Backlog Beatdown

Published on May 30th, 2013 | by Ethan


I have a problem.

I can’t pass up a good deal. Even if I don’t need something, finding a great deal on a piece of technology or even food gives me a little rush at the checkout. Sure, saving money is great, but there is one major drawback. Lack of use. I hate wasting anything. When I hate wasting anything, buyers remorse happens a lot when I buy something I don’t need and end up not using it. It’s a vicious cycle.

The biggest culprit of my downfall is video games. I have tons of them. Sure it might be good that someone who wants to write about video games professionally has a large collection of them, but a lot of the time they would be purchased to simply gather dust, physically or virtually. Thanks to Amazon, Steam and Green Man Gaming I can find a deal on nearly every game, old and new. Just today I grabbed a two for ten deal off a site I had never heard of before thanks to SlickDeals. Hooray! Now I own DarkSiders II and Deus Ex: Human Revolution! Then a thought came to me: I needed to see if I actually owned these games before I bought them.

I fired up Steam and breathed a sigh of relief when I found that I owned neither of them. But, the fact that I have to check without actually knowing what games I own told me that I had to do something. Rather than swear off buying games entirely (that will never happen and would probably be bad from a career standpoint) I will take time to beat the games I buy and jot them down in this column, along with thoughts about the game and purchases the previous week.  Although I am no doctor, this seems like the healthiest way to curb my addiction, since I will be gaining valuable knowledge about games and will be able to brush up on my writing at the same time.

For a look into how many games I have failed to beat, or even touch, I imported my Steam account into I went down the list and checked off every game I had beaten. After much scrolling and clicking, it turned out the results were mostly unsurprising. Out of the 170 games I own on Steam I had only beaten 41 of them. This needs to be put to an end. The quest to complete my backlog needs to start now when I have the time. But first, I need a few ground rules to keep me sane and accountable.


1. Attempt to beat every game I can

The keyword here is attempt. Every game will be started with the intention to beat. But to be realistic, there are some games that are just too hard for me to complete or can’t be finished. For example, I have sunk countless hours into the latest SimCity, but there isn’t a foreseeable end to the game. At no point are the credits going to roll. But there is a feeling I get when I am nearing the limit of what a game has to offer me. An example of a game that is too hard is Osmos. That game gets to the point of restarting over and over hoping to get a better position and becomes completely frustrating and hopeless experience. Those games I will just count as beat, since I got all I wanted (or could handle) from that experience.

2. Mark down every game I buy between posts

I want to keep myself accountable if I buy any games while trying to beat my backlog. This includes even the Humble Bundles I pick up. Backsliding into a higher game count isn’t the worst thing that could happen, because at least I will be logging and keeping track of it, but I want to at least discourage myself from spending money and increasing my backlog.

3. Don’t feel ashamed to use FAQs, if needed

Alright, most games should be attempted to be beaten solely on my own, but as a human I have the tendency to get stuck in places. Normally I just give up when I hit a seemingly impossible section because looking up how to beat a level or puzzle of a game irks the insides of me and makes me feel like I didn’t actually beat the game. But here is where that mentality stops. I am here for the experience the developers have created, not to get frustrated with my own stupidity. Besides, there are many other parts in my life for me to get frustrated at. Shoelaces, am I right guys?

4. Beat, not complete

While there is a spot to mark off a game as completed as opposed to beaten, I want to set realistic goals. Trying to finish over a hundred full length games with the added pressure of having to search every little nook and cranny, sounds like something that would drive me to the edge of sanity. Seeing the end credits would be enough to make me feel like my purchase was worth it. Although, if the game was compelling enough I am not going to hold back an urge to collect everything, but I will just not make it a priority.


So here goes nothing. This is an experiment that will hopefully help me finish the games I spent money on and as a bonus, provide content to the site. The first game I will attempt to finish will be the Guacamelee! I have almost neared completion of that game and will eventually be able to beat it.  Hope everyone enjoys reading this. See you next week!

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About the Author

Ethan Having long been an avid gamer, Ethan found his niche in the PC gaming market, while still occasionally dabbling in the medium that got him into gaming, consoles. Usually, he finds time to play his Xbox 360 and occasionally will dust of his Wii for a bit to play with friends and family when he isn’t found locked in his room playing shooters and strategy games. Follow him on Twitter: @ethanhawkes

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  • Backlog Beatdown

    Welcome to Backlog Beatdown! Where Ethan tries to beat every game he has bought, but hasn’t touched.

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