Organizing the Game Backlog
I'm trying to write more regularly for this blog, and I think part of convincing myself to do that is trying to write more casually, instead of only waiting to do "BIG THOUGHTS!" and psyching myself out until I wait for a more "convenient" moment to write that sort of thing (hello Crystal Project post...I will finish you soon...after I graduate Grad School).
Plus I got some sick key caps and I wanna put them through their paces.
Today's topic: organizing the backlog!
I've tried two previous methods of organizing my backlog, and neither have worked. I've devised a new system recently that I think will stick! First let's talk about those two old methods.
Method 1: Games by Genre
This was by far the worst method for me. I dunno what I was thinking with this one, to be honest! I just had a bunch of different folders for different genres, and I'd try and clear them depending on what genre I was in the mood for. This didn't work at all because I'd still be overwhelmed by choices. Did I want to play an RPG or an FPS? It was arbitrary.
I tried this method when I was like, 16, so it's not a surprise it worked so poorly. Buuut it actually veers much more closely to my final method than you might expect! More on that in just a sec.
Method 2: Games by Progress
This is probably the most common method of backlog organization. It's what I used in stuff like Backloggery. You know the drill: Backlog / In Progress / Completed / Abandoned. Eventually I added an "Up Next" between "Backlog" and "In Progress," which is hilariously arbitrary in retrospect. Just another layer about what I wanted to play after I played what I was playing. Come on now!
Overall this method was...somewhat effective, I would say. It certainly helped me keep track of games as I was playing them. But there's a major problem with this method for me that makes it unwieldy, and that's my indecisiveness.
I have had to accept that I will that I am simply the type of person that will pick up and put down games on a whim. Sometimes for weeks, sometimes for days, sometimes for years - see how I finally picked up and finished Doom 2016 after starting and stopping for years now. This broken brain of mine prevents the traditional Backlog Progress method from working because it then requires too much upkeep for me to bother. Moving cards on a Trello Board and all that other fancy stuff becomes a chore, rather than a satisfying thing to make progress in.
And so, after some tinkering, I present...
Method 3: Games by Size and Style
What I've come to understand about myself is that my interest in what game I want to play is dependent on how willing I am to put an investment into it in a period of time. Some days / weeks / months I just want to chill with a roguelike and a podcast. Sometimes I want to be deeply invested in a game's world. Sometimes I want something relaxing, or with lots of text, and so on!
That is what this method of backlog management is built around. Size and Style. I primarily play stuff on my PC nowadays, so I've built a variety of Collections to match this new ethos. Let's go through them!
These are games I play one at a time, but are usually less than 15 hours, if not shorter. They're very nice for when I want to really make progress in a game, without feeling like it's going to take an eternity to beat them.
The big'uns. These are your open-world games, your 60 hour RPGs, and so on. The stuff that I slowly get through, sometimes taking months to do so for a variety of reasons. When I tire of these, that's when I jump to the other stuff in this list.
Kick, Punch, it's All in the Mind!
Where all the fighting and multiplayer games go! These are never-ending obviously, but it's helpful to keep them all in one spot!
These are the short burst, arcade type games and roguelikes. Perfect for when I just need my brain occupied after an exhausting work day, or something to play while I listen to a podcast / watch something on YouTube / a movie (I know I keep repeating it, but uh, did you know I have ADHD).
Beyond these, I have two more collections built out, though I haven't actually filled them yet.
The stuff that's real zen and require little effort to play. Stuff like Katamary Damacy, Stardew Valley, and so on.
For when I'd rather read than play a game, heh. Disco Elysium, NORCO, and other Visual Novel-type games will go here.
That's all! Am I overthinking this? Probably! My counterpoint to that question: do you know me??
Regardless, this has helped me take the edge off of my disappointment that I don't finish every game I want to, especially these days, when I'm so monumentally busy.
What about you? How do you handle your backlog? Do you even care? Let me know!