What's Your Backlog Look Like?

We all have one: that list of games in the back of our mind that always crops up while you are at work, in class, or away from your gaming system. The games that we always mean to finish, to play, to get that sense of completion. Sure, gaming isn’t exactly the most productive way of spending time, but whenever you get to that ‘game over’ screen, that ‘thanks for playing!’ message, there is certainly some satisfaction.

So why does everyone I know have a backlog?

Note: this article was already published on May 1st, 2018. It has been updated to reflect my 2019 goals.

Focus On What You Have, Not What You Don’t

Article after article talks about how game production and publication isn’t just speeding up, it’s practically doubling. It's both a blessing and a curse for consumers. On the one hand, this means we have more content at our fingertips than ever before. There is a game for everyone, just waiting to be found. You want to be a pirate? There are plenty of options. Do you want there to be a game that’s essentially reverse X-Com? Yep, we can find that. You want a board game that essentially lets you star in your own romantic comedy gone horribly wrong? Sure, we can do that too.

The problem with there being so many games is just that: there is more content at our fingertips than ever before. While this still takes a bit for me to wrap my head around. Psychological surveys have found evidence that too much choice can actually hurt the human psyche. It might seem counter intuitive, but if someone has too many options available, there’s a high chance that indecision can take over. Board gamers already have a term for this: Analysis paralysis.

finish_the_damn_game_month_2.jpg
I have wanted to play Final Fantasy VI for over a decade. I've owned it for three years. So why haven't I played it?

Have you ever found yourself just sitting at your computer, trying to figure out what the right game is to play? Suddenly, you realize it’s been an hour, and you’ve just been scrolling social media instead?

The issues don’t stop there. The urge to buy the newest and shiniest game that you see on TV or reviews is just getting stronger and stronger. There’s a good chance that, even if you are truly enjoying a particular game, you might abandon it to buy another one on release. Pre-ordering and the hype machine compounds this issue; you might end up looking forward to the next big thing that you forget about enjoying the immediate game that’s in front of you.

Then of course, there’s always the practical problem: money. How many times have you felt forlorn about games that you own, feeling as though they were wastes of money because you never truly got into them? How many board games do you have still in shrink wrap, or steam games in your library left uninstalled?

Our Finish The Damn Game Month Challenge

So today, May 1st, it’s time to get serious about having fun. What games have you had sitting on your shelf, mocking you? Which games have you wanted to always play, but just never seem to bring yourself to open or complete? How good would you feel to finally see the credits roll?

This is a month that Sprites and Dice will be spending exploring the backlog. Reviews of games we’ve been meaning to get to, but also trying to find answers to the questions above. Do you actually feel better when you choose not to buy new games, but instead play through older ones? Do some older games hold up to 2018? Just how large should your board game library really be?

finish_the_damn_game_month_4.jpg
Some of these games I don't care for - so why do I still have them?
I still haven't played some of these games after owning them for a year... so why do I keep buying new ones?

To start off right, we are also issuing a challenge: choose three to five games that you already own. Games that that have been in your collection for at least a month, or maybe a few years, that you’ve just never gotten around to beating. Maybe you never got them out of the shrink wrap, or maybe you just moved on to the next big game. Write them down. Then, over this month, don’t buy yourself new games – not until you’ve had a chance to finally put these ones behind you.

My List For 2019

Right now, I could honestly use this challenge right now in my own life; I'm feeling outright overwhelmed since PAX East this year. With so many new great games hitting the market, there's always too many to review, and oftentimes longer games get put on the backburner to make room for others. Even though I made some resolutions about not buying new games which has helped, I'm still feeling totally overwhelmed. While I heartily recommend using Finish The Damn Game Month to find those passed over games in your library, I'm hoping to use this year's event to throttle through a bunch of games I've left half-finished.

Here’s my list of five to get things started:

1. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2. I love this game, but the campaigns are so lengthy and the combat so difficult that I moved on halfway through.
2. Darkest Dungeon. I've been meaning to finish this for years. Now that we know a Darkest Dungeon 2 is on its way, I have to get to work...
3. Pokémon: Let's Go Eevee. I legitimately got to the Elite 4 and after failing my first attempt, put the game down. Why am I leaving this unfinished?!
4. Battle For Greyport. A board game I really enjoyed playing through the first session, but never made time to get a team together to finish all the scenarios. Why wouldn't I want to party up as an adventuring party for fun and profit?
5. The Division 2. I absolutely loved the first game, and I got this sequel on day one. So why have I only played for one weekend? I want to get to the endgame before the expansions arrive later this year.

I have my games cut out for me. What are yours?