How do you organize your games?

I recently moved and thus once again have to examine a problem that I never have found a satisfactory solution to, that being how do you sort a physical game collection.

The traditional approach would be to sort by system and then alphabetical, and while there's some merit to this approach (it looks good on the shelf and it's relatively easy to find what you're looking for), it also has some problems. First being that if a series spans multiple consoles, you end up breaking up the series. Also while it does make finding a specific game fairly easy, if you want to, say, pick out a fighting game to play, you can't just easily take in the whole genre at a glance.

My most recent approach was to sort by broad genre first, then by console, then alphabetically. This naturally makes it easier to take in all your games in a given genre, but also makes the shelf look like more of a mess since game boxes for different consoles have different designs (and, naturally, cartridge based games ended up sorted separately by console since they're an entirely different shape).

Anyway, I figure a lot of people here probably collect physical games so I thought I'd make it a discussion. How do you sort your games?

By format and nothing else, with overspills going… wherever the heck they‘ll fit. You know those antique bookshops that have books used as tables for other books and a piano hidden underneath a cat nobody owns and a pile of tomes on 17th century fishing? That’s my kind of organisation :smiley:

Slightly more seriously: If I'm playing physical media then series/genre is of no use to me, because I'll need to find a SNES game if I want to play on my SNES, not a fighting game by Capcom or the 5th entry in Square's SaGa series. The lack of alphabetisation is more a statement than anything - these are _my_ games, and they are to be _played_ - I'm not a librarian, or an archivist, and they do not exist in this house for any reason other than my own benefit.


The traditional approach would be to sort by system and then alphabetical

Yeah, this is me. My collection is not huge by any means, but it makes it way easier to find something if I or my significant other are looking for it.

When I reflect on my most common 'urge' to play something, it probably ranks 1) I know what title I'm looking for; 2) I just wanna chill with a specific system; 3) I have a specific case use such as multiplayer. The system/alphabetical sorting makes the most sense to me for those first two. It would be interesting to try to organize on a more situational basis like good party games, good co-op games, good quick experiences, etc.... but that leads to my next issue.

The different heights between cases--for instance a 360 case and a ps3 case--annoy me when they are next to each other. Put another way, having a flat, balanced layout puts me at ease. I'm not typically a very organized person, but I think this is the exception that proves the rule.

I used to work at a research library and did a lot of archiving, so I'm sure that experience colors my preference here too. One last thought that just popped into my head is that I had an abundance of books and vinyl well before have anything resembling a game 'collection' so maybe I just transferred the typical organizational methods from those over to a new medium.

Went on about that longer than I expected, had never given it that much thought before!

i have 9-10 tubs in a cupboard which look like a chaotic mess.

It's not a usable thought, but I like that looking through records means looking at the cover of stuff rather than the spine.

Moved into a more permanent situation recently so I've been thinking about this too. Currently have some games on shelves and some still in boxes. They're grouped by console since the thought is usually, "I kinda feel like playing something on the ps2" though I have certainly thought "I feel like some trashy action tonight" before. I might try grouping by genre for the heck of it. Sounds like a fun way to unpack em anyway.

Nice try @AlecS#29706, but I'm not going to post a screenshot of my </s>windows/user/documents/EMU<e> directory!

Over time, I am getting more and more games digitally for convenience (especially for the kids benefit of not having ot fiddle with that damn Switch game card cover), and for not extracting extra plastic from the environment that I then have to store or give away. I have a single Sterilite tub that has my legacy consoles and games in it in the garage. Backward compatibility has enabled me to whittle them down to a Wii, and a PS2, as the 360 is now in the arcade cabinet I'm putting together.

I'm also one of the few people (according to the IC panelists) who regularly play those mini-consoles. I have them in the TV cabinet and the controllers in a basket next to them.


@Kimimi#29711 these are my games, and they are to be played - I’m not a librarian, or an archivist, and they do not exist in this house for any reason other than my own benefit.

Word. I am not a collector and I am not going to put my kids through college on my copy of _Ikaruga_ for GameCube. Though looking at the prices on eBay I should probably sell it and buy the game again on PS4.

Here’s my solution for DS and 3DS.


Both on the shelf and in the root folder of my flashcart, I prefer to arrange by original Japanese release date.

mine is definitely one of those cases where it's a stupid mess but it makes perfect sense in my stupid brain.

**bear with me, this is going to be a profoundly stupid post.**

everything is alphabetical, i put numbers first, before "A", for foreign titles I go by romanization, and i --generally-- try to keep series together? for example, after Demon's Souls, i add Dark Souls Remastered, Dark Souls II SOTFS, Bloodborne, Dark Souls III, then Sekiro, then I move on to what would have been alphabetically after Demon's Souls lol. I know. I know. I'm sorry.

so here's how it breaks down:

Pre-HDMI Console games go on shelves in the room where my CRT setup lives.

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    On top of the shelves are any like, larger boxes, limited editions, CIB cartridge games, etc.

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    From here it's broken out by console. Starting with cartridges on the top shelf, that are stacked kind of haphazardly, but grouped together by console. Atari 2600 first, then NES, then Famicom, then SNES, then Super Famicom, then Genesis, then N64 where JP and US carts are intermingled now that my main N64 is region modded.

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    Everything below that is discs, starting with US Saturn releases, stacked on their side because they're too tall, manual down so the manuals don't sag from gravity over time.

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    Then it's DVD-sized cases, starting with PS2, followed by Xbox. I organize all of these in the following order: Japanese releases, US Greatest/Platinum Hits, US standard releases, then anything that's still in an old blockbuster case or whatever at the very end with the demo discs.

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    Then we get to jewel cases around the middle of the shelves where there's a one shorter shelf for CD sized cases. I start with US standard PS1 games, then JP PS1 games, then JP Saturn games.

