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The Love for UMD

written by: umd_moviecalicollection on IG

Growing up, my uncles always introduced me to the latest and greatest of gaming systems. I still remember the first time I saw the PSP. I would help my uncle German at a farmer's market stand, where he sold fresh produce. During the week there was a lot of down time. It was mid 2005 when I saw it. A glossy, black, cell phone looking gadget. The system was so slick and the screen brighter and sharper than any other gaming device I had ever seen. Immediately I was impressed with the graphics as well. He was playing one of the first metal gear solid titles released for the system. He asked if I wanted to change it and do something else on it? I remember asking "what do you mean?" "What else can it do?" He immediately began going through the features. Music was awesome. The fact that you can "legally" download music and make playlist so easily. Then he pulled out a UMD movie. I was shocked. A complete movie in such a small package. I recalled he pulled out Behind Enemy lines with Owen Wilson in it. I was immediately glued to the PSP.

     Keep in mind, during this time movies couldn't be streamed on phones. The next best thing was those big portable DVD players. I was sold on the PSP and the UMD format. I loved watching movies and it was perfect because I traveled a lot when I played sports in high school. I finally got my first PSP-1000 at the end of 2005. I remember going to my local GameStop and Game Crazy to buy movies for it. Yes, GameStop and Game Crazy. These were the places to get used UMD movies for $15. Ultimately the UMD movie aspect of the PSP failed miserably because I believe the price point. It's been said many times. "Why pay for a UMD when you can get a DVD for same price or cheaper with more features." I chose to keep buying because I didn't want to haul around a portable DVD player, and converting movies back then was definitely not as easy as it is today. Also keep in mind the price of memory at that time.

     By the end of High School, I had a descent size collection of about 50 different titles. I did take a break for about a year because my work situation changed. I randomly got back into around 2010. I organised my collection and started buying only what I would watch. I did this for a couple years, but noticed it really limited my variety of titles. In 2012 the UMD movie market was in the tank, they finally hit the good ole 99 cent store. This sealed it. I was going to buy all the titles I could find. These were my glory years of collecting. When you go to places and actually find stuff you don’t have. Planning trips to different game shops hoping to find that hard to find movie. Definitely fun. The grail in my collection is the Scarface UMD movie, which was the hardest to find. I took more than a couple trips up and down California just to find disappointment. I finally found a copy in the UK. Yes, the UK! I traded a complete in box PSP 1000 for it. That was in 2014. Since then, I’ve only seen this movie for sale on eBay two or three times.

UMD movie collecting is as far as you can go from collecting any other media format. Not many people collect it. I’ve met many people who get in it hoping to make a quick buck, but it never turns out how they expect. I have just over One Thousand different titles in my collection now. Titles vary from tv shows like sponge bob, tom and jerry, to Jack Ass or anime like Gundam. There is something for everyone in this format. My favourite movies are Nick and Norah’s infinite play list, Face Off, and Man on Fire. One thing I always tell people wanting to get into collecting this format is do it for the love. Sounds cheese I know, but there is no money to be made here. These aren’t super sought after and you won’t become a millionaire by holding on to these. Boxes of brand-new movies are being found all the time because sales were so bad. Also remember these movies are region locked. So, get a US and Japanese PSP to cover all bases. There is no list of what movies were released. I know of a couple guys with bigger collections then mine, and they are still finding new stuff. Anime and adult movies out of Japan are so many that I believe no one will ever have a complete list. Also, there were a couple independent companies that released titles with limited number of movies here in the US. So, the UMD movie format is something that will always be fun for me to collect even if no one ever completes a full set. I’ve made so many friends who helped me get movies from overseas and even here in the US. I thank all of them because without them, my collection wouldn’t be what it is today.

Rojelio Paniagua

follow him umd_moviecalicollection on Instagram

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