Look at your game collection, and then back at this article. Hidden in that bad Old Spice parody is an opportunity for you to make an observation – how many titles do you have sealed, wrapped, or placed in a separate pile tagged with the imaginary label ‘backlog’? If you’re anything like us, you’d probably struggle to count the number on a large abacus. And that raises the question: are the ever animated hands of time gaming’s greatest handicap?
Regardless of lifestyle, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there’s more content available than anyone could possibly ever have time to play. Gaming is not a minor investment; unless you’re diving in for swift sessions of Angry Birds during your coffee break, the chances are that you’ll be sitting down for at least a few hours with any of the titles that you choose to play. And more often than not, your investment will far exceed that.
To make matters worse, the games just seem to keep coming. The likes of DmC: Devil May Cry, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, and God of War: Ascension have all garnered recommendations this year, and there’s still BioShock: Infinite right around the corner. And that’s if you’re just looking at the PlayStation 3’s line-up. Expand your horizons to competing platforms, and you’ll also find Gears of War: Judgment, Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate, LEGO City Undercover, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon all vying for your attention – not to mention the throngs of noteworthy indie hits available on Steam.
And then there are digital downloads, too. It’s becoming increasingly easy to amass a separate stack of shame deep within your hard drive, in addition to the physical one nestled on your shelf. Lower price points and easy accessibility – not to mention Sony’s own incredible PlayStation Plus service – are making it a doddle to hoard hundreds of hours of content that you may never get chance to play. With spare time at such a premium, is it even possible to experience everything anymore?
While it’s always been difficult to keep on top of new releases, the introduction of these innovative online marketplaces has really accentuated the issue. An average PlayStation Store update delivers no less than two or three new titles, and there have been occasions where the offering has slipped into double figures. This, on top of retail releases, means that there’s more content than ever before – and it can be difficult to decide where best to invest your time.
Recently, we published an article pondering the importance of review scores. In it, we asked whether media metrics should dictate your purchasing habits, and came to the conclusion that you should make up your own mind about what games to buy. But with so many titles out there, we can understand why the emphasis on reviews has become more pronounced. After all, it’s not merely about cost anymore, but also time. Why would you spend 10 hours with a game that scored middling reviews, when you could be playing through a game of the year candidate?
The quality of games seems to be higher than ever, too. Not one of the titles that we listed earlier in this article scored less than a 75 average on Metacritic, meaning that critics deemed all of the releases to be worth your time. When you consider that the list of titles tots up to about 200 hours of gameplay (if not more), it’s outrageous to think that anyone could ever get through them all.
So, why do we even try? Why do we amass these huge collections of content that sit on our shelves looking sorry – sometimes still in their shrink wrap? Perhaps it’s merely lapses in reason that prompt us to think that we can get through another ten to 15 hour campaign. Perhaps it’s greed, the desire for the next big thing that leads us to part with our cash. Or perhaps it’s just a lust for the industry, and a genuine desire to try a bit of everything that drives us to the checkout of our favourite game retailer over and over again. Irrespective of the cause, isn’t it time that we conceded to time, and stopped buying so many games?
Are you guilty of purchasing titles that you never play? How big is your backlog right now? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
How big is your backlog right now? (46 votes)
I haven't got one at the moment
Between one and five games
Between six and ten games
I've got more than 11 titles to play
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