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Video Game Storage Solutions For Dummies

Back when I wrote my video game storage post, I didn’t realize that while it sounded like it was about how to store video games, it was actually more about clutter. But I do get a fair amount of traffic from gamers who find that post through Google, and I’ve also gotten some questions, so this post is actually going to talk about my experience with video game storage solution, filtered through the consoles I have actually owned.

Storing Atari games

It seems hilarious now that the Atari 2600 ever cost so much, but we had one while the nation was in the grip of Arcade Fever.  The Atari had little black cartridges about the size of a deck of cards, with an open slot in the bottom. Of course at the time I was six years old, so the longevity of those games wasn’t my top priority.The games got stored in a box.

I took my old Atari out yesterday. Dust and time have not been kind to those games. That’s the major problem with any of the older games that have opening in the bottom with exposed motherboards.

Storing NES games

Same problem as with the Atari games. If you ever owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, you have almost certainly spent an hour blowing into the bottom of your favorite game, desperate to make it work again.

The bottom of the NES cartridge is open, so dust and temperature have free reign in there if you don’t store the games properly.

Storing SNES games

Getting the Super Nintendo was a high point of my young life, but you wouldn’t have known it based on how I stored the games. But I was stillo a kid. Games were still being thrown into a box or stacked on top of each other on the desk. Often they wound up on the floor and fell pray to big clumsy feet.

The bottom of the cartridges were still open, and this would continue through the Nintendo 64 days. I never had a Sega system, but careless friends were experiencing the same problems.

Storing Playstation games

It makes me laugh that the idea of games on discs ever seemed so novel. Now the problems of the open cartridge were irrelevant, but a new danger surfaced: the scratched CD.

I was just as hard on my music as on my games. For some reason, the scratched and unplayable music I had accumulated didn’t convince me to stop stacking my games on top of each other, or putting them back into their cases consistently, or stepping on them, or using the folder with the plastic sleeves my mom got me.

Present day

Now, as a collector of modern and retro video games, I take better care of things. In my opinion, here are the major threats to video games both young and old:

  • Dust
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Big clumsy feet

A decent storage system will take care of all of this. It’s actually pretty simple, which I can only see as an adult gamer.

For cartridges, I would buy something sturdy, spacious enough to accommodate your buying habits, and with a door on it to keep as much air as possible out. My wife stores decorations in big plastic bins that lids that can be snapped tightly–those might also be worth exploring. They sell them at Costco and Sam’s Club if you’re not an online shopper.

And don’t store them in blazingly hot and humid, or numbingly cold locations.

For discs, keep them in their cases and treat the cases as if they were cartridges. I think the folders with the sleeves are inadequate. If they heat up, the games fall out. And with all the discs loose in a binder, it’s still too easy to scratch them.

So, heat, humidity, strength of the storage rack, and avoiding big clumsy feet.

If you buy a lot of games, you know how badly it stinks when they quit working. These video game storage suggestions up above will keep you and those games happy for quite a while if you’re smarter than I was as a kid.


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