Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Gaming Backlogs

Back during the early days of gaming (both PC and console), there weren’t many game releases, and I had a lot of free time, so whenever I got a new game, I usually managed to play a fair amount of it.

Ever since the advent of Steam and its constant sales, this has been a lot more challenging, especially since I have had much less time for gaming since I started working. The gaming industry has also grown exponentially since then, with many more high-quality “must play” releases per year. As a result, I’ve accumulated a signficant gaming collection and backlog, most of it on PC, but some on consoles too.

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There’s all sorts of ways to get extra games, mostly on PC:

  • Steam sales. I’m sure there are some games I’ve purchased off Steam sales that seemed like a good idea at the time but still haven’t gotten around to after years and years. Ever since Steam introduced (cheaper) regional pricing, it’s been a lot harder to resist the sales
  • Humble Bundles. I really enjoyed humble bundles when they first came out, they had some great indie games like Bastion and Braid. Recently their bundles have dipped a bit in quality, and there’s been a bunch of repeats, but I still get a bundle every now and then. Reviewing my previous bundle purchases just now, I’ve had some steam keys that I haven’t activated since 2010!
  • I also decided to try subscribing to Humble Monthly some time this year, mostly to get Tales of Berseria (which unsurprisingly I haven’t played it yet). Getting a bundle of 6-8 games every month is a quick way to accumuate a backlog. I unsubbed after a couple of months because the quality of succeeding bundles wasn’t that high
  • the major digital stores (Steam, GOG, Humble) also often have promotional giveaways throughout the year, so that builds up the backlog too
  • on the console side, I’ve been a Playstation Plus subscriber a long time, so I count that as part of my backlog too - there’s a bunch of PS+ games I’ve been meaning to get around to but haven’t yet

All the bundles also results in me getting some duplicate keys. To alleviate the backlog, every few years I even do a holiday giveaway of a few Steam games to friends and family on Facebook (sorry if we’re not friends there lol).

I’m trying to do better - this year I have been trying to work through my older gaming backlogs (I even completed Skyrim after 7 years!) and minimize my game spending, though I still did buy quite a few games. (Hmm, maybe it would be nice to do some data analytics of how many games I’ve bought/played on Steam year-on-year.) The lack of free time for gaming is a serious problem too, combined with a few other factors:

  • my tendency to want to get all the achievements for a game often significantly increases the playtime per game
  • long-term games that reward daily grinding (a more common theme these days) take up some of my gaming time as well. The most recent culprits are Eternal and MTG Arena
  • new games coming out that I want to play lol

Realistically, I’ll never be able to got through my entire Steam collection in my lifetime, but I can try! Maybe I should do something like go through all the small games first, and just immediately stop playing if I find them not to my liking. (This is a bit difficult for me since I dislike giving up on things). Hmm, that’s an idea. What if I do a Twitch/Youtube channel where I feature and try out lesser-known indie games on Steam? I certainly have a whole lot of them! Something to consider for the future!

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