Here’s a thing that’s going through my mind as a gamer once and a while and I’m sure fellow ‘holy’ hobbiests can confirm similar thoughts: “Boy, my backlog is beyond huge now, but I will have shitloads to play when I’m in old.” Well if you are like me, here’s me sounding like a douchebag: “You don’t”.
I like gaming, and I have been able to like it since the late eighties. And unlike gaming, other hobbies would demand to express oneself better, but I’m running this story here you see, and I’m under embargo to only talk about gaming now. And possibly the worst topic of all in that field too.
There are two types of media freaks, one that keeps an imaginary Backlog and one that doesn’t. In gaming that’s no different. The Backlog is similar to a bucket-list, but instead the bucket list will actually contain things you still like to try in your life (instead of playing it on something that repeats an experience). Most people refer to these lists loosely as if they actually have one (of either) themselves, but alas only the most motivated or disciplined people actually do. You can join too if you are (too) serious.
This is not my backlog folks, mine would fit in one of it’s crevices.. probably on a few hdd’s.
The thing with the really serious backlogs are that they are still in the making as you go explore new content and discover the old. You might never stop adding titles and shuffling them around to play them in your free-time, but you really should. Don’t take my word for it, take yours. I will explain later but for now, lets assume we make a Backlog year: stop at 2018 or so playing anything new and just add these endless waves of releases and remakes to the end of your list. I’m not trying to sound scary here, but you might be surprised what the outcome of our little calculation will tell you. I mean, I could’ve picked any addictive hobby, don’t freak out later.
Test how average you really are, just make the list that should represent your Backlog. Including all unfinished titles and current or not. Make an “Excel” type sheet, put in all your titles, per system with each the average playtime in hours in a different column for calculation later. Don’t worry about the average hours on an entered title, real life is not exact either. You might have more or less time spent to finish a game, you might have sudden binges or less time in your planning: same thing. Add another hour column for your actual completion time in hours, for fun later. Anyway, this list should now have titles with their respective hours filled in.
You have to be bleedingly honest with yourself too, this list holds everything you really consider to play, the actual foreseen Backlog out of the back of your mind is in there. It is sacrilegious to cheat, it IS yours. At a certain point in time you either made a mind-only or a digital/physical version of all the stuff that piqued your interest over the years for later abuse. That’s over now. This is the SERIOUS one. You can stop wondering after this, it will be a worthy confession.
If this list still contains titles like “Wonder what all the fuss is/was about” and/or “Bob* liked it”, scrap them immediately. You can still try them to maybe upgrade them to the ‘Real list’, but since you haven’t already found out about them while they were on your list, it’s likely something was off-putting and I’m all here in your face already like: You don’t have the time.” So err, cut and paste them into the far side of your sheet, for testing purposes. Next are all MMO and multiplayer games, these you should be excluded since many are not timeless and you’d want to good community. There is an argument for emulated or private servers here but I would also argument that these games should be played in the present. Finally exclude all casual mobile titles, while you’re at it.
MEANWHILE: This is also not my list..
What’s left is something more refined, something more you. Make a simple total with the program that holds your sheet. Now you either start to realise the gravity of this mass of data or feel really light about what you see. Whatever the prospect might be now -forget about that- we are going to divide this later.
Next is decide how many hours you are willing to diligently play per week. These hours should be outside outside LIFE events and other hobbies. Be as strict and realistic as possible, to start. Also try to refrain visiting console buddies for the extra dopamine, we are on a tight schedule here.
To illustrate, I will expose. I’m going to make a leap of faith here and give you an ‘indication’ of what my list produced with my numbers and choices. But to make matters worse, I like JRPGs: I’m totally fucked. On average old school JRPG titles take less than 50 hours and newer games since then hopefully more. But I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t be fussy about the average times, so I took what i could find online and made the average go up a little since most JRPGs, strategy or not, I finish close to 90 hours anyway.
In this example I ‘solely’ chose 100 JRPGs to remain out of the total of all games in the Backlog, then took the average of 60 hours for completion. I really wish I didn’t. Then I decided on my own version of average playtime in hours and put that in a separate column. I then optimistically landed on 10 hours of actual play a week MAX, a number which was very hard to make, but it is what it is; I’m currently 38 at the time of writing and I picked my Backlog year to be 2017.
Now if I would take 100 games times 60 hours that would result in 6000 hours if these are purely spent on moving forward in games. Then, if I play exactly 10 hours a week for a year, I would be able to play 520 hours if I keep to the code. 6000 hours divided by 520 hours a year is 11,5 years people. Just for one genre, and I even haven’t put in my expected times yet, just the average of 60 hours. I should consider Backlogging the complete hobby for cryo-sleep or something.
This seemed all a bit crazy to me, since I don’t consider myself even top-tier gaming material: I just sometimes hold a gamepad (or since recently a console) in my hand, I also don’t have the discipline to finish this. I have ‘a family’, many friends and hobbies, dipped all kind of scenes and even lived a bit too much for a while out there, but this is the real deal my friend. A frikkin decade; I actually considered playing these titles on said Backlog before. But I realise my jokes of playing games in retirement were factually fantasy. (nice title)
Now let me indulge you, or not of course, to play around with the idea. I can easily imagine spending already up to 5 hours a week on search engines alone… Myself I couldn’t find any argument to stop now or just ‘go casual’, but the latter seemed already my protocol, was it not? Gaming was a niche hobby for many years for many kids like me, then it became mainstream and since then I considered myself casual. You should see the smile on my face: This is my second gaming topic here, as mandated to write about nothing in a personal journalistic sense. But when I read this back I shout “Nerd!” at the screen.
There were maybe times, when I was hanging out with the wrong kids at school maybe, but no sir, I have lived my share of everything, maybe even your share. If I would go beyond and try this endeavour anyway, I should’ve started 20 years ago, and go about it in the grand order of things, simply dubbed regular time and miss shit. No way, that’s the reason why the Backlog exists, to releave oneself of such plights not to ‘miss shit’ but to ‘live shit’. In reality you put shit on your Backlog just to do new stuff anyway.
I tried to write about ‘serious’ gaming Backlogs today since I did the math after I joked earlier to a friend how heavy one list like that might be, but now I will even need a hiatus of writing about gaming in general for a while. Since I have to be honest and have only filtered 3 stories so far for the public, I didn’t want this to be another one. It’s amusing I hope to read, but there is also an adult theme I left with it. One adult theme I should consider putting in a time capsule with batteries and usb sticks, but that’s even weirder, it’s not even my precious.
As stories go, titles change and the original title “The Chronologically Loyal Anti-Paradox explorer”, or CLAP for short, changed into something more attachable, as I also started to cut variables and factors in the previous title’s draft. And you know kids, all variables and factors here extend time unless you are cheating. Finally, I hope I will not write another disclaimer at the end of my story because that doesn’t seem to be professional.. Also, the typos…Oh God!! Is this thing still on?!
(*= Bob is a fictional character)
EDIT: Miscalculated my example, corrected it. I originally almost had triple the time in years :S But still.