush idiots online and show them who you are.
But unlike his concocted 1924 male buyer assessment, Vogue she says the average woman takes shopping “by ear, casually, irresponsibly, enthusiastically, all the time.” But curiously, even the most avid shopper is “invariably badly dressed.”
“They have lots of clothes, just like a dictionary has lots of words,” the article continues. “But words don’t make literature.”
So let’s tear the seams between the genders and time and recognize that the shopping spree is far from a woman’s bloodsport – it’s a bad habit we’ve all internalized ever since. the early roaring 20s. It keeps us uncomfortable under the clutter and disconnected from the things we supposedly care about, the things we’ve bought. But how can you be a “player” if you consume but don’t savor, missing out on the pleasure of an art form you love?
It doesn’t matter what it is, clothes or a console, I don’t want to stick something that took manpower, time, and chunks of dirt somewhere that I’ll eventually forget. I don’t want these things, presumably these outside bits of me, left on a shelf or in a Steam graveyard gathering real or digital dust. I want to respect these things and myself and my time and money by actually using it. I don’t want to be smothered in other stuff, like our poor blue planet will soon be. I pulled back from my childhood impulse to buy by remembering it and replacing an impulse with cure.
This year, when you’ve passed a series of enticing and colorful game offers, choose the overlooked comfort of playing what you already have.