We at Kotaku referred to April as Arrears monthin which, given the impending lack of new video game releases, we turn our attention to the games we wanted to play but missed. But unlike my co-workers, I have one problem – I have no idea what to do for backlog month, and it’s fucking bothering me.
For starters, I think I can have one slightly different definition of “residue” than the rest of my colleagues. For them, a backlog game is anything that you have bought and never or partially played. However, I do believe that a backlog is any game that is yours or not that you have at least a little interest in. And here I am stuck.
As a player, I grew up differently than many others. For the most part, people had consoles in their homes and could pick up a controller and play at any time. In the meantime, my access to consoles was severely limited. I had handhelds – a Sega Game Gear and a Game Boy Color. But I never owned a console until the PlayStation, so I’ve missed out on a lot of the games that many people think are basic – the Super Marios
I also didn’t have a computer until I was 16, and even then my mother (like most black mothers) thought about computer tools, not toys. Once again I missed influential pc games like Doom, Myst, Warcraft, and more. Even as I got older and video games became more mainstream, the circumstances of my household prevented me from experiencing the other types of formative gaming moments. I was a sheltered child, my younger sister and I had a babysitter until I was around 16 (don’t laugh). I wasn’t allowed to go to a friend’s house to stay overnight. So once again I didn’t really have the experience of playing GoldenEye 007 or Super mario 64 during a sleepover. That coming together of limited console access, family aversion to video games, and a lack of resources (and, if I’m brutally honest, friends) to play the latest games when they were released leaves me with huge gaps on my gamer résumé I have to fill. It means that I consider all of these missed games to be my backlog. And when you have generations of consoles worth of games in your backlog, it can be quite difficult to decide what to play.
There are alSo this pressure within the gaming community to be part of the conversation. I’ll call it the “FOMO video game”. There are tons of games where legions of people, whenever mentioned, are quick to say, “Oh, this game is great!” or, “I wish I could erase my memory and play this game all over again.” Many of these games – those that may not be that old, but have surely moved into the “backlog zone” – are also games that for one reason or another I had no chance. I have never owned an Xbox until recently. Should I take this newfound opportunity to go back and play this? Master Chief Collection
I want to be part of the conversationn to these games. To a certain extent, I have to because it’s my job. The “video game FOMO” is there, haunting me like a boogeyman and making me feel “less” than my more knowledgeable colleagues. I have the option to break free of the FOMO, but I don’t know where to start. I’m so stuck and concerned about being stuck and concerned that I’m content to throw this whole thing away and keep doing what I did – looking forward to not going back.
There are soon games that I want to and will play –return, Resident Evil Village, and Nier: replicantto name a few. I think instead of tormenting myself over the miles behind, I’ll just be proactive. After all, if you play all of the games you want once they come out, they won’t fall into your arrears at all.