There are many ways one can track their game collection, be it an app or some other sort of online service. While these offer niceties like box art, market worth and social networking features so you can gloat about your collection of cardboard and plastic to other nerds – nothing beats an old school, but convenient approach.
I for one, do not care about tacked-on features. All I desire is a simple way to track my ever-growing collection so I don’t buy Cool Boarders 2 three damn times (true story) but a tallying system is nice too so I can gloat, because gloating is fun. And besides, there’s something to be said about keeping a list locally and fully within your control. Who knows when a dedicated service could go kaput – deleting useful lists and gloating rights along with it?
My system is effortless – an Excel spreadsheet that I keep in my Dropbox so I can easily check if I already own something while I’m out and about and on the prowl for new games – but importantly, being able to update from any device is important too so I don’t fall prey to a dreaded, out of date list.
Excel can be substituted for many open-source alternatives (like Libre Office) and Dropbox other cloud services, but just make sure the files are easily available on your phone while connected to mobile networks. As a side note: the equations I’ve written for this spreadsheet are in no way complex, but I hope this at least helps someone out there.
The overall layout consists of a grand total number on one of the first rows – purely for your ego – followed by each column being dedicated to a single console. There are individual tallies for those, with each row beneath being the games listed for that particular console in alphabetical order. Formatting is entirely up to your own discretion, but I’ve chosen to show the console names in bold so they stand out compared to the game names, while the tally numbers are bordered for readability. If you wish to add a bit more flair, left-click on a cell and select “Format Cells” for colour, font and other options.
The main problem I have with this spreadsheet is that there is no way to automatically sort the lists alphabetically. I tried, in vain, to conjure up an approach where I can add in a game and have it automatically sorted to an alphabetised console list, but that is above my skill-level (and I couldn’t find any other examples to copy) but I promise that if I ever do figure it out, I’ll update this article.
In the meantime: add a game to a console list in its respective column, select all the game titles in that list and head to the “Home” ribbon. In the Editing block, select “Sort & Filter” and from the drop-down, select the “Sort A to Z” option. There will be a sort warning since there is text in the columns on either side, so be sure select the “Continue with the current selection” radio option or a bunch of unrelated crap will be sorted too. Doing this every time is a minor pain, but it’s better than eyeing through a disorganised list while in public, trying to decide if you’re going to buy a game or not.
Now, for the tallying. Each cell that counts a list (and shows the tally number) has this equation attributed to it:
COUNTIF is a great function – see Microsoft’s own article here for an in-depth explanation. On a basic level, the equation is broken up into three components. After the equals sign (which tells Excel that you wish to write an equation and not plain text) the word “COUNTIF” defines that as the function while the brackets define the information to be countif’d. What I referred to as CELL1 could be any cell on the spreadsheet that is the start of a list (so, the first game title in alphabetical order) while CELL2 is the last game title in that list, with each cell name being separated by a colon. The [ ,“*” ] after the cell definitions is a wild card. This ensures that it counts every title of text in a cell as one (ie, any string of characters) so that the tally count is correct. Otherwise, you’ll get a fat zero, which won’t please anyone.
That equation is used for each console list, but for the total tally, the cell that shows the fateful number will have this basic equation instead:
Again, CELL1 and CELL2 just represent the range of cells that show the tally for each console; in this case, going left to right across the spreadsheet. SUM works well here since we’re effectively just adding numbers together.
And, that’s it. Super simple.