in The Backlog Report

How to Play: Welcome to The Backlog Report

I enjoy video games, gamification and cataloging my collections. So when it comes to how to do all three of these things, The Backloggery is my go to. The Backloggery is an online to-do list for video games that makes cataloging and tracking your gaming accomplishments quite easy, and for someone with a vast collection like me, that can be a huge asset (looking at you Steam, looking at you). I have been a member going on four years now, doing battle against the dreaded Lord Bak’laag by finishing games that have been gathering dust on my shelf. Now when I first opened my account I only had a handful games. Thanks to Steam Sales, Humble Bundles, and gainful employment, I have expanded my collection quite quickly. So quickly in fact that I have plenty of games left to finish! Enter The Backlog Report.

This article is presented here as a part of Throwback Thursday, where we revisit some highlights from the archives of both Sabrael D. Carroll and M.E. Garey. This particular piece comes to you from February 2016.

The Backlog Report is where I will be chronicling my adventures as I play through my collection in an effort to obtain that elusive rank of Master. Lacking the equipment to do a Let’s Play channel, I’ll be sticking to text posts, but I hope that changes soon. Now while The Backloggery has a system of organizing and tracking the status of your games while providing a Twitter-like byline to explain your current location, I have decided to build on their baseline and adjust it to my needs, and so I present to you: How to Play.

null  Null is reserved for the few games where I can find no solid goals for declaring completion, usually due to it not having a definable end. This is very rare, but it happens sometimes. Alternatively, this is also used for games that I 100% will not play, because sometimes… they are just that bad.

unplayed  Unplayed means I haven’t turned it on, or I’ve only messed around with tutorial/beginning levels to see how the game feels. I won’t move it out of Unplayed until I actually sit down to officially try and beat it. Games I can’t see myself completing for whatever reasons will probably go from this to Null.

unfinished  Unfinished means that play is officially underway (either currently or at some point in the past) with my most recent position in the game noted in updates on The Backloggery. If it is a longer game or one that has interesting points I may expand on my progress here.

beaten  Beaten marks that the story has come to a close, and credits have rolled. Side quests, collectibles, and other secrets need not apply. Games I know I have beaten usually default to Beaten unless I know for a fact I accomplished something bigger, in which case I will put it into Mastered or Completed as it applies.

completed  Completed marks all side-quests, secret or alternate endings and collectibles discovered. Most games will be Beaten before being Completed, but I occasionally go for the gold right away. Very few games will advance beyond “Completed” mainly because I’m not fond of playing games when there isn’t more advancement to be made.

mastered  Mastered marks a game as 100% done. This means that anything in the game that has been found is done. Achievements, in particular, are my main criteria for Mastered. This is mainly because they don’t do anything in-game and are a meta reward. Achievements that can’t be earned for whatever reason are disqualified and not counted towards Mastered.

As I move games out of Unfinished, I plan on writing reviews for games. For this I will be using a scale of 1 to 5 Stars where 3 is average and passable with nothing standing out or being too bad, 1 being absolutely awful and 5 being flawless in execution. I’ll be focusing on 6 key points: Story, Graphics, Audio, Controls, Challenge and Replay. The final score for the game will be the average of all categories (rounded down). I’ll try and keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, focusing on story details from the manual or that can be learned within the first 10% of the game but I don’t promise something won’t slip. And that is How to Play. Hope to see you around as I make progress towards victory.



Upon the desk of Sabrael D. Carroll sits a half empty cup of tea, the leaves waiting patiently nearby for their second or maybe third brewing. This inevitable future creeps nearer as yet another sip is taken. The teapot, proudly swathed in the English flag, is empty but for the lone drop perched precariously at the end of the spout. The cup is placed back down again, amid a haphazard pile of character sheets, open rule books, and dungeon maps. All the stats and buffs and modifiers mix together in his mind, the numbers forming the framework of the story he’s dying to tell. He will surely get back to those in just a moment but for now, his attention is stolen by pixelated firefights and a meter running dangerously low. Don’t worry, he’ll write that next article… eventually.

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