You should see my bookshelf. Every shelf has its own purpose. This shelf is for books. This one’s for Lego. All my figurines go on the shelf above that. My computer desk is the same way. Monitors here. Pen box over there. My computer’s desktop is no different. VLC files here. Game shortcuts over there. If it starts getting to be too much, a deep-clean happens and things get even more organized and shoved into folders until I need them again.
Why should Steam be any different?
Yes, it’s possible to continue through life without categorizing any of your Steam games, and end up with a large Alphabetical List Of Games You Own(TM), but I think there’s a simpler solution, and it’s worked well for me. I know some users like using the Block or Grid view for their games. It gives each of their games a nice banner, and all you have to do is click on it to start playing that game. I like information, so I’ve stuck with the basic Default View of games on the left, and when a game is clicked, information like Friends Who Also Play, Achievements, and Recent News are displayed on the right.
The main reason I started using Categories in Steam is to hide games I will never play again. Or will never install, for that matter (I’m looking at you, Amnesia: The Dark Descent). Things like Betas I didn’t sign up for, or Demos you can’t really delete from your account. I also have a category for games that I only needed to play once, as part of that Alternate Reality Game for the early release of Portal 2.
My largest category, by far, is the Action games. Games like ALL OF THE FREAKING GTAs IN EXISTENCE (seriously, there’s like 10 or so on my list), the Half-Life series, and really, any other First Person Shooter. I don’t play those that often. That category is usually collapsed for me, unless I’m feeling particularly shooty that day. If it has bullets, it usually falls into that category.
My second largest category, although it’s slowing gaining comparable to the Action tag, is the Indie Games category. In there is where I shove all of my favorite indie games. Those games are probably the games I play the most, and as such, I should append a number or something to the category itself to make it appear higher in my List-o-Steam-Games.
For anyone that’s interested, here’s a bullet point list of games, with details about what games actually go into that category. Keep in mind, I personally have over 100 games on my Steam Library, so I’m only giving a smattering of what I actually own.
This section, as I said above, usually contains games that contain bullets. Games such as the Bioshock Series, Borderlands, GTA, the Half-Life series, Portal, and Saint’s Row.
This section has games that have a deeper and richer story-line than your basic FPS. Games like Darksiders, Antichamber, and The Stanley Parable
This category is for games I can sit down and play for 5 minutes or 5 hours. Mostly mindless games, but games I still play. Faerie Solitaire, Pokemon TCG Online (which isn’t a Steam Game, I just have a shortcut for it), Star Realms, and Tabletop Simulator. Perhaps I should rename this category to Card Games
- Free to Play
This one should be self-explanatory. The only games I put here are games that I got for free from Steam. Usually they have Micro-transactions.
Here’s my favorite category. Basically anything that has the Indie tag on the Steam Store goes into this folder. Banished, Big Pharma, Factorio, Fez, KSP, and Stardew Valley are the most played here.
- Potato Sack
Yes, I have a category named “Potato Sack”. These contain most of the games that were included back in the pack of 13 games Steam released in preparation of the release of Portal 2. 1… 2… 3… Kick it!, AaAaAA!!!, The Ball, Cogs, Machinarium, Rush, VVVVVV, and The Wonderful End of the World are tagged as Potato Sack. I usually leave this category collapsed because I don’t play these games.
This one should be self-explanatory as well. Games here include Skyrim (and the rest of The Elder Scrolls), Magika, and any other Role-Playing Game that isn’t a part of a different Category.
Ahh. Simulation games… And I’m not talking about the Sims here. Games here are usually of a lesser quality, usually made in Germany. Train Simulator, Farming Simulator, Truck Driving Stimulator. Oh, and Universe Sandbox. I can’t wait to try that one out on Vive.
Games that need a complex level of understanding are tagged thus. They’re usually the top-down, three-quarter perspective games that require either Turn-Based or Real Time strategy to complete. Command & Conquer (and all sequels and prequels), Atom Zombie Smasher, Defense Grid, FTL, and Sol Survivor.
These are games that I haven’t categorized anywhere else, or have recently purchased and haven’t had a chance to tag with anything yet. Most games end up here first, at the bottom of my list, until I get around to categorizing them.
There’s also another category that I haven’t talked about, but is still useful. The Hidden Category is something Steam has implemented itself without the need for user-created categories. If you right-click a title in your Library and choose Set Categories…, at the bottom is a check box you can select to Hide the Game from your Library. To access those games, click Games above your list (to the right of the search bar), and click Hidden. The games I have hidden here are games I will never play under any circumstance. Amnesia, Company of Heroes, Dota, Killing Floor, and Toki Tori.
If this seems too daunting a task for you to take on yourself, believe it or not, a tool exists that can help. I used it the very first time I wanted to de-clutter my Steam Library, and I’ll recommend it to anyone who wishes to do the same. It’s called Steam Depressurizer and it can be found here: https://github.com/rallion/depressurizer
It has a myriad of uses, but the main one I used is AutoCat. You can configure any number of schemes, based on what you want your Library to look like. You can sort based on Score, Year Released, User Tags, and so forth.
Whether or not you like to organize everything you own, or really don’t give a flying sheep, I hope you enjoyed my article. It’s the first one I’ve written.