Fighting My Backlog
Like many gamers in today's world, I have a huge backlog of games that I bought on sale in various deals and either never touched, or played for an hour.
There are so many different approaches to this "problem" that I don't even know what to do about it.
Idle Google searches for "how to get through a backlog" are no help!
1) It's not a problem at all
For some, the only answer is to stop trying to get through the backlog and just move on with their lives. This takes a tremendous amount of self control, a harsh dismissal of past decisions, and the ability to realize what a "first world problem" having a backlog is.
But I don't love this solution. It's too dark for my tastes.
I know it's supposed to be liberating...but I think it's also a little too mean to myself.
I very obviously wanted many of these games. Whenever someone asks me about Final Fantasy XV, a game I've only played about 4 hours of, I get super excited and talk fondly about wanting to play more of it. And then I don't really find the time to do it.
That enthusiasm is real. And it was real when I bought these games too. I don't want to ignore it because then what even am I?
2)The Hyper-Obsessive List
Some folks decide that a military-like discipline is the key to getting through a backlog. They turn the whole task into work, and they make a huge list of every game they want to play then go through it one at a time.
I admire the dedication that this takes. But I already have multiple jobs. Sometimes this writing gig involves talking about video games, which does help me to beat them...but it can come at the cost of fun. I don't want to suck all the fun out of gaming by treating it as work.
Plus, this level of discipline often makes my brain rebel against itself. I dislike being so pinned down, and I end up deviating from the list.
3)The Grazing Approach
In this one, you just kind of play whatever you feel like playing, and hope that you get to the end of it. This one I've had some limited success with...but the downside is that something new and shiny can also come along and distract me away. And since I'm not using any discipline with this approach, there's nothing to prevent this cycle from happening over and over again.
This is the pattern I've been stuck in for a while.
Backlogs are interesting. As we age, we generally have more access to money and less access to free time. Generally.
Steam Sales, PSN sales, and Xbox sales...not to mention PlayStation Plus and Xbox subscriptions, have all made it disturbingly easy to accrue a massive pile of content that's hard to actually play through. Right now, the Switch is in an interesting position where it has a small enough library that someone might actually be able to play through it all.
But that won't last much past this holiday season.
That's not to say that we should try to play absolutely every game.
But I used to be better at this.
I used to love the fall, because it meant new game season was here. I would buy and play through every major game. I had about the same amount of free time I have now. But I didn't have the crushing existential reality of the backlog breathing down my neck.
Having a backlog means confronting the fact that time is limited, and that a hobby has to become a little work-like if we want to keep it going. If I just flitted from task to task at work or on other projects, I don't think that would be nearly as accepted as it is in this hobby.
I've found that public accountability often helps me to complete tasks, so here's a small list of games I wish to play more of and write about soon!
Pinball FX 3
Divinity: Original Sin
Final Fantasy XV
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Rise of the Tomb Raider
That should be enough to get me started.
My brain is already frowning at that list.