A growing, if indomitable, library of untouched or otherwise incomplete games, whether digital or physical, is a fairly common occurrence and pretty well the norm these days.
With the sheer number of round-the-clock sales, available titles and the tendency for most of us to have less and less free time, it’s inevitable really.
But why is it called the backlog of shame, a term, we ourselves, are guilty of throwing around?
It seems that the apparent shame is associated with impulse purchases and the fact that we tend to gain more games in an allotted time than we are ever able to complete. But is shame really the right word?
We say no! We’re proud of our impressive collection of titles, and here’s why.
A library of books is noble, a collection of games is shameful? We think not.
How often have you seen a large collection of books and thought better of the collector? And while not quite as imposing as their paper-bound brethren, a huge collection of movies or music is perfectly reasonable, but not games?
Games explore thoughts and emotions, found lifelong memories and provide some of the best times of our lives, so why are so many of us hiding those we’ve yet to play?
Because we’ve yet to play them, they’re not worthy? Doubtful. We know full well the potential many of these games hold, and we choose to collect them as a result, as though we are stockpiling potential happy memories.
Even if they’re an impulse purchase. Are you telling me books or movies aren’t purchased or watched on a whim? Surely not.
And there’s something more important to consider.
By purchasing games now rather than later, you give those who developed them the opportunity to continue developing games.
That’s particularly important for the likes of indie developers. They might not be able to compete with the marketing budgets and general appeal of games like Fallout 4 or Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but their games are no less enjoyable.
It’s understandable that you want to play Fallout 4 right now. So go ahead and do just that. But by purchasing Broforce for once you’ve finished Fallout 4, you’ve given the developers at Free Lives the go ahead to start working on something else.
Consider your purchase a nod to the smaller developer. You may not play their game right now, or ever even, but you’ve still told them that you loved the idea or concept of what they’ve developed, and that matters.
Smart business sense is smart.
Perhaps the strongest justification for a butt load of games is that it just makes financial sense. And that not purchasing a game when it’s dead cheap because you can’t play it there and then is just silly.
We’re stuck in a weird place where gamers are almost persecuted for good business sense, or rather, for being good with our money.
Purchasing games now for a rainy day sounds like a perfectly sound call.
Given critical and user reception, or a nod from a friend, you know you’d likely enjoy a game, but you don’t feel for it right now, so why not pick it up while it’s cheap and leave it for later – you never know when the hankering for something new will drop.
Take Pillars of Eternity, for example. It’s a fantastic ode to the PC RPGs of old, offering one of the most compelling RPG experiences we’ve had in a long time.
Say it was on Steam for a 70% off, why not pick it up now? Yeah, you’re playing Wolfenstein: The New Order at the moment, but you never know when the craving might strike. It’s going to strike whether you own it or not, but having it ready and waiting makes a lot more sense than having to pay close to full price.
And consider the cost of a movie these days, and that they usually last no longer than a couple hours. Now consider that given the right sale you can pick up a good deal for less than the cost of a movie, popcorn and coke.
Should you happen to pick a game up for less than nothing, is it not worth the capital invested if it entertains you for no more than a few hours – having already provided more entertainment than most other mediums?
Why is finishing a game the thing that matters most?
It seems that we’ve forgotten that while games require an element of play, something other media forms lack, they’re still essentially a form of media consumption.
Whether for escapism, entertainment or social interaction, the consumption of media is a subjective/personal endeavour and should be enjoyed however you so choose.
In a world of subjective pleasures, holier than thou cannot apply. It’s all relative, and choosing to play 300 hundred games, 30 minutes at a time (even if you never touch them again), is no less or more noble than fastidiously completing a single game over the space of a few weeks.
And why is finishing a game regarded as making the most of it? Or, to put it bluntly, why does finishing a game even matter?
We won’t argue that there isn’t a joy, a feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing a game; the sense of closure following a compelling experience is gratifying, but it’s not all there is to a game.
Though there are a few exceptions, for the most part games are, well, games and are meant to be enjoyed. Play them whichever way feels best, and don’t feel guilty about your favourite hobby.
Let them stockpile sky high and show your library, now beast of burden, off with pride.