As collections grow, the challenge of maintaining order and visual quality can be a herculean task. With the persistent urge to keep things in order, I'm finding myself stacking games atop each other simply to avoid adding extra furniture to the mix.
"People dedicated a portion of their lives to creating these games, and they deserve to be respected,"
Not so for 28-year-old Craig Lupienski from New England - his collection of more than 1500 physical games takes up nearly an entire bedroom in his home. "I'm frequently buying furniture just for my games," he admits. "With space at a premium, it really begins with 'wherever it will fit.' In a more perfect world, it'd be much more presentable and pleasing to the eye." Maintaining a collection of that size holds a personal thrill for him. "It's the adventure in playing something I've never played or even heard about, and then sharing my enthusiasm with others through writing, videos, or podcasts," he adds.
Software engineer Brian Langeland also has a room dedicated to his games in his Chicago-area home, but most of his 3500 games entered his life after he bought the house about five years back. "I had this extra bedroom that was totally empty, and I needed something 'cool' to put in it," he notes. "What better place could there be to hook up the old NES and Genesis? The library just started growing."
Langeland says that maintaining a system is "vital" for a collection of his size, though things like Nintendo 64 cartridges - on which the label doesn't extend to any side - create minor headaches. "I am a somewhat disorganized person (and always have been), but when there are things I really care about, I work to keep them well organized," he says.
Beyond making it easier to pick individual games out of his massive assemblage of releases, Langeland believes his well-organized collection pays tribute to game creators. "People dedicated a portion of their lives to creating these games, some of which were good; others not. But regardless, people worked on these, and they deserve to be respected," he asserts. Admittedly, it also looks pretty cool. "I'm all about the spectacle of my game room. I want it to look impressive and showy, and give me a +10 to nerd cred."
Matt Paprocki, a 31-year-old freelance game journalist, speaks of rescuing games destined to be cast aside and forgotten, offering a good home to what he estimates to be 6000-7000 total games spread across three rooms in his cool, dry basement. Keeping titles alphabetized and sorted by system is essential for such a mass of games. "Searching for that one game you want to play without having organization is a nightmare," he admits. "My mom is a slight clean freak at times and I worked at a video store for years. The latter teaches you everything you need to know about keeping things straight, in line, and in order." Beyond his game collection, he also claims to have "a few thousand gaming magazines" - well organized, of course.
Large gaming collections can become a significant part of one's life, but when the unexpected happens, such things may be viewed from a different lens. Steve Lin, the VP of consumer operations at social gaming network GREE International, owns a remarkable collection comprised of thousands of boxed games, complete game collections for multiple systems, and more than 30 upright arcade cabinets (plus about 10 pinball machines), which he rotates in and out of his loft from storage.