Any gamer worth their weight in Gil knows that to properly understand video games, one must overwhelm oneself with video games. Chances are, the average gamer has a lifetime of games left to play already in his possession, just waiting to be dusted off, placed in a console, and forgotten completely soon afterward. If you’re like me and you need some advice on how to actively play through your massive backlog of games, here is just the column for you: How To Play Through Your Backlog of Games.
Take a look at your backlog of games. Go ahead, pull it out and bring it here. Yes, I’ll wait. Well, not very long though because I have an article to get to. You know what, I’ll just talk while you go grab those. Can you still hear me over there by the TV? Good. If you’re like most people in our circle, you probably just looked through a pile of roughly 50 games across every system you currently own, plus some you haven’t been able to power up in years.
This is normal and shouldn’t become an aspect to be ashamed of. Oh we’ll still look down upon you, no question there, but that’s because we’re judgmental and insecure by nature. We’re also quite fickle by nature, which is no doubt why you’re in this mess to begin with. If you somehow only have one or two games in your pile, games that were bought fairly recently, you are not a hardcore gamer and this article will not help you. Chances are you are actually a poser and we will have none of that in our judgmental, insecure circle, thank you.
Those left, it’s time to prioritize games to play. Of your selection, what do you really want to play the most? Disregard it, as we both know you’ll go with something different. Now check for any games lent to you by a friend or relative. Disregard those as well because shame on them for adding to your problem. No one lends a game they truly expect you to play, so they shouldn’t feel bothered when you don’t play them for years at a time. If they do, trade the game in and use the credit to purchase a different game for your pile. This will teach your friend a valuable lesson: We are judgmental and insecure.
With your friendships safely distanced from your life, you should have more time to devote to finishing your stack. You may be tempted to write a list of titles you’d like to finish this year. “I believe I shall finally play through Final Fantasy X in 2012.” This means, most certainly, that Final Fantasy X will not be played in 2012. In fact, there is a very strong chance that it will never be played ever. In all actuality, putting a game on a list of games to play is the most effective means to forget about it and play something else. In order for a list to work properly, you must use reverse psychology on yourself and place games you’d like to play on a list of games you’re actively going to avoid for the year. If you’re not confused, you may not be judgmental and insecure enough yet.
A good notion is to make sure you’re spreading yourself far too thin across all consoles so that you are being as efficient as possible with your trek through the backlog. As of right now, I am a third of the way through Skyward Sword, half way through the original Uncharted, and nearly done with Alan Wake on the Xbox 360, plus my handy 3DS is stocked with Pokemon White Version. This means that, no matter how much free time I have to play my games, I’ll be physically incapable of choosing which one to play, thus keeping my backlog perpetually strong and thus fulfilling the ultimate goal of having a never-ending supply just in case of the doomsday scenario where either the world literally ends, or current video games just become too insufferably stupid and the industry collapses, and don’t say it won’t happen because grandpa Atari has seen some things that’ll make your skin crawl.
Despite rationing things out, you will inevitably find yourself finishing a title here and there. Thankfully, your pile will perpetually multiply via asexual breeding. That Call of Duty game will break off into two more if you leave it alone long enough. Final Fantasy games use spores, just like a fungus, so if left to their devices you’ll soon find ten more waiting.
Still, at some point you will be making some headway, and that’s perfectly all right. Chances are, this will occur sometime between January and August. The world knows how to balance things and will inundate you with a glut of new titles between September and December, leaving your pile stronger and taller than ever.
If, however, you are serious about making it through all those games this time, plan ahead just a bit. Is the newest game from a franchise coming out in November? Then you still have time to catch up before you feel you’ve missed out and play the other games to prepare yourself. This will take you roughly until the new game comes out, no matter how long the actual current title is. Does the new game come out in three months? Playing the first title of the series will take three months. Does the new game come out tomorrow? Then you have a very long night ahead of you. Because of this strange phenomenon, it is best to save all updating franchise games until the very last day, so that when you purchase the new release you can place it on your backlog and wait until it gets another sequel before playing it.
There are some handy games to ignore of course. RPG’s, a very popular genre in the backlog stack of many a gamer, are there for a reason: They take a lifetime to complete. As a kid, you’ll start your very first backlog full of fun platformers, some puzzle games, and maybe an adventure game or two. Then you’ll think, “Hey, maybe I should add this RPG?” Sure, things feel all fun and bubbly and emo now, but when you’re finally finished with that one title you’ll look around and find yourself married with a job and bills to pay and realize that gaming has utterly passed you and your turn-based self behind. Also, your backlog has grown ten fold and advancements to current games will make most of your backlog feel sloppy and outdated. This is all thanks to that one, silly little RPG you thought would be a good idea. Shame on you and your recklessly childish ways.
Instead, get into a pattern of interchanging your heavy AAA titles with simple, easy fluff so that you can give your skills a break. Did you just spend three months on Skyrim? Perhaps the next game you play should be one of the LEGO titles, just so that you don’t have to think or be challenged. A marathon runner doesn’t finish a race and then run home, and if he does he’s a foolish man and has clearly not been playing video games. Good in-between titles to consider: X-men Origins: Wolverine, Mario Kart 7, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Katamari Damacy, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, etc.
Also in the category of genres to avoid are Fighters of any sort. Why? Well, despite their simple allure, Fighters demand more time than even the longest RPG. This is because a Fighter requires you to not only master the controls to a Rainman-type degree, it also demands you acquire enough friends to actively compete in said game, and finding fellow gamers who have also put forth the needed devotion to be competitive with the title is nigh impossible, especially as they’ve been lending you games that you keep trading in.
In the time it’s taken you to read this article, chances are your backlog has grown by three, maybe four games. That means it’s time for action. You have much to keep you occupied, much to accomplish. You know what to do.
Go play that one game you’ve played seven times before. Seriously, that game is great.