Breaking My Backlog – The Intro

by Christopher David Lawton

Like most gamers my age that have eventually grown up and got jobs that maybe give them some disposable income, I have a problem. I have a huge backlog. Due to things like Steam Sales and Humble Bundles, I’ve quietly amassed a list of games that I haven’t even downloaded yet. So many, I can’t even keep all of them straight. This creates a problem as I tend to forget what I have, and when it comes time to pick a new game to play I either don’t bother to check my games list and just decide I have nothing to play, or I do check my games list and get overwhelmed with choice. Either way, the result is the same: I end up deciding to just play Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the 50th time.

Something has to change, or dare I say: Something has to break.

Welcome to Breaking My Backlog, a semi-regular feature here in which I document the process of playing through my entire backlog. Here on the site, I will include a list of my entire backlog of games I haven’t finished, and as I beat each one I will cross it off of the list and write a brief review of the game itself. In this way, you guys can come along with me on this journey, and maybe learn a little something about me — and yourself — in the process.

Now, like any great quest, stakes are important, so I’ve created a very simple one. I made a pledge: I will not buy another game until I’ve played through my backlog. So, Resident Evil 2: REmake? Unless I’m done with my backlog by January 19th, I will not buy it. What about the new Pokémon game that all the kids are going to play? Well, this kid just might not be able to play it. What about the new Madden game? Well, since I haven’t played a Madden game since 1996, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be playing the new one regardless of the status of my backlog.

I will say this, though: I am allowing myself two caveats to this pledge. First, if the game is free. I do follow a lot of promotional programs like Indie Bundles that sometimes give games away. If this is the case — and it’s not costing me any money — I’ll go ahead and pick it up. The second caveat is gifts: Christmas, birthday, Steam gifts, etc. If someone purchases the game for me, I will accept it also. Again, as long as I’m not spending any of my personal money on it. In both of these cases, I will update the games list to include it, as it will then become part my backlog.

I understand that this may seem like an insurmountable task. Even my wife told me — after I made the pledge — that she didn’t think I could do it. And while she may have just been using reverse psychology to make me more determined, I can’t help but feel more determined in the face of all of this adversity. After all, in addition to stakes, all great adventures also require an antagonist, and in this great journey, my antagonist is… myself. Or my backlog. Or my wife? Is it my wife?

I think I’ve lost the metaphor somewhere.

Screw it. Adventure. Breaking my backlog. Et cetera, et cetera. Join me, won’t you?