Nintendo Game Library
Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

Call us sentimental, call us paranoid, call us what you will, but around these parts we still love the physical article when it comes to our media, especially video games. While many of us have gone at least part-digital for the sake of saving space and sheer convenience, especially with the portable Switch, even the eShop-only gamers among us hanker for the touch of a cart or a smooth-edged optical disc on occasion. We're only human.

As lifelong gamers, we've accrued sizeable collections over the years (some of us more than others, granted), collections that require storage when not in use. We have, as many of you will, a bounty of systems, games, and peripherals stored around our households and workspaces — some of them excessively bulky and unreasonably fragile — and it all needs to go somewhere.

This writer often daydreams of a library with vintage bookcases supporting his tastefully displayed archive. A little coffee table beside one of those red-leather reading chairs with the worn gold studs, perhaps; a Game Boy perched atop beside a decanter of something delicious. He browses the software shelves, running his finger along spines until something takes his fancy and he pops it into the console, settling down with an aperitif before dinner...

Study Library
Make that book a DSi XL, add a little alcove with a Vectrex, and that's basically every gamer's dream, right? Right!?Image: Jimmy Garbanzos / Pexels

Sorry, I got carried away with my greying gamer reverie there. Don't worry, I'm back now. Back in the home office, surrounded by cardboard boxes filled with NES Zappers, Rock Band mics, Joy-Con in varying states of deterioration, and that consignment of 20 pink-and-white-striped New 3DS cover plates I picked up for a tenner with a speculative eBay bid.

We've got all sorts of approaches to game storage on Team Nintendo Life, with our varied living situations impacting our solutions. In an effort to bring some class to my own chaos, I recently took delivery of some Book4Games cases to house my loose cart GB collection. The cases turned out pricey for what they are, but they go a small way (a very small way) to achieving my personal dream of a substantial, game-filled 'study' to retire to with a nice beverage — a coffee, perhaps, or a Manhattan — for an hour or two of Witcher III or Super Mario Land or Ocarina of Time. Magic.

For N64 cartridges specifically, I rely on three trusty N64 Magazine cart racks to hold the games no longer encased in cardboard. Otherwise, a battered but reliable Billy bookcase in the lounge houses a handful of disparate games from across generations, and the remaining bulk of the collection — spanning Atari 2600 to Switch — is still stacked in cardboard boxes in the office following a house move last year. There are snapshots of order amongst the detritus, then, but it needs some serious sorting.

N64 Game Rack
Classic storage solution, that — Image: Gavin Lane / Nintendo Life

Conversely, Jim tells me he's an alphabetical-order bookcase kinda guy, with a handful of loose carts going in a game 'travel pack' he picked up for the OG Nintendo DS. Ollie, too, has some lovely wooden bookcases sitting behind him every time we have a team video call.

Elsewhere, Nintendo Life HQ has a dazzling array of pristine games neatly displayed across the walls. And let's not even touch on the astounding mass of red Switch box spines surrounding Gonçalo Lopes' entertainment centre, or Zion's ample, enviable shelves filled with gems both boxed and loose — and even those loose carts are beautifully aligned and accessible — and boxed systems stacked neatly above.

Not everyone has that sort of space for displaying old and new consoles, plus their accompanying libraries, of course. Necessity can often dictate that a plastic container or shoebox or shopping bag will have to do. A bottom drawer might contain controllers and random dongles. Some people, we're told, leave loose game discs and old memory cards just lying about the place. Shocking.

Nintendo Game Library 2
Zion's glorious shelving *eye twitches*Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

Beyond storage, there's the matter of actively protecting beloved treasures from the elements, too. Not just obvious hazards like liquids or prowling pets or liquids from prowling pets. Glorious god rays streaming in a window can bleach box art beyond all recognition in a surprisingly short amount of time! Short of hermetically sealing your collection in bespoke protective plastic (which some people do), it's crucial to take measures to preserve and prolong the life of Nintendo's vintage cardboard cases. Even if it's just popping everything in a closet away from the sunlight. There's a lot to consider.

Or is there? Are we overthinking it? How do you store your game collection? Everything in a wardrobe? Lined up on bookcases? Bunged in bottom drawers? Ensconced in shoeboxes? Or have you invested in special storage solutions? Individual plastic sheathes for each and every game in a UV-filtered glass cabinet, perhaps?

Whatever your personal setup, let us know in the poll below and share your storage solutions, ideas, and dreams in the comments. Surely we all want to sit in a fusty study playing Game Boy with a scotch, right?

How do you store most of your games collection?
Nintendo Games
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life