Backlog Burndown – Sprint 0: Introduction

Backlog Burndown – Sprint 0: Introduction

“Backlog”, “Pile of Shame”, “Game Retirement Stash.” Whatever it’s called, it’s a fact of life for almost every gamer. It’s the games sitting in our Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and Virtual Console accounts; the shrink-wrapped boxes decorating our shelves; the dusty discs played for a single session then added to the pile by the TV.

I can remember pretty clearly where it started for me, the point where my available funds to buy a collection of games surpassed my available time to play them. It was the Command and Conquer collection in college, and I still haven’t gotten around to beating the Soviet campaign in the original Red Alert. I didn’t have that much money in college though, and I still had a fair bit of free time, so the pile didn’t grow that much. But still, as time went on, the pile grew. A free game from work here, an impulse purchase there, but I was still pretty well constrained by shelf space. Then came Steam, and with it Steam sales. Then bundles. Free games from Xbox Live. Before I really realized it, my digital collection had grown to dwarf my physical one.

It’s time to do something about it.

The Plan: As an Agile development devotee, I like sprints for their capability to help breakdown crazy, complex tasks into manageable chunks. That’s what I’m going for here, setting a goal for each two week sprint. At the end of each sprint, I’ll have a column, some game commentary and videos, and a new goal.

The Rules:  Just a few things here to help keep me organized, and plan.

  1. Failure is always an option. Some games are simply terrible, and if they’re making me miserable, I reserve the ability to just put them in the Never Again pile and move on. Also, some of these games are old. There may actually be some technical limitations preventing me from playing a few of these.
  2. Break up the Mega-Games into manageable chunks. There’s no way I’m going to get through a Final Fantasy or Elder Scrolls game in a two week sprint. What I can do though, if I come to a game like that, is put in some reasonable goals for progress in that sprint, and work to hit them. I might work in a sprint or two where I take a break and play through something shorter.
  3. But if it’s a game that’s four hours or less to finish, no breaks allowed. If I can’t finish one of those in a two week sprint, I have a time management problem.

Want to join in? Comment with your own backlog sprint goals, or have a look at my How Long to Beat profile and throw me a suggestion for a future sprint!

Fortunately, playing video games is a lot more fun than looking at charts!


That said, it’s time for Sprint 1. I’ll start off with something simple and achievable: Finish a game. Just one, either something I’ve never played, or something that’s been sitting half-finished for a while. One other task, get my HLTB profile updated. There’s just a few games that I own that are missing from that.

Happy gaming, everyone!

Aaron is proof that while you can take a developer out of the game industry, it's much harder to take the game industry out of a developer. When not at his day job, Aaron enjoys teaching Axis & Allies to his kids, writing sci-fi stories, playing classic space sims on Twitch, and riding around the American Midwest on his Harley.

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