Backlogs..we all have them, well to a certain extent don’t we? An insurmountable heap of games ‘we haven’t got round to yet’ or ‘I plan to play’.
With the ever increasing plethora of variety and choice available to us gamers; how can we keep up?
From my point of view, the answer to that question is…I don’t and I can’t.
As I write this piece my backlog sits at 98 games which has already been trimmed down from about 140. I am not naive, I know it is a virtually impossible task for me to complete this. I am a full time worker with a highly demanding job, I have a wife and two beautiful young daughters…I’d be lucky to maybe squeeze 1-2 hours of gaming time in one day and that’s mainly only due to sacrificing sleep. No word of a lie I have even had games still in their cellophane 3 years from its purchase. How am I supposed to manage a family, work, a backlog, movies, reading, writing and maintain my happy face all at once?
I’m currently at that gamer level now where I have a tendency to flit between games, I think the main reason possibly being due to the fact that my game time is so limited. I don’t have the luxury of some people where they can invest 4-8 hours straight, have sessions of 4 plus hours to fully immerse themselves and then keep that level of interaction/connection up consistently.
Sometimes I fancy playing ‘x’ game when I know I have probably only got one hour spare, sometimes it can be something that requires concentration and constant attention and then other times I think I need something I can just have a few goes on or dip in with little to no effort required on my part etc.
When I look back to a few years ago my backlog was actually quite small and manageable and what I did play I managed to play to its entirety, whereas now it’s not the case. Since I became a father, my children became my priority (and always will) and it became a whole new ball game, as many ‘Gamer Dads’ know…self-time is a rarity.
Over the years I have tried many, many different methods to clear it but in the end due to silly impulse purchasing, game hype or god-damn sales It has now snowballed into this dust gathering entity who is constantly sitting there holding up a middle finger to me with a smug look on its face.
I shall now share some methods I tried as some may be of use to you.
Method 1: The ‘Oh yeah, she’s got her head in his lap alright…yahoo’ method
This method actually worked once or twice for me and was a bit of fun, trouble is it is too difficult now due to the sheer number of ‘backlogged’ games.
The method was as follows, whittle down your backlog so it’s down to ideally 4 games per game genre (or however you classify yours) and that they are games you really want to play or would be happy to play imminently, for example… 4 RPG games, 4 from Action/Adventure, 4 from FPS, 4 from Racing etc, etc. Then write all of these down on a small piece of paper and place them in a hat/container/mug of your choosing.
Now the fun part where you pretend you are doing the FA Cup draw.
Pull out one game from each pot (RPG, FPS etc) until you have one game per genre left.
Once you have one game per genre remaining, place those into the ultimate container (which usually contained 6 or 7 pieces of paper/games for me) and do one final shuffle and draw out the winning game… this game then becomes the next game to play regardless. This is why it is important to only pick the games you really fancy playing, otherwise you may end up disappointed.
Method 2: The ‘Don’t Tempt Me Frodo’ vow
For a period of time I refrained from going onto the Playstation Store and even
deleted the PS App from my phone just so I couldn’t check the store for sales.
I didn’t go places/shops where I knew they sold games… which was partially easy as I did not really go out much anyway.
I once walked round the entertainment department of Sainsburys wearing a blindfold (much to my wife’s annoyance). All these things did not work in the long term.
Method 3: The ‘Aw, Man, I shot Marvin in the Face’ Shelf
This method was more for my physical games. Once again I weaned them down to 5 or 6 and I kept them out..literally in plain sight.
These games would sit in plain sight in my living room, looking so out of place just to act as a constant reminder…you must play me bitch!
The theory was that I would get so sick and tired of seeing them (also the wife moaning about them) that it would give me the encouragement to complete them. When one was finally completed it may be moved away slightly from the remaining ones (but still on display) to act as a trophy or an accomplishment as you will. With the completed game being separated from its litter ever so slightly, I could bask in the glory that the method worked….it didn’t work as my youngest just chewed the cases and threw them round.
Method 4: The ‘If he dies….he dies’ method
As I have previously said, I like to flit amongst games which can be down to mood, enthusiasm or disposable time available. I thought I would try a three-way (o-er’), one game being my main game, the one which would take priority should all key factors be met. A second game which would be my ‘drop-in game’, something I can just play for a bit and chip away at over time. A third game which was literally…I want to go on the Playstation for a bit but can’t be arsed and only really for the sake of it so here it is. Again this method failed as I spent far too much time on the third game.
Method 5: The ‘It cant rain all the time’ Inducer
Children are imaginative and are with a non-biased approach so another method I tried was lining up a couple of games on the floor and literally got my eldest to choose one. Trouble was she would always pick the prettiest or the one with the most exuberant colours.
It just didn’t work, she usually chose something like Crash Bandicoot and I ended up playing Battlefield V.
Method 6: The ‘Thanos’ approach
I am yet to resort to this but another option…finger snap…sell everything. Just wait for the next-gen to be released and completely get rid of my entire game catalogue and consoles…backlog issue would be solved so maybe i’ll put this on the backburner for now.
Method 7: The ‘Back off Man, I’m a Scientist’ theory
This method is where I am currently loitering around. I decided to get all techy and create a spreadsheet listing all my desired backlog games. I have columns for estimated game completion time (using rough info from the internet), a genre column, what platform, whether I want to possibly acquire the Platinum trophy and also a comment section.
I even have little drop down tabs for: started, not started, finished with/abandoned, completed etc…I know, sounds good right, I also impressed myself! Having this visual guide will maybe help tackle and plan my mammoth task.
I must say the only trouble is after adding up all of the estimated game time needed (if all completed and not abandoned, it totalled 1398 hours!!
1398 hours should I not abandon a game, that’s 58 solid days. If I average 10 gaming hours per week, it would take me 140 weeks…that’s 2.5 years.
Anyone got Thanos’ phone number?
I hope you all have better luck managing your backlogs than me. If any of my above methods work for you – fantastic, let me know I and I shall go into Smug mode. Should you have any methods that I haven’t tried yet, then give me a shout.
Remember games are to be enjoyed and not to gather dust (unless you a collector then its fine). Don’t be like me and stockpile them, play and enjoy!
Thanks for reading, stay geeky and happy gaming!
Much Love, T-Rex
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