The Dreaded Back-Log of Games…

For the past few weeks I’ve done something I haven’t gotten to do in quite a while, sit down and play some video games.


Sometimes, when you’re engrossed in your own game design projects (or completing your degree), you aren’t afforded the luxury of free time. We spend countless hours working on our own projects. We look into every detail and facet of our gameplay, striving to make it better and more efficient. This means breaking it all down, studying mechanics, crunching numbers, taking a real in-depth look at the project. At the end of the day, you may want a break from games… you know, to help clear the mind. And if you do have the urge to play, you just might not have the time.


Recently, I started losing a bit of the passion I had when I first started making games. I was getting burnt out. When you spend all of your time working on your own projects and managing others, you may forget why you got into game design in the first place. It can become mostly work and no play, a bit of irony when you’re working with games. That had to change, and quick.


I had just finished up my time working at Michigan State and found myself at the start of winter vacation. I had all of the time in the world to relax over break. And just in time for the holidays, my favorite sale started, the Steam Winter Sale. I think my bank account shivers whenever I mention that phrase. I’ve already accumulated far too many games from previous Steam Sales… my dreaded back-log of games has been growing for years. It includes games that I was interested in playing but just didn’t have the time to start / finish, games that were just too cheap to pass up (I’m looking at you Braid, Hotline Miami and Just Cause 2), and those big AAA titles at heavy discounts. So with a ton of uncompleted games in my Library and ample time to complete them, I did just that.


There is more where that came from…


I played the hell out of Far Cry 3, the first single player first person shooter I’ve played through in years. I was totally immersed in the game, a feeling I haven’t had in quite a while. The story, the atmosphere, the progression… everything was awesome. At one point I’d like to dive further into the game and write about the mechanics and progression of open world tactical shooters, but I’ll save that for another time. I ended up fighting the urge to 100% the game, and decided to move on and complete some more titles.


“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?”


I snuck my way through Mark of the Ninja, dug myself into Terraria, beheaded traitors in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, and did my fair share of team-killing in Magicka.



This game is awesome, it’s like Splinter Cell meets Super Meat Boy, with Ninjas.


In the evenings I would play Awesomenauts with friends, and made some time for a few rounds of Black Ops 2 and Worms Revolution. Don’t forget about a couple hours of Hotline Miami and Braid, as well as diving right into the gritty Max Payne 3.



This game is really violent.


After spending more time than I’d like to admit playing through these games the past few weeks… I have to say, I’m excited about game development again! I needed that break to get myself back into gaming. There are so many great titles out there produced by excellent individuals and companies. With tons of creative and innovative concepts to play around with, wonderful stories to get sucked into, and an abundance of mayhem to produce, we need to pick up our controllers and get to work (play).


So if you’re feeling a bit burnt out, take a break, crack open your own dreaded back-log  of games and have some fun!