Gaming: Clearing the Back Catalog

This was an excellent week for me and gaming. I finished not one, but two Zelda games that I had purchased long ago and never started, or got around to finishing. So let’s discuss back catalogs, how long mine is and how good it feels to cross items off the list.

The Back Catalog

So what is a back catalog? If you aren’t a gamer, it’s a collection of games a person owns with the intention to complete a specific task in them. From complete the story, reach a specific character level, get certain gear etc.

If you speak to any gamer, most likely they can tell you about their back catalog. They may even have stories about it. When they purchased each game, why they never finished, the price paid for each game. It’s something that most of us share. From too many Steam sales, to buying things on or near release when life was busier than expected.

My catalog background

My personal back catalog started to pile up when I purchased my Wii when I was a senior in High School back in 2006. At this point I had 1 GameCube game left to finish, Metroid Prime 2: Echos, but I thought having a new system wouldn’t prevent me from finishing the last of my games. Why? Well before this time, the games I had I played to completion(story wise) or played them so much that beating them was no longer the goal(looking at you Gradius III on the SNES, I don’t think I will ever beat that game).

So with college and a slew of awesome Wii games I found myself slowly adding new games to the list. Suddenly, I had Twilight Princes started but never finished(until this past week of course, but only after restarting the entire game). Over the course of the past 10 years, new consoles entered my life and thus new games to play filled it. The list grew and grew until a few years ago I had to put a stop to it. I stopped impulse buying new games and only bought the ones I really wanted to play right then.

This slowed the growth of the list, but it still exists. As of today, these are all the games in my back catalog. Some of which Allyson and I are playing together and others are my personal quest.

Back Catalog: (Ordered by Console Age)

  1. Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GameCube)
  2. Metroid Prime 2: Echos (GameCube)
  3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
  4. Okami (Wii)
  5. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
  6. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
  7. Lego: The Hobbit (WiiU)
  8. New Super Luigi U (WiiU)
  9. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (WiiU Virtual Console)
  10. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest (Wii U Virtual Console)
  11. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble (Wii U Virtual Console)
  12. Super Metroid (Wii U Virtual Console)
  13. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Wii Virtual Console)
  14. Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox 360)
  15. Tomb Raider: Legend (Xbox 360)
  16. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
  17. Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
  18. Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

Completing the list

I have told myself I won’t buy any more games until I finally clean up this list. This is either by beating them or ultimately removing them realizing that I don’t want to spend the time finishing them. I have also restricted myself from replaying some of my favorites which has been a major time sink in the past(I have spent many weekends in Halo Reach multiplayer matches and replaying campaign). So far this has worked well, along with scheduling play time to be able to beat Twilight Princess taking 30 hours, and A Link Between Worlds at around 12 hours.

The best part

The best part of working through my back catalog is a feeling of accomplishment and finally finishing what I started out to do. It is very empowering and is encouraging to continue. This doesn’t just stay within gaming either, it’s encouraging to keep those nongaming dreams alive as well with a new sense of perseverance and dedication that spills into my other goals.


So with a little determination, perhaps I can finally cut this list down by half by the end of this year. Maybe I will even add more posts to make this a series as I whittle the list down and track my progress. Either way I can’t wait to play through some of these games, and even better, once I am done I have a new list of games to purchase that I have been waiting to until I have time to play. Best part is, by playing my back catalog, by the time I am ready to buy the new games I want, they are usually much cheaper as they have been out for quite some time. So I can save money in the process.


Do you have a back catalog? How big is it? A few games or a few hundred games? Feel free to share your back catalog story in the comments below.

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