Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: How big is your games backlog?
Wolfenstein: The New Order – tick it off the list

GameCentral readers admit the awful truth of how many video games they own that they haven’t played or finished.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Axton, and inspired by the currently quiet summer months when not many games are released and many people use them to make a dent in their backlog of unfinished games.

Plenty of readers were willing to admit that have dozens, in some cases hundreds, of unplayed games laying around or available to download. Although considerably fewer would admit the obvious truth: they’ll probably never get around to finishing them all.

Making the list

I can tell you exactly how many games I have in my backlog, because I have a list. This may sound obsessive, but it’s actually very helpful, in these days of PlayStation Plus freebies, to keep a record of what I’ve got, as well as keeping a wish list of games I still want to pick up. Who can keep track of all those interesting-sounding indie games that GC reviews? Are you even a hardcore gamer if you don’t have a spreadsheet? (This is a joke, please don’t send angry emails.)

I don’t play games in the order I bought them, and having a list makes it really easy to skim through when deciding what I fancy playing next. If there hasn’t been a decent shooter released for a while, it’s no problem to me, I just scan through the list and oh look, I still haven’t done Wolfenstein: The New Order. The summer games drought has never been a problem for me for precisely this reason.

A major benefit of having a huge backlog is not feeling the need to buy new games on launch, when they’re expensive and increasingly broken. Barring the odd big release for birthday or Christmas I’ll pick games up when I see them on offer and add them to the pile. (I play almost exclusively single-player, so don’t need to worry about falling behind the online crowd.)

As for the actual figure in my backlog – a somewhat embarrassing 216, although an awful lot of those are Steam indies that are about two hours long each.
Sparky the Yak
Currently playing: Persona 5, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and Dragon’s Crown

Unofficial estimate

I honestly do not want to know how many games are in my backlog. I actively refuse to count them. What I will tell you is I have two shelves of unplayed, or mostly unplayed games, most of them still in their cellophane wrapping. And probably just as many digital. So, probably… 200 at least?

I’m not proud of this, but in my defence I will say that all of them were bought at some kind of discount, many at just £10 or so. (I do buy games at full price too, but those get played more or less straight away.)

I cannot resist a bargain, and I just like to collect I guess. Reading about games I like I just want to own them and I guess I’m worried they’ll become rare and I won’t be able to get them later. Although that makes no real sense in today’s digital war.

It’s an addiction I guess, but the only thing I will say in my defence is that I do go through periods where I can complete two or three in a week, if they’re sufficiently short. Those are good weeks.
Bronsky

Head above water

I’d say my backlog is at a manageable level. The maximum number of games I will play at any one time is two, one PC/console and one handheld game, although recently this has mainly been just the one game on PC or console. I never find that my backlog gets too overwhelming because I’m not really into huge role-playing games that would take up most of my gaming time for a few months, therefore I am able to complete at least one or two games per month that I’m interested in.

I have to admit that my backlog has increased since buying a PC, due to the Steam sales, but to keep my backlog down I’ll give every game a couple of hours minimum and then I’ll decide whether to carry on or not. If it doesn’t grab me then I’ll leave it as there are too many games to be played without playing those I’m not enjoying. Recent examples of this have been Mad Max, which I gave around six hours time to, and The Witness.

Something that will do my backlog no favours though is that I recently bought a 3DS XL, which has a plethora of excellent games to be played on it. Although I tend to get through handheld games quicker that console games, as I’m able to play them whilst half watching something on the TV.
trukkurt (Steam ID)/Angry_Kurt (Twitter)

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Not the only one

Backlogs, don’t talk to me about backlogs! I was really pleased with myself the other day because I beat The Witcher 3 and all its DLC, so I could tick that one off my list. Then I realised that my list ran to 57 games, including massive ones like Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Persona 5.

