What is it about the pursuit of gaming as a hobby that leads me to continually buy games when I know well enough that there is already a growing stack of other games waiting for me back home? Is it the reassuring voice in the back of my head telling me that "you will get around to playing them all", as if I am going to procure the ability to create a clone of myself who can handle my real life commitments while I make my way blissfully through the backlog? Is it a fear that if I don't buy this game at this very moment it will some how end up disappearing from shelves due to court order like Too Human? Or is it an addiction that simply needs to be fed in order to feel like I can communicate in this community as a 'Gamer', remaining relevant while saving myself from inevitable spoilers (I still haven't got around to The Walking Dead yet)?
Whatever the motive behind the stack of games looming overhead I know I am not alone in my plight. There are a number of web shows dealing with this very subject, with the host playing through their own backlog for your viewing pleasure so that you don't have to deal with your own backlog problems, essentially escapism from your escapism. Even Destructoid used to have it's own short-lived backlog show until a couple of years ago, ingeniously titled Backlog.
If you are eager to take on the 'challenge', you will find a wealth of blogs dedicated to giving you the holy grail with regards to your backlog...."TEN TIPS TO HANDLING YOUR BACKLOG" "HOW TO KEEP YOUR BACKLOG UNDER CONTROL" "SERIOUSLY, YOU NEED TO READ THIS OR YOU WILL DIE FROM HAVING TOO MANY GAMES!". As if this is a problem foretold by the gods themselves and that we as humans have been incapable of dealing with it since the dawn of this epidemic until now.
Of course the simple answer to clearing the pile of shame is to simply play the games you have. This will of course reduce the games you have in your backlog much like finishing anything, taking differing amounts of time depending on the genre specific background of the titles. Obviously, having a backlog consisting of RPG's with take considerably longer to get through compared to a backlog of FPS's. But by simply playing our games we will eventually get through them. Right?
Well with Blockbuster having a going out of business sale I 'had' to buy Yakuza 4 and Dishonored because "they will never be that cheap again!" at £5 and £6 respectively. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the failing high street stores that are just throwing games my way at super cheap prices that I have to have because "they will never be that cheap again!". Oh and let's not forget the amazing service that is Playstation Plus, giving me more games to add to the pile each month. Couple that with Steam sales and flash sales on other sites and you would think that I am amassing games for the sole purpose of starting my own games museum with both a physical and online presence in order to preserve their legacy.
Of course there comes a time when no more money can be spent either because there is no money left to be spent or I am simply content in the knowledge that there are no games on the market that I need to be playing at this very second. Okay that last one is a lie, because there is always a game that I want on some platform or another and we all know you can never have enough games right?
So you wake up early Saturday morning, smile beaming across your probably drool covered face knowing that you have nothing planned for the entire weekend except to generally relax and catch up on the games in your backlog. Not sure what game to play yet you go grab a drink and snacks ready to settle in with the game of your choice. You know that
game. The one you are about to play. Oh crap what is it? Oh wait no it is the other one! Or was it......Fuck! WHY CAN'T I JUST CHOOSE A GAME TO PLAY OUT OF THE 20 GAMES I HAVE WAITING FOR ME!!!!!!
I started writing this morning hoping that by the time I had published this I would have decided on a game and I am still no closer to choosing something. Please tell me I am not the only one?
By the way......I had hotdogs.
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