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January 2nd 2014 10:45 am

Operation Finish all the Games, December 2013

Like many gamers, I have a backlog of unfinished or even unplayed games. It costs money, takes up room, and most of all, makes me feel guilty. Guilty for letting it take up room, guilty for spending the money, and guilty for simply existing when I want to play newer games.

I've made resolutions in the past to clear it out, usually to very little success. But backlogs in themselves are not insurmountable—I've managed to cut down my backlog of unread books, unread comics, and unwatched TV shows. Why not tackle the games again?

So once more I embark upon this journey, though with a few changes. First off was that is was NOT to be a New Year's resolution; I started it as soon as I could. With some rules and goals:
  1. Beat or finish one game a month. To "beat" means to undertake the actions that usually end the basic story and prompt a credits scroll. Obviously, this doesn't apply to games like Animal Crossing that have no true ending. To "finish" means completing any optional objectives that I would normally finish in the natural course of playing the game, like post-credits scenes or extra boards.
  2. Only story sequences count for me. I'm not interested in finding every last flag, or even catching every single Pokémon. Unless there's a story reason for it, I'm not doing it. Life's too short and my backlog is too big.
  3. If I happen to finish more than one game in a month, that does not mean I can skip the next month, or next few months. It's one game a month minimum. To let a month slide endangers the whole enterprise.
  4. Games do not have to be started and finished within the same month. That way lies madness, and besides, I have plenty of unfinished games lying around that I shouldn't have to start from scratch every month.
  5. This does not have to be every single game I've never finished; if it's not fun, or I wrote it off years ago, it's not part of this project. The goal is peace of mind, not actual 100% completion.
As I said, I started this last month, since it is not a New Year's resolution. So I have a month to report on here! How did I do?
  1. Assassin's Creed (PS3). I had absolutely no interest in this series until recently, when 3 came out and I was all, "OMG Revolutionary War!!!" I enjoyed the actual gameplay so much (in spite of its flaws) that I decided to try the entire series out. I was worried that I would miss some of the newer features when I played the first game, but it wasn't so bad; a lot of the things that bugged me in 3 don't exist yet in the first installment. However, had I played this when it originally came out I would have thrown my controller at the TV because of that ending. That is NOT an ending.
  2. Pokémon X (3DS). I always think I don't care, and I end up buying the new games anyway. After spending too much time in caves (caves in Pokémon are the absolute worst) I burned through five badges in one day. That's insane. Over the next two days I then quickly went through Team Flare, the eighth Gym, Victory Road, the Elite Four, and the Champion. Once the credits rolled I decided to take a little break from Pokémon for a while. But the ease of which I burned through it sort of cements the talk I've heard that the game is "too easy" or "fan service." I still enjoyed it, though.
  3. The Room (iOS). Short game, but I downloaded it for free so it was sitting there. I was feeling pretty heady after finishing Pokémon X so I started this immediately after and got through it in a few hours with minimal hints. My biggest problem with puzzle games is that I tend to know the solution, but miss some basic, obvious mechanic that keeps me from solving it and makes me think I'm wrong.
  4. Papers, Please (Windows). A gift from a friend/co-worker, this isn't a long game either, but I'd thought I'd give it a try. It is decidedly not fun, but it is very interesting and very addictive. I'm on my second playthrough, as for some reason I couldn't get the EZIC endings on the first go (I was probably one mission short). But I have gotten at least four of the possible endings and a few achievements.
  5. Sam and Max Save the World (Windows). I bought this one years ago at SDCC on DVD-ROM, if that gives you any idea how long I've had it. Not as good as Hit the Road, but I enjoyed it, particularly episode 4 ("Abe Lincoln Must Die!"). My boyfriend got overly interested in playing with me halfway through, which hampered my progress in that I now had to wait for him to get home before I could play the next episode (the horror).
That's all I've beaten/finished this month.

Games finished: 5
Worlds saved: 2
Regimes toppled: 0
Pokémon caught: Hell if I know

Next month: Probably a Final Fantasy month, as I have both XIII (PS3) and Revenant Wings (DS) to finish. I really should just write them off, but I've come too far to just give up now.

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13 replies

I like this idea. :)

Christmas also has hurt my backlog a bit. Like you, I have a mostly completed Final Fantasy XIII save I really should get around to finishing. Not to mention my copy of XIII-2 that hasn't even seen the inside of my PS3.
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I too have aspirations to pummel my backlog into submission, but the Steam sale did me no good. I think I bought somewhere around 35 games over the last couple of weeks, so I have some work ahead of me. As one of my "resolutions" for 2014, I'd love to make my way through a majority of the great games I've missed over the past few years.
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I'd be into making a bigger group out of this? Are there such tools for doing so? I'm chipping away at Grand Theft Auto 5, Assassin's Creed 4 and The Last of Us right now but will likely focus solely on Last of Us until I'm finished.
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I wish there were an interesting web app for video games that worked similar to Goodreads. I play a lot of games (and read a lot of books...), and it'd be nice to have some sort of way to keep track of when I started and finished a game. Plus a wish list of games that I want to play would be nice too.
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That would be nice!

(P.S. I am at 4 games finished this month!)
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Unless you want some social aspect, couldn't a spreadsheet do the same thing?
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There's The Backloggery, but I don't like the interface enough to use it. I just made an Omnifocus project for all my games.

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I use Backloggery, but the site as a whole is really, really rough, and doesn't really offer enough options/flexibility for most people's backlog.

  • Marking off games you don't plan to finish
  • Not penalizing you for beating but not completing a game (maybe marking it as "not interested in completing")
  • Making it easier to add new systems after you sign up (I... don't know how to actually do this)
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Has anyone tried Raptr? I know that has social aspects to it, but I've never signed up for an account so I don't know how it would work for a project like this.
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I too have tried and failed to complete my backlog every year. Steam's sales and, most recently, Xbox's free games with gold has not helped. But one game a month... sounds doable.

I'll start by finishing up Assassin's Creed Black Flag then bang out all my indie games from Limbo to Torchlight II.
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I've thought of doing this, and even tried to complete some backlog recently. As often as I finish a game though, I find another long game that doesn't really have an end to play. Such as Animal Crossing New Leaf, or more recently my time for games has been taken up by playing Borderlands 2 with some friends. I might try to complete one a month though. I know I've got plenty of other games I am fairly close to finishing.
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Related (with a nice infographic!): kotaku.com­/were­-buying­-more­-pc­-games­-than­-we­-can­-p...
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I had to tell myself that my PS3/360 backlog had to go when the new consoles dropped. I have a ton of PC games, and I have a handful of PS4 games I need to do. I am currently working on Battlefield 4 and Outlast.
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