The BackLog – “A Dance with Death”

Games are great.  We all love them!  There’s nothing better than getting a new game, ripping off the packaging (or waiting for the download to finish) and digging in.  Oh, but then a week later this other game comes out that you have been wildly anticipating, shows up from Amazon and you get ready to pop it in.

But what about the original game?  And there was that 3DS game you started last month that you’re still working through.  And that Saturn game you picked up because people were raving about it.  And that NES game from when you were a kid that you have sworn a blood oath to conquer before you expire on this earth.

:deep breath:


Obviously we are dealing with a small case of overload here.  This is not something I have experienced just for myself, I would feel comfortable saying that this is now the norm for anyone that calls themselves a gamer.  Especially a “retro” gamer (We have ALL the systems to play games for!) (or a reader, a TV buff, etc.)

Now if you’re like me this can be known to induce stress levels way past the point of being comfortable.  “How am I supposed to have “fun” when I have all of this shit to play?”  It is no secret that the majority of us are not kids anymore and the seemingly endless well of time is no longer accessible.  Families, jobs, chores, obligations all get in the way.  And if you finally find some of that elusive “time” you may be so shot the idea of putting any amount of brain power towards anything is akin to smashing your face against a pane of broken glass for an hour straight.

So what’s a guy/gal to do?  Obviously everyone’s situation is different but here are some tips and tactics that may help you out.

Do you have too much stuff?

Of course this is the first place I go.  Seriously though, take a step back.  Our culture and the hobby by large is focused on accumulating things.  This may mean buying junk games, buying games as soon as they come out, or the holy quest to get every system under the sun.  I have been through facets of all of these things and here is what I have personally learned.

  • When I went for the “all the systems” approach I quickly found myself with not only too many options but also a wealth of inferior software.  Sure the 3DO was great and I was excited to get one, but did I need one forever?  Absolutely not!  I took a little bit of time with my CD burner and played a bunch of games I knew I wanted to experience and when I was done there really wasn’t much of an argument to keep the system around.  I have since moved to a “rotating” philosophy – not only am I saving money and space but focusing on one system at a time I am also limiting my options so I can narrow my focus a little.
  • Buying (or pre-ordering) new games as they come out.  This is a defninite TMG no-no.  Unless the game is something you have been dying to play (hello Trails of Cold Steel II) if you’re playing other shit just leave it.  It will only benefit you since chances are you can pick it up for cheaper on a sale down the line when you are ready to play it.  Otherwise you are paying more money for absolutely no reason.
  • Keep a list.  This one isn’t for everyone, but I have embraced it (I also love lists).  When I was feeling overwhelmed on “the backlog” and was thinking about all the crap I wanted to play I just started writing them down in my notebook one day.  I have a number of titles from the 16 bit and 32 bit eras that have always eluded me so it was nice to see everything laid out on paper.  Once you see it visually you can kind of prioritize and have fun with it. (Note – Once again I know this may sound nuts to some people.  This is just for people like me who not only love lists, but LOVE crossing shit out on them!)
  • Finally, ENJOY what you are currently playing.  Don’t look at other stuff, don’t look at sales (that’s how they get you) just have fun with what you’re doing.  Sales is how they enforce the “grass is always greener” mentality.  Here’s a secret – all of the companies (Steam, PSN, XBLive) run these stupid sales so often if you missed one on a game you wanted chances are there is one coming up soon.

Granted this all does not change the fact that in most cases we do not have enough time to play the game we want, but like anything else in life it is how you approach it.  I have my nice (long) list and have been thinking about getting a PS4 soon.  I just got a PS3 last year so I’ve barely touched that library.  And let us not forget the Nintendo Switch was just announced.

How you feel about/manage your backlog? Do you ever feel overwhelmed or do you just go full yolo?  Let me know in the comments.