Short-Term Memory Week — The Game Shelf, Re-Visited

(It’s Short-Term Memory Week, a celebration of earlier Multiplayer posts with full-sized updates. Today: remember… February 2nd?)

It was winter. It was cold. And I was ready to reveal one of my most stubbornly held gaming idiosyncrasies:

For the last few years, I have wanted all of my modern gaming collection to fit on a single shelf in my apartment.

I didn’t mind shoving my Nintendo 64 cartridges in a closet. I was happy to toss my Game Boy Advance games in a shoebox. But I maintained that every game I kept, from PlayStation 2’s launch until now, should fit on one shelf I originally bought for books. In the February 2nd entry of Multiplayer, I wrote:

…the perfect 21st century gaming collection, no matter what, will fit 27 inches x 12 inches.

Because of this, I undertake a fierce review of my personal collection every few months. I force myself to chuck old favorites because of a bizarre credence I put in the wisdom of some furniture maker who probably designed my shelf to hold Judy Blume or Tolstoy volumes instead….

I held that truth to be self-evident. I stood by it, even as I was later challenged by others.

And then the winter melted into spring and summer. And my wife and I had to move to a new apartment. The future of the shelf itself was in jeopardy.

Moving can have a serious effect on one’s game collection, especially if one is moving to a smaller place. It’s an occasion to purge.

And when you have a gaming shelf as cluttered as mine had been (see left), the place to purge is obvious.

Look how many games I had on there! Sure, I tried to thin that collection out as often as possible (hint: “Red Steel” didn’t stay on there), but the move was going to transform from a game-collection-quality-control device into a smaller-apartment eyesore.

And then came some great news. I discovered that the smaller apartment I was moving to had some built-in shelves — shelves that could be closed with some built-in shutters, the better to keep a bulging gaming collection from bothering my loved ones.

Oh, happy day! Ladies and gentlemen, let me present the result: My new gaming shelf.

Old shelf: 27″x12″x10.5″.

New shelf: 35″x19″x11″.

That’s 3402 cubic inches vs. 7315. I do believe my home’s capacity for great games has doubled.

The new shelf contains 53 games in the back row that have all stood the test of my repeated collection-purges. The front row has 34 more games, not all guaranteed keepers. There are 6 PSP keepers on the left and 57 DS titles on the right (not all keepers — in fact some are stinkers I hold onto because they amuse me).

The new shelf is also big enough to host the occasional visit from Quimby the cat, as you can see in this post’s top image (Quimby is now the second animal to star in Multiplayer.)

While I like the new shelf and appreciate the doubled space, I’m not going to change my controversial theory: I should always be able to keep a collection of my favorite games on a single shelf.

Think how amazing the contents of my shelf will be 10 years from now, with another decade’s worth of games and scrutiny applied to the collection. Then again, if I’m still living in the same apartment I’ll have a different set of problems.

Finally, if there are any fans of the old shelf, don’t worry.

I’ve found some new things for it to hold.

Good luck figuring out what’s on there!