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    Below THOSE it's PSP/Vita/DS/3DS games crammed in any way that will fit (still grouped together by platform), along with US Greatest Hits PS1 games, loose US PS1 games (in blank jewel cases), _more_ JP PS1 games I've added recently that don't fit on the appropriate shelf, US Dreamcast games, loose US Dreamcast games in blank jewel cases, loose US Saturn games in blank jewel cases (i promise I only have a few of these per console), JP Dreamcast games, and all of my loose/jewel-case-sized demo discs, crammed in and grouped by platform.

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    Under _THOSE_ is DVDs and VHS tapes. DVDs are grouped by TV shows first, then John Carpenter movies, then everything else. VHS tapes are grouped by Janus Films (proto Criterion) releases first, then music documentaries/concert films, then John Carpenter films, then everything else. LaserDiscs are all on a different shelf, one of those Ikea Expedits or whatever.

  • HDMI-era shelves in the living room:

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    On top of the shelves are some basic home decor, a few bigger boxes that don‘t otherwise fit on the shelf (Criterion VHS of The 39 Steps, Criterion Trilogia de Guillermo Del Toro blu ray box, some games, mostly stuff like that. It’s chaotic.)

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    First up are Criterion Blu-Rays and DVDs, organized first by style (late 90s branding, early 00s branding, then the modern branding) and then by spine number within those styles. After that comes other "boutique" Blu-Rays from Arrow, Scream Factory, Kino Lorber, Vinegar Syndrome, Synapse, etc.

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    Then there's a tiny anime corner, I don't have much. Then it's a bunch of steelbooks I've ended up with over the years. I hate steelbooks lol. Then it's 4K releases. Then a buttload of normal Blu-Rays. Okay time for video games now.

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    First up is a handful of larger boxes from a few PS4 special editions, followed by all those steelbooks. Again, don't like those. Then it's just PS4 games alphabetically by title, with the like, two PS5 games I have thrown in there. Then it's JP PS3 games followed by US PS3 games, then JP Xbox 360 games followed by US Xbox 360 games, then Wii (they get played on the Wii U generally, so they're out here) and finally GameCube (I use a Carby HDMI for my GameCube in 480p, but sometimes if I want to use a CRT I use a Wii with component cables). Switch and Wii U games are stacked on their side in that CD-height shelf in the middle, along with that big metal box for Prey 2006 on 360. I don't know.

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    Then finally, there's some old PC games in various types of boxes on a different shelf, but that shelf sucks and I'll be getting rid of it shortly, no idea where I'm gonna put all those. The kids have a bunch of their VHS tapes on a shelf next to that one, and I keep all my loose game boy and DS carts in a gallon ziploc bag in a closet.

  • PHEW. I am so sorry. This took me way too long to type out from memory. Why am I like this.

    @Kimimi#29711 that absolutely rules. the only reason i have to meticulously organize mine is because of an elaborate series of neurodivergences that result in a profound sense of satisfaction that comes with organizing and alphabetizing things. i still play the wheels off of all of them lol. ^_^ I also just like having everything close at hand and ready to go so that I can just impulse-play stuff if I'm in the mood. Same reason i keep all my consoles hooked up all the time. Sometimes you just gotta play Thunder Force II for like ten minutes at the drop of a hat.

    @andrewelmore#30070 I‘ve just realised how my comment might have come across, and I apologise if it made you or anyone else feel that to have any form of organisation meant the enjoyment/use was only of secondary interest - that was never the intent (even if I didn’t communicate that well). It's just how I physically express “Yes I have a lot of games, but these are mine and they are to be used” and nothing more.

    I have a friend that painstakingly organised games by series. He went to the trouble of buying slim DVD cases for all of his games and printing out new covers for all of the games. It was incredible to look at, but also incredibly absurd and you could imagine the stress involved when something disrupts that.

    He showed me his Metal Gear Solid collection spanning PS1 to PS4 and I asked “where is the Game Boy Color game?”. He responded by putting his face into his hands.

    My approach is simple, and pretty common I expect. Sort by system, then cluster by genre. I did have narrow shelves for a while which allowed me to cluster genres on different platforms together, so I could cluster all my retro collections in one section. It gets dicey when you also have genre clusters that overlap. Is Street Fighter Collection a retro collection or a beat-em-up?

    I do have a couple of oddities that float around without homes, but never get tucked away. I have the ZX Spectrum cassette of Chaos which often lives near my Game Cube Japanese games.


    @docky#30119 Is Street Fighter Collection a retro collection or a beat-em-up

    It's a fighting game. 😛

    @antillese#30136 Does Capcom Generations 5 go with Capcom Generations 4?

    @Kimimi#30102 no, i didn‘t think you meant it like that at all! oh gosh. i just meant i respect your approach and just thought it was kinda funny the way that different people approach the same subject with wildly different results lol. i apologize if my response made it sound like i thought you were casting judgment or anything, i really didn’t read it that way!

    @andrewelmore#30198 No no, my fault! I was the one who misunderstood your original message - sorry about that!

    I‘d like to say that I do the traditional sort by console and then alphabetical route- BUT thanks to the exact problem of OP’s post I have a separate shelf just for fighting games. It wrecks the theme a little but makes fighting game nights a little smoother.

    My method of organizing my games is I give them all to my brother, who likes to collect things and therefore has a lot of shelves in his house. When I want to play a game, I ask him to bring some over. These games then sit on the floor next to my shelf because the shelf is too small.

    It's not the most time-efficient method, but certainly among the most space-efficient (at least on my part.)

    @wickedcestus#30254 that sounds ideal


    The floor is just the biggest shelf in the house

    Oh look at this guy