If you’ve been a gamer for any decent amount of time, you may have a mountain of unplayed games. Games are releasing at a faster pace than most of us can keep up with, and the temptation to get new games is always there. Various digital sales make it easy to pick up a new title, or you might simply want to keep up with the hype and conversations around specific new games. Having a backlog is inevitable in such cases, but there are strategies to conquer it. And considering the current state of the world, now might be a great time to put them into action. With that in mind, here are some tips for dealing with your dreaded backlog.
Create a structure to your backlog.
It’s easy to get hung up on seeing your list of games and wonder where to begin. However, there is a simple solution to this, and it’s to focus on a single game at a time. The next time you take a look at your backlog, just think about what game you most feel like playing. Once you’ve picked one out, you can then ignore all the others until it’s finished. Those other games aren’t going anywhere, after all.
You may find that you lack the motivation to play through this entire game or feel a sense of unease about the rest of your backlog waiting for you. Thankfully, there are some useful tools for this too. Firstly, it’s not a bad idea to create your own list so that you can prioritize games by whichever metric matters to you the most. It could be organized by the games you want to play most down to the least, but you could also do it by length or difficulty.
No matter how you do it, you’ll gain a sense of satisfaction when you tick games off that list one at a time, and doing so becomes a sort of game itself. For example, if you keep track of how many games you finish in a month or year, you’ll then have new goals and reasons to keep beating your records, much like improving on your own lap times in a racing game.
Multitask games by combining big games with small ones.
A backlog of games will likely have some decent variety to it. Some games could be multiplayer or story-focused while others could be short indie games or 100-hour JRPGs. If your backlog sounds like it has a mixture of games like that, then a multitasking approach could be the way forward. By keeping to about two-to-three games at any one time, you can make slow but steady progress on multiple games in your backlog. Shorter games like Sayonara Wild Hearts or Untitled Goose Game could be played in-between sessions of a long RPG like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
By multitasking like this, you can avoid the fatigue of focusing on a single game for so long while still making progress. HowLongToBeat.com, which answers its titular question for most games you can think of, is a fantastic tool for arranging games in your backlog. By knowing the average finishing time for a game (whether just the story or 100% completion), you can mix and match shorter and longer titles on your backlog to make the best use of your time. Managing your time like this is one of the best ways to multitask your backlog into submission.
Play what you want to play.
All too often we can get caught up in the notion of playing the most important or popular games. There are games your friends or websites will tell you are unmissable or classic titles. You might feel compelled to add games like these to your collection for fear of missing out on something special. However, something important that’s easy to forget is that not every game will be for you, and that’s perfectly okay. Many times I’ve played the opening hours of a game that everyone was talking about, only to then realize I wasn’t enjoying it. Why should I continue playing a game I wasn’t enjoying?
As a kid, getting a new game was a rare occurrence, so it was natural to play the hell out of it, especially with all the free time I had. As an adult, my free time is much more limited than it used to be, and playing a game I don’t actively enjoy is a waste of it. Everyone has their own tastes, so if you pick up a game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons after seeing all the buzz online and realize you aren’t having a good time — drop it. Knowing what kind of games you enjoy sounds obvious, but it will save you a lot of time and help to cut through that pesky backlog.
What methods do you use to deal with your backlog?