Backlog, I Hate The Word

“Backlog. Backlog? I hate the word. As I hate hell, all procrastinators and thee.”

That’s right, I hate the word backlog. You can argue all you want about how everyone who owns a video game has a “backlog” of games that are still on their to-do list. I will destroy this word. Delete this word from your vocabulary, bleep out the word like raunchy comedies do on public television (Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns in January 2015!), or scream when someone utters this disgusting word.

It occurred to me in 2011 that I should keep track of how many video games I complete over the course of a year. Since then, I realized that the term “backlog” when used with video games is all intrusive. When anyone refers to their “backlog” of video games, I think of how much work and effort they are putting towards a huge list of games that must be completed. It is annoying hearing/reading about people who reveal that they have over 100 games that they just have to complete before they die. It is an unrealistic expectation unless you drop everything in your life and fully work on your “backlog.”

Now for the cliché: Wikipedia notes that “backlog” generally refers to an accumulation over time of work waiting to be done or orders to be fulfilled. I agree that the word itself can be involved with a gamer’s vocabulary, but I want to show you how to avoid thinking in those terms.

My Wallet Is Hurting

Your wallet can hurt if you focus too hard on your “backlog.” We are in 2014, but some gamers insist they have to play the original video games. They do not want to touch the Playstation Network or Nintendo eShop to buy a game that plays exactly like the original. Gamers would rather own the old Final Fantasy VII Playstation disc or Super Mario World RPG SNES cartridge instead of purchasing it digitally at a quarter of the price.

Run Simballet! via Cheezburger

Note: Currently, Final Fantasy VII is selling at roughly $150 new and $17 used while Super Mario RPG is nearly $400 new and $46 used.

I will admit that I went through a phase where I had to buy the rare original video game so I could play them later. For example, I rebought Final Fantasy VII on eBay for over $30 used a few years ago. More recently, I bought Xenosaga: Episode III for more than $40 on eBay since I wanted to complete the saga.

I Have To Beat This

When you work on your “backlog” of video games, do you say, “I have to beat this”, and if so, why? Why does this one game matter so much more than the hundreds that have come out over the course of a year that may interest you more? I understand that after you beat something in your “backlog” that it must feel great, but you did not have to beat it.

Dark Souls is hard via GTTMY

The worst way I look at this is when a gamer scratches a game off their “backlog,” and feels more excited when they see its ending. Are you more excited about beating the game itself or just happy to see another game off your “backlog” list? Further, there is always the chance that the gamer rushed through the dialogue or missed the entire climax in the story. There can be hundreds of factors that they missed because the only thing they focused on was completing this task.

At least, once a game is marked off their “backlog” list, they can start another.

How Long To Beat

Hours Well Spent? via NPC Comics

Time is of the essence when it comes to some gamers who want to complete their entire “backlog” list. How Long To Beat is a wonderful tool for gamers to find out how long it will take to beat the next game on their list. I like to use this website every once in a while to determine which game I should play next, but I do not limit myself to these times.

If you use this website, ask yourself: does it really matter? Do you care about the time you have to put in to your next video games? I have explained in one of my previous blog posts that “Time is Money,” but this may go too far. Gamers may rush through the game instead of experiencing the game how it is supposed to be experienced. For example, I started playing Final Fantasy X-2. This game will roughly take me 35 hours to complete since I will do some of the side missions as well. However, there is another part of the game that gamers may or may not touch: The Fiend Arena.

The Fiend Arena in Final Fantasy X-2 is an arena where your character can capture monsters called fiends, watch their Fiend Tale progress, manage their skills and powers, and fight in a battle arena. This is sort of like Pokémon, but it is more randomized when capturing fiends. This entire side story of the game is for fun. The story can progress without the added feature, but the interesting take on Fiend Tales can be important if you are interested in the lore of the game, extra missions, or new items.

Fiend Arena Art via Final Fantasy Wiki

To watch a Fiend’s Tale, you must level up your fiend to a high enough level and release it back into the wild. Once you do this, you will learn the history of the fiend and get a possible item or mission to complete within the game. This adds more to the Final Fantasy X-2 lore and only helps the player. The feature adds another depth to Final Fantasy X-2, but will those who have it on their “backlog” list even give it a try? I think not, since their goal is to finish the game in a certain amount of time.

Note: To learn more about the Fiend Arena, visit The Final Fantasy Wiki.

The Juggling Maneuver

Currently, I am playing Titanfall, Mega Man: Battle Network, Invisible, Inc., and Final Fantasy X-2. This may sound like a lot of games to go between, but I can handle them. I can remember what is going on in each game and make time for each one when I see fit. One day, I may feel like mindless, fast-paced killing and play Titanfall, and the next day, I may want to relax and lose myself in the story of Final Fantasy X-2.

