Ah. The dreaded backlog. Maybe you’re an impulse buyer, or you really just can’t find the time to game all that much anymore in between work and/or school. It’s a first-world problem. That being said, I’m one that likes to finish what I start, and I decided to smash my way through my backlog. Along the way, I figured out how to manage my gaming backlog better, instead of just admiring the cover art.
Record. Making a list of the video games on your backlog gives you an idea of where you really stand. You might not know just how many games you own and want to clear, as Mike Niemietz found out. Whether you write it down on paper or use a site like backloggery.com, keeping things organized means you can prioritize games and keep on track. You’ll also feel great every time you get to cross a game off the list or have it marked as ‘completed’ or ‘beat’.
Know your limits. Even though I sometimes agree with playing more than one game at a time, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Variety is very important here when you’re smashing through your backlog, but too much can stifle your progress. I was playing through two PS2 games: Tokobots: Legend of the Karakuri and Kingdom Hearts at one point. Although the former is a platformer and the latter, an RPG, I found that I was confusing the control systems with each other, since I’d be pressing the wrong buttons and expecting certain commands. What I probably should have done was game on different consoles or completed one after the other. Likewise, in aforementioned link, you probably don’t want to go playing RPGs back-to-back. I’d probably pull a Limit Break on somebody if I did.
Define what value means to you. This sounds like a Business 101 class, but really, what are you playing for? You should play to get value out of your games. For you, this may mean doing all the things you need to do to see the ending cutscene or credits roll. For others, it may mean getting enough in-game time in to get that dollar-per-hour value. Another man’s ‘beat’ may not be another man’s ‘complete’. Know what you want.
Been there, done that. This is probably self-explanatory, but you tend to have a lot of time on your hands. Games are a source of cheap entertainment. And just as a side note, please don’t feel guilty about gaming if you’re in this situation. Frank Lloyd Wrong wrote a very good article about why you shouldn’t feel guilty about not having a job AND playing video games. This actually gives you a good opportunity to slim down your backlog and provides you with some psychological stress relief at the same time.
Get rid of your games. You might want to downsize your backlog by selling, trading or gifting your games. If you’re a collector, then this tip doesn’t apply to you. But then again, if you’re a collector, this whole article doesn’t apply to you. This kind of ties in with the getting gaming value thing; if a game isn’t working for you, then you’re obviously getting very little to no value at all from it. For the collectors out there, they’ll just enjoy knowing they own the game and have it there if they ever choose to play it.
Backlog? Schmacklog! Remember, games were invented with the main purpose of being a form of ENTERTAINMENT. If you’re fretting about when exactly you’ll finish your backlog, then here’s what I’ll say to you: STOP. Stop gaming. Take a break. It’s counterintuitive to completing your backlog, but if games are no longer entertaining to you, then you’ve just defeated the purpose of gaming. You’re supposed to be beating the boss having fun. Remember that? FUN? The truth is that you’ll never play every single video game in the world and life is just too short for bad games. Play the games you want to play and game on.
As of this article being published, I completed all the games on my list. How about the rest of you gamers?