It’s a luxury problem a lot of dedicated gamers face: backlog in video games. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, backlog has three definitions in the dictionary.
1. A reserve supply or source.
2. An accumulation, especially of unfinished work or unfilled orders.
3. A large log at the back of a fire in a fireplace.
Now, we can rule out number three. I’m sure such a large log to keep the fire going is nice, but that’s not what I meant here. The first two though are more accurate. Yes, it’s a reserve supply of games that you have yet to play. And yes, it’s also an accumulation of unfinished work. In this case, accumulated games that haven’t been fully played yet.
I was triggered by the blog of a fellow gamer who devoted an article to the backlog on his blog Obtain Potion. A blog with great in-depth gaming articles. You can find the article Me vs. the Backlog here. Matt tells us how he likes to blog about video-games that he has finished as it gives him a sense of finality. He is setting rules for himself to handle his backlog and appease his guilty conscience.
When I read it I was triggered by how different our way of gaming must be. I too have a backlog. My backlog doesn’t consist of games that I never played, although there must be one or two that disappointed me and got minimal play time. No, my backlog is in games that I didn’t finish.
Gaming in fanatic mood
You see, I have a motto here: I go where the mood takes me. I only play games that I want to play at any given time. Not because it’s new or because everyone is playing that game, or because of another self imposed rule. Just games that I’m in the mood for.
The best gaming time is spent when my gaming mood switches to fanatic mode. It’s that state where I can’t stop playing, spend every available free time in my game and read everything I can get my hands on on the internet about it. Very enjoyable and it makes for great progress in the game too.
This fanatic mode doesn’t last, though the number of weeks vary. It depends on things happening in real life, on something that happens in the game that changes my mood, or by new games being released. But it’s a gaming mood that is very enjoyable, it makes the gaming experience so much nicer.
The fanatic mode can be brought on by just anything. A new game being released that I’ve looked forward to for a long time. Or just reading about a game I already have played part of before in someones blog. Or by mentioning a game that I loved in the past. Because just as easy as it is for me to put a game aside, it’s just as easy to pick one that I’ve left somewhere in the adventure and dive in again.
Gaming where the mood takes me
It seems, as Matt writes it, that I’m a dabbler. Which would be someone who isn’t deeply engaged in something. Synonymous for amateur, dilettante, hobbyist and tinkerer. Of course I don’t agree there. I do dive in deep when the mood grabs me, but I refuse to spend my precious free time plodding through a game that only has part of my attention.
I’m not a collector, so I don’t buy the games just to own them. Each of them has been bought because I think they fit my gaming preferences. And they all get played, just maybe not in one go! I just game according to my gaming mood!
How do you play your games? By strict rules, fanatic moods or somewhere in between? I’d love to hear!
Same, i play when i feel like it and what i feel more attracted to at the time. It also means sometimes i only play 5 minutes and then don’t touch for months because I’m lacking the passion and drive for long periods of time :’X
I love fanatic mode, it’s how I clocked 70h on persona 3 portable, and then ofc haven’t touched for months oops .
Ah, so you know exactly how it feels! Fanatic mood is the absolute best. It makes you tuned into the game, even thinking about the game while at work ( don’t tell my boss).
On the flip side, when I play a game that I’m not totally into, it sometimes feels like painfully plodding along…
If only fanatic mode lasted forever, or at least until the end of the game :’DD
Shhh, i won’t tell for sure, he might fire you
Plodding along? More like not at all, stop, nothing, zero, zilch, nada, just put it aside and never touch again
I have had a big backlog for many years now, but I also like to tackle it based on my mood. RPGs make up a big chunk of my backlog, so I end up leaving them in the backburner until I’m in the mood for an RPG. For some reason, that usually happens directly after another RPG. You’d think that after a long epic game, I’d be good for a while. Somehow, it’s the opposite for me. One great RPG begets another! Platformers are my default go-to genre if there are any in the backlog. Great article!
