Back in July, I started a challenge to finish every game on the backlog in a year’s time. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.
Backlogs are a funny thing.
For gamers, it’s almost as if we can’t live with them but we also can’t live without them either. They are, simply, an inevitability. As peaceful as they are in sitting in our homes, they’re simultaneously haunting, it’s gaze forever fixed upon us.
In July, I got sick of that gaze and decided to do something about it. I played through Death Stranding in July and went on to complete Selkiro in August. Since then, I’ve crossed a meager pile of games off my backlog, some being a joy to play while others had me wondering why I even bought it in the first place.
Through the last few months of focusing on my backlog (for the most part), I’ve learned a couple of things I thought worth sharing here.
1. You Can’t Play Everything
This one might seem obvious but is it really? I found myself buying games because they were on sale without ever accounting for whether or not I had the time available for them. Especially all the JRPGs I have sitting in there that I definitely do not have the time for. (Sorry, Persona 5 Royal)
I’ve managed to talk myself out of buying several games, new and old, because I stopped to ask if I even had the time to play it. Especially with the recent releases of Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer beta, my backlog progress has effectively been put on hold. Why bother picking up any other games when I have these to occupy my free time?
2. Play What You Enjoy
This one has been a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, I’ve learned to just abandon a backlog game if I don’t find it fun. I don’t have enough time to play everything which means I definitely don’t have enough time to finish every backlog game I start. With how precious my spare time is these days, why would I fill it with something that isn’t enjoyable?
At the same time, I realized that going completely cold-turkey in not buying any new games is not a good plan either. I noticed that in my pursuit of only playing backlog games, and holding off on purchases, I began to grow bored and resent the games I was playing, hindering my enjoyment of them. When I finally saw Tales of Arise on sale, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up and have been greatly enjoying my time with it.
Now, there needs to be a little balance with this one. I think it’s easy to wind right back up with a bigger backlog than before with this one in mind. But in balance with focusing on taking down a handful of games first before going for a new one, it makes for a better journey.
3. Learn To Let Go
To elaborate on an earlier point, you can’t play everything. You also shouldn’t play games you are not enjoying. Forcing yourself to finish a game just because it’s in your backlog is one of the worst things you can do for your sanity. There’s some games that just are not worth your time. When you realize that, you need to be okay with letting go of the game.
For example, I thought Ender Lilies is a really good Metroidvania with stellar music, charming art, and smooth controls. But at 10 hours in, I found myself at an incredibly difficult area. After looking up a walkthrough, I found out I missed 2-3 other areas that I should have gone to that would have helped in this final area. However, I don’t really have the patience or time to invest another 4-5 hours into it just to get past the area I’m at currently. With that in mind, I’ve abandoned Ender Lilies.
If you want to make it through your backlog, this is something that is key to getting comfortable with. Playing through every game in your backlog is possible; finishing each one is not. At least not if you want to keep your sanity.
Those are some of the things I’ve learned from focusing on my backlog. What about you? Are you working through your backlog? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re playing.