we-spend-3-billion-hours-a-week-playing-video-games-is-it-worth-it

Boom! January 1st hits and everyone is going to the gym, losing weight, quitting smoking, and so on and so forth. . . BORING! One month in and most people have already given up and, by two months, everything is back to normal. Let’s focus on more important things like…more video games. Games and games and maybe even more games. Less trophy hunting (gasp!) and more playing of games. You want to lose weight? Let’s trim that backlog fat.

I think we need to start from the beginning to truly tackle this problem. Around the time of the dinosaurs. . . just kidding (for some reason, The Big Bang Theory theme started playing in my head so, you’re welcome?). The backlog is a result of gamers constantly wanting new toys.

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While that’s not a problem, sometimes you’re too busy actually playing the games you bought this year to play the leftovers from last year.

I mentioned trimming the fat but unlike filling your plate too much at the buffet, we cannot just get rid of the backlog games (technically, you could trade them in but is $3.00 from GameStop for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided really worth it?). Whether you just have to buy the newest game everyone is talking about or you take advantage of every “flash” sale (GUILTY), you end up with more games than there is time to play. I even know a few people who have purchased games a year or two ago and haven’t even taken the shrinkwrap off yet. Word to the wise: these “flash” sales are not once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I have personally seen The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on sale at least a dozen times. If you can resist the urge to “add to cart,” you can wait until the game is on sale again. Even if money is no object (lucky you), why buy a game if you are not going to play it? Also, you will be colossally pissed when you realize the game you bought last year is now free through PS Plus or Games with Gold.

The backlog could persist forever. Unless developers stop developing or at the minimum, stop releasing games, you will inevitably add to the backlog. Obviously, stopping development is not a feasible business model but then again, Rockstar seems to do fine and Grand Theft Auto V came out three years ago (current gen). Quick note: GTA V was the fifth-most downloaded game on PSN in 2017. The new Assassin’s Creed is one of the best in the series and Ubisoft took a year off between releases. Anyway, where was I? Oh right, piece of candy.

Seriously though, what is a backlog? Mine will differ from yours, and yours from that of the next gamer. I think “backlog” and I’m faced with an insurmountable amount of games that I will never be able to play. Someone else may have only 5-10 games they bought and never got a chance to play and that’s what “backlog” means to him or her. I laugh in the face of 5-10 games. HA. I wish I only had 5-10 games in my backlog. No, really, that would be incredible. Take my games, please!

On the podcast I host, Nerds Gone Platinum, my co-hosts and I are having a (Backlog) Game Challenge. We each had to provide a list of 50 games from our backlog (Note: 50 may be ¼ of my actual backlog which is sad considering that does not include my Steam library or PS3/Vita). From that 50, the other two hosts chose 20 games that had to be completed by the end of the year. For those unfamiliar with our show, we are self-proclaimed trophy hunters so moving on to a new game before finishing every possible task in the old game is usually quite the task.

So, what causes the backlog? It would be easy to assume that the backlog is a side effect of peer pressure, and that you have to buy the newest, hottest game because everyone else is talking about it. I thought about this and realized that while I have purchased plenty of games, I cannot recall getting one to join in on the fun and then not playing it immediately. No, the backlog is caused by sales. Now, I am not saying sales are a bad thing, but sometimes it is hard to resist the urge to buy Mass Effect Andromeda at Target for only $15 (personally, I wish I had exercised some restraint with that garbage but there is not enough space on this page to list the issues I have with that game). PSN runs flash sales almost every month. Best Buy always has deals and so does every other chain store. Even Redbox is in on the sales and their sales are good. Like DOOM for $10 good. Steam runs a sale every week in addition to their big blowouts, and who can forget about the Humble Bundle? They practically promote stealing.

Still with me? Good. Here is the TLDR version of my nonsensical rambling:

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Stop buying old games. Disregard this if you do not have a backlog. Thanks for reading this far if that’s true though, because that means you are not the target of this piece. Note that I said “old” games. My backlog is over 400 games but I’ll be playing the new God of War on April 20th. I am referring to games like Call of Duty Infinite Warfare or Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (which I have seen on sale for under $10 twice in the last few months). Old games are not going anywhere. Focus on the “old” games you already own. Sales are not once-in-a-lifetime. Use the PS Store wishlist, make a Steam wishlist, use Amazon or even an Excel spreadsheet. Join my co-hosts and I in our Game Challenge. Focus on those old games you never played. If you try it and hate it, delete it. At least you made the effort to play the games you purchased and now you can trim it from the list of things you’ve meant to play but never got around to trying. If you’re interested, submit a list of 20 games in your backlog and I will read them on the air during our podcast. Join us on our journey (sorry, prize money is only for co-hosts this year). Let’s make 2018’s resolution something positive and clear out that backlog.

I co-host Nerds Gone Platinum every Tuesday night at 9 at www.youtube.com/ngrradio. Audio version available later in the week. E-mail the show at nerdsgoneplatinum@gmail.com or tweet us at NG_Platinum. I can be found on PSN at Gimpyjayy and emails can be sent to whereisthepausebutton@gmail.com.

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