As someone who suffers from a severe case of imposter syndrome, I relate strongly to this thread and also find it difficult to engage with knowledgeable communities like this one, even when everyone is as helpful and kind as they are here.
Reading down through this thread, I have a few thoughts, tangential though they may be:
I get a little bummed when, at the end of another 60+ hour work week, I sit down on my one day off to finally drink in a game I’ve only been playing in fits and starts, or have neglected for a while or whatever, and I play for about 10 minutes and cannot keep my eyes open. It’s like trying to read and realizing you’ve read the same sentence 6 times.
I feel like I get so little time anymore, and there are so many _good__ games that I’m in the middle of, or booted once and want to get back to, or am looking forward to that it feels futile. I don’t think there are enough hours in enough days at this point to play every essential video game to completion.
That said, there is definitely a certain toxicity in the idea of a backlog. I am slowly trying to rid myself of the compulsion to hang on to a game to finish it, or see the ending if I am just not having fun with it. It’s kind of absurd that I get depressed thinking about how behind I am in completing busy work (read: video games) that I have arbitrarily assigned myself.
Although I am still struggling to come to grips with it, I am trying to adopt a more healthy approach to games. I will just pick up something I feel like, and when I stop having fun, walk away and not allow myself to feel guilty for not fully experiencing everything a game has to offer. That mentality is poison.
Something that has helped me get through some more lengthy, or difficult, or esoteric games is sharing them with someone else. My kids are 15 and 12, respectively, and the older one and I have a lot of fun playing through games just passing the controller back and forth. The younger one has a very limited scope of interest, really only playing Minecraft and Roblox, so instead of sharing something I’m interested in with her, I let her share her interest with me and we’ll lose a whole weekend playing Minecraft for the 4000th time.
When they were younger I tried to encourage them to play things that I liked or thought were important, and that never went over super well. In hindsight, it reminds me a bit of my sports-dad coworkers that make junior play peewee football because they love football and complain to me that their 6-year-old book nerd kid just doesn’t have “it”. These days, suggestions come up organically in conversations with my video game playing older kid, either something I heard about on a podcast, or something she saw a cool speed run of, and it’s free of the dark parental impulse to live vicariously through one’s children. I’ve realized that I’m never going to get to experience Chrono Trigger again for the first time, and that’s ok.
Alright! This is running a little long, so I’ll finish up by saying thanks to all you cool kids repping your favorite obscure gems, and to all the people like me in a love-hate relationship with themselves and the “what game is this” thread simultaneously, you’ll play those games someday, or maybe not, and that will be ok too.