Building a Better You Through Your Backlog

Like most avid gamers you come across, you find that over the years, they build up a library of games with every intention of playing each title. I have experienced, as I’ve grown in age, my duties and responsibilities have shifted. These added facets in my life have ultimately given me less time to play, and as time goes on, my backlog has grown to a less manageable state. Because of this, I took it upon myself to manage, take inventory, and log my yearly games I have completed, and the following is a direct result of this creation.

Initially, about five years ago, I wanted to make a list of all my physical games I owned and use it to keep track of who I borrowed my games to. I had lent a few games out in the past, only to not remember who I lent the game to or forgetting about it entirely. I was going to leave notes on my list to point out who had the game and what date I borrowed it to them. However, the spreadsheet idea became a whole lot more than I expected and much more meaningful.

In 2018, I started to compile all my games, both physical and digital, into my Excel spreadsheet. It started out with categories such as Title, System, Medium, and Year, and over time, it slowly evolved. Additional categories such as Publisher, Developer, and Genre were added as well as a color coated Status column that indicated 4 different sub-categories which included: green as complete, yellow as unfinished, gray as no goal, and blue as not played. Seeing this makes it easier to decipher what games I have yet to play or possibly predict what I may like to play. For example, If I select a game from the list I enjoyed, than narrow the column down, by choosing Developer, I can then see if I have other games in my backlog that were made by the specific studio I own. Beyond these added categories, I also made a game total of the 4 color status selections, which allows me to see how many of each I currently have as well as a count total for each system. Though at first this was a ton of work, I can now easily update it weekly or monthly as I play my game. This makes the data I see in front of me more manageable and enjoyable to sift through.

Fast forward to 2020 as the pandemic took root and sabotaged my plans to go to Japan for my brother’s wedding, then spending hours upon hours trying to get my money back form the canceled flights. I was a bit tired and depressed about the whole situation. To self-heal and remedy my sanity, I decided I would start making a completed games list for the year, and so I went back to the beginning of 2020 and created a game completed list up to that point. I started with Rank Order, Title, Platinum, System and topped it off with a total count of each title on a system. It was a great start. At the end of 2020, I had completed 47 games.

With 2021, I added a bit more to help showcase the timeline of events for myself. I added the categories Date Completed, and Release Year. I liked the added visibility of the calendar year and what year it came out in. 2021 turned out to be a better year for playing games with a total of 60 completed games.

With the start of 2022, I have not made any adjustments, but I have already completed two games in the first two days of the month: The Magnificent Trufflepigs on Nintendo Switch and Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 5. I am currently playing Resident Evil: Village on PlayStation 5 and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on Nintendo Switch Online. So, I’m well on my way to a great 2022 completion list.

I have had people ask why I would do something like this–that seems like such a waste of time and energy. Well, when it comes down to it, this method helps me manage my hobby, organizes my thoughts, and track my gaming journey. The whole tweaking and managing of this data has been both therapeutic and stress reducing for myself. Keeping my metal health in alinement is worth it.

The question is how can you do this for yourself? You need to discover what makes you personally happy and continue doing what works in a positive and constructive manner. A bit of Excel therapy can go a long way, at least in my case.

What have you done or attempted to do through gaming to help improve your own well-being? Do you have a backlog, and do you organize it in any way? Do you have a completion list or other statistic you like to keep track of? Let me know your methods on our Boss Rush Discord. Happy logging my friends.  

Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.

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