RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Apr 22nd 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under gaming

I am a huge fan of "to do" lists. I use them at work and in my personal life. There is nothing quite as satisfying as lining up chores and knocking them down until your entire list is obliterated. Why then, have I never used a backlog for video games until this year? Throughout my life as a gamer, as a child, teenager, or adult, I have never so much as jotted down what games I wanted to play or even prioritized what I wanted to play in any way. I play whatever I feel like. I've noticed in the last few years that I fall prey to the FIFO principle, where I end up playing the most recent incoming titles to my collection rather than enjoying a game I have owned for years.

In past years I have made gaming resolutions of all kinds of different types. Whether it was my life-changing resolution of 2012 to finish every game I started, or my 2017 resolution to not spend any of my income on video games, I always find it fun and sometimes challenging to think outside the box and adjust my habits with some kind of goal in mind. This year, I decided to create my first backlog. I'd like to share it here and give an initial status report, as well as give a little insight into how I chose the titles or categories that I did.

When I decided to created a backlog, I put the perfect balance of thought and carelessness into it. What I mean is, I knew I would be creating something I wanted to attempt to stick to, but I didn't want to overthink it. I spent about five minutes jotting down ideas on a notebook page. When I was done, I knew I had created a great list, personalized to me and some titles, genres, and categories that were both familiar and out of my comfort zone. Here's my 2018 backlog, followed by a little bit about why I made some of these choices and finally, where I'm at with it as of the time of this writing.

Trace Memory 1 and 2
Ace Combat 3 Electrosphere - Japanese Version
Snatcher or Policenauts
A Vita game
A Dragon Quest game (besides the first one)
A Final Fantasy game (besides the first one)
Five PSN, eShop, or XBLA games
One EU Playstation 2 game
Popful Mail
Any Atelier game

I chose Trace Memory for two reasons. I really wanted to explore how I actually feel about point and click games. It seems like some of them are so obtuse that there's no enjoyment to be had, while others just flow easily. I've watched enough Pushinguproses videos to think that this is just how it is with this genre, so I figured by coming out of my comfort zone I could at least key in on what elements of point and clicks are attractive to me, if any. The second reason for Trace Memory is the European exclusive sequel for the Wii. I thought it would be cool to play an EU exclusive on my modded Wii. I mean, why not? It's already in English and no patching is required. As it turns out I found the first game to be wholly unenjoyable, and although I pushed through it (using a walkthrough after about the first hour), I have actually removed the sequel from my list!

So here's what is great about this backlog. It's not a requirement or even a goal. It's just a suggestion to myself. It's me saying to myself "here are a few games you've been wanting to play for a very long time, why not try to polish them off within this calendar year?"

There are a few other things I've already knocked off the list. I finished Final Fantasy IV last month and now I am looking forward to playing more games in the series (maybe next year). I crossed "any Atelier game" off the list by finishing the fan translation version of the first title, Atelier Marie. This is one of my favorite series of all time and it was awesome to finally have an opportunity to play the game that started it all. I included five PSN, XBLA, or Eshop titles because I have so many, and they tend to be short, so why not try to burn through a handful? We are even playing a couple in the playthrough with Limbo and Inside. At this point, I'm rather confident that I can complete this list and I'm already thinking about what I can pencil in for 2020.

I'm really happy I did this, and I don't think I'll ever go back to choosing games randomly. Having an actual backlog has helped me to become more well-rounded as a gamer and I wish I had done this sooner. So, do you have an backlog? I used to say my backlog was my whole collection, but that's not what the word really means. I'm looking forward to tearing through more of my collection and sharing my thoughts about all the games with the community. Thanks for reading!

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I like the way you did your backlog, with just enough room so you can wiggle (like a Final Fantasy game).  I am so chaotic that I end up bouncing around too much for my own good, and oddly enough picking a random game never helped. 
I'm glad to see that you're sticking to your backlog and getting some fulfillment from it. I've tried keeping a backlog over the years, but I keep continuously adding games that I want to play, and it soon grows to over 100 games and becomes overwhelming. I've also tried sticking to a shorter yearly backlog like you're doing now and ended up playing very few titles on the list. I think what happens is that I may be in the mood to play certain games when I compose my list, then I lose interest in playing those games a few weeks/months later. I've also tried picking completely random games to play, which unsurprisingly can yield disappointing results.

I think the best thing for me is to just go with my gut and pick whatever game I feel I'm in the mood for at the current time. Sounds simple enough, but the problem I have is that often I have already started playing more games than I can handle, and I am hesitant to add more fuel to the fire, and I hate leaving games unfinished unless I am truly getting no enjoyment from it. But when I am able to clear my 'currently playing' list to almost nothing and just start playing whatever game I am most in the mood for at that moment, those are often my most satisfying playthroughs.
I've done this in the past as well and really liked it. Like you said it's quite satisfying to cross that list off.

I'm pretty surprised you didn't enjoy Trace Memory. That game is pretty special to me. My wife doesn't play games almost ever and one of the only video games she has played through from start to finish is Trace Memory. It's short, incredibly easy as far as point and click goes, and I thought it had a pretty touching story/main character. It was really great being able to discuss a game with my wife that we both got some real enjoyment out of. I'd love to hear your expanded thoughts on why you think so little of it if you're up for that.

Your list sounds really great though. Never thought of leaving it open like you did such as choosing a game from one particular series or any game on a particular console. What's the reasoning behind an EU PS2 game? That one stands out to me.

Snatcher, Atelier, Ace Combat and Popful Mail are all games I eventually want to get to eventually as well so I'll be eagerly awaiting your thoughts on those ones.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, guys!

@Disposed Hero: I've gone through all of the same phases you are describing as well, and I likely will again. Things come in waves. What works now won't work forever.

@Crabmaster2000: I can't really put into words why I didn't love Trace Memory except to say that I don't like point and click games, I was looking for one to grab me, and this one wasn't it. I liked the main character and was pretty excited about the game at first, it just never got its hooks into me.

I want to play an EU exclusive PS2 game because I have discovered recently how many there are, and they tend to be pretty highly rated, so I want to see what I've been missing out on as a PS2 fan.

I'd really like to do a Sega CD game for the podcast, but the prices are prohibitive. Then again, this is a game collecting website.
This is a great idea. I have an enormous backlog, by virtue of my game collecting, and games I've purchased with the intent to play. That said, I've never formally written down a list of games I wanted to play. Last year, I felt decent enough about having my post in the "Games Beaten in 2018" thread here on the site, but I haven't defined anything more specifically. Now that I'm streaming, I should probably do something more detailed, so I can have a gameplan for what I'm going to play on and off stream. Good to see you're on track for your goal, though.
Like others said I like your idea of keeping the backlog flexible with picking games from an entire series. I haven't put together a proper personalized backlog yet but I did attempt a "must play" list of games that a couple friends had continually recommended I play. Unfortunately I find the more someone else says "you HAVE to play this" the less I want to play it...even if it's a game I know I'd enjoy. I still leave those on the list because I do want to play them eventually, but it's harder to motivate myself to try them when it feels forced.

I should try a backlog similar to the way you did yours, though maybe even shorter...I haven't played many games recently and I'd want to keep it achievable so I don't get overwhelmed.

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