What are your backlog management strategies?

Klonoa 2 is one of the first real memories I have of buying a game, probably 5-ish years old at a Kmart with my dad. Within 24 hours of said purchase, I somehow snap the disc clean in half while handling the game. For the life of me I can‘t remember how, I was young of course but never reckless with my stuff. I just recall being in shock, bummed that my new game was broken sure, but mostly embarrassed that I’d broken the thing my dad (who would not have cared in the slightest) had just bought for me. I never did tell him.

"Hey how's that new game?"

"Good! It's good!"

More on topic, one thing that's definitely helped me make more progress is letting go of the need to play games in a "perfect setting". Too often I'd save games (especially acclaimed ones) for times in which I was sure to have at least a couple of uninterrupted hours to play. I might be doing something later? Pff, no point in playing _at all_ then! Going to bed in an hour? I'll just play tomorrow! Making use of these smaller windows has really helped me get past the intro barrier in many cases.

First of all, don‘t beat yourself up. I’m often reminded of the anecdote that you can only read so many books, even if you spent your whole life reading. Many people probably own more games than they could complete in their lifetime. Maybe, heh.

Take note I have like, 10 games in my steam library. I'm talking about my retro backlog here.

  • - I don‘t pick up games unless I already know it’s something I'll like. I know myself well enough to know what media I want to consume. Fantasy RPGs are my thing, so my backlog includes most of the snes, ps1, and ps2 rpg library.
  • - I don't care about anyone else's opinion but my own when it comes to taste. I like tons of stuff that is considered trash. Like fishing games.
  • - When I pick up a game, I commit to making the most of it, and enjoying it, despite its flaws. If a game seems cheap, lazy, generic, or like an experience I've had elsewhere, I wouldn't have picked it up to begin with.
  • - I start with the most obvious must-plays. For me that is the games I had picked up and enjoyed, but didn't have the willpower to finish as a kid.
  • - Once I start, I don't pick up another game of the same genre. If I'm playing an RPG I don't start another one. I tend to keep only one console plugged in to my CRT at once. (I'm not big on the whole game shelf having every console on display. I prefer the Japanese living room style setup) Play each game like it's your only game that summer.
  • - The exception is for palette cleansers. I always have Animal Crossing as a palette cleanser/winding down bedtime game. Arcade style action games are also good to work a different part of my brain, sometimes I'll take a break from an RPG, drink some cacao for a buzz and play some fast paced arcade games.
  • - I curate the selection of roms on my flash carts, and keep the A-Z libraries on my PC, or in separate folders on the flash cart. The top folder is for games in my backlog. That way I don't have to scroll through A-Z folders to find them, or get distracted. When I don't have the A-Z folders on my flash cart, and it's a large curated selection, I usually organize them in folders by release year.
  • - Generally speaking, I play backlog games in order from older to newer. That way I start with the ones that are more rough around the edges and the QOL improvements come along chronologically. It's fun from a historical development standpoint but also prevents the frustration and unfair comparison between games that came later in a consoles life.
  • Hope that helps someone. I used to be really bad at finishing games. I'd lose steam at the final area of every RPG I played. This year so far I've completed King's Field, FF7R, FF7, FF6, FF9, FF12, FF10, and Kingdom Hearts. the three earlier FF games were all over 90 hour playthroughs. The only one of those games that wasn't a backlog game was FF7, all the rest I'd played before but never finished. FF7 I've played through 3 or 4 times. FF7R got me on a huge FF kick all year.

    My backlog is already larger than I could reasonably complete. I just pick a few games with different vibes, like… relaxed and long, high intensity and short, etc. and make those my “go-to” games until I am done with them. It is a huge personality flaw that I find it very difficult to not 100% games, especially when such progress is recorded in some form or another. For example, in Yakuza 1 I maxed out Haruka‘s trust level, which involved hitting 20 home runs in the baseball game on the hardest setting. In Yakuza 2 I went ahead and learned the rules of Japanese Mahjong for a single tiny sidequest! It’s silly but I often find overcoming these challenges is one of the most satisfying feelings I get from a game. Some other things that I put way too much time into:

  • - Super Mario RPG, 100 Super Jumps
  • - Legend of Zelda Oracles All 64 Rings
  • - Hollow Knight Achievements (Still need to do the Pantheon though)
  • - Goldeneye 64 all cheats unlocked and all levels beaten on 00-Agent
  • I also track my progress on backloggery, but I don't actually add my backlog, just note the games I am playing or plan to check out soon: