The Year of the Backlog

E3 2012 came and went, and I think the general sentiment from most gaming enthusiasts is that the show was underwhelming. I agree for the most pat. There were some good announcements (Watch Dogs, Beyond, Star Wars 1313--all new IPs, which is nice) and a few details on games I knew I was already going to buy (The Last of Us, Assassin’s Creed 3, Borderlands 2) that made me want to buy them more, but nothing totally mind blowing.

I can’t really fault the industry for the lukewarm showing though--it’s in a weird spot. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are aging systems, they’ve far surpassed the typical four to five year console life cycle, and it’s starting to show. Everyone knows that the next round of systems is right around the corner, but until they’re announced, we’re going to get mostly sequels and filler.

Out of all the next systems, I’m most excited to see what Microsoft does. It’s clear that they’ve stretched the 360 to (and past) its limits. When it came out in 2005, it was a game machine, now, thanks to yearly software updates, it’s a all-in-one media box. But software updates can only take it so far. The system needs more memory--the dashboard menu is lagging under its own flashy ambition. More powerful hardware leads to more media and connectivity possibilities. Oh, and also some real purty games.

But that’s at least a year away. The release calendar isn’t as jam packed as it has been in years past, which means there’s more space between big releases. In fact, there’s not much of anything coming out until August, making summer 2012 the perfect backlog season. I’ve got to finish The Witcher 2, Asura’s Wrath, Dragon Age 2, the second Penny Arcade game, and Dustforce. I also just finished Max Payne and will hopefully move on to Max Payne 2 (I got them both for like $2.49 in a Steam sale last year). Not sure if I’ll get all that done, but I’m trying to be better about actually playing the games I get from Steam sales (Vampire The Masquerade, Company of Heroes and Terraria included).

It’s going to be a bit of a slow year, at least until August. What games are you going to catch up on?