Try not to flame me, this is for my education!
If you’re like me, you like to make lists, usually for no apparent reason. As most of you know, I’m currently working on the best ongoing list ever, the National Game Registry, aka the definitive list of the best games ever. Unfortunately, I’m not the smartest person in the world when it comes to working with the internet, even if it’s just a blog. The National Game Registry category in this blog currently contains only 17 posts, but even those 17 have been a pain to put together in a way that makes sense. Of the 17 posts, 2 are basically home pages that feed out to the other articles, 3 are devoted to particular consoles, and the rest are strictly about individual games. (Jeff Boyer, even though I only recently started this project, I decided to reformat it, and that’s why there is repeated information from one post to another, and even some contradictory information.)
Admittedly, I’m not learning much from writing my posts but I am conducting outside research by reading about games, watching videos on YouTube and, obviously, playing the games. In a way, writing these posts is my way of permanently recording and sorting the information I’ve obtained, but I’m only writing about the best games and more or less throwing out the useless info (the bad, mediocre, and even almost-good games). There are several other ways I could organize this information, and some can even serve as transitions between the ‘research’ and the writing of the articles. For example, I’ve tried a couple of ways or organizing the information, both very simple. First, I’ve kept a .txt file in which I simply write down the information. That works all right for now, when there are only 12 games in the National Game Registry but in the future the list will be quite long and a .txt file won’t be able to give me reports or be easily searchable.
Another organizing tactic I attempted was a spreadsheet. I know there are ways to make this work for what I’m doing but I seem to have forgotten everything I once knew about Excel. The lists look nice the rows and columns aren’t locked together and as a result I can easily ruin everything. Curse my memory. At the suggestion of my Meaningful Teaching With Technology textbook, I decided to try a database, using Microsoft Works Database. It may be a no-frills program, but it allows me to list whatever fields I like. I chose Game, Year, Developer, Publisher, and multiple Systems/Consoles. Now I can actually search, make reports, or rearrange everything based on whatever parameters I want.
The Database is really quite simple compared to some of the better methods suggested, especially programs like Inspiration that allow the user to make a concept web connecting everything. For the National Game Registry, I could organize everything in a visual manner. A bubble with Activision in it would connect to the Pitfall! bubble, which would connect to Atari 2600, Intellivision, Atari 5200, Atari 800, Colecovision, MSX, and Commodore 64 bubbles. And it would probably connect to the bubble of its sequel, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns. Creating models like these takes advantage of the computer’s ability to record and display basic information while also using MY ability to make sense of it all.