Last year, I have shared my thoughts about my Anime Backlog. While I haven’t backlogged many shows in the past year, I admit that it’s a bad habit. Besides Anime, this habit also extends to video games since many people like myself want to play the latest games, particularly Japanese RPGs despite not beating a game at least once. This makes me wonder, why do people continue to build up a big backlog of video games by buying new ones despite not making an attempt to finish them?
If you consider the Anime backlog, I feel that it’s a lot easier to tackle since it only takes a few hours to complete a series and one don’t have to commit a lot of time to finish it. Sadly, video games and visual novels don’t have this luxury because a typical visual novel or Japanese RPG may take 40-80 hours to complete (more if you want to 100% it). Considering that video games (especially console games) are usually more expensive than Anime, light novels and manga when excluding sales, it’s a troubling trend. If video games cost this much, should one become motivated to finish them to get the money’s worth? I think there are other reasons besides time constraints why people don’t finish games.
I feel that one of the reasons why people tend to build a video game backlog is for the fact that Japanese RPGs have gotten more complex. Most video games these days now have multiple endings, ultimate secret weapons/costumes to unlock, missions to finish, items to make, trophies/achievements, etc. Because of this, most people feel that video games can’t be finished to 100% completion without some kind of guide as things like flags and hidden trophies are not obvious. As a result, this is one of the pet peeves I have with games that have multiple endings since some flags have time requirements or you will be locked out of a specific ending.
To make matters worse, the flag might not trigger at all even if you met the requirements. I have this problem in Atelier Meruru Plus for the fact that I cannot build the archives since a flag that grants that ability won’t activate. Because of that, I got locked out from certain endings and finishing certain end-game tasks. As much I enjoy the story from that game, I feel less motivated to get all the endings because of this reason. To make matters worse, you are usually locked to an ending if you get all the required flags, thus requiring one to play the game over again or carefully trigger them. Thankfully, some games are addressing this by allowing the player to pick which ending to view along with simpler ending requirements.
Most importantly, I feel that the constant stream of new Japanese RPGs is another reason we tend to rush through one game so one can play the next latest and greatest games. For instance, I would like to achieve most of the endings and beat all the difficult monsters in New Atelier Rorona, but there are other games I want to finish. To me, I feel that newer games are having priority over older ones, thus contributing to the backlog. This is true since I almost got to the final boss in Final Fantasy X and VII, but I never beaten it since I wanted to spend my time playing newer games.
On the other hand, there have been games that disappointed me that I stopped playing and never touched it again. Final Fantasy XIII, Paper Mario Sticker Star and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Gates to Infinity were some of the games I stopped playing after a few hours since it didn’t live up to the prequels. Because of this, I regret buying these games for the fact that I lost my motivation to complete them.
While having a backlog of Japanese RPGs and Visual Novels is not necessarily wrong for the fact that people have different ways of playing video games, it gives me an impression that we are being overwhelmed by so many games that one can’t possibly finish it. I feel that people need to ask themselves this question: if I buy this game, will I ever complete it some shape or form? Just like Anime, I think people shouldn’t buy more games than he/she can complete. While I managed to beat most of the Vita games at least once, I decided not to get anymore until I get all the endings I want to see. That way, I won’t end up in a vicious cycle of not completing many video games and be left with a huge backlog of games.
What are your thoughts about backlogging video games and visual novels in general? Do you consider not finishing a game once a bad thing? Feel free to share how big your backlog is and how you would personally tackle it.