Thank you! I guess more of us play according to mood.
It’s weird what can cause me to pick up a game. I wrote about my 12 games of the month from last year a couple of weeks ago, mentioned Atelier Sophie and felt compelled to check into the game I had left earlier. Haven’t left since. Though I do feel a change of mood coming!
I’m glad I was able to strike inspiration within you!
Fantastic post! I tried going where my mood takes me, but it often doesn’t lead to the end of a game, unfortunately! I have the games I do for a reason, so I owe it to the developers and my pocketbook to at least try to see them through. It’s been fun so far, but I’m sure I’ll get hung up at some point.
Thanks! You are right of course, that it often doesn’t lead to totally ending the game. At least, not all at once, but in stages.
And yeah, the wallet…it is indeed a luxury problem.
When it comes to the backlog, the gaming instinct rules the game! Just like you, I play only what I really want to play at any given moment. The fact that my collection is nearly exclusively made of physical games takes away a lot of the backlog-related pressure: those games are not going anywhere and I can take all the time I want to play them.
The only games I could “force” myself to play in a near future are the Vita digital-only games I own, because I know the PSN won’t be around forever and I don’t trust Sony to make these games available after the PSN bails out. Good thing most of these games are short and I own so few of them!
Oh I do hope you’re not right about the PSN only games. As there are hardly any Vita games you can buy physical anymore over here, nearly all of mine are digital!
I don’t feel the pressure either, as I feel I only have to answer to myself. And my primary goal is to relax playing video games!
If someone insists I need to play a game I’ll do it. I understand the feeling of wanting someone to love a game you love so I want to trust in their opinion. Besides that, I usually try to start with the oldest ones I have on my list since I bought it for some reason rofl
Always tricky when someone insists on a game, just like with a book. Because if you don’t like it, it so difficult to say so, right?
That’s a great way to tackle your backlog! My backlog is huge and though I’ve tried to have a little bit of structure in order to clear it, I find that I tend to bounce all over the place. Sometimes I play what I’m in the mood for, sometimes I will try to beat a game from a specific console, then move on to a different console… it all depends on my mood, really. I had a really good method last year of playing 1 console game, 1 handheld game and 1 mobile game at a time that worked pretty well for awhile, so I may go back to that. And of course, I’m always playing one version or the other of Animal Crossing 😉
Seems like you let yourself be guided by the gaming mood too. It just feels so right to play when the mood strikes. Nothing better! The method to play one game for each device is a good idea too!
There’s always room for animal crossing!
I have a lot of games that i haven’t played jet!
I’m really a collector. Hamsteren… how do you say that in english?
If i like something, i want to have more of it.
I have like 6 Professor Layton games and have only played the first 3.
But i know i like it, and i will play it some day.
It makes me feel good to know that i always have something nice to play. Even is we go broke, i have enough games to play for a couple of years (like i mentioned before i’m a very slow gamer)
I also like to look at my games. Like someone who collects stamps looks at his collection. It makes me happy!
I always want to start a game from the beginning. If i continue a game i have played before i don’t have a connection with it, like i didn’t do ‘the work’ myself.
I wish i didn’t have that, because it prevents me from finishing many games.
For example, i LOVE Fantasy Life. But for some reason i can’t seem to finish it.
I have begun 3 times and played for many many hours.
If i just played 1 (save) game i would have finiched it, but no, i have to begin al over again and by the time i reach the part where i stopt the previus time, that rush/ fanatic mood is gone and i usually stop again.
That fanatic mood you mensioned… i love it!
Now i’m playing Pokemon Sun and i really like it, but i’n not that addicted yet.
Oh that would indeed be a problem, making yourself start over! If I did that I would never get anything finished!
Why don’t your try to make a logbook where you write down where you leave a game. What the quest was, what problems you where solving in the game. How you made your party in an RPG etc. then you could go back more easily.
I have a huge backlog. Now that the winter is getting colder it will get much use.