It happens to the best of us, the gaming backlog. Whether it is because you are over extending yourself, there was a really good sale, you have too many favorite franchises, or life just got right in the way, it happens. Now you sit with anywhere from three to six games (or more) that you were really excited about but haven’t touched. Games and guilt are piling up and the task seems overwhelming. With the release schedule starting to pick up again, it’s time to consider how to tackle the mounting backlog before it gets any bigger. Here are a few tips to consider to help you make sense of it all.
Previous Iterations: Play or Pass
Yes, The Darkness II just released! But, what’s that, you haven’t played the first one? Well, that may or may not be necessary. Sure, many game franchises continue one large storyline (as with Assasin’s Creed), but not all do. Sometimes, even with a continuous story line, playing all of the previous iterations is not always necessary (as in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). Take some time to read the reviews of previous title releases; decide for yourself whether or not you are interested in devoting the time to the back story or if you are ready to jump in feet first. Your decision could be wildly based on how many releases are part of the franchise, how inexpensive it would be to invest in the franchise, and if there is any benefit to revisiting those missed titles (such as will the carry over benefits in the Mass Effect titles).
Are you passionate about the Genre
It’s true, Star Wars the Old Republic looks great! The community it has created is fun and all of your friends are playing it. The screens, the memes, the universe itself, is so intriguing that this game has been put on your ‘to play’ list. There’s just one catch, you’re more of a FPS kinda player. MMORPGs have never really been your ‘thing’. This might be the kind of game that can get cut from your backlog team. While it is great to broaden your horizons from time to time, save it for the off season or when there aren’t more interesting things at your disposal.
Multiplayer games are tons of fun when there are other players to play with. A multiplayer title that has been on your radar since before release should probably move up to the top of your backlog. This title should be experienced with other players, and you will have the most opportunity to play with others closest to the release of the game. That’s not to say that there aren’t folks to play with later on, but nothing stinks like jumping into your favorite multiplayer game (such as a racing game or co-op action adventure) and not being able to find folks to play with.
Budget of Time
What kind of games are in your backlog? Are they the kinds of games that require 3-4 consecutive hours at a time? Do you have that much time to dedicate right now on a regular basis? Do you commute to work? Is there a game in your backlog you can play for short amounts of time more frequently? Carefully look at the time you are able to allocate to catching up. If you have an hour break each day for lunch but only use 15 minutes of that for actual food consumption, that might be a great time to pull out the laptop and grab a few quick levels, achievements, or quests. Perhaps you can take that handheld with you on the commuter train. Whatever games are in your backlog, understanding how they can fit into your budget of time without interfering with what caused your backlog in the first place, will go a long way in helping you to reduce it.
Whether you are trying to catch up before the newest iteration of a franchise drops, working through games you bought while on sale, or are just now getting to titles you always meant to play, the inevitable gaming backlog can seem like a daunting task. Examine what you have, the time you can allot, and how excited you are about the game(s), and your backlog should seem more like a plethora of unexplored adventure, rather than a race to catch up with the masses.