My job as of late has been showing me new definitions of the word “busy”, so we’ll call that my latest non-updating excuse.
In any event, I’ve recently decided to “move” on my proposal of over a year ago. I’ve converted the vast majority of my games to DVD cases.
To recap, I grew tired of jewel cases and I wanted some singular way of organizing the games I own and the cases they come in. The majority of games I own prior to the late 1990’s were stored (crammed) into a CD folder binder. This worked, but it’s not really an attractive solution. It’s more the solution of a guy in college, not a guy with a house and a working knowledge of bookshelves. For that matter, if I had tried to put them all back in their cases it wouldn’t have worked – the cases are long gone, so we’re back to the square one of buying all new cases.
Which led me back to the DVD case idea. I figured that, since eventually PC games will move to DVD’s (witness that Unreal Tournament 2004 will take up six CD’s, or one DVD) then the odds are that cases will move there anyway. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I just like DVD cases right now.
Of course most of my games aren’t on DVD, and some of them take up multiple discs. This was the main thing keeping me from going ahead and trying this idea – the fact that most games take up multiple discs. This would mean that many games would require multiple DVD cases. This just isn’t a cool solution. Then one day I was walking though Office Depot and I spotted dual disc DVD cases for sale. This would solve the problem of dual disc games, but not that of games with three discs (like Neverwinter Nights or Unreal Tournament 2003) but I figured it was close enough – down to two cases instead of three.
So I started to explore label options. I found sites which did custom DVD cover art for games, but this idea was plagued with problems. For starters, I would need a color printer. Specifically a color laser printer, since ink jet just sucks, both quality and cost wise. Now, while my workplace has a color laser, I just don’t like that idea. And Kinko’s is unweildly and expensive. Plus, the other big problem was, the custom covers tended to be crappy and all over the board. While some were nice, most were pretty bad. Plus, there was no way all the games I had were going to have covers available anyway, so that idea was out.
So I decided to fire up CorelDRAW and make a standard, generic template. I put the name of the game on the top of the spine and across the front. I put the year the game was made across the bottom of the front. Any CD key involved I placed across the bottom of the front as well. Any special designation (like “Installation Discs”/”Play Disc”) I put across the bottom of the spine.
Then one day while I was in Fry’s I spotted special DVD cases that could hold three discs. The way they accomplished this was to hold all three discs on the spindle. I snatched some up, this got NWN and UT2003 down to one case, though it didn’t fix the one four-disc game I have, Wing Commander III.
A few years back we bought a little shelf thing for our movie DVD’s and, since I don’t have hundreds of them, it hasn’t become completely full (though it’s close now). My Wife spotted our neighbors having a garage sale with a second one, so I picked it up for $5. So now I had the shelf, so I printed out the case sleeves and got to work.
It’s been rather interesting to say the least. I think the first time I owned a PC was 1991 or so. I had a Commodore 64 back in the day and sort of fell out of the computer thing for a while (it wasn’t my fault – I had no income). The first PC I ever owned with a CD-ROM drive on it was in 1996, so most of my collection occurs after this date. The earliest CD-ROM game I own is 1993’s Myst and Return to Zork. The single earliest game I have on CD-ROM that originated from floppy disk is 1991’s Wolfenstein 3-D. Wing Commander III is the largest game, at 4 CD-ROM’s. Ironically were it not for the DVD version I plan to pick up, the next record would be taken by Unreal Tournament 2004 at 5-6 CD’s.
The only game I own which came in a DVD case is a reissue of Call to Power II which I picked up at Fry’s since the source code had been released and though lots of FPS have released source, I hadn’t seen a turn-based strategy game released before. Fry’s carries a number of games like this – some European company re-releases old games in DVD cases with electronic manuals. It’s literally the black sheep of my collection, but I don’t really mind.
Now the only problem I have is the fact that I still have way too many games for the case I’ve got, so I haven’t decided what to do with the runoff, especially since I’m now down to the games which sat happily in a CD book for years now. I have dozens of sleeves printed for games which weren’t at or towards the top of the pecking order.
In a similar vein, I’ve now completed my Twin Peaks television collection. Twin Peaks, if you’ll recall, is the cult television show from the early 1990’s by David Lynch. In 2001, the pilot episode was released via a Hong Kong import DVD and the first seven regular episodes (the first season) were made available via a DVD set. The problem is that the second season isn’t on DVD. People anxiously awaited Artisan to release the second season on DVD but besides the delays, Artisan turned around and announced that the first season hadn’t sold well enough to merit a second season release. The real story, however, is that while Artisan holds the rights to the second season, they don’t have access to the original source material to make digital transfers and Paramount won’t give up the transfers for a reasonable amount, so the earliest the DVD’s could be released would be when Artisan’s rights expire and Paramount does it themselves, late 2005. Meanwhile they plan to do it in all the other countries this year.
So screw it, I tried to play nice. Instead I downloaded all the episodes. Funny thing is, while I was able to get all of the episodes, the sources were varied. About half of the episodes have Finnish subtitles. I converted the 23 episodes to VCD and burned them. Of course, 23 DVD cases next to the other Twin Peaks DVD’s I had were kinda bulky, so I picked up a bunch of slim cases and made more sleeves. I got a little more creative with these – I got a font which was more Twin Peaks-ish and I even got episode descriptions from TV Tome. They still don’t fit on my shelves but at least I’ve got them now.
So anywho, I don’t know why in the heck this post took so long, and I’ll have some pics online at some point, but in the meantime I’m going to bed.