Gabe Hawkins
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Today's question was suggested by

p55carroll
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The question came as a result of the discussion from Tuesday's QOTD thread, also submitted by Patrick.

Do you have a backlog of games? If so, how do you feel about it, and what do you do about it?

Thanks again, Patrick!
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Gabe Hawkins
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I absolutely have a backlog of games. The size of that backlog has varied over the years, although it has typically grown. My problem is buying games dirt cheap on sale. If I buy a game at launch or close to it, it's usually because I really want to play that game, so most of my backlog consists of games I bought during a Steam sale or a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale at GameStop, or games that have just been out for a long time and are cheap as a result.

Honestly, my backlog actually really bothered me for some time, and sometimes it still does. I was staring at either a shelf or Steam library full of games I wanted to play, but felt overwhelmed and almost invariably went back to something I had put hundreds of hours into already.

With that said, I made it a goal this year to focus more on the games I already own, playing them in whatever order strikes my fancy, as opposed to adding more unplayed games to my library. So far, I've done pretty well at that, and it feels good. I have bought a couple of games this year, but of those, I've played them already. I won't say that feeling of too many choices has gone away entirely, but it is much more manageable now.

It's interesting because as I write this -- and think about conversations around backlogs I've had with other games -- I notice many of us have a negative view of our backlog. While that's not without reason, there's a positive side as well. We have all the games at our fingertips just waiting to be played. In that sense, it's a great time to be a gamer, and I am appreciative of my backlog in that regard. It's a quintessential first world problem, for sure.
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maf man
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my first thought was to blame humble bundle but thats not really to blame. As far back as I can remember I've had a stock-up type of attitude. I would play games I borrowed from friends before games of my own, even ones I got right away. I knew I would always have mine around so why not try others.
I remember checking the best buy adds weekly to see what PC games hit the low price section as it didn't take long.

I'm happy gaming a good 5 years behind the curve.

I never want to run out of new games.
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Seth Brown
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Yep, a giant backlog. I feel fortunate to live in a time of abundance (in my childhood I had so few games, each was so expensive). And my vast unplayed collection means I rarely if ever buy new releases, since between bundles and sales on older titles, there's little incentive for me to spend $60 on the newest game when I have so many unplayed gems already and can get more for a fraction of that price.
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Lee Dyke
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Over 100 shake

I think my gaming culture has changed as I go more digital. Whenever I bought a game, in my head I was thinking of the ever decreasing trade in value. I'd play it as much as possible and I certainly wouldn't have had more than 2 on the go at a time.

I know I've mentioned it before but having Xbox Gold and GamePass has given me a huge backlog of games I wanted to at least try. But this has also meant games have been more 'throwaway'. I'm much more likely to abandon a game now for something that interests me more, mostly due to ever decreasing time constraints of life.

It used to bother me as I may have just spent £40 on a game, but now as the games have no trade in value, and have cost practically nothing ( I use Microsoft Rewards to 'pay' for Gold and GamePass ) I just look at the list hopefully but not dreadfully.
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Luke Stirling
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Far too many. I think in part it's because I play single player games, and there is so much choice these days that I cannot have a large enough social circle to be sharing the experience of playing the same single-player game at the same time. When I was younger I was inspired to play every game that came my way because there were few enough, and sharing so important to access to games, that I'd always have someone who was either playing it at the same time to share thoughts with, or else was waiting for me to finish, or I was waiting to finish so I could play. Scarcity and the social aspect of video gaming in the past propelled me forward in a way that I just can't maintain in the current market.
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Krzysztof Zięba
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I think I'm out of the "over 100 titles" club, but since I used to be at around the 40-50 mark for years, I consider this something of a problem to be resolved. And I keep failing at it for close to a decade now! I blame Humble Bundle and Steam Sales.

I think that this is so common is really an issue for the market and the industry as a whole. Digital games don't take up space, so people have no qualms about buying them en masse. Since those backlogs rarely become smaller, there's less incentive to buy games on launch (not to mention that digital distribution actively discourages you from doing that, but that's another topic), and therefore games tend to sell less well, leading to especially smaller studios struggling financially.

Personally, my goal is to eventually reduce my backlog entirely. There was a glimmer of hope that this would happen in 2018 or this year, but a few more great deals, and my desire to support GOG.com during the Winter Sale over Steam, made me accrue some more games again. So, 2020, maybe? It would definitely help if I took leave from work for like half a year
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Yes. Fairly large.

