Growing up I always wanted my own video game store. One I could just go in and take any game to play. It might not have all the newest titles but it would have hundreds of games to choose from. Nowadays we all have our own game store. Between bargain bins, limited time free downloads, emulators, Steam sales, and the two for five used games from last generation at Game Stop well we have that many games. Sure we still have work, but no bed time so we can play as many games as we want. I mean I never had a bedtime. I was just required to get myself up and off to school in the mornings. As long as I did that it was up to me. So in that regard things are about the same. Except my current work is from home so really I can sneak my games in while doing other things. There is time now, time enough for all the games I ever wanted to play.
So I organize my collection. I build loaders and frontends and dedicated little gaming boxes. I jailbreak and CFW my old systems. I go ahead and spend so much time picking what games to put where, and when to play them that I need a game to play while I do. So I get some more games that hold up getting to the stacks I made. Then ofcourse a new game might come out that requires my immediate attention. So as I keep making these grand replay plans and building this backlog of games as well as just grabbing ones for the collection not even to play. Stacks upon stacks of games just lining up behind me until it happened. I grew tired of video games. I’ll still play and enjoy them, but that’s where it stops. Suddenly completing a game start to finish feels like a task. And then I remember the stacks behind me.
Somehow I lost that joy and that drive to devote my free time to absorbing a whole world of lore. Learning a boss fight’s pattern became a chore. The time and effort I spent to amass this backlog now feels like burden. Like I have to finish Xenoblade Chronicles 2 before I can start Dragon Quest Builders. Not to mention new Pokemon in January soooo gotta keep that in mind. Used to be I’d play three or more different games a night. I’d even enjoy each one. Marveling at the neat little moments and little hidden details. Was it the lack of choices? Was it the fact the stuck around in a shoebox right next to me?
I honestly am not willing to unpack the logic behind shoebox storage and it’s influence on game playing behavior. I will however bring back the term. Shoebox Games will be what I call a game I can just enjoy randomly. I don’t need to beat it, and it doesn’t need to be short. Even RPGs can make the list. A collection of games not necessarily my favorites, but the most playable. So many nights I’d toss on Smash Bros or Mario Kart to just get disappointed. So often we feel like we need something familiar, but also high quality. Like okay full disclosure I only focused on the date of the Pokemon rerelease. The 19th, but of two months from now. I saved my money. I cleared my schedule. I even called Nintendo as to why my preload didn’t start. All this after weeks of saying things along the lines of why isn’t Nintendo promoting the game more. I knew something felt off and it only made me want it more. So I sat there with enough money to buy any game, and I bought nothing. I didn’t touch my backlog. I just sulked. Just like I would as a kid when I didn’t get both games I wanted at Toys ‘r’ Us. This is a sign of a problem.
I even asked around for tips from my friends. Yet we just couldn’t really figure out something worth grabbing. I have access to almost every game in existence and I just sat there. I never would have done that with my trusty box. I would have popped in Mega Man 4 without a second thought. I ended up playing Mega Man ZX actually. A rather long story driven Mega Man seek and find Castlevania style over world. Yet it is segmented enough to be pick up and put down perfect. So as of today, I’m bringing back the shoebox. Though this time as a list. Not to impress others with my good tastes like a favorites. Not to boast about the obscure games I play. No, this list is of the games I can always play. The games that just thinking about them is enough to get me to boot them up. The Action Couch Life Shoebox requirements are just games that can be enjoyed anytime. If you have any suggestions hop on over to the discord and give us your best suggestions. That and be expecting them to pop up here or dare I say YouTube sometime soon!
Now wanna help us fill that shoebox but don’t want to engage directly? Well helping our Patreon is a good way! 100% of the money goes directly towards keeping us running, getting products and games to review, and the occasional upgrade. Our discord is free, but you can join in on the more involved discussions at even the basic tiers. So if you are in a position to help out, that’s awesome. If you choose not to that’s fine, we love ya anyway.