[Downsizing Zeal] Streaming Revitalizes Materialism?

Now that I’m livestreaming occasionally, I’ve found myself with an interesting conundrum: I own many videogames that I could livestream, but I would need to buy special hardware to make this happen, or, I could livestream those same videogames with emulation. For a vast majority of the videogames I own, with Silent Hill 2 being an example, I don’t care about whether I own the videogame or not. I’m not a “retro variety streamer.” But still…

This conundrum has been an improvement over previous essay thoughts.

These Downsizing Zeal essays are really a meditation on moralities. What games would I want to own? I am not concerned with owning something for its collectibility. If this copy of Silent Hill 2 here is currently worth an average price of $74.34, owning the game is a question of moralities, priorities, and I suppose other considerations. When I needed to move my years of unchecked hoarding years ago, as I wrote about in Moving Zeal, my moralities had become so unchecked that everything was valuable to me. The lessons I learned in that moving process, which I documented to the best of my ability with my most sincere mentality, helped shape my current thoughts on materialism.

I would rather not own anything because it is “collectible.”

Why would I want a trophy that is the envy of others? Anything could be a trophy. My life is a trophy to the dead. However, if I were to own trophies, I’d rather they represent parts of myself that I value, rather than being purely a perpetuation of previous ownership. With Silent Hill 2, I played it once for the sake of having tried it out, but if I were able to livestream and record it, then I could give it the honest shake that would differentiate that ownership between a trophy for others and a trophy for myself. There are other PS2 games I own that I haven’t played since I moved out of my previous residence.

Do I finally have the targeting to make curated decisions on my console collections?

If I were to livestream the process of playing through some of these games, whether for 1-hour meandries or to play through them in their entirety, while recording the results, then I could make peace with selling the high-dollar items after playing through them on original hardware. That peace could be satiated by later replaying those high-dollar items on emulated hardware, since for me, emulation isn’t a severe morality concern, especially if I consider how videogame companies don’t provide legal alternatives. Steam, for example, is an easy and legal way for me to play videogames. That’s how I stream FF7, sometimes, but if there weren’t any viable options except emulation, why would it be a concern to play old videogames for free?

Owning the game only profited the previous owner.

If I bought Silent Hill 2 from a retro videogame store, Konami wouldn’t have profited from that purchase. If I “stream on original hardware” as is a common phrase for “retro variety streamers” – where the playing my videogame collection to decide what to keep and what to sell – then in my mind, it is no more ethical than emulation unless I purchased Silent Hill 2 new from a videogame store that split the profits with Konami. With that exploration of morality out of the way, yes, I suppose this does sound like a good way to downsize my collection responsibly.

However, I don’t want to dig too deep into this livestreaming thing.

I already have my Minecraft builds to help me write Novel 02. If I consider my free time, not spent dealing with my spine’s pain or the pain of dealing with the many healthcare providers that want my money without doing any work, I still want a majority of my time open to writing. I’ve found lately that I have been dumping perhaps excessive time into watching livestreamers of various sorts. It’s fun and through my spine pain, I think it’s responsible and acceptable to find fun, escapist outlets to manage my pain.

However, I don’t want to distract myself too much.

Writing about whatever I’m doing in life has been the best way to prevent things from distracting me too much. Writing about my Minecraft builds helps me analyze my builds in written form and helps me space the time so I don’t, say, dump hundreds of hours into the building process without having anything to show for it. The appeal of livestreaming, then, and recording the results appeals to that want of “content” to share with others. There are pros and cons to livestreaming videogames. A major con is that you have to perform, whether from a purely gameplay perspective or if I were to uncover my webcam and show myself, then I would have to perform as an entertainer. There are also “backseat” chatters that critique or spoil elements of videogames played.

The cons are a small factor for me compared to the pros.

After I started getting into livestreaming myself, and watching others livestream, I’ve found enjoyable communities of people that share similar interests. Livestreamers with unique personalities attract people with similar interests. It’s been fun navigating around these communities, and as much as I would want to contribute my voice and myself to this vast Internet, I have to make sure that this is a good decision for my goals in life. That’s why writing these Downsizing Zeal essays have been minor variations on the same theme: Do I value the object or the experience within? In most cases, I would rather have the experience than the object.

If the object has no experiential value for me, why would I want to keep it?

If I could livestream every videogame ever made from some hypothetical service, then would there be a point in livestreaming from a curation’s perspective? Since that service doesn’t exist, and since I own so many videogames, I could livestream select curation videogames.

Except, I shouldn’t invest significantly in this idea.

Quotes: I forgot to include this quote from KingOfApoc, one of the retro variety livestreamers I’ve been enjoying watching, since he plays videogames that I don’t own and have limited interest in owning because they are more skill-based than the story-based videogames I would want to own. He said: “This game would have sat in my backlog if I didn’t stream it.” This summarized my thoughts on livestreaming videogames.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Besides what I wrote above? The PS2 is an example of a console I would want to own some kind of adapter that would let me play videogames and livestream and record them using OBS. For other consoles like the Intellivision, the amount I played when I tested my two consoles earlier this year was enough for me. That’s the difference. Testing videogames is something I can do in private for a few minutes, but if it’s a videogame I enjoy or think I might enjoy playing through, then livestreaming that videogame could help hold me accountable to completely enjoy that videogame, before moving onto the next, and the next, and the next.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: The milk carton where my main PS2 console has sat for the past few years.
Written On: 2020 November 19 [1am to 1:36am]
Last Edited: 2020 November 19 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.