I've written about the all mighty backlog in the past. You know, that thing that we as gamers constantly have looming over our shoulders, taunting us, yet we continue to feed the backlog with holiday sales on a regular basis. Honestly, it really sounds like an addictive relationship!
But in my seemingly overwhelming quest to slay the backlog dragon I have done what I believe is a few things that will help break the painful cycle of buying endless games I won't play and once and for all kill that nasty monster called the backlog.
While I do have a number of games on physical discs, the backlog really started becoming an issue when I began to make digital purchases. As the digital retail market grew and holiday sales became the norm, I found myself buying loads of games. Games that I may not have otherwise played. And each time I defended my purchases with the thought that I was saving money buying whatever game now while it's on sale because someday I will play it.
Last year I made some great strides at not purchasing a game that I wasn't intending on playing right away but it didn't stop me from buying games and putting them on the virtual shelf. It may seem silly because gaming is suppose to be a hobby, not a job. But I often felt guilt knowing that I had this ever growing list of games that I keep contributing to but never actually playing.
So I decided to scour the interwebs to see how others dealt with such an issue. The first thing I learned was not to beat myself up. I had to accept that I may or may not play every game that is on my backlog and that it's going to take time and effort to get to a point where I feel that I have accomplished my goal. Once I came to that conclusion and I stopped beating myself up, I then had to figure a way to accomplish my goal. Believe it or not, it's as simple as making a list.
The most common advice on the webs was to make a list. My start date for the list began with January 5th, 2006, the day I downloaded Steam and installed Half-Life 2. To be fair, Half-Life 2 was actually a physical purchase, but it gave me a great starting point to begin my list. I created a list with every purchase made from an online retailer that could be redeemed on Steam, Origin, Uplay and GOG. 453 games later I have my list.
The next step I did for myself. I started tracking my monthly expenses and purchases that I make online or otherwise. The idea was to see exactly how I was spending my money and on what. This has actually been an eye opener for me. If you couldn't tell, my wife and I don't exactly have a family budget. Because I like buying games during holiday special sales, I lose track of when, what and how much when it comes to buying games. I already knew that I was not playing the games that I was buying, but to see it on paper really helped me to give more thought about my game purchases.
It probably sounds like I'm making a bigger deal out of this than I should, and I agree. Unfortunately I am a bit impulsive with my game purchasing and I needed something to help me gain control over an area in my life that I felt has been out of control for so long. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like chaos, and having a mound of unplayed games for me is chaos.