When you buy video games, you may end up with a big game collection quickly. Especially today with all these sales and bundles for each different platform. But how to get your collection organized? How to keep track of which game you played and which one you have to finish? This article shows you, how you can create yourself a digital game collection that helps you to get your games organized.
Why should I use a digital game collection?
If you’re like me and you play and collect on / for multiple systems, you will most likely come to the point where you are going to get problems to keep on track with your constantly growing games collection. I for e.g. collect and play on PC, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. Besides this modern systems I sometimes also buy games for Playstation 1/2/3, Wii (U) and my good old SNES. Over the last years, a lot of games has been added to my collection, physical and digital.
Due to that large range of different systems and different distribution types for the games, I’ve decided to create myself a digital game collection. After adding almost 70% of my games to the catalogue, it was more than clear that I have more games than I initially thought. Some games I abandoned for a reason, but other games I simply forgot about. But a digital game collection is not just about how to keep on track with games. Some of these digital game collection solutions are also providing additional, nice to have features like the time you will need to beat your entire collection or the user scores for a specific game.
Which platforms should you use?
There are a lot of digital game collection platforms available. I’ve tested three ways to organize my games and want to show you my results. Keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and you may want to check other platforms as well. All three tested options here are free to use.
HowLongToBeat was brought to the world a few years ago (sadly I don’t have a specific year here). Initially it was created for gamers to share there time they needed to beat a game. Over the time, HowLongToBeat added a lot of other options. One of them is managing your game collection in a digital form.
Registering is fast and easy. Go to HowLongToBeat.com click on Join and enter your mail address along with your desired username and password. After you clicked the activation link which has been sent to you via mail, you can start adding all of your digital and physical games to your game collection.
On the Dashboard you always see what games you currently set as being played, as well as the recently completed games. To add a new game to your list, you can use the search bar at the top of the page. The good thing with HowLongToBeat is, that you have a database with thousands of games included, which you can use for auto completion. You can add your games to one of the following lists:
- Playing: A list which contains the games you are actually playing.
- Backlog: The backlog list contains the games you have already bought but you wasn’t able to play them so far.
- Replays: You already finished the game but you are considering to replay it for various reasons.
- Retired: Sometimes you bought a game because it sounded very good to you. However, after playing some hours you found out that this game really isn’t worth the time. You should then move the game from Playing to Retired.
- Beat: Games you already beaten / finished.
An addition to these lists you also have one custom list / custom tab. You are free to set the name to whatever you want. I for myself set the name to „Whishlist“. I add all the games I want to buy in the future to this list.
Besides this core functionality, HowLongToBeat also offers a forum, overall times the different players needed to either finish a game 100% or for rushing through and a lot of other different features. And if you need to, you can also export your games list with all information provided to a Excel list.
Backloggery is another online platform like HowLongToBeat. Backloggery went online back in 2004 and was created by one person. The founder of Backloggery made a Spreadsheet for himself back then and decided that he or she wants to provide a better solution for other users as well. Thus Backloggery was born.
In direct comparison to HowLongToBeat, Backloggery is faster but doesn’t provide a database. For a lot of people the simplicity and clarity that Backloggery is providing is exactly fitting their needs. Registering for Backloggery is as easy as for HowLongToBeat. A few minutes and a registration activation mail later you’re ready to add your games to your digital Backloggery collection.
The dashboard of Backloggery does give you a short overview about the games you’re actually playing. On the right you see a log which is called „Memory Card“. The usage of such terms really fits into the retro-like appearance that Backloggery is providing. When you’re adding a new game to your digital game collection, you don’t have a database you can make use of, as already stated. However, Backloggery does provide other fields like „Compilation“ where you can enter the name of DLCs you own for the game you want to add or „Progress Notes“ where you can write notes to yourself. You can even rate the game at the end of the form. However, these fields are only available if you activate the „Detailed Mode“ at the upper right of the dialog.
A unique feature for sure is the so called „Stealth Add“. With this feature you can add a game to your game collection but it’s only visible by yourself. Even though this is a feature I personally don’t need, it’s nice to have. A feature I deeply miss in direct comparison to HowLongToBeat is the Excel / CSV export. It’s a good feeling to know that I can always export my digital game collection.
3) Excel Spreadsheet
This is obviously the most direct way to maintain yourself a digital game collection. Start a Spreadsheet with Google Docs, Excel, LibeOffice or whatever other software solution you prefer. The benefits are clear here. You can style and create a spreadsheet which fits your needs. You’re also free to save the Spreadsheet where ever you want to. This gives you totally freedom in any manner.
On the other hand, there are cons here as well. The presentation isn’t mostly looking as good as it does with one of the two platforms. You’re also limited in sharing your digital collection with other people. And there is no database which you could use like you can with HowLongToBeat.
Before you start by zero and making your own Spreadsheet, you can also use some of the templates made by other people. If you search through the web you will find plenty of Excel Spreadsheet Templates available. One of the more prominent examples is the one created by the user ReverendAwesomo on reddit. This Excel Spreadsheet truly is near perfection.
In times where you most likely buy a lot of games digital, a (digital) game collection will help you to keep track of your games so that you don’t buy them twice or simply forget about them. With that being said, it doesn’t matter which platform / solution you’re going to use. Simply use the platform that fits your needs!
Personally, I’ve decided to go with HowLongToBeat. I like the information about how long somebody needs to finish a game, as well as the database auto and the completion functionality whenever I add a game to my game collection. But as I already said, it’s a matter for personal taste. All the presented solutions are free, so you literally can’t do anything wrong here.
Do you have other platforms I should mention here as well? Which platform or solution do you use and why? Let me know in the comments.