I’ve got no excuses really, and the only reason I even admit it is because I know other people are in the same position. In fact, I’m secretly hoping some are even worse than me, so I know I’m not as bad as it can be.
Stone

It could happen to you

VLTRFTW. I’d often read the Inbox and see various GCers detailing their backlogs and wonder how anybody could get themselves into a situation where they have more video games to play than time to play them. ‘Why buy more games when you’ve still got others to complete?’ I thought.

I had never considered that I had a games backlog myself, just a couple of games that I’d put on the backburner and would eventually return to. The reality set in after Christmas last year when I finally decided to make a list of the games that I was ‘in the middle of’ – and there were already a dozen of them.

Currently on my ‘in progress’ list are: Paper Mario: Color Splash, Metal Gear Solid V, Far Cry Primal, The Last Of Us, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Kingdom Hearts II. I have games on the shelf that are still in their cellophane wrapping, not because of a lack of desire to play them but because I am committed to (hopefully) finishing the other games before I begin anything new. Dishonored 2, Mafia III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Resident Evil 7, and the Resident Evil HD remakes are all waiting in the wings.

I recently bought the Crash Bandicoot remakes, thinking they would be a reasonably quick play through – but of course they’re fiendishly difficult and are taking forever. I also have a Mini SNES on pre-order and I will probably fall into the yearly trap of buying FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer and wasting many hours on those. I also fully intend on buying a Switch around the time of the release of Super Mario Odyssey.

The problem isn’t just the number of games, it’s the length of time that they take to get through. It took me the best part of a year to complete The Witcher 3 and its subsequent DLC – and that was before my wife had our first baby. Now that my gaming time is majorly reduced, I think it’s safe to say that I have become a fully-fledged member of the backlog club. Though at least I’ll never be short of something to play!
MeddlingMonks

Backlog-esque

In recent months/years I have started but not finished Dishonored 2, Mafia III, Watch Dogs 2, Fallout 4, Far Cry Primal, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dark Souls III, and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, plus various free indie games.

In that time I have played and beaten games like, Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy XV, Hitman, and even Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. So I do get through some games, but a question, would that be classed as a backlog? Or would it be more of a backburner log?!
big boy bent (gamertag)

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

The Lord of the Backlogs

Hi GC, first of all wanted to say I’m a huge fan of this place. You guys post brilliant content and have a very wide, diverse and giving community. I have been waiting for this subject to arise for a few months now. I too have fallen victim to an ever-increasing backlog, simply because I can’t find the time to sit down and get a good few hours of gaming in on a regular basis. But these summer months are helping!

I have spent the past year playing through the Naughty Dog games I missed on the PlayStation 3 (as I was on the Xbox 360), those being the Uncharted trilogy remasters and The Last Of Us. I try to balance between my PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as best I can. My backlog has got to the point that I have sub-divided the list and try to prioritise it.

I don’t help myself either, as I like to do justice to good games by fulfilling at least a 70-80% margin of achievements/trophies which takes up more time. As time goes on and more new games come out, I have to be realistic and start replacing some with others on the list. But there are some games like The Witcher 3/Fallout 4 which I just can’t entertain due to the hours they take up… although Metal Gear Solid V (in my list) could easily rack up similar hours.

Currently Playing:
Uncharted 4
Ori And The Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

Current Backlog:
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Gears Of War Ultimate
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Gears Of War 4
The Evil Within
Metal Gear Solid V

‘At Some Point’ Backlog:
God Of War III Remastered
Watch Dogs 2
Horizon Zero Dawn
Inside
Dead Rising 4
Prey
Hitman (all Episodes)
Doom
The Surge
Dark Souls III
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters DLC
Titanfall 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Upcoming:
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
God Of War
Days Gone
Death Stranding
Spider-Man

It’s actually laughable to look at. I’d need to take a year off work to get through most of it! But still, I don’t mind being a few years back and having a list to work through. Intrigued to see if others have a list of similar size.
T0MM91 (gamertag)/T0MM-F91 (PSN ID)

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