November 15, 2004. I was in the midst of my first year in college. Was also working a part-time job as a stock boy at a pharmacy. On that day, I bought Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the sequel to my favourite Metroid game.
November 15, 2018. Exactly 14 years later, and I still haven’t played the game. I don’t remember why I didn’t play it when I bought it, but it only got harder to fit it into my rotation the further away I got.
This was the game that created the concept of the backlog for me. Prior to that, I played everything I bought, because I simply couldn’t afford to not play the games I owned. For whatever reason, I moved on before ever giving this game a shot.
Over time, the backlog would grow to an insurmountable size. Whether it was games I bought at launch that for some reason fell out of my rotation, to games I bought primarily because they were on sale, they kept piling up. A few years back, I decided to make a few changes:
- I was only going to play one “single player” game at a time. There will always be down time or social time where I can squeeze in a few rounds of Street Fighter or Overwatch, but if I want to see a campaign to completion, it has to be my one-and-only focus.
- I would only buy a game if I had plans to play it immediately. The only exception to this were the annual E3 sales that occur in Canada, where you can save 20-40% on new games by pre-ordering. This is why Shadow of the Tomb Raider took a while to get to, even though it came out just a week after Spider-Man, because I had to finish Spider-Man first.
- Any games that were currently in my backlog that I figured would never get any play were sold off. Though I bought those games with the intent of playing them at some point, I knew in my heart that they would never crack the rotation. Dozens of games were traded into EB Games in exchange for credit towards a handful of new ones. Say what you will about trade-in values, but that credit was exchanged for games that I played more than any of the games I sold.
These moves, in combination with a 20% increase on game prices in Canada due to the value of the Canadian dollar bottoming out, have gone a long way towards cutting down my backlog. I buy what I can play right now, and that’s about it. Granted, I buy and play fewer games than I did before, and I miss out on finding gems that I wouldn’t given a chance to otherwise, but I prefer being able to get through everything I have.
And yet, there’s still a few titles in the queue, waiting for their turn. A sad copy of The Witcher 3 is still in the plastic that I bought on sale years ago. I personally don’t count the PlayStation Plus free games, but those are piling up. And then there’s still Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. At this point, maybe I should never play it just to say that a game has literally sat in my backlog for over a decade. But a part of me still wants to get my $60 worth that I committed to in 2004.
Happy 14th birthday Metroid Prime 2: Echoes!