On the Subject of Backlogs

My trip to GameStop today was innocent enough. My Edge card was expiring and I wanted to renew it. I browsed around, of course. I often go into GameStop just to look and am perfectly capable of doing so without purchasing anything. Just the other day I saw a perfectly playable copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Game Boy Advance and I didn’t buy it. The fact that I already have one may have helped, but I digress.

Today, I saw a copy of Undead Knights, one of the many unsung gems of the PSP. Possessing a love of zombies, medieval hack n’ slash, and the PSP it was an immediate must have. Of course, it wasn’t really. As it stands I already have enough video games that I haven’t beaten to last me through the beginning of next year.

My current stock of unfinished games:
Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Final Fantasy (NES)
Castlevania 3 (NES)
Super Castlevania 4 (SNES)
Ogre Battle (SNES)
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
Golden Sun (GBA)
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (GBA)
Fear Effect (PS1)
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix (PS1)
Command and Conquer (PS1)
Dino Crisis (PS1)
Suikoden (PS1)
Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
Final Fantasy IX (PS1)
Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes (GC)
Silent Hill 2 (PS2)
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Persona 3 Portable (PSP)
Undead Knights (PSP)
Sega Genesis Collection (PSP)
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP)
Zombie Tycoon (PS Mini)
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC)
Chrono Trigger (DS)
Infinite Space (DS)

This alone is more games then I owned in my entirety all throughout high school. Now granted, some of these are games that I’ve beaten before. I used to own a disc copy of Final Fantasy VII, for instance. But the way I figure it, if you buy a game a second time you should beat it again. Many of the other titles are just games that I bought, began and never finished.

I loved Chrono Trigger for instance, I got right up to the final boss, realized I wasn’t powerful enough to beat it yet and set aside. I intended at the time to just set it down for a moment, let my frustration settle and then go back in for some good ol’ fashioned level grinding.

That moment turned into days, weeks and months, during which new games were coming out and I, being a spend happy gamer, was buying more then I needed. I am an expert at rationalizing to myself why a new game is a good idea. Used games are an especial bane. If I were to head into GameStop right now (well, not now, it’s 1:30 in the morning) and were given free reign to purchase (which I generally have; damn that accepting wife of mine), I could walk out with another two dozen “bargains.”

Digital distribution is making this worse. I missed out on almost the entirety of the PS1 years. The few games I did manage to play, I picked up on the cheap because I didn’t have the cash for a PS2 game. And then comes the PlayStation Network, with its PS1 Classics section. Games I would have loved to play in their prime, available instantly for around five bucks? Add to cart.

And the thing is, I’m not even the worst when it comes to this. I know and have heard of gamers whose backlogs are twice or even three times as worse as mine. I counted twenty-nine games on my list. If they were just ten hours a piece (a modest estimate) that’s almost three hundred hours of play time. Where am I ever going to find the time to shore up this list?

The only realistic way is to stop buying games. Just play what I have and then when I’m finished, allow myself to buy a few more. The thing is, I don’t have the willpower to not chew my nails my most days. Mustering the power to resist the siren song of new games may just be beyond me.

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One Response to On the Subject of Backlogs

  1. Chris says:

    I have a backlog infinitely worse than that. Being a PC gamer who uses Steam primarily, I am often the victim of Steam’s excellent sales. I currently own around 70 games on Steam, and I would hazard to say that out of the ones you can actually beat (many are online shooters), I have beaten about 5 or 6 and have around 20-30 to go. Then my DS comes into play, in which I have many, many games I started and never finished. Then I have about 10 more console games I have yet to finish up. That being said, as I’ve gotten older, I have managed to actually power through games more often, and have beaten quite a few more games than I have in my younger years. I still love the sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a game’s story. Occasionally I’ll make an effort for major post-game achievements, such as getting a Yoshitsuna in Disgaea DS. More often than not though, I am in it for the story.

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