Ever since I bought a Kindle and got drawn into Goodreads, I’ve been searching for a Goodreads for video games. Honestly, though, it wasn’t a terribly long search – there just aren’t that many options out there that meet my requirements. Those requirements were pretty basic. The service:
- Needed to have a web app.
- Needed to have a mobile app, or at least be mobile browser friendly.
- Needed to be focused, like Goodreads. I didn’t want a site that happened to have backlog/currently playing functionality, I wanted a site that was centered around making lists of what I had played, what I was playing, and what I was going to play.
A few minutes of research (read: Google searches) quickly revealed that none of the web apps had mobile apps, and none of the mobile apps had web services. Well, shit.
After a bit more research (read: I Googled a little bit more), my choices came down to Dpadd and Grouvee. The services were pretty similar, with Dpadd adding some compelling social options, while Grouvee offered a valuable Steam library import. Both of them built their service around GiantBomb’s fantastic game library API, so neither of them had an advantage data-wise. After signing up for both, two things became immediately apparent:
- Dpadd’s interface was just a little nicer, but…
- It didn’t display a mobile version
While Grouvee’s mobile interface isn’t exactly gorgeous:
It is, at least, formatted for mobile, unlike Dpadd’s:
Mobile functionality is important to me, as I often hear about games from friends in a context where a computer isn’t immediately accessible to me. Also, in principle, I consider it fairly unforgivable for your web app to not be mobile-friendly in 2014.
I also personally prefer Grouvee’s method of game organization – I easily can mark a game as being played, or have played, or in my backlog with a single button. I can also create custom “shelves” – in my case, I have an additional on deck shelf for games in my backlog that I intend to play next. Dpadd, being more socially-oriented, is more focused on updating your game library as a status update – “I did play this” or “I am playing this” or “I want to play this.” There are lists, but it’s much less organization-centric, and I couldn’t find a way to add a game to my custom list after I’d created it. When I took into account the fact that Grouvee will also import your existing Steam collection (which, if you’re like me, contains a good chunk of your backlog courtesy of Steam sales), the choice became pretty obvious.
Even Grouvee still needs two major additions before I can whole-heartedly recommend it, though. The first would be direct Facebook integration – I can log in with Facebook, but I can’t add friends through Facebook. According to Grouvee’s roadmap, it’s coming. The second thing would be a mobile app, though that may be more of a long-shot. At this point, I’d be happy with just the former.
Despite these drawbacks, I’d still gladly recommend Grouvee to anyone looking for a Goodreads-style service for video games. It’s free, and it’ll import your Steam library – what do you have to lose? My biggest worry at this point is that it’s just one person’s side project, and he may get bored of it eventually…but that’s a risk with any web-based service, big or small. If you decide to join, hit me up!