It’s log. It’s log. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s plasticon August 15, 2013 at 8:00 am
Was I buying fewer games back then? Certainly. I may have had a modest backlog at the time, but I eventually caught up. However, digital distribution has destroyed the ability for an adult with a modest amount of free time to ever catch up.
I find I’m still buying the same amount of PHYSICAL games, but I’m also throwing digital ones into the mix. All those juicy deals on Steam, the fantastic indie titles coming out on consoles and handhelds, then all of those free games on PS Plus cohering into an overwhelming amount of content that I didn’t even spend that much money on.
But, I’m still spending money on them, even if it’s $5 or $10 at a time. I’m amassing this huge throng of games. Games where I’m like, “Yes, I definitely want to play that, I’ll buy it now” or, “Oh, it’s dirt cheap and it looks interesting, I may as well pick it up!” It’s dangerous and those games end up sitting there, waiting for their neglectful dad to come back home from the bar and throw the ball around for a bit.
Wait, what am I talking about, again? How digital has put a direct pipeline of delicious, fatty, and flavorful games directly into our wanting gullets, trying to overfeed us and engorge our liver into a scrumptious foie gras? Yes, that’s what I’m trying to talk about.
Before, in the “Way Back When”, there was less of an ability for games to be an impulse purchase and that was good. Even if you picked up a game in a store, there is still a chance you may put it back. You may come to your senses and realize that you didn’t want it as bad as you thought you did as you meander about, browsing at other items.
There is less of a chance of that happening with digital purchases since you can buy it the instant you get that tickle in your brain that says, “Yes, this is a thing you should do!” Thanks, brain tickle, I can always count on you to have me buy a game I won’t play very much or at all.
These kinds of things are supposed to have a point, aren’t they?
Well… I don’t have one. Except that when I mentioned backlogs “be wrecking our shit”, I may have spoken too soon.
It’s not that I think our gigantic backlogs are a good thing but, I also don’t think they’re doing all that much harm. Here, let me explain.
It’s not that we should run around, wantonly buying everything our gamer souls desire, but most of us try to make the best decisions we can in any given circumstance. We always buy games with the best intentions, it’s just that life happens, other games happen, and boredom happens. We WANT to play the games we buy, it’s that we don’t always know if or when we’re going to be able to play them.
Also, it doesn’t necessarily hurt to have some extra games on hand during those times when you get bored. Bored of a certain genre, bored of a game you might be currently playing through, or bored of being…bored. You may think, “Oh, I’ll take a break from this game now but I’ll get back to it later.” Though, if you’re willing to step away from it, you’re most likely finished with it. If the game were going to keep you glued to it and interested until the end, you wouldn’t have put it down to go play something else.
Ultimately – and I know I say this a lot – video games are about having fun. I’ve been starting to look at my backlog not as a collection of games that I’ve failed to start or complete; rather, I see it as a wall of possibilities. A near limitless amount of potential fun I could have right now or in the future. If I want to replay a game I love, then I should just replay it. If I want to finally start “Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom” (And I should), then I can do that whenever I want. It’s always there, waiting for me, just like all of my other games.
Of course, some of you out there probably are addicted like crack-addled street sleepers and compulsively buy games. That’s probably unnecessary, but maybe you’re rich or have more free time or have a sugar daddy/mommy that takes care of you. I’m not judging.
Basically, we should stop feeling less guilty about our backlogs. We’re going to have them, it’s natural, but once we start trying to organize our hobby into a checklist of to-dos and try to rationalize every purchase based on whether or not we’ve finished certain games… I don’t think that’s very fun. That sounds like work. Like going on vacation with a line-item itinerary and your days are planned down to the minute. That sucks!
Play the games you want to play and buy the games you want to buy. If you’re not irresponsible and you aren’t destitute, you probably don’t have anything to feel bad about. Unless you’re one of those people who is only happy when you’re guilty and miserable. In that case, spend a little less on games, take those savings, and get some help. When you get back, I’ll play some “Windjammers” with you.