GameCentral readers admit the awful truth of how many video games they own that they haven’t played or finished.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Axton, and inspired by the currently quiet summer months when not many games are released and many people use them to make a dent in their backlog of unfinished games.
Plenty of readers were willing to admit that have dozens, in some cases hundreds, of unplayed games laying around or available to download. Although considerably fewer would admit the obvious truth: they’ll probably never get around to finishing them all.
I’m not proud of this fact but I’ve got a backlog of games stretching back to the SNES era. NES era really, if you count the Mini NES I paid a fortune for but have barely touched. I haven’t own these games for that long but as a retro collector more and more nowadays I have a nasty (more importantly, expensive) habit of snapping up games when I see them on eBay and then never getting around to playing them.
That of course doesn’t help in terms of trying to play modern games, and I’m afraid I’ve got quite the backlog there too. Not as much, I’m not completely mad (or, unfortunately, very rich) but I’ve usually got a half dozen or more sitting, waiting to be started.
As far as I know this isn’t unusual for a more committed gamer (why aren’t we allowed to say hardcore, again?) but even to me it seems a waste at times. The ideal would be only to buy the modern games when they’re on cheap and just wait for the retro ones as they come. But, I don’t know, it just seems like I’m missing out not owning Zelda: Breath Of The Wild or Horizon Zero Dawn as soon as they come out.
A bit on the side
I had, until last year or so, a huge backlog of PC games – usually picked up cheap in GOG and Steam sales – that I hadn’t touched. The icons just sat there on my desktop, glaring at me accusingly every time I used my PC. I made a concerted effort to clear through them all and held off buying any more until I did so. Now I try and make sure I don’t have more than three hanging around unplayed.
Currently, I’ve ended up with a bit of a backlog again due to rapid acquisition of a lot of retro titles, mostly SNES and GBA ones. The SNES games are generally multiplayer focused, so I can live with only having given them a glance, but there’s a few that deserve some single-player time too, that I just haven’t got around to yet.
Then I’ve still got the third path in Fire Emblem Fates waiting, the second half of Kid Icarus: Uprising (bailed because my hand was hurting), a couple more recent GOG purchases and more that I’m probably forgetting. So I’ve at least got games to keep my occupied while I save for a Switch.
Part of the trouble is that there’s a lot of big role-playing games in my backlog and I don’t like going straight from one of those to another without a bit of a palette cleanser between, so they build up, especially as they take so long. Most of this year went to Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Fire Emblem Echoes, while I’m currently diving into Chrono Trigger DS.
I’m usually a one-game-at-a-time guy, as it stops me from falling out of interest with one and never going back to it, which I used to have a real problem with (about two-thirds of my PlayStation 2 catalogue remains unfinished, on the suggestion I might go back to them one day – I doubt I will). The exception I made recently was for Breath Of The Wild. Because it was such a big game and potentially overwhelming in how much it offered and demanded, I let myself ‘cool off’ with a handheld game on the side.
I just finished Mafia III, after buying it at launch, but the number of graphical issues the game had put me off from finishing it and especially the artificial intelligence, which was just terrible in some of the later missions. I decided to continue it recently and the post-release patches have improved it a fair bit. The graphics are notably better with far less jankiness, although there is still some and the artificial intelligence is a lot better. Although still not winning any Noble prizes it’s at least playable.
I enjoyed the story a lot and the ending was very good. It’s a shame the mission structure is so repetitive, but there are some real standouts like the one set on a river boat and the final few missions closing out the story were very good. Mafia III is far from perfect but I’d still say it’s worth a playthrough as you can pick it up very cheap now.
Also, just recently played through Sonic 2 again. Although not technically on my backlog because I finished it as a child when it was first released. But just recently finished the Xbox Live Arcade version that was released on Xbox 360 and is backwards compatible on Xbox One. I enjoyed it but damn old games are hard! I’m looking forward to Sonic Mania, which is what prompted me to play Sonic 2 again, and if it’s as tough as that it’s going to be a hell of a ride!
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)
PS: Thank god for saved games nowadays that’s all I can say!
GC: So… you haven’t got a backlog?
