The Vicious Backlog Circle

I like to play games. I want to play a lot of games. But playing games takes a lot of time. And I don’t have much time. Thus begins a vicious circle of money-spending and frustration some of you might be familiar with.

First I have no time to play games and when I do, I often end up being drawn to hardcore titles (Monster Hunter Tri) that take a lot of time. To make matters worse, I like to explore those games very thoroughly, so I spend even more time on each title. I end up having games that I set aside to play later, after I finish the current one – the infamous “backlog”. As I see my backlog grow, I get frustrated because I can’t seem to make any progress at reducing it. I get the impression that I’m doing the same thing over and over again. So I end up buying new games because that doesn’t take time. That way, I get cool, new stuff I can look forward to. However, those new games only add up to my already big “backlog”. After the initial high wears off I get even more frustrated and so on…

Having all current gaming systems made matters even worse since in my mind, each system has a separate backlog. DLC is yet another problem – invisible backlog is so much easier to forget… until it suddenly comes back to you. But recently even that doesn’t work anymore. My backlog got so huge I fear I won’t be able to play all those games.. EVER! I consider some drastic measures like a videogame-cation: taking a couple of weeks off to finally get some solid play time in. But for now this is impossible, of course. At least not until TRAUMA is done.

Metroid Prime Trilogy

Collections: Methadone for videogame backloggers?

Recently I discovered I took a different, not necessarily better strategy. I started getting games I already played. I just got the Metroid Prime Trilogy. I already played trough all 3 parts and I own them independently. My rationale was that I enjoy the series a lot and the trilogy would be a nice addition to my collection. I can try them briefly and I won’t feel bad if I never get around playing them seriously. My Dreamcast collection also has some potential because a lot of the titles I played were bootleg copies. But doing that feels very wasteful and won’t work for long anyway. I may have a problem

Do you also have a Backlog? What do you do about it?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

4 responses to “The Vicious Backlog Circle”

  1. Switchbreak

    I remember reading a review of a movie called Cinemania, in which a group of five New Yorkers spend as many seconds of their life as possible going to the movies. They are all unemployed or on disability, and have nothing else to steal their time away. There is one quote at the end from one of the characters: “I’m so behind all the time that it’s just a hopeless Sisyphean struggle.”

    Keeping up with everything, even just the good stuff, is impossible no matter what, it seems. Even people who are singularly obsessed and have nothing in their lives to distract them can’t do it. You need to have a good intuitive filter to avoid letting that backlog take over.

  2. sirleto

    i’m a very lucky person. of all released games and movies, i probably like only 0.1%.
    there are a huge amount of games out there (best selling games, best rated games, top technology games) that i just dislike a lot.

    some random examples:
    modern bioshock? nah.
    anno? good god, no.
    god of war? never.
    tom clancy “WHATSOEVER” ? go away, burry that shit deep so it stops annoying me.
    any military shooter (like two third of all xbox360 games)? you gotta be kidding me.

    the remaining games that i actually like are pretty rare, hard to find. and one does not more often than once a month stumple upon them.
    so my systems at home (all the typical systems a game developer that started his interest in 1990 could own) typically have less than 10 games sitting next to it.

    i believe i’m basically the worst kind of gamedeveloper: i love to develop, but i only like to play my own crap :-D

  3. Josh Butler

    I find a useful website. My backlog is a mere 40 games and neglible next to most but as an unemployed graduate even that is pushing my budget. I find it helps focus my mind on the list of games I haven’t finished yet and not my Amazon wish list. The slogan says what my wife has been telling me for months: “You have the games. Play them.”

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Cool! Yeah I know this website. I already even have an account. I just never got around to type in all the games in my Backlog. Maybe I’m scared. But now I might actually do that! Thanks for reminding me!


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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