Clearing the Backlog: List Making, Old Classics and Hype

Recently I’ve compiled a list of every game I’d like to beat on PC. I sorted it by game launcher and listed them in order of the average length it takes to beat. I know it might seem a bit obsessive, but for someone who has over 400 games on steam alone, it helps for deciding what to play next. On top of that, there are also the games I want to beat on PS4. I’ve been playing The Last of Us for the first time after being intrigued by the hype surrounding TLoU2. Despite some issues I have with characters I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit! After organizing all the games I own, I came to a stark realization. A feeling that I hadn’t really experienced before.

“I don’t want to buy any new games.”

With the giving season right around the corner and game sales ramping up, now is the perfect time to get some new games! Steam sales! Black Friday! Boxing day! It’s prime buying time and storefronts know how to capitalize. A cursory look at my list however, brings me back in line and weans off the feeling for a little bit. I believe making a list like this or using a review website like Backloggd keeps game libraries in perspective, showing just how much there is to play. Within my backlog I noticed tons of games that people would list as “classics”; must plays from the community like the Mass Effect trilogy, the Halo games and the Dark Souls series. There are even some older games like Blood, Shadow Warrior, Return to Castle Wolfenstien, and heck I haven’t even beaten the original DOOM yet. Perpetually putting games on the back burner is an unproductive way to cut down that growing library and I feel it’s an issue brought on by two trends in gaming.

Multiplayer gaming has taken on a whole new form since it’s start in LAN parties and Xbox Live groups. Communities form on platforms like Twitch, Youtube and Discord to grow and surround singular games. Global phenomenons can start like with Fortnite and Among Us, getting everyone caught up with the frenzy. Don’t get me wrong, I love multiplayer and I don’t want to be seen as a debbie downer but the focus on multiplayer has blurred the vision of players today. People dedicate themselves to multiplayer and honing their skills but that leaves the wider gaming space ignored. Experiences getting invested in a story told through gameplay and cinematics are pushed away in favor of getting kills. Getting into a singleplayer experience can be unsatisfying as the instant gratification of multiplayer is lost. Players then stick to what they know and don’t leave their comfort zone. It’s a narrow way of thinking and actively discourages looking at other countless games someone may have. Frags are an addictive habit.

As with the obsessions people can grow towards multiplayer; the fear of missing out is something else that plays into growing backlogs. This year I’ve been setting my sights on one game in particular, the internet’s newest hypetrain passenger, Cyberpunk 2077. I think the game looks great; I’ve been keeping up with all the new details that come out and I’ve been debating whether to buy it on day 1. CD Projekt Red’s previous two games, The Witcher 2 and 3 however, have been sitting in my steam account untouched since 2017. Two games that people consider to be some of the best RPG’s out there are waiting for their chance to be played by me, but my eyes are set on what’s new. Impossible expectations are common now, and games can be absolutely ripped apart if they don’t meet them, much like what happened to No Man’s Sky. It’s good sometimes to take a step back from the current scene and look at what’s left to experience. Grow your views and create your own tastes, move away from the expectations to form your own opinions rather than follow the internet mob. You may find your next favorite game is closer than you think.

So these upcoming holidays take a look at your elusive backlog. Find games that you haven’t played and give them a shot, saving some money while your at it as well! Taking a break from the hectic shootouts of multiplayer and the expectations of what’s to come can give some perspective and newfound appreciation of the old, the now and the new. Spread the message around for others to look at their backlog, after all, everyone’s got to do some cleaning eventually and you may just find a dusty $20 bill waiting for you.

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