The Backlog from Hell

Everyone has one. The list. The sum of one's greed and avarice toward videogames. One's lack of discipline during the Steam sales. And a short term memory of the last time you convinced yourself "oh I'll totally play that 40-hour RPG." I'm looking at you, Dragon Quest IX.

A game where finding your way home and managing to land is enough to merit rolling the credits.Below is my list. It is the sum total of games I want to play. I own other games I do not want to play, have finished or have played enough that I feel like they're already off my backlog. Take A-10 Warthog for example. I think I got my money's worth just trying to learn how to take off and land, much less finish a campaign.

This guy. This eff'in guy.There must be rules. Many of the games listed below exit the backlog via being played to completion. Others, such as Animal Crossing or Banished, pass muster on arbitrary terms, such as playing for at least 10 hours. Generally speaking, for games that are infinitely replayable or have no endgame, 10 hours is enough for me. In special cases, I will consider a game completed based on some arbitrary criteria, such as "this game is fun and I'm glad I bought it but there's no way in hell I'm playing this for 10 hours," or delete a game outright if I find it openly mocks me (Demon's Souls / Dark Souls) or because it's a Peter Molyneux game.

And the carrot. For every game completed, I can purchase a new game to add to the Backlog. Because it must feed, and because I can't afford both Steam sales and a mortgage payment. Games completed are marked as such, and where applicable, listed as being credited toward a new game.

List items

  • HLTB: 12 1/2 hours

  • ******** Completed (10+ hours). ********

    Credited to: Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

    04/22/15: I think I've played enough of this noise. It's fun, mindless, and distracting me from other games. Looking forward to a sequel.

    10/10/13: It's near Halloween so I am buying all of the seasonal stuff as it becomes available in the store. Warming up to the Able sisters and should be able to do QR designs soon. This is the most pointless game I've ever played, and yet here I am, still playing it.

    8/14/13: Found a gold nugget. Wondering if I can use it to make a golden shovel that I keep hearing about.

  • ******** Completed ********

    Credited to: Metro: Last Light

    After Assassin's Creed 2, this one felt like a retread for about 75% of the game. It had a lot of good characters though and ultimately I'm glad I finished it. Not sure if I'll play Revelations, and while I have 3 still in the shrinkwrap I'm not eager to rip it open after listening / reading other peoples' attempts to get through it.

    Unfortunate that Ubisoft is seeming to pump these games out.

  • ******** Completed ********

    Credited toward: OlliOlli

    Revelations was a refined Brotherhood. I enjoyed the Altier story and tromping around Turkey during the 16th century was a virtual Middle-eastern vacation.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Towerfall*

    The last game I needed to play through before moving onto Black Flag, I went into this thinking it was going to be a total mess. And really, it is. However, if you can sift through the poor design there's a lot to like here.

  • ******** Completed ********

    Credited toward: Towerfall

    I received this one as a pack-in for the Vita, which in itself I got as a payment for some artwork.

    It is a turd. Do not play it.

  • ******** Completed ********

    Credited toward: Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within

    I did not care about the story here. Not that it wasn't good, it was. Reading about what happens to the characters post game through Google and Wikis revealed some disturbing eventual outcomes prior to Connor's story and is recommended reading. That said, the real value here is a pirate simulator unlike anything I've played. It inspired me to watch Master and Commander and read Treasure Island, and I was better for playing AC4 as I picked up on a lot of seaman banter and colloquialisms than I would have otherwise. All of the Assassin's Creed games are like virtual vacations for me and Ubisoft did a great job in creating a sense of what it may have been like cruising around the Caribbean as a pirate.

  • ******** Completed (10+ hours) ********

    Credited to: Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Dishonored*

    A prime backlog game, I picked up on this after playing it about a year ago. My save was somewhere in the middle, and I had forgotten what Batman was doing, who he'd already defeated and how to use all of his gadgets, not to mention fight. So for the remainder of the game I found myself struggling to "get it" and was surprised to see the credits roll. Having let such a long time lapse between playing, the final battle felt anti-climatic. Speaking of credits, they roll for 20 minutes!

