Is there a more exciting way to organise video games than alphabetisation?

Without order there is chaos. And when it comes to defeating chaos on my game shelf I have always adhered to the protocols of alphabetisation to neatly order my game boxes. From 0 to 9 and A to Z. Always left to right (vertical stacking makes me uncomfortable like I have spiders in my underpants). It's simple and it works. There is order. I should be happy.

Above: Alphabetisation is logical

But...

Sometimes I wish there could be another way. Some radically fresh and exciting new approach to organising my game collection. A brave new structural philosophy that retains the effectiveness of alphabetising, but simultaneously demonstrates non-conformity and the spirit of freethinking. Can there really be some such alternative method of compartmentalising?

To find out, I spent several intimate hours with my sizeable collection of Xbox 360 games. It was a voyage of discovery. This is what happened.

Alternative method of organising game collection #01: By publisher

This is too logical. Too conventional. And, slotting my Activision games neatly between 2K Games and Capcom, I realise this method still requires a sub-tier of alphabetisation. It's not revolutionary enough. I'm shooting for 'intangible stoner logic' but coming up with 'boring management coherence'. Time to re-appraise my approach.

Alternative method of organising game collection #02: By the colours of the rainbow

This is more like it. Less BlackBerry. More lentil. Everyone's familiar with the 'I can sing a rainbow' song, right? So if I put the spines in order of red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue, it'll be like a delightful pantone shelf of colourful orderliness. Unfortunately, most game box spines are either boring black or boring white and there is no boring black and boring white in the rainbow. So this doesn't really work either. Boring.

Alternative method of organising game collection #03: By the number of letters in the title

I picture this in my mind and see a striking visual effect of incrementally expanding typography fanning horizontally along my Ikea storage shelf like cotton-wool vapour trails from the back-end of some supersonic jet plane. But there are all sorts of different fonts at all sorts of different sizes and all sorts of different logos with all sorts of different alignments. In practice, it's a total bloody aesthetic disaster. My eyes. They no likey.

Alternative method of organising game collection #04: By how much I rate the game

From worst to best. Ascending, in accordance with my personal system for rating games (which I will decline to explain fully but be assured that it involves maths, scientific apparatus and chalk). However, after just a few minutes my mind collapses into a blitz of incoherent and irrationally angry internet-style shouting as I self-argue the finer points of why Dance Central is a better game than L.A. Noire.

I can't agree with myself, my temper flares and I stomp out, resolutely refusing to talk to myself until I've made a full apology for being such a stupid little bitch. Eventually I make up, shake my own hands and quickly decide to abandon the idea because I don't like the kids to see me arguing at myself. It makes them nervous.

Alternative method of organising game collection #05: By protagonist type

Like the principles of 'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral' but a bit different because obviously there aren't many mineral protagonists. Or vegetable ones for that matter. So I start organising according to gender and then create sub-divisions correspondent with primary characteristics, such as hero, anti-hero, macho, slightly like a lady, bearded, ability to wear hats and so on.

It's all going well until I get to games with multiple protagonist options, like Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil 5. And then The Orange Box completely makes my head hurt and I decide not to bother any more.

Alternative method of organising game collection #06: By random

To be honest, I'm getting a bit bored by this stage, so I just pick up all the games and slot them slapdash on the shelf all willy-nilly. Completely random. It's reckless and indiscriminate but for a minute it feels good. Euphoric almost. Liberated from the chains of self-imposed anal retention I feel like discarding my clothes in full celebration of this new found freedom. But then I spot Alan Wake filed between Portal 2 and LA Noire. It doesn't look right. Not happy. Uncomfortable. Nrrrggghh. Urge... to... alphabetise... rising.

Alternative method of organising game collection #07: Making a suit from game collection

Disheartened at my complete failure to find a more exciting way to organise my video games than alphabetisation, I decide to cheer myself up by making a suit entirely out of my game collection. I was pretty happy with it. This is what it looked like:

And then I put my games back on the shelf. Organised in alphabetic order.

How do you organise your game collection? Share with the group in the comments. I'm genuinely, honestly interested.

Sept 27, 2011