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Too much world
I don’t have much of a physical backlog other than a few sale purchases, but I have loads of PS Plus games lying in wait.
I find the reason for that is that I generally play one game at a time and explore far too much on open world games, leaving the main quest until later. The problem with that is then you’re levelled up so much the main quest isn’t really a challenge.
Lazarou (PSN ID)
Due to time and the excitement factor, I do have around four games going at the moment. Just started and getting into Mass Effect: Andromeda, working towards most of Fallout 4 full completion, and The Witcher 3 Game Of The Year Edition.
I did many a moon ago not have more than one game going at a time but in all due respect though, I’ll put another one on if I want to. I’ll spend some hours on one in the week and a different game in the weekend. What’s the difference compared to watching multiple TV programs and films! It also breaks up gameplay and keeps it fresh when I get back to it.
Books are another where I’ll have five going on at once. Looking at my Kindle I can see a bunch of them on the go. They are long books also. If my games were shorter and could be done in five hours then I’d just play one from the start to the finish. But I don’t tend to get short games anymore and many hours are needed for just one.
Persona 5 is the fourth game I have seemed to spend an age at, but I think I am coming to the end of this game and should be finished soon, but I have read the average time is around 120 hours, so I am not surprised I have been at this for a few months.
Fallout 4 is complete but not all side quests and other DLC stuff, so I took a break and got back to it. While The Witcher 3 is large, epic and awesome – need I say more. Starting Mass Effect: Andromeda was a must and so far I am progressing nicely and really enjoying the different style, and basically treating it as a spin-off colonisation sim with exploration added on – which I am quite cool with. The change of pace especially when the locations look as good as they do in this game make me want to continue with intrepid curiosity, playing with my FemRyder, who looks awesome may I add (my own design), as I am not too impressed by the default one.
So like I said before, ‘Summer drought! What summer drought?’ To me it’s a perfect time to get these games completed, ready in time for the autumn/winter rush of new games. Which are limited at the moment, and not too many (for me anyway) that I actually want.
So thank you games companies for giving us the time needed to do this and make it back in time for your logical, fantastic, and sane release system you have in place for us all. Where the business strategy is just releasing everything the same week, when us folk obviously have hundreds of pounds available for the five to seven games that all come out at once.
All or nothing
I spent three years out in Saudi Arabia, I didn’t take my family so ended up with lots of gaming time. I completed every game, even with little interest in them, it just filled the time. I have been back in the UK now for a year and a half, in that time I have racked up 10 games still in their cellophane!
I’m working my way through Horizon Zero Dawn at the moment, but I keep the pile of games on my coffee table as a reminder. I can’t part play games anymore, and it frustrates me when I see my kids part playing 10-15 different games. I think I’m getting old!
Nuggettim (PSN ID)
My gaming interests and spending had lay largely dormant for many years, until the release of a certain Wii U karting game in May 2014. It’s beauty, and the release offer of an additional free eShop download code, kicked off the most ridiculous run of game buying – creating a backlog several times larger than what I could possibly keep up with playing.
I now own nearly all the worthwhile/exclusive games on Wii, Wii U, and PlayStation 3, plus a great number of the top 3DS and DS games, a few PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles, plus a few Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles, and three for my Switch. Oh, and not forgetting around 200 Steam games.
In that same period (2014-present) I’ve probably seen the end credits of no more than 10 games. It’s fair to guess I’ve probably not even played 75% of the games I’ve bought.
But I don’t call it a backlog – it’s my collection, my library. I’ve loved building my library, pondering which games are deserving and which aren’t. I’ve spent more time reading about and buying games than I have playing them. I look forward to each and every one of them, though even if I quit my job and deserted my kids, I’d probably never play through them all.
But I don’t worry. Steam aside (all of which are bought on sale), I buy mostly used, physical versions at reduced prices and can expect many of them to retain at least some of their value to the collectors of the future. Selling them off could be a hassle, but I won’t care, I’ll be dead.
Maybe I’d make better progress with my collection were it not for a certain karting game that I can’t stop playing (though nowadays I play the Deluxe version)…
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