  • ******** Completed ********

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Dishonored*

    I think my brain melted after finishing this one. Thankfully it later cooled into something resembling its original form and I'm able to share my utter joy in being able to play this to the end. Definitely a game that sticks with you after the credits roll.

  • HLTB: 32 1/2 hours

    Journal (Spoilers!)

    --------------------------------------------------------

    04-19-15: Met some priest in Yarhnam. Turns into a werewolf and kills me almost instantly.

    03-25-15: Grinding my way to becoming powerful enough to beat the first boss.

  • HLTB: ~7 hours

    Journal (Spoilers!)

    --------------------------------------------------------

    04-23-15: Saved Jenka's dogs. Balrog stole the warehouse key, need to chase after him before he feeds all the Mimiga red flowers.

    04-22-15: Unlocked the "Sun Stones" in the sand zone. I have no idea what I'm doing, I play this game too intermittently.

    12-18-14: Sue has been captured. Need to find her in first town.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Bioshock Infinite*

    I dreaded playing this game from minute one, all the way to the end. There's just something about monsters combined with the unknown of space that freaks me out.

  • ******** Completed ********

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Killzone: Shadow Fall*

    I enjoyed this from top to bottom. Vanillaware's visual design coupled with music that fit the game perfectly was attractive enough, but the multiplayer is the gem here. I usually don't enjoy playing with randoms but the drop-in style player matching is akin to playing a player brawler at the arcade. While its officially off the backlog, the online mode's replayability along with the unlocking of extra difficulty (the game makes it clear in the epilogue that it should be beaten at least two more times) ensures I'll likely be playing this one a bit more.

  • 10/11/13: I have no idea where I'm at. I have access to the Slurry Coast and that's where things tend to stop running from my party, but other than that...

  • ******** Completed ********

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Europa Universalis IV*

    I had a shooter itch to scratch, and I got it. Who needs Duke Nukem when we have Rex Power Colt?

  • 8/19/13: Defeated Marth and the Western Khan.

    8/15/13: Lost Kellam in same battle he was recruited. Was torn as to whether to load from save, but pressed on in the spirit of the game.

    8/14/13: Just getting started. Fighting Risen, lost a character already. Going to reload save, screw that.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Halo 4*

    I'd never finished a sim-style racing game, be it the Forzas, the Gran Turismos. At least in the sense that you can by racing all of the single-player league races. I would get to a point where either grinding was required to move up, to buy a faster car, or the game became too repetitive for the races to remain interesting.

    These factors were in full display in Forza 4, but even so I managed to drive myself to the end (wah-wah). The racing was cathartic, asking the player of just reflexes and reaction, nothing cognitive. I could sit down, run through the gearbox and not have to think about anything, instead prescribing self-hypnosis by way of the whine from the various cars' in-game engines.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Halo 4*

    Didn't really do much for me. Dom's concern for his wife seemed over-the-top, the enemies seemed too similar to the previous game, and I never played the multiplayer. A competent shooter but not remarkable in my mind.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Okami HD*

    While Gears 1 and 2 felt like solid single-player games with a stronger multiplayer component, Gears 3 had moments in the story with weight to them. The gameplay was refined as well, everything felt tighter and more responsive. The shooting could still get monotonous, but most shooters I play do over the course of the campaign. Glad I stuck with it and finished the series.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Europa Universalis IV*

    I put this on the Finished list, then took it off, now it's back. I had played this a good bit several years ago and still had the save game, so my buddy Joseph and I played the last level to finish it. Couple issues--we used stage select instead of starting from the beginning, and the next day I found out that stage 7 is actually not the final stage. However, from a FAQ I read that stage 8 is just a repeat of stage 2, and meant just to be a wrap up of the story with an incredibly easy boss.

