“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.