Organized Gaming: Conquering the Backlog One Game At a Time - SnakePlissken722 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

Organized Gaming: Conquering the Backlog One Game At a Time

November marks the one year anniversary of when I started my grand social backlog playthrough experiment, Rogue's Adventures. In that time I've finished 18 games, taken over 3000 screenshots, live tweeted over 3,300 times, and begun streaming some of my latest adventures on twitch.tv. It's been a hugely successful motivator to play through my staggering backlog of unplayed and unfinished games, and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.

 

The Problem

It's such an amazing time in video games right now that a legitimate complaint is that there are simply too many great games out there and never enough time to play them all. What's worse are deeply discounted sales that allow feverish gamers like myself to snatch up any of those fence-sitting "maybes" and dump them into our hard drives - a curse that far too many games will face. I can't buy every $60 or even $15 game that I want every month; I've got my Day One Pre-Orders, my Soon When I Have Time and Moneys, and then it devolves into a mess of Probably As Soon as It's on Sales and C'Mon It's 80% Off Maybe I Just Might Play It Somedays. Steam is notoriously great/bad at this, with jokes about our wallets being destroyed every six months like clockwork during the Summer and Holiday sales. Then Good Old Games started doing deep discounts, and now Humble Bundle joins the crowd. And it's not just PC Gaming either - Amazon often has crazy good deals and provided you don't mind used games you can always take advantage of Gamestop's frequent Buy 2 Get 1 Free deals as well.

The problem is thus: I get these games and then never play them, because there are always great games coming out. Weeks, months, years go by with some poor games never even getting the courtesy install or second glance. I needed help, but not against buying the games. Oh heck no - games are awesome and so are the amazing sales we can take advantage of. What I needed was to get organized about actually playing them. I needed motivation.

 

The Solution

As I wrote in a blog post one year ago, I decided to use my new found love of social media to motivate me to play and finish my backlog. The idea started simple enough - I created a Facebook group page and a separate twitter account and invited all my gamer friends. On the group page I would post little recaps after a session along with some screenshots, almost like a journal of my progress, while on twitter I would actually live-tweet my experiences thanks to the ease of Steam's overlay.

I started off playing Adventure games as they were short enough that I could make tons of progress in just a few months, and I was excited about the prospect of the not-yet-then delayed Double Fine Adventure (now known as Broken Age). Games actually ranged from old classics like The Longest Journey and the Broken Sword trilogy to newer releases like Resonance and The Whispered World. I created a spreadsheet with all the games I planned on completing, and using the data from HowLongToBeat.com, created a gaming schedule complete with goal completion times for each game. I calculated that I could spend at least 1/3 of my gaming time specifically tackling games from Rogue's Adventures each week to stay on top of it, and barring any holidays and out of town shenanigans, I did just that.

 

The Help

Becoming beholden to my own schedule was surprisingly effective, and keeping up with posts and tweets during the week kept me playing the games. This makes it sound like work but most of these games were a lot of fun - I had just needed that extra push to get me to play them! Eventually I reached the end of my Adventure games in May and decided to cap off that section of games as Season One, writing a Recap of the entire season you can read right here. Oh, did I mention I also write a retrospective psudeo-review of my experience with each game under the Final Thoughts series? I actually wrote my Final Thoughts for Shadowrun Rerturns as a full on review as it was such a recent game, and it was featured in Game Informer's Blog Herding a few months ago.

Tracking hours played was easy thanks to Steam and Raptr, but one of the most effective sites for me was Backloggery. Unlike Raptr you have to manually enter all of your games, but in doing so makes you very aware of your collection and how much your adding to it versus how many games you're beating. In fact it keeps track of New Games and Beaten Games as you update them, and gives you a handy number - one you want to keep in the positives if you ever want to make progress on your backlog. If you have the time, I highly recommend checking the site out as you may just think twice about adding that pack of five games to your library when you're already playing eight different games.

 

The Future

I mentioned at the beginning that I had just begun streaming games on twitch.tv, and it's been a blast. Not every game I play for Rogue's Adventures will make for good steaming material (which is why I started with a Classic Ironman run of XCOM using friends' names) but just discovering twitch.tv and how much fun I have streaming games I know I'll continue to use it well into the future (I've also begun the process of uploading all my live streams to my YouTube Channel). With the new consoles having built-in streaming, it looks the popularity of sharing videos will only rise in the future.

Coming up will be the end of Season 2 of Rogue's Adventures, and I'm still forming a schedule and deciding on a theme for Season 3. Since using Rogue's Adventures I've become much more selective with my game purchasing, as I feel every new game undoes a little work I've done for the backlog. My ultimate goal every year isn't to stop acquiring new games, however, that's just madness. Rather I just want to be able to complete more games than I acquired each year - in theory eventually catching up on all my games. But even still I know there are some that I have no desire to finish, and it will be folly and would take more years that I dare to admit. At the end of the day, gaming should always be fun and never a tedious chore for the sake of checking off some Beaten checkbox.

Great games will continue to come out, and I'll barely be able to scratch the surface. But at least with Rogue's Adventures I've found a fun way to play them, a fun way to showcase them to others, and an excuse to write about my experiences with them.

For more on Rogue's Adventures, Follow @RoguesAdventures on Twitter, Follow Gorbash722 on twitch.tv, and keep up with my gaming blog here on Game Informer!

comments

No one has commented on this article.