Creating a Game Room: Part 2 - Organization is Key
Buying a house is stressful. I wanted to start talking about layouts and room positioning a bit more today, but unfortunately, we’re still in the phase where everything could completely fall apart at a moment’s notice. Long story short, we just got past the home inspection, and we’ve sent our list of requests for repairs back to the sellers. In all likelihood, they will come back with some sort of reasonable response, but there were a few big-ticket items there, so there’s always a possibility that they’ll come back at us and say “You’re crazy. We’re not paying for any of that. Deal’s off. Find a new house.”
So with the whole thing still pretty tenuous, planning a specific layout at this point doesn’t seem to be the most efficient use of my time, so I’ve decided to instead direct my attention to making sure I have my stuff as organized as possible. And that means keeping up with the cataloging.
This program is called Gamepedia, and I’ve been using it for years. It’s not perfect, but it can be bent to my will pretty easily, so it’s about as good as it’s going to get for me. It has a function that will auto-generate all the different fields and box art, but it pulls this information from places like Amazon listings, and more often than not, especially with the older games, that information is all kinds of wrong. So each time I get a new game, I add them manually. It’s a bit more time-consuming to gather the information and images myself, but it’s worth it in the end. For older NES games, for example, I want to know if I have the version with the original round seal of quality or a later release with the oval seal of quality. And I want the box art in my program to reflect that. Is that complete insanity? Absolutely. Is it a requirement for me to sleep at night. Definitely. Gamepedia lets me go that crazy if and when I want to, and it’s been a loyal companion of mine for years.
My cataloging is far from complete though. I started tracking my games in a notebook over 20 years ago. I later moved that information to an Excel spreadsheet, which then moved to a Palm Pilot (remember those?) that I bought just so I could have my collection with me at all times. After that became no longer useful, (it was a piece of crap) I reverted back to an Excel spreadsheet, which was the basis for all my information when I got Gamepedia. The problem with the spreadsheet though was that it only showed if I had the game, not what condition it was in, if I had the box and manual, or how many copies I had. Over the years I’ve been “completing” categories as I get the time. The most recent one I did was PlayStation, which at 139 games was one of my heftier categories, but there are still some big ones I have yet to tackle, so I need to be extra careful where I keep them before I pack stuff up for the move. Not a huge problem, but I’m going to want as many precise numbers as possible for when it comes time to come up with shelving options for the games I plan on displaying.
A small portion of the garage setup. I can’t wait to give this stuff the home it deserves.
I think the other thing that’s going to be fun when it comes to packing up my stuff is that it’s scattered through a couple of locations. The bulk of my collection is currently residing in my parents’ garage. I’m not super happy about that fact, because it isn’t a climate controlled environment, and I don’t like eating up so much of my parents’ garage space with my stuff. In order to decrease the chances of any of my higher end items being damaged from sitting in a garage for a while, I took a chunk of my collection and brought it to my apartment to put on a bookcase in my bedroom. That includes all of my boxed SNES games, my complete Virtual Boy collection, several Saturn games, etc. Then there’s another corner in my bedroom that I dedicated to actually playing retro games on original hardware with a small CRT. There’s a DVD rack next to it that’s half full of games that don’t emulate particularly well like Yoshi’s Island and StarFox SNES, and stuff like Cool Spot that I like but that’s never been ported to a Virtual Console service for obvious reasons. There are some other odds and ends in my closet that I’ve gotten in the past year that haven’t been properly cataloged yet, and thus haven’t found their way to their proper home, and finally there are the handful of games I’ve lent out to some folks.
The shelf-o-gems. At least these guys have a comfortable place to live.
I would love to be able to centralize all this stuff when packing, but somehow I don’t see that happening as smoothly as I’d like. So the plan is to get everything that isn’t cataloged taken care of so I know it’s there, get the games I’ve lent out back in my possession and filed properly, then start gathering everyone together in boxes for the big move. Fortunately, the big stuff at my parents’ house is already boxed up, so that should save some time!
The next step after this is going to be determining exactly how much stuff I can fit into my allotted space, and deciding what’s going to stay in storage, and what games I’ll be able to shelve and display in glorious fashion. Looking at this screenshot of Gamepedia as I’m writing this makes me realize that I have to adjust my quantity on Mega Man 3. I sold my extra copy a few months ago, and I never got around to adjusting those numbers.
I’ve certainly got a lot of work ahead of me.