I have been using Collectorz.com’s Movie Collector to keep track of my movie library for years. Versatile and quite user-friendly, Movie Collector takes a lot of guesswork out of tracking my Blu-rays and DVDs, and even has a Loan function to keep tabs on movies that people have borrowed. Collectorz.com recently sent us their Game Collector program to evaluate. While there are other applications available to keep your videogame library in order, none of them are as complete as Game Collector.
The first time you open the application, you may feel slightly overwhelmed at the amount of information that Game Collector keeps track of. Rest assured that if your game exists in Collectorz.com’s extensive game database, then almost all of this information is automatically filled in by the application. Starting the process is as easy as entering the bar code from the game that you wish to catalog. Once this is done, Game Collector populates the rest of your entry (full title, genre, publishing year, operating system, platform, etc.); that’s all there is to it. Even hardware can be entered into the tool.
After any input operation is complete (ie: you leave the entry form), Game Collector presents you with a list of your titles in alphabetical order. Clicking on any game in your collection will bring up a file of the game, complete with cover picture, a short description, and trailers – all of the details presented in an easy-to-read format. The list can be manipulated in a number of ways, and it can be mined for information. Do you wish to know how many action titles you have? It can do that. Curious to know how many PS3 games exist in your collection? It can do that too!
Adding new games is as simple as entering the UPC code or the title – if it’s in the Collectorz.com’s database. Otherwise it’s a manual affair.
Like Movie Collector, you can synchronize your database to an online account on Collectorz.com’s Game Collector Connect (Movie Collector Connect for movies) – if you have the Pro Edition. This cloud-based database can also be used to sync with your iPad or iPod so you can access your list wherever you have a connection to the internet*. For those that don’t feel comfortable with this, you can export your information to a number of different formats (including PDF and HTML) so you can share your collection with friends. Another feature in Game Collector that I have previously enjoyed in Movie Collector is the Loan Management section. This handy utility allows you to mark games as being on loan, and includes fields to track the person’s name, the date that you loaned out your game, and the due date – it will even remind you that you have outstanding loans (when you open Game Collector).
The software also lets you take a look at various statistics, both in tabular format and graphical. With a quick click of the statistics button on the right hand side of the Details Window, you can look at various graphs of your collection, sorting the visuals the way you wish them to be sorted. It’s a handy way to see a general layout of everything that you own in a quick format that is easy to understand – definitely a beneficial thing when one wants to share information.
Now, I’m not going to lie: if you have a large videogame collection, Game Collector is going to be a lot of work. Even if you have the bar code scanner (which costs a fair bit of coin) or the scanning app on your handheld device (which doesn’t cost as much as the physical scanner), it still takes a lot of time to scan things in and verify them. Also, as amazing as Collectorz.com’s database is, it does not house every single game ever made – so if you have something obscure (for North America), you might find that you will have to manually input all of the details and your own cover scan. The database also holds the occasional spelling mistake as well as some grammatical challenges – but I suspect that these are corrected as time goes on.
Who doesn’t love pie charts? Stats to go!
One of the big problems that I have with Game Collector is the tracking of digital downloads. If you have a lot of digital content, you won’t even be able to scan anything – thus, you will be doing a lot of title searches yourself and possibly sourcing out cover images. Luckily, the application comes with a handy search tool for covers, which comes in handy for Steam titles and stuff from the Nintendo shops.
There are other solutions out there for tracking games. I like to use Raptr, which automatically adds any game that I buy or receive due to the fact that it’s tied into practically every online game network (Steam, PSN, XBL, etc.). Of course, there are exceptions to this fact; also, it cannot track old boxed games (or any games, in fact) that are not associated with any social network at all. While Raptr allows me to track statistics in games automagically (including trophies and achievements), it does not allow me to keep track of things that I have loaned out, or the status of my collection in case I want to sell anything.
So, whether or not you should get Game Collector is tied to how thorough you like to be. If you’re just starting out, it is a great way to keep tabs on everything. If you already have a large collection, then you will be doing a lot of work at the beginning – but you will be rewarded by a fantastically complete database that you can share. I enjoy Movie Collector because it does a fine job; and due to the lack of interactivity of the movies themselves (they are all contained in boxes rather than being tied to online social networks), it is a no-brainer. While I am not sure how practical Game Collector is for me, the usefulness of the tool is undeniable for those who wish to command complete control of their collections. The trial version of the application is limited to fifty game titles. The Standard Edition of Game Collector will run you about $30 and the Pro Edition costs around $50.