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Has Anyone Ever Actually Cleared Their Backlog?


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Completing most games isn’t really something I think about or aim for. Occasionally something comes along that I hammer until it’s done, but for the most part I’ll get a few good hours out of something before losing interest and dropping it. That’s fine with me.

 

In terms of digital backlog, even if I aimed for it I doubt I’ll live long enough to clear it... unless I did nothing but play games every free waking moment.

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I’m happy just getting through my Switch games. I’ll return to the PS4 later, I’ve got so many I played games on that thing. 
 

Ive still got some unplayed Xbox 360 games, but I’m ready to consign them to history. The Wii was retired last year and put in a box, I’m sure I’ve got some stuff on there (like Metroid Prime 2 and 3) which I never got around to finishing. 
 

I think, once I retire a console, that’s when the backlog gets cleared. Having said that, I still consider Burning Rangers on Saturn to be where my backlog started. Maybe I’ll go back to it one of these days?

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I don’t really have a backlog in the sense that many here do. I don’t purchase games unless I know I’ll get to play them in that given month. Usually if I know I won’t get to a game in the near future I just buy it months later and by that time it’s usually cheaper anyway.

 

What I do have is a tonne of games that I know I want to play. Many of them are ps4 games that I’m interested in but haven’t played because life this generation has meant I don’t play as much as I used to.

 

I’ve coined 2020 as the year of gaming for myself though. I will play any Switch games that take my fancy but the main focus is to get through as many PS4 titles that I’m interested in with the reward of a PS5 at the end of it. Hopefully! So God of War, The Shenmues, Death Stranding, Control, Days Gone et al. I’m looking forward to a good year. This includes Uncharted 4 which I’m replaying and I’ll probably give Spiderman and TLOU another bash too.

 

Other than TLOU2 I have no other dead cert new release purchases this year. Cyberpunk and maybe Watch Dogs if they’re next gen I’ll wait for.

 

And then of course there’s the Witcher 3 which I’m plodding along with on Switch. 20hrs in but I always knew that’s a game that would take me all year.

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I went through all the digital games I own and noted down all the ones I would definitely like to play but haven't got round to yet. There must be ten years worth of gaming in that list and I've still got physical stuff to add as well.

 

So... No I will definitely die before getting round to many of these, which is a far cry from the days of having a Megadrive and only three games to play on it.

 

[edit] 179 games.

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I own a lot of games for older consoles, but about 85% of them are arcade ports, so there's no end point to them.

 

I think the psychology of backlog clearance is interesting, and I've fallen into it in the past with that 15% of my collection that consists of supposedly must play narrative heavy games. You start focussing on finishing games with a clear end point and ticking them off a list. It becomes a sort of self imposed toil, with the enjoyment coming not from the moment to moment gameplay but from finishing one block of work (game) and ticking it off your to do list. I think it's a similar type of psychological response as pointless box ticking and stat grinding within games.

 

Anyway, in my case I eventually realised that my brain was trying to tell me something about my gaming preferences, which is that I don't just prefer arcade games, I actually just don't enjoy a lot of what is currently considered the pinnacle of gaming at all. I pretty much gave up on story based games and admitted that if I actually liked modern narrative games/games with a clear beginning middle and end, I wouldn't have to force myself to play them and wouldn't spend my time while playing wondering if I'm near the end.

 

I think part of it (for me, and maybe some others) is the idea of homogeneous "gamers" which implies that if you liked Tetris, Outrun 2, local multiplayer bomberman with your friends and Crazy Taxi, well then as a "gamer" you'll naturally like collecting feathers in the latest Assassin's Creed for 100 hours, sitting through the latest Naughty Dog experience or chopping down trees to build a hut in the latest procedurally generated craft em up.

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8 hours ago, partious said:

I own a lot of games for older consoles, but about 85% of them are arcade ports, so there's no end point to them.

 

I think the psychology of backlog clearance is interesting, and I've fallen into it in the past with that 15% of my collection that consists of supposedly must play narrative heavy games. You start focussing on finishing games with a clear end point and ticking them off a list. It becomes a sort of self imposed toil, with the enjoyment coming not from the moment to moment gameplay but from finishing one block of work (game) and ticking it off your to do list. I think it's a similar type of psychological response as pointless box ticking and stat grinding within games.

 

Anyway, in my case I eventually realised that my brain was trying to tell me something about my gaming preferences, which is that I don't just prefer arcade games, I actually just don't enjoy a lot of what is currently considered the pinnacle of gaming at all. I pretty much gave up on story based games and admitted that if I actually liked modern narrative games/games with a clear beginning middle and end, I wouldn't have to force myself to play them and wouldn't spend my time while playing wondering if I'm near the end.

