Ah the gaming backlog, ever-present and never diminished. For those of us who like to keep current, and especially those who enjoy a good steam sale, the ol’ backlog is something that we never seem to completely escape is it (not to mention those time sinks we call “multiplayer games”)? It sounds like a bad thing, and many gamer has found themselves complaining about having to many games to play and not enough time to play them in. If it is a losing battle anyway, then how does a gamer deal with it? There’s no sure fire way of course, but here’s what I’ve discovered in my dealings with the backlog.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that the straight-forward method of progressing from game to game upon the completion of each doesn’t work very well. It all has to do with the will to play. Some games are flashes in the pan that you’re satisfied with leaving behind, but others leave one wanting to linger; to find every secret and get every scrap of story that there is. If the goal is to eventually defeat the backlog, then this simply won’t do. It only works if one keeps moving, but where’s the fun in that? There’s also the listing method, skipping around withing your backlog instead of steadily marching from game to game in the order they were bought. Indeed it does work better, but I’ve found that using this method carries with it the risk of having games get left behind. When you give yourself the freedom to skip around, the tendency is to play only those games which sound most appealing. So by the time those are finished, new games will have been released and those games that fell outside the usual sphere of interest get left behind. Due to using this method for a time, I to this day still have copies of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Megaman Legends 2, and Zack and Wiki because I missed the window to play them and now am unwilling to take time from newer games to go back and finish them. They’re just “somedays” now (in that I hope to work up the will to go back and play them someday). It’s really just a trade-off when either of these methods are used: fun vs. completion. They work in their own regard, but don’t quite solve the problem of the backlog.
Finally there’s the last method, which is arguably the simplest of those listed here, but is perhaps the most difficult: buy fewer games. It’s really that straightforward: fewer games to play, less backlog. Unfortunately, it takes a degree of patience that I simply don’t possess. I’m one of those that loves to play the new games and talking about them when friends are still working through them too. It’s actually made this dry spell we’ve gotten in the wake of the new console releases quite nice; I finally have time to work through some of that backlog!
How do you deal with your backlog? Have you made steady progress or does it continue to grow despite your best efforts? My approaches haven’t worked all that well, so I’d really like to hear what you do!