    To "finish" the game, we'd have to play from the beginning to stage 8, and based on our experience with the incredibly cheap credit munching gameplay of stage 7, aint'nobodygottimeforthat. So, given how much time I've played Gradius V over the years coupled with the shallow value of the final stage, I'm chalking this up as a win because hey, the point of isn't to technically beat games but to get my money's worth from my neverending backlog of games. I've definitely done that.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Okami HD*

    The first few hours were a dud, but once Trevor became playable GTA V turned into one of the finest ways to wind down from a work day. Even after finishing the main story, just tooling around Los Santos performing side missions or merely listening to the radio is enough reason to warrant booting the PS3.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Etrian Odyssee IV*

    Knowing what I know now, I would put this at the top of anyone's list of must-have games for the Vita. It's not terribly long, but if played on the handheld instead of the PS3 in short play sessions, it lasts quite a bit. Loved the Mexican cultural theme and the music was fantastic. A lot of polish for a perfect portable game.

  • 03-19-15: Game is way too buggy to play online :( Constantly getting dropped from servers.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag*

    Got this one for free through Playstation Plus. What a great service, to receive games like this at no additional cost. Played it on the Vita, and aside from some control issues with the aiming it's a strong reason to own one. I was genuinely disturbed by the story and kind of glad I was able to play this on the small screen as to keep my wife from wondering about my sanity. Blood. So much blood. Game felt like a mash up of Mulholland Drive and...well Drive.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition*

    Did as much for me as the first inFamous on PS3, in that it makes the player gradually feel really powerful.

    Few videogames have conveyed the experience of being a superhero as well as Second Son does. I think it has in large part to do with the fantastic abilities you're granted over the course of the game, divvied out gradually to continually surprise you. You aren't just given new ways to blow things up but different means of traversing the environment. The combat is dynamic and while the situations van feel repetitive, the powers as well as the ramping AI difficulty keeps things interesting.

    Not a bad story either. Its not complicated, but the characters are memorable and the dialogue is funny. The main character reminds me of a friend of mine, which might be why I didn't find him as annoying or off putting as some reviewers may have.

    Had I know the game was as good as it turned out to be, I would have bought it a long time ago. I shouldn't let reviews steer me so much.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Dragon's Crown*

    It took me a couple tries to get into Journey, which is funny as the game can be finished in one sitting. I was angry at something unrelated when I gave it the first go, and found the game to be empty and hyped. Yes, there was co-op, but I couldn't talk to them and they kept taking all of my "flags." I quit in disgust and feeling that it just wasn't for me.

    My buddy pleaded for me to try again, and on a lazy Saturday I played it to the very end. I "got" the emotional connection you feel when someone comes and goes from your game. The further things went, the more intense the pang I felt when someone left. The final scene was especially moving. I'm glad I found 3 hours of my life to play this one.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward OlliOlli*

    For a launch game, it's not bad. The story was terrible, but the ride was fun. If only they could do more with the science fiction here...I don't know. Hire a writer? Mechanically the game is fine and a lot of fun except for some unending horde moments.

  • 4/28/2015: Christ. Almost a year later, back in the same boat. I'm never going to finish this game at this rate. Spent time wandering around during lunch today, found my way into the Dark Palace. I think I'm actually progressing!

    6/12/14: Started over as it's been forever since I played. Glad I did, I feel like I'm more into it this go-round. Just watched Ceres get captured at the Sanctuary.

    1/30/14: After playing this game in short, sleepy bursts, I finally made some headway. I misunderstood the rental process thinking I could only have one item at a time, then two after obtaining the ability to do so. Then I rented everything and the number of possibilities exploded. Very cool way to handle special items, Nintendo. Currently exploring the Tower of Gales.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Bioshock Infinite*

    This is probably my favorite Zelda since Ocarina. I'd say it's alongside a Link to the Past. Midna was a fine sidekick compared to Navi or Tingle.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate*

    With Mario Kart 8 on the horizon, I began craving some MK so I fired up Mario Kart 7 on the 3ds. I had played maybe an hours worth and put it away in my 3DS travel case. A year or so later, I finally put some time into it. I'm embarrassed it took me so long, the game is the tightest version of Mario Kart since SMK. Had a lot of fun getting gold on all the races in 50cc, beating some ghost racers picked up via StreetPass in Time Trials and playing multiplayer with what largely seem to be the Japanese MK community.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Super Mario 3d World*

    Managed to unlock the Mirror races. Wish they were backwards rather than just left instead of right. Looking forward to the DLC as of this writing.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition*

    Probably the best ninja game I've ever played, no kidding. I felt like a stealthy assassin rather than a clumsy action hero when I managed to use all of tools provided.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Helldivers*

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate*

    This was one of the first games I bought for the Playstation 4. I intended to trade it in but decided to hold onto it. Ended up finishing the game through the cop career mode and glad I did. It may not be as interesting as say, Hot Pursuit or Burnout Paradise but it's got it where it counts. That is, it's pretty, it's fast (very fast once you start unlocking cars near rank 20) and is a decent enough racer to hold you over until something better comes along (Drive Club?).

