The mission of the AGPI Archives Game Catalog and GameCatalog.org is to:
- Provide accurate and detailed information about games published around the world from the earliest times to the present
- Be a world-renowned resource for game collectors, researchers, and designers, supported by expert contributors
History of The Game Catalog
The Game Catalog was initiated by the American Game Collectors Association (AGCA, now the Association for Games & Puzzles International) in the late 1980s as an extension of the AGCA Archives, which was also collecting instructions for games, histories of game companies, and catalogs from those companies. Bill Alexander was the original AGCA Archivist and editor of The Game Catalog, publishing the first edition in 1989 with around 400 games. Anne Williams became the AGCA Archivist in the 1990s and compiled the 5th through 7th editions, all published in 1997, raising the game count to 7400. The original scope of The Game Catalog was for United States games published through 1950, though it has moved beyond that.
The 8th printed edition of The Game Catalog was compiled by Rick Tucker, and contained information about 8400 games, mostly games produced in the United States through 1950. A PDF of the 8th edition is available online.
The 9th printed edition of The Game Catalog was produced in 2016 by AGPI members Sy Epstein and Charlie Gross with American games before 1951, with added and revised content.
This website was launched in June 1999 by Rick Tucker on behalf of the AGPI. The original objective was to host the online version of The Game Catalog.
In June 2003, the site introduced the ability to search through game information in The Game Catalog database.
In 2006, the site added game information contained in Bill Trent’s handwritten listings of games from 1950 through the 1990s. This information was turned into Bill Trent’s Big Book of Games, 1950 to 1990, with assistance by Rick Tucker and Dave Beffa-Negrini.
In March 2009, the site added results on game copyrights, patents, and trademarks, and displayed nearly all fields, include descriptions of covers and authors/designers where known. The site added links to game rules and instructions; the entire AGPC Archives (maintained by Anne Williams, retired AGPC Archivist) of paper rules and instructions were scanned by Bill Alexander and assembled by Rick Tucker into PDFs prior to being donated by AGPC to The Strong National Museum of Play. It also added the ability to search the text of game rules, including scanned ones.
In February 2014, the layout and general content management of GameCatalog.org was converted from custom HTML to WordPress. The database was converted to MariaDB (a version of MySQL) from Microsoft Access, though it is hosted using MySQL. Web page generation using database queries was converted to PHP from Microsoft ASP. This version of the website is now adapts to various screen sizes available on smart phones, tablets, laptops, and big screen computers.
In November 2017, the site was moved to a new web hosting provider, Hostgator.
Much of the existing game information in The Game Catalog is continually reviewed and compared to other game resources on the Internet, including museums, other games databases, collectors, auctions, and other materials. Updates, deletions (e.g., for duplicates), and additions to The Game Catalog are made based on these reviews.