The Great Backlog Challenge! (Month 1)



As gamers, we face a enormous evil that threatens to destroy our wallets as we know them– the backlog. Video games are a compelling and addictive medium that can sometimes get the better of us. This phenomena is equivalent to eating too much delicious food. Sometimes, a game looks so good that we just have to have it on day one. We preorder or rush to the store on the day of release. Some of us even download it straight to our system. We begin playing, and for a short time life is good. But what's this? Another amazing game is on the horizon? We drop what we're doing and pick up this brand new masterpiece of entertainment, never to finish our previous game. And the monster grows stronger.

Then, there are sales. Steam sales, holiday discounts, Amazon lighting deals– these things are the backlog's greatest allies. We buy games in the bunches that we never got around to purchasing before, and often forget about them. This only adds to the monster's power. By the end of a console generation, we come face to face with hulking backlog beast of our own creation. And then we find out the next generation is not backwards compatible. Shall we give up, defeated by our own greed? Neigh, I say! Let us take arms, my Polynauts! Together we can defeat the backlog menace!

What better time than the summer to slice into your piles of games? Many of us have more time than usual over these three or four summer months, not to mention the flow of releases slows to drip. Every year, I say I am going to take a chunk out of my backlog, yet I rarely make any progress. But this year, I have vowed to buy less games so I can really make a dent. So far I've only bought a couple of games, and I've completed both BioShock Infinite and Metal Gear Rising. I've been carefully planning my purchases for the rest of the year (which is bound to get totally screwed once E3 comes around and more games are announced) and I've decided the next game I get will be Animal Crossing, which is to be played casually and never really beaten.

So what does this mean? It means this is going to be the year that I finally play some games for real. I'm hoping to start an initiative and get others motivated to do the same. So far, I've already completed Darksiders 2, which I had in mind to finish for a while. I think a large part of the problem is in figuring out how to dig in, so I came up with a plan. There are two types of backlog titles: unfinished games and unstarted (no, it's not really a word) games. In my mind, there are also two types of unfinished games: games you want to finish but you got distracted and games you stopped playing on purpose. I've included this second type in order to give the games a second chance. Far Cry 3, for example, I was hyped for but I didn't find it terribly compelling. I've included it on my list, though, to give it another shot. If I'm still not into one of these games, they go into my "will never finish/sell" pile. Many open world games like Skyrim are not included on my list because I never intend to complete them. Instead, I intend to play them for years because they're so damn big.

SO, here's my plan:

  1. To start out, I made a list of all my unfinished games from this generation. I'm doing home console and retail only right now, so this will include Xbox 360 and Wii games.
  2. I numbered each game, then cut out little paper squares and wrote the numbers on them. My total came out to 29 games.
  3. I (literally) but the numbers in a hat and pulled one out. This is where I will start. I'm going to play through the game I chose at random until I either finish or decide I'm not having a good time.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all games are crossed off the list or I decide to go for a change of pace and choose from a new set (in my case handheld or download). Don't worry if you want to start on a new list without finishing the old list. A game complete is a game complete!

As you can see, my particular backlog list for unfinished console games alone numbers nearly 30. My hope is to actually get through them all and start on the games I've never even touched, though I'm not sure I can make that happen. My advice here is if you get the urge to start an entirely new game, make sure you finish it before moving on. You don't have to do things the way I'm doing them, but feel free to use my template if you want. Hopefully, with us motivating each other, we can get through some games this summer!



Since these posts are set to lock after one month, I will create a new post each month so we can continue to update each other on our progress. Until then, I'll be dropping by every so often to give a progress report and see everyone else's. The first game I've chosen at random is Assassin's Creed 3. This may be one of those that I give up with and never finish. I remember the reason I stopped playing it in the first place was because of its incredibly long winded nature. I think I played for a few hours and didn't even get into the bulk of the game. You play as Connor's father, then you play as Connor as a child, then you play as Connor. We'll see where this goes soon enough. I may be moving on more quickly than expected.

Anyway, enough talk! Time for action! I'm off to play some AC3. Hopefully you guys find my backlog campaign fun and helpful!

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