The bulk of them are iOS games that I've been downloading since 2008 or so (iPod Touch 3!). I forced myself to note ALL games that I paid for b/c I was concerned the spending may get crazy (freeware or for free got excluded). First year, lots of purchases. 2nd year, much less. 3rd year and later, purchases dropped off sharply. TBF, many of them either aren't that great, or could be done with in a few minuites to a few hours.

I purchased some PC games on optical media that I've never tried or finished. E.g. Doom (2008), or Tomb Raider Gold.

Quite a few games on Steam, but from my observations, I'm on the lower end. Actually, I can fire it up now.... 30! I've seen Steam libraries 4x to 10x greater than mine! Last game played in Mar. 2019 blush

Some on console. Well, only one is Wii, but I've gotten them for cheap.

I went crazy with them Humble Bundles for a year. But again, I forced myself to track EVERY purchase, and even used www.isthereanydeal.com to track my purchases. IN my spreadsheet, I made notes about which game I should prioritize. E.g. "platformer that looked interesting, with shooting and special powers" (which I'd gleam from preview videos).

.

This topic reminds me of a YouTube video... You only need to watch the first 10 seconds


... if nothing else, the "opening theme" pretty much acknowledges a backlog, but in brief, and in musical terms. that said, the game is also great.

Speaking of which, this game (Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime) and Castlestorm are 2 that stand out to me b/c I "broke the mold" with them. I got the former as part of a Humble Bundle deal, thought to myself "now that I have the game that's been on my mind for years (since 2013, first discovered at Bit Bash 2013 in Chicago), I can stow it away for when I'm ready to play it!". But then I had an epiphany... if I've ALWAYS wanted to play this, then why not now? So I fired it up, and over the next 2 weeks or so... from start to finish.. BEAT!

With Castlestorm, I didn't want for discount, but paid for it full price (only $15 for game + 2 expansions), and told myself that we shouldn't sit on this since we paid full price. So ditto here... BEAT!

Do it and have it done
or
If you really want to do something, you'll make the time

are 2 expressions that come to mind.

Speaking of which, I need to look into Nom Nom Galaxy for PC/Steam.. a game I first discovered on PS4
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Simon Lundström
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Not that big a one, but it's probably more than 20, less than 50. I don't mind that much. Some of them I know I'll never play, but I still like having them. I've actually bought a few games fully knowing that I'll probably never play it. But I still buy it because "well, you never know, and this is pretty liable to be a good something to fall back on".

The log stretches all the way back to the SNES era, where I have a few RPGs that I never played through.

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Robert McLaughlin
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Umm... *shuffles uncomfortably*

My name is Rob. I have a problem. I habitually spend money I shouldn't.

As for fixing the backlog... well, that's why I'm here!

Geek challenges are a great way to motivate me to play more and I've tried some games I wouldn't normally based on this.
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Chris McDermott
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I have a massive games backlog. Mostly due to an abundance of bundle buying a few years back...

I deal with it by adding new games to it faster than I can play them. shake
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p55carroll
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I have a backlog, but I'm guessing mine is different from most people's.

So many games these days are story-based and designed to be played through and finished--and gamers take that for granted, so it goes without saying. But I only rarely play that kind of game. I strongly prefer (and spend most of my time on) strategy games that are meant to be played over and over (like chess and other classic board games).

Hence, I can't deal with my backlog by playing the games on it and being done. I have to deal with it by learning the games I haven't yet played, then playing them enough to get a feel for whether I'll want to continue playing them indefinitely. Those I like move to my active-play list; those I don't like enough end up being abandoned.

My problem then is that I have too many games on my active-play list: games I love and want to play a lot, over and over, forever. But I only have twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and so on, and my life span is finite.

So I'm like a chess player who wants to also get deeply involved with checkers, go, backgammon, shogi, xianqi, and half a dozen other such games. Not just dabble at them, but practice them to the point of mastery. For all but the rarest person, that's unrealistic.

The only logical solution I can think of is to be selective. If there's no time to play all the games on my active-play list as much as I'd like to, I'll simply have to drop some games from the list or resign myself to just dabbling at them from time to time.

I've spent a good portion of my life just trying to do that--to decide which game(s) to focus on and which to reluctantly set aside.