 

I think part of it (for me, and maybe some others) is the idea of homogeneous "gamers" which implies that if you liked Tetris, Outrun 2, local multiplayer bomberman with your friends and Crazy Taxi, well then as a "gamer" you'll naturally like collecting feathers in the latest Assassin's Creed for 100 hours, sitting through the latest Naughty Dog experience or chopping down trees to build a hut in the latest procedurally generated craft em up.

 

I agree with that to a certain extent, but it's no different to ploughing through a book or a TV series. They all have definite end-points, and you could equally apply the box-ticking metaphor those pursuits.

 

The problem with many finite or story-driven games is the same a TV show artificially padded out to 12 episodes or a novel badly in need of an editor - the content is just stretched too thin. I think most narrative-driven games outstay their welcome in an attempt to prove value in a market where 'hours playtime' is considered a key metric. I'd prefer a move towards more appropriate length narratives coupled with replayability for those who want more.

 

The same backlog-clearing anxiety can equally, or maybe even more acutely, apply to arcade or infinite games. Have I played this game enough now? Have I mastered it or is there more to learn? I should move onto the next thing. I'm addicted and resenting it. In fact lots of people on here seem to actively avoid 'infinite' games like PVP games, sports games, looter shooters and arcade games because they distract from the task of ticking off 'completable' games. Even as you're totally absorbed and addicted to something like, in my case, Apex Legends, you're involuntarily fretting about your neglected backlog.

 

I think the psychology is the same. When playing one game you're wondering about the other games you're not playing.

 

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I think I could realistically clear my backlog of "owned-but-not-played" games within the next year if I buy nothing new. Granted, I've said the same thing the past three or four years, but now I've finally starting to shrink the pile so it feels achievable.

 

I've currently fewer than 40 games on the pile, many of them are retro and therefore quite short (SNES mini purchase two years ago instantly added nearly 20). My handheld backlog is basically done, so I do actually buy one new game at a time and play it. But it's the home console and PC games where I struggle, particularly if they're on the long side, and no thanks to Steam sales for topping that small pile up every so often.

 

I do actually enjoy dedicating myself to one or two games and time and sticking with them. It's satisfying. That said, I'll happily give up on anything not fun and move on.

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Yeah I was wondering if it would suck the joy of it. You know when you've got most of the way through a game, and some of the mechanics are starting to get a bit stale, but you've invested enough time in it already that you just sort of power through it? I would wonder if it would make all gaming feel like that.

 

I have considered, half-jokingly, making a trello board for what games I'm playing. As in "want to play", "playing", "played". Just so I remember to stick with the ones in the "playing" column and not get distracted. With the games I play being spread out over PS4, Switch, Android, and all the various PC storefronts, it's not like there's one place I can go to just dip back into whatever I was doing last.

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24 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

I don't really have a backlog. I just play whatever I feel like, and don't buy games unless I'm planning to play them when I buy them.

 

Having a backlog honestly just felt like work.

 

So do you always play stuff till you're done before buying the next thing? i.e make a purchase, play until finished/bored, make another purchase?

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5 minutes ago, Pob said:

 

So do you always play stuff till you're done before buying the next thing? i.e make a purchase, play until finished/bored, make another purchase?


I sometimes have more than one on the go, or I buy a game to play after the one I’m currently playing if it’s very cheap or a Nintendo game (they seem to actually go up in price after launch). But I never buy anything with the thought that “I’ll get round to it at some point.”

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6 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:


I sometimes have more than one on the go, or I buy a game to play after the one I’m currently playing if it’s very cheap or a Nintendo game (they seem to actually go up in price after launch). But I never buy anything with the thought that “I’ll get round to it at some point.”

 

Don't you ever get distracted by a shiny new game and leave something half-finished thinking "I'll get back to that at some point?" That's where my backlog tends to come from, although I do buy stuff in sales sometimes knowing that it's going to have to wait before I get stuck into it. I also sometimes end up with fresh, unplayed games after Christmas or my birthday when I get more than one at once.

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48 minutes ago, Pob said:

 

Don't you ever get distracted by a shiny new game and leave something half-finished thinking "I'll get back to that at some point?" That's where my backlog tends to come from, although I do buy stuff in sales sometimes knowing that it's going to have to wait before I get stuck into it. I also sometimes end up with fresh, unplayed games after Christmas or my birthday when I get more than one at once.


Game Pass is pretty bad for this. But I generally don’t buy anything new if I know it’s gonna knock me off something else I want to finish. 

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4 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

But I never buy anything with the thought that “I’ll get round to it at some point.”

