Keeping track of game cartridges.....

Maura63May 30, 2006

Hi Fellow OTH-ers ~

My 12-yo ds has accumulated quite a few game cartridges for his handheld system. I'd like him to be able to manage these on his own, without losing track of inventory. He only plays with these on "road trips" (never in the house) and so these systems and accessories are stored in our mud room, for "grab and go" ease. (Car gets too hot.)

I've had him write down the inventory-to-date -- maybe he has around 20 cartridges in all, and they are kept together in a single plastic bag. Sometimes he grabs the whole bag, and sometimes a game or two -- sometimes he loans them to friends -- sometimes they accidentally go through the wash (they wash fine, btw) --

He has little protective cases for each, which I've labeled with corresponding name, but he doesn't always return them to their correct case, or to a case at all.

I'm trying to come up with some sort of cataloguing system so that when cartridges are taken, loaned, etc., we would know which ones are missing.

He wants to buy himself a new game tonight, but I told him we first have to come up with a better way to keep track of the ones he has -- As you may know, it is a small investment.

Has anyone else successfully tackled this organizing issue?

Please share what has worked in your home.

Thank you :-)


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This is how we manage the old games when my boys want a new one: Game Trader. (Some of you will be proud of me for that, won't you?)

They don't play all of the games the have, more tha 8-10 and they just get lost. They don't get a lot for the old ones, but that's the beauty of it for me. They have to trade 2-3 to get even half the credit to buy a new one. The only time I wasn't happy was when they traded Space Invaders- it's the only game I would play myself. DH looked stunned when I got mad and shouted "Why did you let them trade that one!!??"

For the ones my boys keep, they keep a couple in the case. They have clear plastic shoe bags on the back of their bedroom doors, any other games go in there. But you seem to want your more portable than that.

If he is attached to them and you're going to keep collecting them, it has to be a very simple system or a kid just won't use the system. Maybe a school supply size plastic box. Maybe a small binder and add the plastic pages with pockets made for computer disks.

Oh, I almost forget. This might work for you. When we take a road trip, they are allowed to take only what will fit in a toiletries bag. They've each had one the same one for years, black for one, blue for the other, same style. I chose a style that had a lot of clear pockets so they could find what they needed. Of course the gameboy and games goes in it, along with other stuff. Maybe that would work for you to use all the time.

Stephanie- who is saving her allowance for a new Space Invaders game. LOL

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for your reply -- trading in is a good idea, but at this point he is keeping them all. If he outgrows them, maybe then he will consider trading them in.
Right now his portable gaming gear fits nicely in a plastic bin in the mudroom. Storage is not so much the issue; it's more of keeping track of them.

I'm thinking of using bulletin board in his room, specifically for his cartridges. I would use permanent marker to create "grids". Each grid would be labeled with the name of the game; the game would be stored in a mini-plastic bag (found these at Walmart for the purpose of carrying pills, so they are the perfect size and have a space to write on). Then, we can see at-a-glance which are missing. I don't want him to acquire more without accounting for the ones he currently has. (An incentive for him to make sure his friends return the borrowed ones.)

However, I'm not thrilled with the visual clutter this option creates.

Maybe the cartridges would fit inside baseball card / binder storage pockets. Then I could label each pocket and see, at-a-glance, which are missing. I'll have to look into this.

Still open to other ideas!

Thanks :-)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:32AM
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I have a 12 yo and here's what I would do. I would just put a small spiral pad and pencil in the bag where he keeps his games and if he loans one out, then he would jot it down. When the game is returned he can tear out the page and throw it away or just cross out the information.

Having the stuff written down isn't really the skill needed to keep track of the games. Making sure the car is picked up when you get out, pockets emptied before putting in the laundry, etc. will ensure that he finds the games.

Since he has an inventory of the games, keeping track of around 20 isn't all that many in my opinion. The pocket idea of seeing at a glance if one is missing is a good idea. Anything which would make it easy to see quickly is helpful.

Any written system will have to be maintained. If it doesn't get maintained there isn't any use in doing that. Also, the farther away from the game storage, the less useful it will be.

Evaluate how often a game goes missing. If it is frequent, then maybe the pocket idea is best and the games can be found quickly. If it rarely happens and he usually puts the games where they belong, I wouldn't spend much energy with a system.

I think the simple idea of no new games until the old ones are in their place is good logic. It will then be up to him to keep track of them if he wants new stuff. Go ahead and turn the responsibility over to him and just let him deal with the consequences. I'll bet he will suprise you and keep track of the games if it means he can't get new ones.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 1:42PM
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this is the sort of project that begins to make me skeptical. Are you sure you're not just creating more work, for little payoff?

How often, really, does he lose track of a game, and how much does he mind?

Maybe you'd be better off labeling the game cartridges (w/ a P-touch, or a Sharpie?) so the friends know who it belongs to, when it's loaned out.

The "keeping track" system won't prevent most of the instances in which a game goes missing--it won't keep him from leaving them in the car, or in his pocket, or loaning them to a friend.

Bcs if he leaves it in the car, well, it'll either fry from the heat, slip down in the seat and he'll lose it (life lesson there) or have to dig it out, or he'll put it back in the travel bag and keep it. Or, it'll be in his pocket and go through the laundry--no negative consequences there, except perhaps fishing it out of the machine.

But making up a whole grid system is "chore clutter," as it the whole "write down who you loaned it to and stick it on the bulletin board."

The system *sounds* great and organized, but you can create more work than there is payoff.

I'd vote as well for plastic pockets to slip them in, in a binder, if you want to keep track. Label each pocket, maybe, so you know what was *supposed* to be in that empty pocket. And if he wants to loan one to a friend, he *could* put a note into the pocket (though I'm betting that what happens is he loans them while he's out and about).

