2021 Is The Year Of The Backlog In Video Games

We all wish we could play every single video game that crosses out radar. There was a time where that was possible, but those days are long gone. With indie titles, the latest AAA, and the cost of some games exceeding $70 it’s harder than ever to play every game you’d like. Not to mention that some of us partake in service games such as Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny 2, or sports titles like FIFA or Madden. It might sound silly, but it’s quite frankly a lot of work to keep up with everything in gaming these days.

At least until the bizarre space the industry has been in for about a year now. While many studios were still able to release their titles amid a pandemic, the large majority of those were approaching completion anyways. It was the games that were still deep in development that felt the most impact from 2020. This is why multiple titles have seen delays such as Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, and Deathloop.

All these delays have left 2021 feeling light in terms of must-play video games. Sure, there’s been a handful of titles that have garnered attention such as Outriders, Returnal, and Resident Evil: Village. For many gamers, though, recent months have been a chance to get deep into their backlog of games by the time E3 approaches in June. The dearth of new mega titles has left a lot of us scrolling through Steam or the PlayStation Network looking for something new to play. In a way, though, this is perfect for those of us that want to play every game possible. We have backlogs going back years and it’s given us a chance to play through older games again, or remakes of older games.

2021 is in many ways the year of the backlog. Have an old RPG that you really wanted to try and couldn’t find the time for? Well, there’s no better time than now. The value of retro games increased by 33 percent since lockdowns began in early 2020 and there’s not much evidence of it slowing down. This is, at least in part, because everyone is breaking out old consoles or seeking out nostalgia to provide comfort.

Don’t have a way to play older games or older consoles? Another trend that’s seen a bump in gaming is remakes of older titles. Final Fantasy VII had a critically-acclaimed remake in 2020 that will be seeing PS5 exclusive DLC in the near future. Nintendo re-released three of Mario’s 3D adventures in one game, but that is unfortunately no longer being sold. The entire Mass Effect trilogy was recently remastered and packaged into one for anyone that has never gotten the opportunity to experience that franchise.

As video game fans seek comfort or nostalgia they look to remakes as their way to experience them in a modern environment. A lot of us sold our old consoles growing up, or they broke, some of them are complicated to set up on modern TVs — Don’t forget that the GameCube required an RYW cable. Retro gaming is hard and sometimes it’s easier to have a remake available, or at least a PC port. It’s also, relatively speaking, easy money for game companies to keep bringing back their most-beloved titles in new ways.

Remakes, retro dives, or just going through an old backlog of games are all perfectly reasonable ways to experience video games in 2021 while we wait for something new and truly great from developers. We’ve seen a lot of delays and there’s a good chance of seeing even more as the year goes on. But, in a lot of ways, the video game industry needs a gap year to get everything back to normal, and that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy older experiences while we wait. There’s more to games than the newest release or the latest hot indie title. If there was ever a year to embrace the history of video games and actually play the games you bought but never gave a shot, this is the one.