I bought Demon's Souls once when it was £3.99.

I don't and didn't own a PS3.

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So I've just set up on a website to help me track games I've played / yet to play as I need to reduce my outgoings for a while, so to minimise expenditure it groups the games into the below -

Currently playing - Games i'm midway through

Completed - Games played and all objectives that I want to achieve complete

Played - Played and given up with for whatever reason

Not played - Considered my backlog

 

So it has only brought in games from psn, xbox, steam and gog so doesn't include nintendo stuff or pre PS3 - Xbox 360 stuff but you can add that manually so i'm yet to add that. It just picks up on titles that you have achievements with I think so despite not owning many of the games anymore it pulls them out and you can manually delete them or leave them in so you know what games you have played.

 

So as of writing this I have a total of 562 games in this thing of which -

Currently playing - 6

Completed - 59 (This doesn't surprise being so low as I get distracted easy and there are lots going on)

Played - 235

Not played - 150

 

There are a lot more than I realised that I have / own and still want to play so at least now I have a checklist I can starting ticking stuff off and hopefully keep my expenditure down for a little while ^_^ I've also spotted that I have or have owned the same game on many many systems :D

 

I'm just going to get my 'currently played' stuff out the way for now and then will have to pick something out the backlog ^_^ 

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  • 7 months later...

This seems like a healthier way of thinking of the pile of shame:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/comments/ibfbu6/you_dont_have_a_backlog/

 

Quote

I'm an old man and I get cranky.

 

Something that upsets me about this sub is the constant fixation on reducing one's backlog. This makes me sad. I picture all these poor people, cramped over their displays, fingers spasmed into painful claws, desperately trying to finish just one more game in order to feed the great Demand.

 

Don't do it!

 

When you reach your desk at work and there's a stack of shit nobody would deal with for free, yes. That's a backlog. It's a burden. Stuff piled up that needs to be addressed.

 

When you reach your gameatorium and see stacks of unplayed games piled up... Bonus! you're living the childhood dream! Your very own candy shop with an infinity of delights, more than any one child - no matter how determined - could consume in a lifetime! What a fucking treasure!

 

Don't turn that haven into work. Don't walk into that candy shop determined to methodically consume each and every unit of candy in the store. You'll get sick. Eat your fill and leave. That's the marvel of this store - it's always waiting for you to walk back in and start munching.

 

That's all I had to say. Get off my lawn.

 

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8 minutes ago, Nick R said:

This seems like a healthier way of thinking of the pile of shame:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/comments/ibfbu6/you_dont_have_a_backlog/

 

 

 

That's a wonderful way to see it, I try and subscribe to that feeling.

 

I'm fairly confident I didn't have a backlog circa 2015. I had spent tens of thousdands of pounds and hundreds of thousands of hours playing and living in games from my childhood, teens and early 20's.

 

As I now approach 36, I've settled into not caring about all new games and through Rllmuk, Bordersdown, Twitter and friends, I let the cream of the crop rise to the surface. So for the past 5 or so years, I probally only buy around 8 games a year and once I have one, I play nothing else till I compplete it or become bored with it. Because of that, I only really buy games when I'm ready to play one. Hence I don't have a backlog, I have a shopping list.. Are they the same? Maybe...

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I like to think of my game room as the above mentioned candy store I can pick at when I feel like it. When I was in full on collecting like a bellend mode in the early 2010’s I acquired more games than I could play in my lifetime. I still have all of those games in my own little den of delight (the spare bedroom). It’s nice to just game with no pressure. I feel completely zen about all the Xbox 360 and PS4 games that are still in their shrink wrap. If I ever want to play them, they’re at hand, but if I don’t, they can sit there until I’m ready. I don’t want to put pressure on myself to try and play a certain amount of each game. I’m very particular with my gaming time these days, and if I pop in a game for the first time and I don’t feel like playing any more after 10 minutes, I know there’s something else I will enjoy. 

 

I get annoyed at the rising prices of old games, but it’s probably because dick heads like me are sat with a room full of them playing the same few over and over.

 

I guess to to answer the OP’s question - My backlog is more or less infinite in the timespan of a human life, but I’m cool with that. It’s so unmanageable for me it’s managed itself.

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No. Never will. Think I'm resound to the fact looking at my Steam library. However lots of titles were bought in sales so don't feel too guilty if I've only spent an hour or two on some games.

 

Rest of my physical games are gone now had a massive clear out over the course of the last year. Just have a few items left now that are trinkets to decorate my space.

 

This is why GamePass is the way forward for me. Just play the odd game see what I enjoy and finish it if it's grabbing me. No backlog no wasted money and no guilt. 

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