Do you have more than one hobby? I do, I have several, and sometimes I wish I didn’t so I could just be really awesome at one in particular. But, sometimes I’m glad I do have more then one, because sometimes your hobbies teach you something about yourself especially when you have a few of them.
What I find most interesting though is that two of my hobbies interconnect in a way I never thought they could. In a way dabbling in both of them is about reaching the same end, and appreciating what once was. And what are the two hobbies that can do this? Vinyl record collecting and retro gaming.
I know its odd to connect the two, but you’ll see what I mean in a bit. See I got into vinyl record collecting back in late spring, but I had an interest in it for a long time. For me Vinyl record collecting is about really listening to the music. It’s about the analog sound, the sound that represents analog music made by musicians going to my analog ears. Not perfect and corrected by clear digitization, but true and imperfect with a real sound.
You see that’s what the vinyl movement is all about. I mean sure in theory digital sounds better and is clear and crisp, but it lacks that connection of the artist at work. Even the record itself seems so much truer and realer then a CD, and that tangibility is definitely much more satisfying then electronically downloaded music. A record and it’s cover just seem to be so much more. There is this whole inexpiable experience and nostalgia about it that you have to go through to truly understand and appreciate it.
In a way though that same thinking isn’t all that different from that of the retro video gaming movement. As matter of fact there are many parallels between the two. For retro gaming its about experiencing games as they once where, about the nostalgia, and about the feeling. The cartridge or disc, and the feel of the controller of whatever type it is, all produce an experience new games can’t give you. Retro games like vinyl are about the experience, and what memories those experiences can produce.
There are even those times when the annoying things bring you joy. Like when a record skips, or a needle gets stuck, or when you have to blow into an NES cartridge to get a game to work the right way, or keep taking out and putting back in an Atari cartridge.
That is the thing about these two hobbies the memories, the nostalgia, and the wholeness that the real deal of the sights and/or sounds can put before you. The sensation of the controller in your hands or the vibration of those imperfect analog beats hitting you body, produce a sense of reality that is almost like a time machine.
In a way that’s what a record player or an old video game console are, time machines. Mechanical devices that have the ability to transport you back to someplace you use to be, even if it is just figuratively and for a moment or two.
That’s the other thing, for me it’s not just about collecting, it’s about actually playing and enjoying both games and records. I couldn’t just gaze at a video game in its original box, or a record in its cover sealed up. I believe those things need to be enjoyed, and there would be no way I could just leave them alone on a shelf.