If you're serious about games, chances are you've got a bunch of them stacked, shelved or strewn somewhere nearby. How long have they been sitting there? If you're completely honest with yourself, what are the chances you'll play one any time soon?
Looking over my shoulder at this moment, I see a dusty Diablo Battle Chest box staring at me - the original Diablo, Diablo II, and Lord of Destruction expansion all ready for action. I see Kirby Canvas Curse and Picross for DS; I see Lumines and Gitaroo Man for PSP; I see GBA games, PS2 games, Xbox games, and row after row of Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 games. All just sitting there, and I'm not playing them. What's wrong with this picture?
Maybe your habits are different, but many gamers I know tend to be hoarders. We derive a certain satisfaction from our collections, knowing we can play any game at any time we choose. We're archivists, of sorts, and we've spent years building our libraries. But for most us, the idea of playing those games is more compelling than actually playing them. I'm proud to have Lunar Knights in my collection, but I have no interest in playing it again. Maybe, someday...
We should put our collections to better use. We should share our games with people who can enjoy them right now. If I could summon some sort of game system doppler device, I'll bet it would locate thousands of consoles and handhelds within a 1-mile radius of me, many in the homes of folks who can't afford to buy video games anymore. I think my games would be happier there than on my shelf.
Games aren't consumables, I'm not disadvantaged by parting with a game for a few weeks while someone else enjoys it. Barring misuse, Knights of the Old Republic delivers no less joy if the disc has been used by ten players instead of one. Maybe sharing can even enhance the pleasure of playing it.
Think of it another way. Sharing is a great way to introduce casual or non-discriminating gamers to excellent titles they've never heard of. This is your chance to show the Wii Sports family next door how much fun games like Zack and Wiki, Ōkami, and de Blob can be. Go ahead, raise the bar. Share the love. Soon your neighbors will be deciphering The Path and reading Brainy Gamer!!
I don't need to tell you that times are hard for lots of people these days. Some areas in my state are facing 30% unemployment rates with more layoffs to come. Sharing a video game may seem like a pointless gesture to a family struggling to put food on the table, but believe me, it's not. An offer to help, even a modest one, can be a welcome reminder that someone cares. When a single mom working third shift brings home a borrowed copy of Burnout, her kids won't care where it came from, and you won't miss it on your shelf.
Let's stop hoarding and start sharing.