Hidden inside Valtteri Hyttinen's unassuming Finnish home lives a treasure: a PlayStation 4 collection so large that it spans an entire wall, and is growing by the day. The digital specialist lives and breathes Sony's new-gen box, spending his day building the PlayStation brand's social media presence, while his evenings are dedicated to expanding his already impressive selection of PS4 software. With over 225 unique titles sitting on his heaving shelves, the 32-year-old hopes to have a complete set once the generation is done.
"I'm on track after two years," he beams when we ask him if his goal is to own every physical PS4 game in existence, "but I recognise the fact that the global success of the PS4 will appeal to even more developers and publishers, and that the release schedule will get more hectic as we move forward. I'm trying to keep up as best as I can, but I definitely need to start being patient and wait on more for discounts."
Despite working for PlayStation full-time, Hyttinen's eager to stress that he's paid for every single game in his bulging collection. "People assume that I get the games for free or that I'm filthy rich, but neither is true," he explains emphatically. "I spend my own money on the games. Anyone working in the industry knows that if you sometimes get a game for free, it's a download code or a promotional copy in a boring jewel case. My collection is retail copies only, and those you need to pay for." It's an pricey endeavour, then, but what kick-started his PlayStation love affair?
"There used to be this small video rental place near where I lived that rented and sold SEGA Mega Drive consoles and games," he remembers. "My first memory of PlayStation is the day that the same video rental store had gotten a demo unit of the PlayStation. It ran Crash Bandicoot and I was sold instantly. I think I traded in my Mega Drive pretty soon to get my own PSone. Since then I've always preferred PlayStation, even though I have owned most of the game consoles since."
But while it was love at first sight for Hyttinen, he decided to put a ring on the brand's finger when he played Final Fantasy VII in 1997. "At the time of its release it was something that I had never experienced before, and even today I still remember the impact," he wistfully exclaims. "But in all fairness, I don't believe that there can ever be a definitive best of all time game. The time, your age, and history of gaming will always mould your perception. Along the 25 years that I've played video games, I've had countless hours of fun with hundreds of games."
"I don't really believe that there can ever be a definitive best of all time game: the time, your age, and history of gaming will always mould your perception at the end of the day"
And now he has hundreds of PS4 games to work through, but we want to know: how many of them actually get played? "Obviously a complete collection will include genres that don't appeal to me and some really bad games," he laughs. "So no, I don't play all of them – but I do play a lot." And, in addition to the big blockbusters, it's the weird and wonderful that tend to catch Hyttinen's eye. "I enjoy more story driven games that actually end at some point, so I can move on to the next one," he elaborates. "I also find it fun to try out the weird games that no one has never heard of. They tend to be as hideous in gameplay as they are in presentation, but if I own them, I may as well get a laugh or two out of them."
One game that doesn't make the Helsinki hoarder giggle is Retro City Rampage, as his sealed copy of VBlank's retro-themed open world adventure is currently his collection's prized possession. "That game was super cheap to buy at release, but the extremely limited print run just made it expensive," he grins. "Some of my other top purchases include collector's editions like the Destiny Ghost Edition or Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition, and I also have some rare press kits, but it's really hard to put a price on them."
Titles that are easier to price but harder to find include those only available from certain countries. "There are regions that get specific games released physically and it's almost impossible to keep track of them as there is no scene for PS4 collectors where you could get support and information from other collectors," he continues. "For example, there was this bullfighting game called Toro which I believe was only released in Spain as a physical copy, so I had to order it from there."
"People assume that I get the games for free or that I'm filthy rich, but neither is true – I spend my own money on them"
So, what are the rules to Hyttinen's collection? "My personal definition is that I will include a retail copy of every game released on the PS4 system that I can actually play from any region. For me that excludes Asian games that do not support English subtitles or voice acting, but includes North American releases that don't get published here in Europe," he says. As to whether the collection stays sealed: "If I want to play a game, I'm not hesitant to open the plastic wrappers."
Next on the agenda for the archiver is not a specific release, though – just some storage space. "I have one expandable shelving solution in my home office room that doesn't really take up space," he demonstrates. "The real problem are the huge collector's edition boxes. That's something I need to figure out as my cupboards are already filled to the brim." It's something we leave Hyttinen to ponder as we stumble over the many boxes that he's pulled out of the closet to show us. An impressive collection, we muse – but he's probably going to need an extension once 2016 hits full speed.