The struggle with backlogs

Published 5:17 pm Saturday, October 25, 2014

Try as you might, you’re never going to read all of the classic books everyone recommends. It’s physically impossible to read the all-time greats we celebrate in literature, from Leo Tolstoy, Fydor Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens to Emily Bronte, Tzu, Homer and Dante Aligheri.

The equivalent is happening in the video game industry. Try as we might, we’ll never play all of the video games we mean to enjoy.

More than two-thirds of all U.S. households play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association. That’s a lot of homes with a lot of what gamers call “backlogs” — a dreaded concept where games we really, really want to play end up sitting on the shelves for long periods of time.

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I must confess, my backlog of games hasn’t shrunk as much as I’d like over the years. I still have a few games to beat, like “Twisted Metal” for the Playstation 3 or “Super Mario Galaxy 2” for the Nintendo Wii. Some games I’ve barely gone a few hours through, such as “Borderlands 2,” “Bulletstorm” and “Catherine.”

Yes, there are even games I own which I have yet to pick up and play — “Sleeping Dogs” and “Yakuza 4” are among my backlog of shame.

I’m not the only one. Every gamer has a backlog of games they would like to finish, or games they would like to go back and master. It’s human nature. That stack of books never quite goes away, and neither does our stack of games. Though the average game takes less than 20 hours to complete, there are still many games which can suck hundreds — maybe even thousands — of hours away from us. That’s not a bad thing, but it definitely makes things difficult for gamers who like to complete their games.

So take some time next weekend to play a game in your backlog, whether that’s a game like “Angry Birds” or something complex like “Skyrim.” It’ll be Halloween weekend after all, and I know that’s the perfect time for me to pick up “Silent Hill: Downpour” once again.