Top 10: Advantages of Playing Games from Physical Media

BioShock Infinite Special Edition

I recently wrote an article with ten of the best reasons to go digital when it comes to video games. Despite my strong opinions about digital games, there are certainly a lot of benefits to collecting discs and cartridges and I’m going to focus on those on this article. I certainly miss the ritual of going to a local shop so that I can pick up that game I’ve been really looking forward to playing, I miss installing it on my machine and I miss the smell of plastic and paper. Most of my games might be on digital form, but playing games from disks also has its appeals. How do you buy games? Digitally or physically? What’s your favorite? Why? Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.

You don’t have to worry about digital space

PlayStation 4 Hardware

You get that brand new console that comes with a large hard drive and you think that you’ll never have to worry about space ever again. Then one day, you notice that your hard drive is almost full and that you have to delete some titles to make space for new ones. Maybe you buy a larger hard drive, but you still know in the future you might have the same problem again. That’s definitely not a problem when you buy physical games (physical space is) so if you have a spare room in your house and you like collecting disks and cartridges, digital collections aren’t for you.

You don’t have to wait for incredibly large games to download

Steam Downloads

As technology advances, games take longer to download and that can definitely be a problem. The best part about getting the disks and that from time to time, you need to download patches and updates, but that’s nothing compared to the size of games themselves.

You can lend your games to friends and family

The Walking Dead - Season Two (Xbox One, PS4)

I remember when I was a kid and I couldn’t afford the latest games available, I used to lend games to my friends and vice versa. In that way, we would pretty much double the number of games we were playing, at the same time we were saving a lot of money on new titles. Although Steam recently adopted a similar feature, the feeling of trading physical games isn’t the same as lending a digital file.

Your collection has both sentimental and monetary value

Video Game Library

Physical things have meaning. Maybe you bought a rare game at a garage sale for a few bucks, maybe it was a gift from a person that’s important to you or maybe it’s related to an anecdote that you remember fondly. That’s usually the case when you get games that are on disks and cartridges and it’s fun to remember the way in which you got each game in your collection because each story is different to the other one.

A slow internet connection is no longer a problem

Hitman 01

To be clear, some games have a day one patch that’s usually large and while that’s certainly not the case for every single title, it’s still a problem. But the best part about getting games physically is that (for the most part) you don’t need an internet connection in order to at least play the game. Of course, I think this is going to change in the next few years and if I had to guess, I think it’s natural that the successors to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are going to require an internet connection to work.

The games you collect are yours

Video Game Collection

It’s easy to have a sense of entitlement when you buy pretty much anything, but even if it’s unlikely, most digital distribution services could easily pull the plug and remove most of the games you “own.” Of course, that would make them a bad reputation and the backlash wouldn’t be worth it, but what I mean by that is that those games you bought digitally aren’t exactly yours. In the case of physical games, those games are your as long as you have a copy of the disk.

Going to lines on launch days has its appeal

PS4 Launch Day

The whole sub-culture surrounding launch day events is fascinating to me. Whenever a new console launches, you can pick it up on the first day and interact with other people who are interested in the same system and you can see how old are most of them, what games they are interested in, which bundle they are picking up and more. Maybe this piques my interest because I have a website about video games and I want to know what regular people think about each system, but there’s an appeal about being in lines with someone who has a common interest.

Unwrapping new games is satisfying

Alone in the Dark - Special Edition

I love the smell of video game manuals and plastic in the morning. Unpacking and unwrapping things is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Maybe this is a psychological response that affects everyone living in a capitalist country, but this is the reason why a lot of people are interested in mailbag and unboxing YouTube videos.

Discs remind us of another era

Final Fantasy VII Discs

Do you remember CDs, cassette tapes, Laser Discs? Digital media from another era fascinates me and while technology has changed a lot, physical media still comes in discs. Also, some classic media has made a comeback, particularly vinyl records, so if you’re old enough to remember some of the aforementioned media, maybe collecting physical games is for you.

Cool artwork!

Borderlands 2 Wallpaper

I can’t emphasize this enough. Do you remember going to a video game store and picking up a specific game just because the box art looked absolutely outstanding? This is becoming sort of a lost art, since digital games don’t do justice to the cool artwork of yesteryear. Luckily, a lot of niche developers and publisher still pay attention to box artwork.