This Was Supposed to Be Fun!
When I first got more serious about getting through my backlog earlier this year, I decided to use a system to give myself some variety and keep ennui from setting in. After all, while I did want my backlog to shrink some, I didn’t want it to start seeming like a chore. What would be the point of having bought these games, no matter how long ago, if I denied myself any satisfaction from playing them?
The system is as follows: At any given time, I’d play about three games concurrently, either current games or some chosen from my backlog. Each would be from a different genre, and I’d jump back and forth as the mood struck me, eventually finishing one and starting a new one in its place. Realizing some genres (RPGs, for example) tend to suck up a lot more time to complete than others, and that I’d likely grow bored and lose enjoyment forcing myself through an RPG past the point of satiation, I figured this system might make this whole task become more fun – after all, I never play just one game exclusively, even when playing current titles.
Believe it or not, the system worked: I had a good time getting through some games I’d ignored ’til now and shrinking my backlog, if just by a little.
But then came the ill-fated day I finished F.E.A.R. and went to my shelf in search of a replacement. Moving seemingly as if guided by a higher power (surely a malign presence, in retrospect), my fingers stopped at Atari’s 2008 stinker, Alone in the Dark. And suddenly my backlog project slowly derailed before coming to a complete halt in a screaming cacophony of twisting metal and severed limbs. Or as close as I can get to this metaphor while sitting comfortably on my couch.
This isn’t intended to be a full write-up of my experience with Alone in the Dark; that will come later, for better or for worse. But even with other games sharing shelf space next to my console at the moment, my gaming backlog has become exactly what I was trying to avoid: a hydra spitting venomous gobs of pixellated mucus in my direction every time I so much as pass by my office door. Alone in the Dark has made me loathe to continue breaking down my backlog.
It helps that the holidays have given me a slew of new games to play, not to mention a whole new console with physical and downloaded titles to get to, so I am in over my head in games that aren’t officially part of my backlog yet. But I can feel it, waiting for me, like an unseen menace hiding in the shadows. It’s still there, right on my entertainment center, silently jeering and mocking me. I know I won’t be able to ignore it for much longer.
Listen! Can’t you hear it?! It’s laughing at me; it knows it’s won. I can hear it whispering within my dreams, taking over, ’til there’s no free will to resist it left. I feel so alone. In the dark.