Achievement Unlocked: Backlog Beaten

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I’ve been putting this off several months now, but with the new year it felt like the right time to make the announcement: I’ve finally finished my backlog.

Well, I actually finished it back in November, but I haven’t said anything about it until now. I originally wanted to review my last two games as a sort of farewell, but that opportunity has passed by now. Black & White managed to be the final holdout, with Dead Rising not too far behind it.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I spent a year and a half deliberately trying to beat all of my old games. A year and a half is a long time to do anything. Most people don’t even keep their New Year’s resolutions past February. But I managed to stick to my goal, and honestly, it feels good to be done.

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There were a lot of enjoyable moments, of course. I don’t think I’ll ever forget finishing Heavy Rain with my brother and Andrew delightfully watching me agonize over every choice I needed to make. Towards the end I also enjoyed co-op on Jet Force Gemini with both Tim and Chris. And for what it’s worth, playing Mario is Missing! turned out to be such an amusing distraction that I can’t help but say that I enjoyed sharing my experiences with others.

For the most part, however, the backlog was just hard work. There were a lot of games I didn’t enjoy that I had to force myself to play. Scribblenauts comes to mind very easily. That game nearly made me give up the project entirely. In fact, the final game, Black & White, also falls into this category. Its last level nearly made me pull my hair out. I’m also gobsmacked that I had the patience to sit through all three Commandos games. They can be fun, but they certainly require some careful planning.

In the end, it wasn’t whether a game was good or bad that made it difficult to play – it was how tedious the game became when you actually tried to simply sit down a beat it. Tomb Raider II is a great example of this. Although the old Tomb Raider games are now considered PlayStation classics, the platforming can be so unforgiving by today’s standards. It also slows down your progression a lot, which only made it more frustrating for me to beat. Crash Bandicoot was another thorn in my side: Too many cheap ways to die and too few save points.

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One of the things I’ve learned from completing my backlog is this: If you don’t enjoy playing a game, don’t play it. I’m honestly elated that I finished this project, but most of that satisfaction stems from setting a goal and then sticking with it. For the most part, though, playing a lot of these old games was simply unrewarding. Not really good or bad, just a chore.

Last but not least, thank you so much to those who have helped me complete my goal in any way shape or form. Whether that’s Andrew for putting up with my long weeks not discussing anything but old games, or Chris and Tim helping me with co-op, or even people like Randall who got me a few of the games on this list. I deeply enjoyed sharing this experience with others. In the next few days I’ll be breaking down my favorite and least favorite games, and will discuss where I intend on taking this blog.

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