As to all the "one and done" games in my digital library, I've gotten to where I just shrug those off. It used to bother me to own so many games that aren't getting played, and I wished I could disown them, but now I don't mind if they just sit there not taking up space.
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Ryan S
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I have enough games to last me years, potentially the rest of my life.

That won't stop me from buying Judgment next week, then Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and Fire Emblem Three Houses next month.

I usually don't regret when I buy new games, but I felt that way recently when I got Dollhouse for the PS4. It's a noir themed horror game, which sounded right up my alley. I didn't research it enough, and just spur of the moment bought it.

I played it for maybe an hour before I realized it's a terrible game. It's basically slender man, only in a bunch of corridors that look the same.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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I have a backlog of games on Steam. Just a matter of time before I play them all.
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I have an enormous collection of games both physical and digital, including many games I have not played in both categories.

As to how I feel about having a large collection of games to choose from, it makes me feel warm and comforted and happy. I like having so many to choose from. It's nice knowing whatever mood strikes me I have a game that I can play to scratch that itch. I don't think I would like having no unplayed games and knowing that I would most likely have to pay full price every time I finished the game I was currently playing. Or barring that I would have to wait until the next sale to play another game. That just doesn't appeal to me at all.

As for what I do about having a large collection of games, well I regularly play them. And sometimes I add to the collection when there is a free game I can pick up or a tempting bundle. Sometimes I even buy a particular title if it is on sale and I want to play it. Most recently that was Journey which I purchased only a few days after it was released on PC. That is highly unusual for me as I normally wait years before buying a game. But it was on sale for $5 even though it had just been released and $5 is fair market value for a digital video game so it seemed fair to me.
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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GeoffreyB wrote:
I have a backlog of games on Steam. Just a matter of time before I play them all.

I have over 600 games in Steam alone. It usually takes me about a month to play a game so that alone puts me at fifty years.

I don't have enough time in my life to realistically play my existing Steam collection. Let alone my GOG, Uplay, Epic, Origin, physical, Amazon and whatever other games I have. Not to mention I keep adding games.
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p55carroll
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If it's putting pressure on you, it's a backlog; otherwise it's just a game collection.

I have a small backlog and a big (to me) game collection.
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Ryan Ahr
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Oh yeah, mostly thanks to bundles. Some games I pick up for my yearly tradition of playing through a horror game in the month of October. Frankly it doesn't stress me. Some of the games will sit there because they just aren't my thing, but eventually the mood will strike me and I'll get to them. It's comforting to know that I'll always have an option if I need a break from the stuff I'm already playing.
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My best guess:

The two questions underneath the question are:

1. Do you worry that you are buying games you will never play?

2. Do you worry that your purchasing consistently outpaces your gaming time? In other words, are your eyes bigger than your stomach?

For me the answers are no, I don't worry about those things. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, I have a substantial amount of time to play games. I'm a finisher more than a sampler. Having a wide range of unplayed titles to choose from is both normal and desirable.

I'm also not an early adopter. I know that when the PS5 comes out, I will spend at least a full year just playing games on the PS4. I also know that, in that year, almost nothing worth playing on the PS5 will be released. So that makes it an even bigger "who cares?"

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VanillaCokeMule wrote:
Oh yeah, mostly thanks to bundles. Some games I pick up for my yearly tradition of playing through a horror game in the month of October. Frankly it doesn't stress me. Some of the games will sit there because they just aren't my thing, but eventually the mood will strike me and I'll get to them. It's comforting to know that I'll always have an option if I need a break from the stuff I'm already playing.
The bundle I don't mind as much since they tend to be even cheaper on a per game basis. For them Humble Bundle ones, paying $10 was worth it alone for 1 or 2 of those games, so if other games turn out good/great as well... all the better to reduce that "price to games" ratio.


Speaking of which, yeah, not all games are created equal. Some are whole adventure romps that may take 40 to 120 hours. Others you can get your value's worth even if it only gave you 1 to 20 hours of entertainment.
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p55carroll
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JohnRayJr wrote:
My best guess:

The two questions underneath the question are:

1. Do you worry that you are buying games you will never play?

2. Do you worry that your purchasing consistently outpaces your gaming time? In other words, are your eyes bigger than your stomach?
Neither of those questions quite addresses my worry. I worry that I won't find enough time to play the games I've already purchased and made up my mind to play repeatedly and try to get reasonably good at.

That's similar to question 2 above, but not exactly the same, I don't think. My purchasing is a done deal; I don't worry about that. Besides, the games I buy are so cheap these days that they're easy on my pocketbook, and they don't take up any space either. So purchasing is not an issue for me at all.