If he wanted to, you could make cards w/ friends names on them and he could stick the card into the empty pocket when he gets back home. Or keep a pen and a stack of sticky notes in a pocket of the binder, to stick onto the pages.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 9:47AM
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When I bought my son his first gameboy (quite a few years ago), I also bought an accessory -- a binder to keep his games organized. This binder was wonderful. It was made of several pages of clear plastic pouches with zip-lock openings. There were 4 (I think) pouches to a page.

Organizing the games was simple. We wrote the name of the game (in sharpie) on each of the pouches. This made it easy to see if all the games were there, and, if not, which one was missing.

However, I now have 3 children - each with their own gameboy and quite a few games. I no longer can find this "accessory" that I've come to depend on.

Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? And, more importantly, where can I get more of these things? I've checked the usual electronics stores, but can't find it. I don't remember who made it -- my son doesn't use the binder anymore since he has more games than it holds.

Thanks (in advance) for the follow-up.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 8:22PM
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Is this it? I may have to buy these myself.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lot 2 Game Boy Game Cartridge Case Holders w/ Velcro

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:21PM
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Thans and Gloria, thanks for posting the cases, they're just what I need for my kids' gameboys. My DD has a case for the gameboy itself with a little bit of extra storage space, but it only fits about two cartridges. My DS has all of his in a ziploc bag, but cartridges still go missing. Both gameboys are mainly used on car trips, so this type of case should fit the bill.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:11AM
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there's a Christmas present!

I've thought about making a travel pack out of Ultrasuede, w/ pockets for about 5 games, plus the charger, plus the Gameboy itself--for taking on car trips, etc.

So that cartridges could go in w/ the unit itself. But this is sort of nice, too.

Thanks, Gloria

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 10:53AM
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OK. One day, I'm walking out of Kohls toward the car (mini-van with roof rack) and from afar, I see something on the roof of the car. Unbelievably, it is my son's game system. Kohls is about seven twisty miles from my driveway. I was astonished that it survived the road trip (and it could have been taken while in Kohls). I was telling my son how lucky and irresponsible he was when it was revealed that it was his older sister who put it there the day before! (She got sidetracked when getting out of the car and put it there "temporarily") But I digress.

Well. I'm embarrassed to report that I never really followed through on this "project".

The portable game systems, games, accessories etc. have always been stored in a bin near the back door to grab and go on the way out (since these are typically only used in the car and sometimes brought to a friend's house.)

Years ago, I bought these great little colorful individual game cases, labeled each case so we would know which games were "in use". That system didn't last because more often than not, the game was not returned to its case and so the bin ended up containing empty cases and game cartridges along with all of the other paraphernalia. Tried to keep an inventory in our household notebook and on my Palm pilot, but it never seemed to be updated.

DS and I put them all into trading card sleeves and into a binder - but they fell out easily.

So, after reading Talley Sue's comments about "Chore Clutter" we tossed them all into a small zip-lock bag. Easy to see contents and easy to transport, also easy to return cartridges to a single bag. It was working quite nicely...all contained in the plastic bin with the system and other accessories.

Then finally, I saw a terrific solution! A friend's daughter had the greatest little accessory, made for these tiny game cartridges. Each game cartridge had clear-sturdy tabs, adhesively attached to them. These tabs had a small hole and each game was threaded through a key-ring. Then, the key-ring was able to attach to the actual system. I thought it was pure genius! I immediately asked where it was obtained, but my friend could not recall...thought maybe it was an add-on promotion type thing to another related purchase. And I've google-searched it with no results :-(

And now the Zip-lock bag full of cartridges is missing in action :-(

It will turn up, I'm sure -- might be shoved in a pocket of a jacket -- or under the seat of the car -- but when it does, we definitely need to revisit the notion of a better system. Having them all together means they get lost all together, and it's quite the investment to lose! (That's the only drawback to my friend's key ring system -- losing the system AND the games! But my son is very protective of the game system itself, and has NEVER lost it. He did make the mistake of letting his sister use it :::ahem:::)

We will have to establish a rule of carrying only so many at a time. Perhaps I will have to hold onto them and have my son "check them out" like at a library. This is not something I really wanted to police, but maybe it is necessary.

I will keep an eye on this thread -- thanks for the input everyone!

Maura :-)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 2:32PM
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I have to agree that this sounded like a chore clutter project.

One thing you might re-visit is whether or not he has too many games. Here's an example to put it in perspective:

A family of four has 4 spoons. At every meal, it is immediately apparent when a spoon is missing, and everyone looks for it.
A family of four has 20 spoons. At every meal there are at least 4 available, so it doesn't matter how many are missing from the drawer--nobody counts them.

See what I mean? When you have only 4 spoons, their value is increased. When you have 20, it doesn't matter as much.

Perhaps this is a weak example, but it's a concept I've noticed with my kids, when having "more" means they value it "less".

P.S. I did get DS to trade in his extra games, and we're moving away from buying games and DVD's in exchange for renting them.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 5:49AM
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Yes, I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. It applies to much of what we have in excess (Talley Sue has sited this reference to pens. I can think of lots of other items too: DD's sweatbands, DS orthodontic rubber band packages, contact lens cases, etc.) It all drives me crazy when not one of these items can be found when needed. We definitely "protect" the things we have less of!

Games might be a bit different than the spoon principle in that all of the spoons are the same, whereas each game might offer a different gaming experience. Same concept could be applied to a CD collection, perhaps. But I get what you are saying.

And I will definitely encourage DS to rent or trade in any games he has outgrown....once we find them!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 10:16AM
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