  • 10/27/13: Woke up Susano, helped him cut the boulder obstructing the exit to the first town. The tree goddess with the bum hanging out wants me to revive several great trees, currently on my way to what looks to be the first dungeon.

    10/20/13: Started the game, helping out in the first village. Learning how to draw. Need to find the swordsman.

  • 6/13/14: Watching on June 20th patch to fix crash bug.

    1/27/14: Running through all the levels regardless of score. In some desert junkyard at the moment.

  • 05-17-15: Began playing again after having been away from the game since last year. Found it easy to pick up from, there's no real story to worry about. Fun times.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within*

    I never played Quest for Booty, so I can't comment on that one but between Tools of Destruction and Crack in Time, this one is the better game. ToD felt like a by-the-numbers Ratchet and Clank while CiT was a return to form. The gameplay is more exciting, the voice acting is better as is the comedy. Even so, it still felt somewhat safe rather than a full step forward for the series. I don't plan on playing Into the Nexus so this will likely be the last Ratchet game for me, at least until something else comes along. Not a bad place to stop.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Bloodborne*

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Etrian Odyssee IV*

    Grand Theft Auto IV is a good balance of serious core story surrounded by parody. Saints Row III is hard lean into the latter, with comic insanity as its main event. Sleeping Dogs focuses on that serious core, never straying too far from the gravity the central character struggles with in being undercover. Sure there are outrageous side missions, but it never gets terribly funny. Wei Chen just gets deeper and deeper, until you really start to feel for the guy in a way you want things to turn out OK for Vic Mackey or Tony Soprano. While a bit rough around the edges at times, Sleeping Dogs was a satisfying crime thriller.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Guacamelee*

    The gameplay was super repetitive, but the descent into madness was well worth it.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Bloodborne*

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Guacamelee*

    This may be a 6 year old game, but it plays just as well today as it did then. It was like being in an amusement park, where each level was it's own section. Never got boring throughout, finished at 96 stars.

  • 6/11/14: Gradually proceeding through World 3. Could backtrack and get more stars for areas that require x number.

    5/2/14: In World 3. Need to figure out how to find hidden stars in World 1, apparently I still need to find a few to get Galaxy Completed on a few.

  • ******** Completed ********

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward: Metro: Last Light*

    If you own a Vita, this is the other game besides Persona 4 Golden that you should be playing. A short but sweet game, perfect for the platform where you tend to play games for a few minutes at a time. I loved the ending--came a long way from being a tiny blob in a test-tube!

  • ******** Completed ********

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Helldivers*

    My friend Joseph and I co-op'ed our way through the game's several levels. A really fun, modern version of Joust where your friends can be just as hazardous as your enemies. Sure, Joseph says he's sorry as one of his errant arrows takes me out, but so am I as I dip into his reserve of extra lives. Honest.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Dragon's Crown*

    This one feels like a retread through similar territory, both in aesthetic and gameplay. Golden Abyss could pass for a handheld version of Drake's Fortune as you're often traversing through the jungle. It's also similar to every Uncharted that's come before in that you run, gun, and punch your way through enemies, stopping short to take cover from those that dish out a lot of punishment. Still, for what it is, Golden Abyss provides a genuine Uncharted experience on the go, with novel touchscreen controls for fist-fights and visuals that showcase what the system can do. I really enjoyed playing this one to the end.

  • ******** Completed ********

    *Credited toward Super Mario 3d World*

    Stopped and restarted twice. Managed to hook me on the third go. Glad I finished it, not many games like this one. Hope Witcher 3 continues to improve upon this adult action RPG.