I can sort of agree to some extent, I used to be a guy who only bought physical copies and only loved physical (I too as even there touting my distaste for digital only gaming and how expensive it was at the time) but over the years things became more convenient for me, prices were cheaper and of course on my platform of pref I mod my games so modding a disk isn't really an option for me, especially since the game is then installed and I have no need to use said disk until I use a new rig.
There was also a time where I had my physical boxes all nicely lined up but after years and years the collections started gathering dust, getting scuffed from re-arranging my room/moving places and eventually I reached a point a few times where I was down on my luck with money and had to pawn off my physical games/dvd's, of course I had attachments to them but I also have really big attachments to all my pets, my cat died last Nov and I was devastated that I had to have him put down and had to bury him that same day, the fact that he's physically gone still upsets me but I know at the end of the day that physically I'll have to sell what I have, lose it or give it to someone else, in the case of my cat well he had to be buried like all people/pets since I'm not the type who wants to stuff him and place him atop my shelf for all to see (some people really go that far but I won't judge).
As for my games, the majority of them are digital and I always do reminisce about fond memories I've had of games I once played/still play simply by looking at trailers, cutscenes, listening to their OST's or simply seeing the Steam game banners, I don't really function in a way where I need to touch an object to know about it or get fond memories rushing back, I get those sorts of memories all the time, hell I still can't believe it;s been 4, nearly 5 years since I played Skyrim on my 360 followed by the early days of Google+ beta, sure I can't touch any of that but I;m happy enough to contain said memories and talk about them with friends, even while playing old games with friends do I get the fondest of memories, I managed to recently find a site that allowed me and a mate of mine to play C&C Red Alert 3, Kane's Wrath, Generals, Generals ZH, C&C 3 etc online once more with hundreds of other folk (EA/Gamespy cut their support years ago) and just sitting in the lobby of a game that's supposed to have dead online brings back so many memories and all this is digital.
I think if anything my external drive is probably the most important physical object to me since it contains a good portion of my games, all my photos I've taken over the years, wallpapers, music and the like that also spark memories of times long passed and for me I don't really need to touch any of those to get the nostalgic feelings, not everyone does mind you since you operate differently from me, I used to be like you as I said before but times change and I changed after a number of years to go from physical gaming to an all digital one.
Ah, no I understand and agree with your completely. The fond memories I have of playing games are actually rarely associated to me owning the physical copy. That is more of something extra on the side. With some few exceptions. For example, I remember my first day playing Zelda Ocarina of Time as one big event, from the clerk telling me that the shipment hasn't come in yet, and asking me to come back later, and when I came back an hour later, he told me the same thing. I went and read some gaming magazines in stores while waiting. Reviews were out and it got nothing but 99's and 100's. I went back, he told me the same thing. After a while, I finally got it, and rushed home. Looked at my pre order bonus (golden Zelda pin) and the back of the box on the way back in the train. And when I got home, I finally opened the game and checked out the manual. (Manuals were a thing back then.) And once I got to play it for myself, I think that's also my most memorable gaming moment with the game. So if I lost the box and the physical copy, it would be liek losing a bit of that experience in a way.
But generally that's not the case. What matters to me the most is my experience of playing a game, and it far outweighs what owning them physically adds. It's just something that I often want to have as well.
I also play Skyrim on PC because of mods. And I guess luckily for me, in that case I didn't mind not having the game in my physical collction, so it works out.
Not exactly sure what my criteria for that are, as I really enjoyed that game. Boxart tends to be one factor though. But there have been a few rare occasions where I've chosen digital out of convenience when I actually would have prefered a physical copy. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax for example. I got it digitally because splitting the cost with a friend who shared my account would be significantly cheaper. And it's a fighting game which means there's a chance I may play it often, so not having to switch discs all the time would be a big plus.
My memories of playing games are the most important thing though. Froms playing Secret of Mana with friends for several weeks straight, to me pulling an all nighter playing the card mini game in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy 8 with a bottle of Nutella until the sun rose.
If I ever lost my gaming collection, I'd be sad of course. But I'd still have all my memories of playing the games, which is much more important to me. And listening to the OST's and such can sure bring back a lot of nostalgic memories and feelings in a more vivid way.
So owning my games physically, while it doesn't weigh as much as much as my memories of playing the games, it's still something I like enough to usually want to invest in as well.
I'm sorry to hear about your cat. Why did you need to put him down, if I may ask? I have two cats myself, and its my first time having pets, so I haven't experienced the loss of a pet yet, but I can imagine it being very painful. But when the time comes, I wouldn't want to have them stuffed either. =/