Posted by Chemystery (223 posts) -

Everybody has tasks they want to do that they never got around to the first time. Chores to complete, movies to see, books to read, and games to play. These undone tasks pile up fast and they form a monstrous beast known as the backlog. One of the hardest backlogs to tackle is the one of a gamer.

Almost every gamer has a backlog made of games they own and need to beat and/or games they don't own but want to play. Every steam sale, Black Friday door buster, flea market, and Humble Bundle, adds to the pile a little more. As games proliferate life more and more video games are becoming easier and easier to acquire. It is so out of hand that having games you will never play on Steam is an ongoing joke. If you were to add up the average time it takes to complete the games in my current backlog it would be thousands of hours, easily. It still keeps growing.

The worst part is that the completionist in me craves the history of games. I can't just play Splinter Cell: Blacklist. I want to see the whole series, so that's another four games to play. It is not just modern consoles either, I have NES cartridges sitting on my shelf taunting me. "Do you really understand video games if you've never beat the original Mario?" they whisper in the night. These games don't have saves either, If I want to beat these old timers I really need to hone my skills. Or I can cheat and use the save states on the virtual console. Then that leads to the whole mess of how many copies do I need of these games? This one has an expansion pack for it, this one is HD, this one is on the handheld, but there is something to say about playing the original format. If you appreciate where games have come from and want to see it with your own eyes, prepare for the list of games you will "need" to play. It still keeps growing.

At the end of the day though I think backlogs are amazing. It says something very personal about you and your hobby. What you like, what you want to experience and how you play, it is all contained in that nice list of games you may never play. Whether you play them or not, it is a piece of your collection or what you want to be your collection. I'm excited to work through my game collection and beat as many games as I can. Before you start that new game, check your backlog for a moment and see if there is something you'd like to do first. Never forget. It still keeps growing.

Happy Weekend,

-Chemystery

#1 Posted by believer258 (11907 posts) -

The key to overcoming the backlog "problem" is just knowing what you want to play and when you want to play it. Gotta grow up and make responsible life choices and all that.

"Do you really understand video games if you've never beat the original Mario?"

Well, what does "understanding" video games mean? Are you talking about a comprehensive understanding about their history and the events surrounding them? Do you mean a full understanding of what you want to see in a game and where you want to see video games go? Do you mean an understanding of how games are made and designed? Super Mario Bros. is relevant to all three of these questions to varying degrees. It's certainly an important game but never finishing Super Mario Bros. doesn't mean that you misunderstand video games in any way. It just means that you haven't played Super Mario Bros.

(For the record, you should play Super Mario Bros. if, somehow, you haven't.)

#2 Posted by Chemystery (223 posts) -

@believer258: That's a great comment. Narrowing down what you want out of your gaming experience certainly does help cut back on the backlog situation. Creating your specific focus and likes are part of the fun of gaming. So I like to focus on RPGs mostly but when I see the original Call of Duty looking at me for 2 dollars, I can usually spare to two dollars to try it.

Also I don't really think it is a "problem" per se. I'm not spending myself into poverty or anything, I just found it to be an interesting phenomena in gaming as a hobby. (Also I HAVE played it, but I haven't beaten it. It shames me so.)

#3 Posted by ultraspacemobile (64 posts) -

As to understanding a recent game in terms of the historical narrative preceding it, I believe attempting to simulate that narrative by playing outdated games would be a lot of time and effort expended to no purpose. If a recent game contains anything (a theme, a mechanic, etc.) traceable back to previous games, then it contains it, and those previous games have nothing to add. If you have to play Mario before you can legitimately understand Splinter Cell, then you have to read Aristophanes before you can legitimately understand Moliere--which just isn't true.

As for having a backlog, I've been meaning to play Link to the Past for like 15 years.

#4 Edited by Chemystery (223 posts) -

@ultraspacemobile: I definitely understand where you are coming from. I didn't mean to connect Splinter Cell to Mario but it still makes a good point. I however enjoy doing it and I think it does give me an interesting historical look at the games. It is a different view to play the game than to see it being played. Each to their own, some people play the latest games some play the classics.

I also have never played Link to the Past. I think the game that haunts me the most is not beating Final Fantasy Tactics.

#5 Edited by shozo (49 posts) -

Ok, I had to re-write this a couple of times so here is the condensed response down from nearly a full written page of text:

You'll never to able to catch up.

This is not the answer anyone wants to hear but if all video games stopped production today you'd still have a lifetime of material to wade though. Go fire up that Turbo Graphics 16, check out the classics on GOG, go buy a Dreamcast. The more games you play the more you realize your ignorance. There is no shame in ignorance but there should be shame in shameless ignorance.

#6 Posted by Chemystery (223 posts) -

@shozo: I know that I can't catch up. That was the point of the whole thing. I play the games I like and want to play.