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Alphabetically or Chronologically?

Andrew Hayward | 27 Mar 2012 13:00
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Many collectors sort by platform and then title, though it's always interesting to hear of people's personal tweaks. Joe Drilling, a 29-year-old wireless tech support agent, collects both import and domestic titles, and separates them on his shelves within each larger platform set, then alphabetizes each separately. He cites retail experience as a partial reason for the habit, but he's also continuing a tradition from his mother. "When I was little, my NES games weren't organized at all, but my mom is a stickler for cleanliness," he notes. "She would put them back, but it took me a long time before I cottoned on. Now I'm much worse than she ever was."

"My life of gaming is what inspired me to become a game developer, so there is a lot of history for me in those pieces of hardware."

In the case of Justin LaGrande, a 31-year-old receptionist and blogger from New Orleans, his decision to sort games by platform and then publisher traces back to his youth. "It is very important to keep things arranged the way I have it mainly because it is the way I always identified the quality a game would contain - especially when it comes to NES games," he remarks.

LaGrande owns about 450 games organized as such, but mid-franchise business deals can throw a wrench into his plans. "The NES Double Dragon games were published by Tradewest and Acclaim, so I have the games published by Tradewest ahead of the games published by Acclaim," he explains. "The final Tradewest game is the first Double Dragon, followed by Double Dragon II, which leads off the games published by Acclaim/LJN." He later adds, "My strict organization is part wanting to pay my own bit of respect to something I love, but can't necessarily make on my own," noting that his system is so locked-in now that it's easier for him to locate games.

And the organizational habits extend past the games themselves, as evidenced by Julian Spillane, a project director at developer Silicon Knights who collects consoles more fervently than the games they play. Spillane owns more than 40 platforms, along with a mass of accessories, and says he keeps them "displayed in (relatively) chronological order, all of them unboxed and with one controller either on top or adjacent." He also tracks them all via database website vgcollect.com, and uses a spreadsheet (formerly to track the systems) to research upcoming acquisitions.

Spillane says he's "not that organized a person, really" and that he organizes his hardware "out of necessity, lest they get lost in the clutter of my daily life." But it goes much deeper for this game maker. "It's a combination of keeping my collection presentable and aesthetically pleasing, and also awe and respect to the consoles themselves," he asserts. "My life of gaming is what inspired me to become a game developer, so there is a lot of history for me in those pieces of hardware. I wouldn't be where I am today without the games and systems I grew up with, so there's definitely some form of reverence that goes along with my collection."

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