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  3. Duplicates and Variants - Organising a Retro Game Collection

When it comes to collecting retro video games, there is no shortage of duplicates, variant cartridge designs, regional variants and all sorts of unique and rare game releases. Atari Lynx is no exception to this, even though the official game collection is only 71 games, some games were released on three different cart types, some had big box as well as standard box releases and many had Japanese releases with their unique colourful manuals. The number of collectible variants quickly grows way beyond this 71 figure!

Organising a large and complete collection is not a simple matter and takes time, patience and a good categorisation system. Atari Gamer took some time to find out how Juan José Torres, an avid Lynx collector, who exhibited his collection at RetroMadrid this year does it.

Juan keeps his carts, manuals, posters and boxes all separate. Boxes have plastic sleeves (both standard and big box variants). Manuals and posters are stored in sleeves also. Carts are kept in a ring binder folder with labels for each of the games.

There's more to the system however. Colour coded stickers are used to categorise each of the items (apart from the cartridges)...

JJT> I use three colors: green, red and yellow.

JJT> Green: my main copy of something. The best copy I have and the one I want to keep at all costs. Not for sale under any circumstance.

JJT> Red: duplicate I can get rid of at any time. If I see something in my collection with this sticker, I will immediatly know that I have one or more copies of it that are in better condition. I will also know that I can part with it if I need to.

JJT> Yellow: rare or unique items. These are special items that are impossible or very hard to replace, such as Japanese editons or very rare variants.

JJT> Of course, these stickers never go directly on the item itself, but on the box protector or the plastic bag where the item is stored.

That's certainly very well thought out! Since talking to Juan about organising his collection, the collection held by Atari Gamer has adopted some of his ideas. Mainly separating all of the items - keeping boxes separate from what's inside them. It makes a huge difference especially if you find yourself having to open boxes to get to what's inside them. Since all the carts, manuals and posters are stored elsewhere, boxes can be left on display and free from wear and tear.

Here are a few more photos of Juan's collection...

How do you organise your collection? Is a weekend sorting session in order?

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