My backlog pressure comes entirely from the games I own--how much time they take versus how much time I have. It's FOMO, but it's not motivating me to buy games; it's making me constantly regret that the game I'm currently playing is crowding out other great games I own and want very much to play.

It's like, "Oh, shoot--I've spent the whole evening playing Divinity: Original Sin, so I didn't get back to the game of Age of Wonders III I was playing. When will I ever be able to get back to it?" And those are just two of the half dozen or so games I own and want to be playing.
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Simon Woodward
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Well yes I have about 50 games in the "Want to play" section of my VGG profile, which is up to date. Some of those are replays of games I've already played though. I do try to not buy games that I am not going to play. I don't worry too much about the "backlog". Sometimes I do make paper lists of it also, but I'm a list guy.
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Jennifer Hanses
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Yes, I have a backlog.

It's all due to Steam sales. Especially when things are bundled.

Example: I now own Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Fallout Brotherhood, and Fallout 3. I think I paid $6 for the first 4 and $5 for Fallout 3 (with all associated DLC). I have only played 2/3 of Fallout 3.

Then there's series where I've been following along but had to wait between releases and now feel I need to replay the whole thing.

Example: Banner Saga. I'm about 1/5 into Banner Saga 3 and have stopped to replay the first two games.

Then there are games that don't have achievements but looked cool, so I bought them, but I really want to gather more "Perfect Games" first so they sit on the backburner.

Examples: Gray Matter, Memento Mori, Where Angels Cry

Then there's Humble Bundle's contribution by bundling together games that I want with games I don't know anything about or am unsure about playing, but maybe I'll try them some day.

Examples: Secrets of Raetikon, Element4l

At least it will be a while before I run out of games to play.
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Yeah, I have a backlog of 120+ games according to my How Long to Beat list, but I don't think I added all the free ones on there (I don't care about most of those, though); it also estimates 159 Days 7 Hours to play them all (I think that's playing non-stop). I'm mostly concerned with the ones that I started and set them aside for a long time because I got distracted by something else. I've been working on those the past couple years and am making good progress.

Last year I resumed and completed 11 such games + 1 more that I had to start over because I lost the save (plus a couple more that were more recently played). So far this year, I've completed 4 such games, and working on another. As I finish up more of these games, I'll add more that I haven't played as much or at all yet, but I guess I'm not concerned about playing my whole backlog, as worrying about it too much would drive me nuts and be pretty senseless. I think I have about 30 games that I own and marked as want to play on here because those are the ones that I am more excited to start playing or finish up currently.

The challenges on here have really helped me focus my gameplay and power through some of the backlog, but it's been at the expense of solo board gaming (leaving a few more unplayed games than I should have). Actually, streaming is mostly to blame for that to be honest, and I'm surprised I haven't had more burn out from being on screens so much, but I guess I've been pretty good about taking breaks. I digress...

Because of my backlog, I've only been buying cheap games ($5 digital or $10 physical) for the last few years, some that I was just mildly interested in that were really cheap like Transistor/Bastion, I haven't even bothered with because they seem to go on sale all the time and there are a lot of games I own and haven't played/finished yet that I'd want to play first probably, so who knows when I'd even get to them if I did buy them. I lot of the games I want to play are long, though, so I probably should make sure I have enough shorter ones I want to play to break it up. I only really buy bundles if it's something I wanted to play in the first place, and most of those are of games I already own or aren't gonna play in the next 5 years probably. I think I only bought like 3 of Humble Bundles.

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Lauren Allbritain
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I haven't really had the problem of backlog until an explosion of games I liked became available on Nintendo Switch. In my DOS game period, I could rotate games no problem. In my Wii and GameCube period, there weren't a whole lot of games I liked. In my GBA and Game Boy period, I rotated games the same way I did with DOS, only I had much fewer GBA/Game Boy games than DOS games. I rotate between all my physical Switch games frequently (except Monopoly, which I haven't played in I'd say over a year). It's the eShop exclusive games that I have backlogged. The games I currently play are Arcade Archives ICE CLIMBER, Mahjong Deluxe 3, Spencer, and NES Online 's Ice Climber. I just bought SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog, but I feel like I will play that on alternate days. Since Tetris Maximus is this weekend, I plan on just playing Tetris 99, Smash Ultimate and AAIC.
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