Last year I undertook a personal challenge, a simple premise, complete a single game from my backlog on a monthly basis and try and experience some of these titles gathering real or virtual dust in my various collections. In itself a noble endeavour but ultimately based on the premise of the collection itself being a negative state of affairs, a failure on my part as a gamer. Perhaps I thought accomplishing this challenge would validate my reasoning, allow me to debate or discuss from a position of moral authority, who can say, but it was a largely positive experience providing some lasting memories. Exploring the national forests in Firewatch, debating on whether Androids had souls in Detroit or overcoming racial prejudices in Mafia 3. Equally though, it was based on a largely negative premise of vanquishing my collection to the historical ethers of the digital bonfire of history.
This year I came across a different preposition from Kim over at Later Levels who begun this celebration of the gaming backlog in prior years and brought it back in 2020 with Love your Backlog week. It’s fairly simple in nature but sets out to remove the implied negativity of having a number of unfinished or indeed unstarted games waiting for your attention. There is or certainly can be a sense of unease when you open your drawer, stare at your shelf and see a vast collection of titles demanding your time and attention and perhaps a sense of failure of not accomplishing that level of completion. Even the societal pull of comparing ourselves to our peers and contemporaries. For me, it was an entirely personal subjective sense of envy I felt last year when a fellow game blogger at Honest Gamer was finishing a vast number of titles that made me stop to realise I was largely competing with and therefore challenging myself, an entirely lopsided state of affairs that would have no ‘winner’ only an embittered defeated gamer.
Going into the New Year I embraced a new approach, whether it will change or evolve is a question for another day. For now, an attempt to just enjoy what I have in my collection of titles, remove or sell unwanted or unloved games should the opportunity arise. But not feel the rush to complete a game for completion sake. It’s the Marie Kondo methodology of gaming, give your case a little hug and see if you feel positive towards it. A little trickier with Steam I’ll admit but the principle is still the same. As such, there are a number of games despite my best efforts last year waiting for my attention, some I’ve started and tired of, others still untouched. In some cases going back one generation, others at least two or three. As technology progresses, it does become more complicated to enjoy this hobby, in contrast to visual media such as film, gaming does rely on the infrastructure to work in certain cases. For now, my only limitation is drive and that I can effect.
And, we move onto some hot button issues:
A game you’re eager to play, but haven’t yet started
A relatively recent one to my collection and the sequel to Watch Dogs. I wasn’t to sure what to expect with the first game, but it was an overall enjoyable experience. Perhaps not the most original of concepts or protagonists but certainly a solid game and a different take on the open world genre. It’s sequel, by all accounts, was an attempt to polish up and change some of the issues and criticisms faced in the original with a new setting in San Francisco, a relatively untouched area of America in gaming with the exception perhaps of the Driver series. A new central character and crucially a bit more fun. Whether it will deliver on any of those promises or just be largely more of the same but with a fresh coat of paint is another question, but I enjoyed the first game enough to try this, and at a fairly modest price it doesn’t have the weight of a full priced purchase to temper my enjoyment and experience to greatly.
A game you’ve started several times but haven’t yet finished
Both one of my oldest titles in my collection and one I have yet to finish, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I first started this game in or around 1992 on my sisters Performa Macintosh Computer, long before Apple became the brand it was today. I remember it wasn’t a very good version, and crashed after a certain point. For years I longed to see passed the desert level and find out what the hell the game was all about but alas I could never muster the energy or motivation to see it through. Then it saw a release on Windows and eventually Steam which allowed me to pick up this game for an absolute bargain price and hopefully finally finish this chapter in the Indiana Jones saga. I tried, and then fatigue from playing the game for the entire day kicked in and I stopped as I had reached the Nazi infested island and the punishing maze. I will complete it.
The most recent addition to your library
I spent a great deal of 2018/2019 in the company of the Assassins, producing a great deal of content from Syndicate which is still one of my most popular and viewed articles to date. In truth, the concept of the games had become largely formulaic and stale, my enjoyment from this London centric title largely derived from the digital playground I could explore that has been my home for the entirety of my life. When the series undertook a soft reboot with the launch of Origins, the Egypt setting intrigued to some extent but it was added to my list of ‘maybe one day’ games. Then, as ever the familiar Christmas question arose, and selling for a relatively cheap price I gave it as an option for Santa. Sure enough, this entry in the series is now in my library of games and ready to play. I don’t feel as much of a connection to this game as I have done others, perhaps because I’ve visited Italy, France, England and America so have a certain sense of resonance. But it received a great deal of praise for its efforts to freshen up the formula so perhaps this will invigorate my love for the order of the Assassins.
The game which has spent the most time on your backlog
Avoiding repetition I’ll go with a title from the sixth generation of consoles and a unique experience on the Nintendo Gamecube away from its assorted family friendly and positive games, the horror driven Eternal Darkness. It was a title I struggled to finish and get passed its innovative mechanics in driving you to distraction. It was also a game my then partner who had little interest in gaming actually enjoyed and finished on numerous occasion. It’s a game I have always longed to go back and complete but in my need to enjoy the game in the best possible way I know that would involve starting again, not simply picking up where I left off with no context or motivation. In contrast to modern games it probably wouldn’t even involve to much of a challenge in terms of investment of time and effort but it is one that has been sat gathering dust in my backlog and one I am determined to see through.
The person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog
My ability to remember names and places is dreadful, I would make a terrible detective, as such I couldn’t put my hand on my heart and name a single person that has been responsible for adding titles to my backlog beyond me, the shocking trait in the modern day of taking responsibility for my actions. But certainly, to name but a couple I’ve enjoyed Stephen’s articles at Honest Gamer, I may be imaging it but I am fairly certain he clued me into The Outer Worlds with his great review. Another blogger I follow brought up Firewatch, another game I wouldn’t know about at all. I don’t tend to make impulse purchases but when I find a writer whose style I enjoy and can craft an objective piece its easy to indulge a little.
The great part of this hobby is the means and ability to build up a treasure trove of riches, be they in the physical or digital form and having a title or game to suit any whim or fancy. Whatever your mood, you can usually find a game to satiate your predication. From action to horror, strange bird dating simulators to racing games, as Kim suggested on her opening post for this challenge, its time to #LoveYourBacklog.
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