Mr. Game & Watch Ball Game via GiantBomb

Juggling a bunch of video games can be hard. The only reason I do this is because I know I can take my time and experience the entire game. I do not want to burn out on one video game because I played it nonstop for a week. I like to dabble in different games to help break up the monotony.

If a gamer is too heavily invested in their “backlog,” they may focus too hard on a single game and lose interest. A role-playing video game could take hours and hours until it is completed. I remember putting in over 60 hours with Final Fantasy XIII and that took me nearly two years to complete. Focusing on one game could hurt you like I mentioned before, so it may be in your best interest to alternate between several games. Take a break from one video game, and then go play something else. Do not worry; the game will still be there for you when you return.

Let’s Focus On Completion

Here is what I do: I focus on how many games I complete in a given year. This is a great way for me to see how much time I dedicate to one of my favorite hobbies. I look forward to completing games and adding them to my list, so at the end of the year, I can either brag or wallow in my lack in gaming. It can also be a great identifier to see what game I might have dedicated a lot of my time to. For instance, with the March release of Titanfall, I saw a drop in completed games. I put a lot of effort and time into Titanfall and I did not want to touch any other game.

Now That’s Focus via Business In Focus

The other reason I like to keep this list is because it helps me to form a positive outlook on things. I would rather have the happy thought of all of my gaming accomplishments embedded in my brain than a sad, negative one of all those I have not completed. I am not saying all gamers look at their “backlog” as a negative, but I can see how some could. Gamers see a list of hundreds of games, so instead of looking at the positive experiences to come, they visualize the negative and see at least half the games as a hassle.

Video games should not become a chore, they should be played for fun. Remember, a game is just a game. It does not matter if you have a million games to play in your lifetime. As long as you are having fun, and look at the positive side of gaming, there is no reason to think that you have to play this or that. Take one game at a time, and keep track of them in a different way. Ignore the word “backlog,” erase it from your dictionary, keep track of your accomplishments, and have fun with your video games.

Make A List by See Sarah Eat

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5 comments

  1. I like this post. I usually buy games I want to play later on, and who seem fun. I try to complete most of them, and some I’m content to just play regardless of if I finish them or not since they’re fun. I wouldn’t use the term backlog as I’m supposed to have fun while gaming. Now IRL I have a backlog of other stuff I need to get around doing, but that’s another story and setting.

    Like

    1. Thanks! I do the same, buy and save. They are not my backlog, they are just games I know I can go to later if I want. I have a huge Steam library of games that I got for cheap from Humble Bundles. There are some games I know I won’t beat but just want to play for fun like Prison Architect (still in early access).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of good points in there. Part of the issue I think, and I’ve been guilty of this myself, is not wanting to feel like you’ve wasted your money. You feel the need to at least get some value out of it by playing it and hopefully there’ll be a nice surprise in there.

    I do agree about games in general anyways, it took me a while before I simply stopped caring about the list of games I haven’t played and just focused on the ones I am interested in. Things build up too much otherwise and when playing one game, even if you enjoy it, the experience is taken away from by the feeling that you could be spending that time getting through another game on the list.

    You burn out on games far too easily that way and you could end up finding yourself gaming when you’re really be much happier doing something else which is never the situation you want to be in. As soon as the fun is taken out of gaming, you’ve lost the reason wdhy you’re playing it in the first place. Some deviate by tackling serious issues or wanting to make you feel some sort of emotion but unless you have that hook that legitimately makes you enjoy playing it, it’s pointless.

    One approach I’ve taken which I think more could do with following is when going to buy a game, really think about whether it’s a game you have to own. Do you really want that game? Will you be disappointed or feel like you’re missing out if you don’t buy it? Will that co-op game you think looks really awesome actually be a game you get to play with your friends?

    There’s a lot of things worth asking yourself when doing this, it’s helped stop me feeling like things are building up too much. For current gen consoles, that approach has let me have a new start with this sort of thing. while things are building up on the Xbox One because of EA Access and Games With Gold, it’s not overwhelming because the stuff I do want to play, I’m playing.

    Everything else is a nice bonus and not something I specifically spent money on. At the moment, I’m just enjoying Destiny and I’m just free to have fun in it. It’s much more pleasant than racing to finish everything.

    There’s something special in just playing games for enjoyment, those great games will stand out more. It’s not something you want to give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good outlook on it. Yes, always questioning oneself is what I wish everyone would do. I have a lot of questioning to give myself come this October. Will I buy a new game or continue with Destiny until November?

      Like

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