In January, former Gamebits contributor and now big-time indie game developer Robert Boyd posed a solution to his gaming backlog:

For each new game purchased, three games from my existing library must be completed. No exceptions, no matter how tempting or cheap a particular sale may be.

Boyd isn't the only gamer drowning in software. When gaming is one's primary hobby, it can be easy to acquire media faster than one consumes it: there are so many good games, and only so many hours in the day! But for those of us for whom gaming is only an occasional pastime, a wealth of options can still be challenge. Even though I buy and play less now than I used to, I'm still buying more than I play. A new contributing factor to this dilemma is the move to digital distribution. Whereas retail games sit on the shelf, serving as a visual reminder to be played, downloadable games can be easily lost in the virtual shuffle.

Although I'm not ready to take Boyd's approach to this feast, I did think it important to catalog the games on my "to play" list before I forget I own them. Here's that short list of games, all for Xbox 360:

  • Alan Wake
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Breath of Death VII
  • Cthulu Saves the World
  • Half-Minute Hero
  • Hard Corps: Uprising
  • Outland
  • Scott Pilgrim
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • The Walking Dead

Two of the games are Zeboyd RPGs whose battle systems I never got my head around. Another, Scott Pilgrim, is a good party game that I need some additional players for. Hard Corps is a spiritual successor to Contra that I found too easy once some additional in-game armaments were purchased; I need to lay off those options. And Outland needs only the final boss vanquished — I made it that far before giving up.

Not on this list are games I don't own but want to: Deadlight, and Mark of the Ninja. I will likely buy them not as soon as I finish some of the above games, but rather, as soon as I have some Microsoft Points to burn.

Where will the time for all this gaming come from? Good question. I'm a master of diversifying my commitments, having collected paychecks from six different companies in the last three months, only one of which is my full-time job. Of the five supporting gigs, one runs only through the academic year, suggesting that the summer might present some time for gaming. (Too bad — I play Silent Hill games only after the sun goes down.) At that time, gaming may take its place, not as a hobby but as a professional commitment. I like to be productive, which means engaging in activities which produce something to show for that investment in time. If Let's Play videos for my YouTube channel count, then I'll be screencasting my way through titles that others have played through years ago.

What games are on your backlog, and when will you get to them?

(Featured thumbnail image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Jared Lindsay)