First and foremost, I'm a toy guy. I like buying action figures, it's a blast to track down super-cheap Playmobil toys, and who doesn't like stumbling on the odd figure marked only a penny? It's good times. Lately, though, I've been getting more valuable game time in, which sucks away the time I have to write about toys (bad) but keeps me from going out and buying lots of new toys I may not soon have the space for (good). The key enablers for this change aren't just the parade of above-par software. No. It's because they managed to get "collecting" into my gaming, damn them.
Toy runs-- that is, the long drives to multiple stores to attempt to score cheap clearance toys or new releases-- were spectacular training for game runs. Lately, numerous retailers (specifically, big box ones) have started to reward patience with obscenely low prices. You say you want to try Virtua Fighter 5 but don't think it's worth more than five bucks? You say you you don't think anyone should pay more than $9.98 for The Orange Box? Well, apparently someone out there agrees with you. I'm now seeing recent games like Soulcalibur IV for as little as $15 on the Xbox 360 and $34 (and falling) on the Playstation 3. The game came out about seven months ago.
So now there's a "collecting" aspect in just running around to score a good deal. I was curious to try LEGO Indiana Jones, but not at $50. So I waited around and got it last November for $12.50. And yes, that's new. Also, I blame achievements for giving me a sort of a meta-game on top of the normal games. If you've got weird little compulsions to unlock everything in a game, this is a painful experience as some of these are nearly impossible to get, but I guess the good thing about them is that getting them won't take up any extra space in your home.
Unfortunately, I still have yet to find a good (or any) fighting stick, so Virtua Fighter 5 seems to be borderline unplayable.