From The Armchair: 2019 Is The Year I Beat My Backlog

What ho, chums!

I made some outstanding progress over Christmas in getting through a big chunk of my unplayed games. Some of them have been sitting unplayed on my shelf or hard drive for years. It felt good to get through them, so I’ve resolved that 2019 is the year that I finally beat my backlog.

I’ve decided to lay down a few sensible ground rules. Hopefully, if I can stick to these, my backlog should be history by this time next year. Let’s meet back in 2020 and see how that went. Onwards!

Rule #1: If I buy a new game, I have to play it straight away

I’m an absolute sucker for sales. I’ll gladly hoover up video-game ‘bargains’, but in reality they’re not bargains at all unless I play them straight away. For example, I bought Nier: Automata about a year ago when it was discounted, but I still haven’t got around to playing it. And if I bought it right now, I’d pay much less than I did a year ago.

So from now on, if I buy a game, it’s because I’m going to play it straight away. There’ll be no more trawling through sales and hoovering up ‘bargains’ that I tell myself I’ll get around to playing ‘one day’.

Rule #2: I won’t buy any new games until I’ve finished with the ones I’ve got

This is going to be the hardest rule to stick to, I think. For example, I was sorely tempted to pick up the Resident Evil 2 remake this weekend – it’s one of the games I’m most looking forward to playing in 2019. But I’ve already got Resident Evil VII on my shelf, which I’ve yet to play, not to mention a dozen or more other games across several systems.

But notice I’ve said ‘finished with’ rather than ‘finished’ – I’m not committing to completing all of the games in my backlog. If I try out a game and it doesn’t click with me, then it’s being moved to the ‘finished with’ pile. Games are in plentiful supply these days, but my time is not, so I’ll only finish games that I really like. And judging by the low statistics for ‘game completed’ trophies on PS4 across the board, it seems I’m not alone. Very few people bother seem to bother actually completing games these days, and when games are so cheap and plentiful, this is hardly surprising. When I was a kid, I’d complete the same games again and again because I couldn’t afford to buy any more. That’s definitely no longer the case.

Rule #3: PlayStation Plus doesn’t count

I’ve got to give myself a little leeway, and this is it. Games on PS Plus don’t count as part of my backlog, simple as that. It’s great that I get ‘free’ games each month (although of course they’re not really free), but it’s impossible to keep up with them all. And frankly, most of them fall into the ‘oooh I’d be quite interested to play that’ category rather than the ‘oh wow I’ve wanted to play this for ages’ category. The rest come under ‘I’ve never heard of this game, I wonder what the reviews for it were like…. oh, not exactly great’.

Darksiders II definitely came under the ‘I’ve wanted to play this for ages category’, and I happily piled my way through it. But others, like Bloodborne, Onrush and Steep, are games I’d quite like to try but realistically aren’t in my ‘top ten list of games I want to play right now’.

So the PS Plus games can just carry on accumulating – for the purposes of this exercise, they don’t count.

Rule #4: Unsolicited review codes don’t count either

We request codes for the games we’re most interested in reviewing here at A Most Agreeable Pastime, and naturally these get priority if/when they come in. But occasionally I get sent codes for games I’ve never heard of without asking for them. Usually they are very bad. Not always, but usually.

So unsolicited review codes will go straight to the bottom of the play pile, only to be fired up if I’m particularly bored or in the unlikely event that I’ve finished all the other games in my backlog. There’s always the chance I could be missing out on a hidden gem, but the more likely scenario is that I’ll end up asking why the hell I’ve just spent an hour playing this load of rubbish.

There we go then, my plan to eliminate my backlog by the end of the year. Why not join me? I’d love to hear how you get on!