ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
 
  Login Using Facebook
Twitter
 
     

On the Properties of Backlog Strata

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 05/12/19 at 02:58 PM CT

At the end of every month, I write up a little feature called “Backlog: The Embiggening,” in which I typically eviscerate the coming month’s game release docket for being awful, while occasionally adding one or two (or rarely three) new games to that looming monster known only as my Backlog. Like assholes and opinions, everyone has a Backlog. Even people who don’t play videogames have Backlogs, as any form of planned, yet unfinished, activity is Backloggable. Throughout history, Backlogs have tormented all manner of people, and even the 1970’s folk song, “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin is ultimately about the sadness caused by putting ‘playing with your kid’ on the Backlog and never finding time to get it taken off.

However, for modern gamers in particular, the Backlog has become an omnipresent plague. Folks who gamed in the 1st through 6th Generations would easily be able to find the time to experience everything of quality and personal interest that the hobby had to offer within the lifespan of each discrete generation. However, as with so many horrible things wrought upon us by it, the 7th Generation saw a dramatic uptick in the number of game releases, and with the 8th Generation following suit, it is very difficult to find the time to experience as broad a cross-section of gaming compared to the simpler times two decades ago.

My own personal Backlog of games – that is, games that I own, but have not played nor finished – started growing out of control when I joined Steam in 2012, and has only continued to balloon thanks to the constant stream of freebies given away by the likes of Humble Bundle and the Epic Games Store. As I was organizing my Backlog list on MeltedJoystick, it suddenly occurred to me that not all Backlogged games are created equal. For example, I received “Rocket League,” a vehicular Soccer game, for free, yet have never had even the slightest iota of interest in playing it. Conversely, when Steam first started allowing RPG Maker Engine games on the store, I was, perhaps, overly enthusiastic about them, placing too much faith in the skills of my fellow RPG fans to create games that can stand-up to the true classics produced in the 1990s. After playing a handful of these 16-bit homages and being impressed by barely any, my interest in playing through the remainder of my RPG Maker purchases dropped significantly. Back in the halcyon days of physical media, I would have been able to take a financial hit by selling these unwanted games at my Friendly Local Game Store, but with the digital ecosystem struggling to adopt economic principles equal to the physical realm, I am stuck with them.

Thus, I wondered, is it really fair or sane to lump games that I never wanted (like “Rocket League”) and games that I’ve lost interest in (all those RPG Maker titles) into the same pile as the games I’m actually very excited to play, but for which I simply haven’t yet found the time? The answer I came up with is, “No.”

Therefore, like a geo-scientist studying the layers of stone and earth laid upon the landscape over epochs of geological time, I decided to sift my Backlog into different layers, each with unique properties and different levels of priority. I ultimately came up with three different layers of Backlog, with a fourth category that isn’t really a ‘layer,’ so much as a holding pond for multi-player titles that I am either forbidden to play alone, or simply don’t want to play alone.

The three layers of Backlog are thus:

Backlog (Proper):
The Backlog in its true form is comparable to the layer of topsoil in which we grow our crops and in which wild plants put down their roots. This soil is good quality, nutrient rich, and valuable… and it is the first thing to be swept away when erosion (“AAA” consolidation, bankruptcy, and Summer Game Droughts) hits. The Backlog Proper is where one stores games that they very much want to play, but simply haven’t had the time, since, as any sane gamer knows, playing more than one or two games at the same time is a recipe for disaster.

Backlog Backburner:
The Backburner is the layer of Backlog directly beneath the Backlog Proper. Should a gamer completely consume the top stratum of their Backlog (and erosion has prevented any new material from accumulating), they must then dive into their Backburner. The Backburner is, thus, equivalent to the layer of clay or hardpan soil that exists beneath the topsoil layer. The quality of this soil is quite bad, and few things besides weeds will grow in it, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The Backburner is for games the player may have lost interest in, or purchased without doing proper research beforehand, or received as non-revolting freebies. Because of its central location in the overall Backlog strata, individual titles can flow quite freely between the Backburner and the other layers of Backlog, but ultimately, a player should never feel obligated to play Backburner titles unless they are desperately bored.

The Dump Truck:
Thank comedian and actor, Anthony Anderson, for the name of this final, bottom layer of Backlog. When Anderson was a celebrity contestant on “The $100,000 Pyramidlast year, he was the guesser, while the regular contestant was the clue giver. The phrase in question was “Dump Truck,” and the clue giver’s hint was, “What you call it when you take a big poop.” Anderson excitedly shouted, “THE SHIT TRUCK!” Which caused me to collapse in paroxysms of laughter. In memorial of this shining moment in gameshow history, we get the final layer of Backlog, which is where all of the ‘big poop’ goes. In our geology analogy, the Dump Truck layer of Backlog is like bedrock. Nothing grows in it. It’s just there, rock solid and impenetrable. The Dump Truck is where one ‘dumps’ titles they never intend to play, but are stuck with because they’re digital. While it would be reasonable to argue that the Dump Truck should not exist and that unwanted, unvalued games should simply be ignored and not placed on a list, I think keeping track of one’s entire game library is important, warts and all. Ultimately, the Dump Truck is a prison, a final destination for bad things. It should be fairly difficult for games to move from another Backlog layer into the Dump Truck (they should typically go straight into the Dumper), but nearly impossible for games to come out of it. Every PC gamer with a GOG account has at least some Dump Truck fodder, as I can’t imagine anyone being excited about playing ancient Adventure games like “Teen Agent” or the newly added “Jill of the Jungle” trilogy, which GOG forces upon all of its members as freebies.

And there we have it. Like healthy land, a healthy Backlog exists with three basic levels of ‘soil.’ The top layer, where everything is good, the middle layer where everything is just kind of ‘there,’ and the impenetrable bottom layer. I highly encourage everyone with an overwhelming Backlog to adopt this philosophy, as dividing one overwhelming list into three smaller, more manageable ones, can be a great way to shake off the apathy that comes with choice paralysis.

Share:    
MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed
Comments
0 comments
Name: 

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



 

Bloggers

Previous Blog Posts

Archive

All Posts

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

 
Log In
 
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me
 
 

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

L.A. Noire game review by Megadrive
Portal 2 game review by Megadrive
Destiny 2 game review by Nelson Schneider
Oxenfree game review by Chris Kavan
Shadowrun: Dragonfall game review by Nelson Schneider
Murdered: Soul Suspect game review by Chris Kavan
Kirby Star Allies game review by Chris Kavan
Shadowrun Returns game review by Nelson Schneider

New Game Lists

Games I Own: PC by Nelson Schneider
Top Xbox 360 Games by Megadrive
Top Game List by SIngli6
Games I Own: PS4 by dbarry_22
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Backlog by Matt
Top Nintendo (NES) Games by Nick Barry
Favorite Cooperative Multipla... by Jonzor

 

 

 

Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us

Jobs

About us

SiteMap

 

Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use

Privacy

Hitfix.com

Amazon.com

OVGuide.com

   
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?