I’m always enthusiastic about getting a good game at a good price and have regular searches and RSS feeds set up looking for discounts and sales. When the right deal pops up I’ll stop whatever I’m doing, buy the game and go back to work.
This while money and time saving in theory this has one major problem. Shopping around I’ve ended up with games here there and everywhere. Some tied to certain accounts, some downloadable from specific links, some distributed on torrents and I forget what I have. The problem has gotten to the point where I’ve purchased games more than once on different services thinking that it was a good deal and that I did not already have it.
So what is the solution?
The simple solution
Taking a page from Gina Trapani’s todo.txt system open a file called games.txt and inside it list all the games by where you got them. You would end up with a file listing something like this:
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 3
Mass Effect 2
World of Goo
The file would slowly grow in length but by doing a simple text search you could identify if you had a game already and where it was. You could get a little more ambitious and store it dropbox so you had it available across your systems (which would also serve as a good backup) but it would still essentially be a text file.
The cloud solution
If you are going to go ahead and store a simple file in Dropbox why not go the next step along the way and store it in a cloud based service? The three possibilities that leap to mind are Evernote, Workflowy and Google Docs. In either case you could create a folder with a series of files or note. Each note would be for a particular service and would contain the games bought through that service.
The folder could be shared, perhaps with your SO so they could access your games or perhaps with your online friends so they knew which multiplayer options might be available.
The custom solution
If you are going to go for a cloud solution perhaps there is something a little more designed for it? Sites that let you list what games you are playing or want to play are quite common (DPADD springs to mind) but something that will include all your past games is more elusive.
There are desktop programs such as “Game Collector” that are adaptations of other collector software, but they do not quite seem to fit. They are usually designed to be generalist and to inventory physical rather than virtual items and as such never are quite as steamlined and easy to use as they could be.
Online however I though I’ve found the solution. Myvideogamelist.comlets you list the games that you are playing, replaying, completed, on hold, dropped and plan to play and has a number of features related to reviewing. It also seems to have a small but active forum community but its not a perfect solution. The site blog was last updated August 2012 with the admin apologizing for a loss of contact as he’d managed to lock himself out of the site for a month and a half. Perhaps more damningly while it allows you to list games you have it does not let you list where you have them. There is a comments field so it could be made to work, but it just isn’t that perfect solution.
In the end I wasn’t able to find a great way to inventorise my games. A simple text file will work for some, Evernote and Google cloud services will work for others and some will be able to look beyond the flaws of myvideogamelist.com but there is not one ideal solution. Personally after all my experimentation I’ll be starting a new list in Workflowy. It is not an ideal solution but the app is designed for making lists, it backs up to Dropbox in a exportable format and is sharable.