The Backlog (0): New Game

The Game Plan, Pardon the Pun

Friends Hanging Out Without Masks: Dreamscape (Final Fantasy XV/Square Enix/Screenshot)

My name is Sandy, and I like video games. I like them so much, in fact, that I’ve bought a bunch. Too many, really. Like, way too many. So, as Year 2 of Our Global Pandemic™ approaches, and the holiday season winds to a close, I’ve decided to try to play through some of my dreaded backlog.

The backlog, of course, being the hundreds-strong collection of games I haven’t played, made up of those I got for free, in a bundle, on sale, or bought at full price because I finally had some time and was going to start them right now and beat them ASAP and definitely not just go and blow things up in Just Cause 3 for another taste of that sweet, harmless, cathartic destruction (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy XV).

This terrifyingly large collection has driven me to avoid buying new games, as much as it pains me to not immediately drop CA$80 on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This will not stand, and as much as a subscription to Xbox Game Pass for PC can scratch an itch for new content (Spiritfarer is my game of the year and I’ve only played two hours), I know I need to play my old games, or at least find out if I like them or not. Earlier this month I discovered I was not a fan of Doom, as nice as its shooting and gameplay loop is, which is good because I only paid seven bucks for it. It’s fun enough, but not for me right now; and that’s okay. The goal of this project isn’t to finish every game I own, but just to try them; it’s the only way to make the amount of games I have manageable. I had a brief affair with Humble Bundle, before their purchase by IGN, which means I own a bunch of games I never exactly intended to buy – games that get in the way, at least mentally, of me playing the games I actually meant to buy.

Catching up with your toxic ex (Batman: Arkham Knight/Rocksteady/Screenshot)

Additionally, PC gaming storefronts have gotten into the habit of handing out free games like candy – I own at least two free versions of Oxenfree, and have every Sybria game, none of which I paid for and each of which is in a different game library. You want a DRM-free version of an Indiana Jones adventure game from the 90s that works on modern computers? I’m your man. Old Star Wars simulators? Call me Gold Leader. The entire Batman: Arkham collection? I’ve got the Rocksteady games on PC and Origins on Wii U, which feels like a fitting console for it (yes, I own a Wii U – Nintendo was my childhood, so anticipate very few references to PlayStation or Xbox games that haven’t been ported to PC and been on sale).

So that’s the goal. Try, or play through if the mood takes me, all the games in my backlog that I’ve never touched, or played ages ago but have been “meaning to pick back up.” I’m starting this now, in December of 2020, partly because I had a whim and partly because I need to feel like I’ve got a personal project for 2021. At the rate we’re going, it’s going to be a long year, and I’m not anticipating much improvement for a while. I don’t want to turn my gaming habit into work – I already turn too many things I enjoy into work – but I like writing, and writing about video games is something I’ve always wanted to try. So, for the next year, I’m going to write about some of the games I play as part of getting through my backlog (and some that aren’t, probably – Spiritfarer, I’m looking at you). These posts won’t be formalized reviews, just my thoughts as I’m playing them. There might be a review in there, if the format lends itself to what I’m trying to say – mostly, I just want to talk about video games a bit, and how they exist in my life. It’ll also hold me more accountable to getting through the games. (We’ll call it a vague posting schedule of every month. Personal goal of every couple of weeks. Probably won’t meet that.) I’m going to be covering games from across all the platforms I own (list below), so it’s going to be varied, probably a little esoteric sometimes, and entirely about things that at least I think are interesting. The first one – on my return to Dark Souls, which is not esoteric and which many people find interesting – is going to be up this week. Happy holidays, and thanks for reading.

Platforms:

  • PC (Intel i7–6700 @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB RAM, Windows 10, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB)
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Wii U
  • Wii
  • Nintendo 3DS/DS
  • GameBoy Advance SP

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Canadian he/him who likes video games, writing, and music; has more than one job, which isn’t this.

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Sandy Wright

Canadian he/him who likes video games, writing, and music; has more than one job, which isn’t this.