Is It Better To Covet Digital Items, Physical Items, Or Neither?

landfill 04

I’ve been thinking a lot about consumerism lately. And consuming, in general. One of my new year’s gaming resolutions actually pertained to this very topic.

As I was completing Crota’s raid in Destiny (again), and trying for a particular shotgun (the Swordbreaker, again), I started to really think about how I covet things that don’t actually exist. Sure, somewhere a coder/artist/wizard created this Swordbreaker, but it’s intangible. I can never touch it (and I wouldn’t know what to do with it in reality even if I could touch it), nor will all the hours I’ve spent trying to be awarded one ever be returned to me for later use.

Those hours are solid gone.

In effect, I’ve spent collectively half a dozen hours trying to obtain a digital weapon, all so I can more effectively mow down digital representations of other guardians in the crucible.


Now then, I just so happened to actually obtain said Swordbreaker last night (yay!). I immediately set about leveling it up. I spent even more time farming for glimmer (Destiny’s in-game currency), and upgrade materials. I did not think twice about this.

Until this morning.

In Destiny (more so than any other game, perhaps save Borderlands), I spend countless hours trying to obtain certain weapons (Husk of the Pit, anyone?). Then I put more time, effort, and materials into that particular weapon.

Do we, as peoples, put nearly as much time into taking care of the tangible items in our lives? Is it, in fact, better to do so with digital items that will never run the risk of becoming a burden, thus ending up in a landfill?

It immediately made me think of this comforter I had a while back. It was still in fine shape, but something had spilled on it, so I took it to the dry cleaner. I was told it would cost more than what the price of the comforter had been new just to get it cleaned. So I made the economical decision to dispose of it, and buy a new one.

Waste, waste, waste. And I made that choice.


Back to this pretend weapon I spent so much time on.

While I don’t regret putting the time in for the Swordbreaker, it’s just one in a long list of items within Destiny that I’ve spent a veritable grillion hours on. Cripes, I’m still doing every Eris bounty each day just to reach rank 4 so I can buy that glorious lava-colored shader.

In reality, I try very hard to be economical. This both works and doesn’t work at various times. I try to streamline where possible.

I also try to be responsible with real-life purchases. I ask myself when buying something, do I want to be responsible for this? Do I want to house this, take care of it, and if necessary, repair this item? If I answer no to any of those questions, I try to move on (and away from the item).

Does this always work? Oh heck no. Do I still try? Of course.

Every time there is a digital sale on the PSN or Xbox Live, I cringe a little, as I am susceptible prey. I can’t go near GameStop unless I have a specific item I’m looking for, otherwise I will browse until I find something I’m certain I will play sooner than later (which is hilarious, as evidenced by my heaving backlog). I try to think ahead and plan fail safes around these “trigger” situations.

So I wonder: am I better off spending chunks of time acquiring a digital item that, while technically doesn’t exist, does exist within the realms of something I quite enjoy and can get good use from? Or is it better to spend time and effort on the tangible items I already own that may need (or warrant) some amount of attention? Or neither?

I have no idea. I’d just like to consume less. In general. So I’m going to keep that in mind when it comes to…consuming. Anything. I think that feels right for me.

How do you feel about this subject? I’d love to know. I get awfully curious about the thoughts of others.

As well, I wish each of you a happy Friday. Cheers, weekend warriors!

Categories: games

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