I was prompted to share on this topic thanks to a Gaming Diaries post about what I’m calling the Great Game Backlog. We gamers usually have a number of games waiting to be played, started, or finished. It’s a good problem to have, yet it feels more bad than good. Or is it just me?
Surely it’s not just me. There are so many good video games out there to play. But even if we limit ourselves to only the greats, I think the total game-time exceeds our available play-time. So no matter how often we pick up a controller, the backlog of hit titles to enjoy just keeps growing, like the multi-form final boss that just won’t die. Dude!
This big backlog problem exists even if you restrict yourself to just one home console system. For me, it’s the Nintendo Switch. That might not be a fair example, though, because the Switch not only has its own games, it also has ports and remasters of many games from other consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3.
In any case, there are a ton of Switch games, especially if you add up the indie or casual mobile games.
I’ve got a list of games I’m eager to start playing. They live squarely on my backlog, jammed up by whatever current game I’m enjoying. The game backlog is so common, it’s a default list when you sign-up on Grouvee. You can see mine at this link. While my list is short, it feels really…jammed up.
The thing that makes me feel most bad is not that I’m playing an awesome game now and must wait to start the others. It’s that, for various reasons, I tend to stop playing my current game! So the backlog must wait even longer.
That’s my problem. I don’t really stop, but I pause in a game for weeks at a time. I’m a Dad with a family and career. I have many responsibilities. If gaming were one, I’d be almost failing at it. It just makes me have some grief. I should be enjoying this awesome game until I beat it. But life happens, parenting and work exist, so play and personal time get side-tracked. And, apparently, back-logged!
The other distraction from my current game is that when I pause, I sometimes end up starting a new one anyways. So now I’ve got TWO games I must finish, the current one and the previous one. Only then can I continue to the next game in the backlog queue.
Also, there are easier entertainment distractions! When I could be gaming, I often am watching a movie or surfing YouTube. Passive watching is less interactive than gaming. So it becomes a habit to neglect my paused game, stretching the hiatus longer.
An example: In February 2019, I “paused” my game-play in Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. I finally un-paused in November that same year, finishing it in December (woo-hoo)! Meanwhile, my games backlog didn’t get any smaller.
Anyways, I try to see the backlog as a good problem. I have the privilege of playing lots of games, both short simple ones and the 100+ hour JRPG grinds I love to get absorbed into during long late night sessions. Being in my 40’s means I don’t get many of those sessions. But when I do, I sometimes feel like a kid again!
I look forward to picking up the controller. I last paused on Ni No Kuni and am now enjoying Link’s Awakening. I must enjoy both until each are finished, then I can start enjoying Tales of Vesperia! I’ve been looking forward to that one.
And you know what? That’s one thing that pulls me through my current game(s) if I get bogged down. It’s the anticipation of the upcoming new cool game that spurs me on to keep plugging away, mashing the buttons. Enjoy it, don’t rush. Look forward briefly, but stay focused on the present game and soak it up for all its fun.
So do you struggle with getting your game on, whittling down the backlog? It shouldn’t feel like a slog, right? It should be fun! Do you ever feel lazy for NOT playing your video games?