When more becomes too much

Over the holidays, we usually prepare for the influx of toys the kids get by taking a big bin of existing toys and taking them to the dungeon basement. This year, however, I noticed that we have quite a few bins of toys. We decided that we’re gonna go through the toys and lean down, in order to prevent the overload of toys we typically have.

We decided this, but we didn’t do this because of the mess, no matter how overwhelming said mess tends to become. There’s something I’ve noticed about myself, and it seems to be the same for the kids. Too many options causes problems. When the kids go to play with toys, they have difficulty choosing due to an overload of options. They get frustrated with the indecision, and that seems to translate into problems acting out and whatnot. Reducing the overload of options seems like the best option.

I have the same problem. The best example I can give is with video games. I literally have thousands of games I can play at pretty much any given time, and when I get the chance to play video games I have a difficult and frustrating time choosing what to play. To me, this sounds like such an obnoxious sort of “rich person” problem (most of my games are emulated, which means free), but it definitely explains a lot. More becomes excess rather quickly, apparently. I remember some of my first gaming memories, with my NES. I only had a few games, and the lack of options made it much more satisfying. My individual psychosis about this relates to my guilt. I feel guilty about not giving each game its due, as if I’m insulting or letting down the game itself or the makers of it by passing it by in favor of another. I know, I know, I’m batshit crazy. However, for me, this kind of shit drives me nuts. I experienced it again last night when I went to play some games on my multicade, which currently houses 3000+ arcade titles on it. I wanted to play so many, wanted to experience as many as I could. I think about what it must have been like in the early 80’s, when there weren’t anywhere near as many arcade games to play. People would play the shit out of individual games over and over again. Now, with so many options, the compulsion to play a different game ends up being too great, which frustrates the crap out of me. It happened before, when I switched over to an MP3 player from using CDs. The option of having everything at my fingertips doesn’t lead to happiness. Who’d have thunk?

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