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Tips on how to beat your backlog*

*thatís not a euphanism

So this year, Iíve decided to make a concentrated effort to play more games and significantly reduce my backlog of games. Now moving from Australia back to Scotland has meant that my X-box 360 collection has shrunk to a total of two games. However, my Steam collection is of course still intact and frankly fucking huge. Some loose spending during the annual sales has left me with a frankly overwhelming backlog of games, some of which have never been touched. So, after a fairly decent start Iíve decided to outline some tips that are helping me beat my backlog. This isnít ďAli Dís guide to how you should all play gamesĒ but just ideas that I find are helping me play, enjoy and finish titles that Iíve bought.

1. Stick to normal

Beating my backlog has been about finishing games, not about setting myself an unreasonable challenge. Iím not very good at videogames, so jumping into a game on hard mode or higher is setting myself up for frustration and failure. Iím not suggesting that everyone do that, if youíre good at a genre of game like FPS or action games, then going straight into hard probably isnít going to trouble you. Some games will also let you bump the difficulty up mid-game, so if a game is insultingly easy to you, then thereís no reason not to give yourself a challenge.

The bottom line here is getting games completed; thereís nothing to stop you going back and playing the game again on a harder setting. No oneís gonna be all over you, claiming the validity of you only finishing a game on normal. And if they are, theyíre a dick.

2. Know your weaknesses

As I said above, Iím not good at videogames but thereís games that I just suck at. As such, Iím not going to play them. As happy as I am to see Marvel Vs Capcom 3 come out, Iím gonna suck at it. Iím gonna have my ass handed to me by that game so hard, I wouldnít be able to sit down. So Iím gonna give it a miss. Now, thereís reasons why I would buy it, like if I had friends and they would come round to my place, MvC3 would be a great game to bust out and have some fun with. Same with things like Rock Band, NBA Jam or You Donít Know Jack, but they wouldnít necessarily be Backlog games; theyíd be actual social games, titles you play when youíve got friends round.

So as much as Iíd like to be an all round gamer and play all the acclaimed titles that come out, I know that thereís some Iím just going to suck at and not complete and as such, Iím gonna have to give them a miss.

5. Trim the fat

Looking at my backlog, I realised that thereís lot of games I just donít want to play. Thereís some loose purchases, gifts from well meaning friends (I had someone gift me two games and said ďIíve never really played these, so they might be crapĒ), games that held promise but never delivered...

Well, Iím striking them from the list. Itís harsh, but I probably donít need God knows how many indie puzzle games on my list, taunting my lack of intellect with their uncompleted status. Iím sticking to games with a story or at least an ending, so that I can get a sense of closure when I play them. I will come back to these puzzle games, but theyíre not what Iím looking to finish here. Same with gifted titles; my friends and I rather awkwardly gifted each other titles for Christmas and birthdays without really thinking about whether we would all like them or not.

Bottom line again is, if youíre never really going to give a videogame a proper go, then strike it from the list. At lest for now...

6. Forget multiplayer

It might be hard, but Iíve shaken my Team Fortress 2 addiction. Ok, it took moving to a different country without access to my favourite servers and *cough*...... no actual PC to play on, but Iím not starting up again. Not for casual play anyway, there will be no more popping on for an hour and watching an entire night disappear. This too might alter what youíre going to buy, as playing a Call Of Duty game just for the single player doesnít seem like good value.

However, donít overlook the social aspects; jumping into a regular Friday Night Fight session with your Dtoid buddies is always fun and itís something I feel I should be making more time for. But donít let it stop your momentum in finishing your single player games.

So there we go, hereís the ideas that Iím trying to stick with to finish more games. Iím using my Backoggery as a tool to mark down my progress. Iím also using a list on my Giant Bomb profile to show what Iíve completed so far. In 2010 I only played 10 games to completetion. In 2011 so far, Iím up to 6. Iím setting myself a target of playing and finishing at least 20 titles this year and reducing my Backlog of uncompleted games from 64 % to around 50%. Now bear in mind, I donít have an actual PC to play titles on, but Iím hoping to remedy that soon. Wish me luck, and remember, weíre all counting on you.
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About Alasdair Duncanone of us since 9:17 AM on 10.13.2007

Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, FPS and all kinds of games on the PC. Watch, as he adds more games to his Steam library with only the vaguest hope of ever playing most of his games.

Alasdair has been gaming since his mother bought a Commodore 64 back in the early 1980's. He adores Deus Ex, GTA Vice City, Team Fortress 2, Borderlands, Super Mario Brothers 3 and all those weird indie titles on Steam.

You can meet Alasdair at places like PAX where he tries to convince people he isn't a) drunk or b) Irish.

Plus he crave attention via the following:

My Tumblr
My Last FM profile
Follow my incoherent ramblings on Twitter
Check how I'm doing with my Backloggery

Ali D waz on the front page!
Objectivity: Are We All Just Fanboys
Why does my wife write fan-fiction?
P2 Press Start: Teenage Kicks


courtesy of ZombiePlatypus

courtesy of PappaDukes
Xbox LIVE:Dtoid Ali D
Steam ID:alasdair25


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