The Dreaded Backlog

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Joe Modzeleski

Welcome to The Daily Rumble, a column where I share my personal thoughts and opinions about games and the gaming world. Yesterday I discussed the process of building and releasing my first small independent game.

Today I'd like to discuss something a little more topical to the ever-moving industry. If you weren't already aware, March is waiting to beat the crap out of you and empty every last cent from your wallet. With major titles like South Park: The Stick of Truth, Titanfall, and Dark Souls II, this is the kind of month that forces even the most strictly current gamers to develop a backlog.

If you're like me, you're the type of gamer who plays and enjoys nearly everything. Unfortunately we have a limited amount of funds and time to experience games, and there are numerous points through the year where major games we are quite excited to play just slip through the cracks. The desire to play that game never leaves, but it becomes overpowered by the desire to play the newest games and stay current with the industry and whatever the public at large is playing.

With multiplayer games like Titanfall there's a general understanding that the game will hit its peak within the first few months and usually slowly loose population afterwords. While the game itself doesn't go away, there is a definite peak period, an optimal time to experience that game. When gaming becomes social, the entire hobby becomes filled with limited time engagements. If you tried to play Halo 3 right now you'd likely miss out on what all the hub-bub was about. It's still entirely playable, but the experience that surrounded it has died off entirely. 

With single-player games it becomes less of an issue, but there is still that social aspect shared between your fellow gaming friends and the nature of the internet. Missing out on a huge game when it launches means you are subject to spoilers and discussions around every corner, even places like Facebook and Twitter are not safe. The talking points surrounding these games become intoxicating social experiences despite the game itself being a solitary endeavor. 

While the games that sink into your backlog are not suddenly unable to ever be played, it does introduce further apprehension about missing newer games. As gamers, especially as gamers who are growing up and building families and careers, we find that our time spent with our hobby grows shorter and shorter. Life holds countless miracles far more worth our time than the games we play, and directly causes the choices behind what we play and how much time we devote to it to change.

I play games socially. When I have friends over it's basically the only thing we do aside from the occasional movie. I also play games alone, though nowhere near the capacity I did even five years ago. I generally play an hour or so a day until months like March come along, forcing me into a reverse-hibernation state where I can't keep my face off my TV for more than an hour at a time. It's the absolute joy I experience from playing these games and the apprehension I feel about missing out. It's not just games, it's everything in life. Nobody wants that feeling of missing out.

I think where a lot of us learn to manage it is to miss out, and what compromises we're willing to make to balance our lives and our hobbies. Passion and human nature drives us to experience everything that anything has to offer, and the relentless pace and variety in video games makes it an exceptionally engrossing thing.

It's months like this that almost makes me think it wouldn't be so bad to be one of those guys that only play Call of Duty.


The Daily Rumble is my daily column. If you want to read more from me you can check out some of my previous articles in the panel on the right. You can also follow me onTwitter @superNESjoe.

#Titanfall, #Dark Souls II, #South Park: The Stick of Truth, #infamous second son

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