Reading this thread is like the collective echo chamber of thoughts in my head. I'm 38, and I've been messing with this stuff for over 20 years, I may even be one of the first if not the first PC compatible collectors around.
On the subject of quitting, I'll never quit. I've quit twice already, both times I just ended up buying up more stuff again. I will be purging again soon, but this is more because I feel like I've found my "home" of sorts. As I get older, the less I want to spend time putzing around with irritating old commercial O/Ses that only still half-work, and spending money fixing up old hardware just to accumulate it and sell it off later. I started getting into laptops more recently (wihtin the last 3 years) because I'm kind of sick of having to dedicate an entire room to the things I enjoy doing. I kind of enjoy being able to drag my NEC Versas all over the house and just kick around playing games in FreeDOS till the cows come home. It's turning more and more into me using FreeDOS and an NEC Versa rather than that big wall lineup of XT and AT desktop machines I used to want. I'm still keeping one or two of those though.
Anything for Windows 95 or later I've found runs perfectly on my Linux boxes. So now I can play The Sims on my old T61, and surf the web, and post on Vogons, and it's like running a modern laptop. I can do the same with the i5 desktop I have, or my other machine. TO me, those games really don't have a specific "feel" on hardware that varies or changes much from a modern machine. I've been trying out ALL of my old favorites on LInux using Wine and I'm finding that's fine for me.
One post on the first page mentions hatred for modern things. Honestly, I harbor the same. And that's kind of how this all got started in the first place. When I got into computers in the late 1990's, a new PC was a $1500 investment that became "obsolete" in 3 years even though knowing what I know now, almost NONE of those machines at the time between the years of 1991 and 1998 were anywhere even near obsolete. And it just seems to me the industry just keeps creating biggear "bear traps" for the mainstream (DRM, DLC, Cloud-Based-Tethered SAAS, required HTTPS, TLS 3.0) these sorts of things tend to put me off of wanting to use a modern computer for much more than things that make it convenient. If I had my own personal choice, I'd use FreeDOS as my main daily driver O/S - something I really thing advocates of the open source DOS clone should look at. I mucho prefer my old gray lapwarmers and beige beasts. rather than proceed to make you feel stupid for some horribly implimented process change in the name of what's hot right now, they do what I tell them to, you're rewarded for it. It's like driving an old stick shift car - which I also prefer.
And it seems a lot of us here have a ton of hobbies, I myself do as well. I'm pretty much chastised behind my back by friends and family members for owning 12 computes, 28 guitars, 2 CRT TVs, 5 old game consoles, as rasperri pi, and a Plex Media Server, and a "Vintage" truck..... and then proceed to go out during the summer and work on my truck and building more guitars, basses, and pedals, and walking around town and driving around off-road, rather than waste my time on the couch watching awful movies on the Dumb Panel that make me want to throttle the Gen Y and younger characters on the show because they're so bloody annoying.
That said, collecting is not as exicting as it used to be. IT was more fun in the 2000's when it was uncharted territory and nobody liked this old stuff anymore, and there were so many mysteries. I never thought I'd see the day I'd see computers I sold 10-20 years ago on evilbay. I swear I ran into my old DEC 486 a couple weeks ago, may have run into my Compaq Deskpro 386 at one point, and I think my AT&T Safari laptop - the one that lead me to buying NEC Versas no less - may have found its way on there just a month ago......I almost bought it, but figured I've already invested so much into the NEC ecosystem there's just no point. I think in the end it's going to be my Tandy or my 286, and then a pile of Versas, and then my one 486 Desktop which I'm even on the fence about at times.
My idea of a good time? A versa on the desk, a Jag-Stang in my lap, Vice Grip Garage or BIthead1000 on the CRT, and maybe an hour or two in the desert doing not-even-ameteur offroading and getting airborne in a 30 year old Ford Explorer.