Five Tips to Beat Your Backlog

Remember when you were young and you used to complete game after game without a care in the world, you were the master of your domain, happy munching mushrooms and racing around collecting gold rings, your only concern being your parents telling you to go outside and play properly. You were thinking, this was it, this would be your hobby forever and when you got older no one could make you go outside and play properly, this was playing properly.

Fast forward a few years and this little thing called life creeps up on you, you start to have “responsibilities”, things like a job, a partner, kids, all of these things eat away at the time you crave to game in and you start to build up that dreaded “backlog”. It’s not just you, it happens to us all, but there are some ways that you can beat that backlog, and I thought I would share some ideas with you all to actually reduce that ever-growing mountain of games sitting on your shelf (or digital shelf).

1. Accept that you have less time.

For some of us, there are reasons we have less time, we could have a partner that wants to watch Eastenders and then the show they are into on Netflix. We could have kids that are hogging the TV and want to watch cartoons or play the latest LEGO game while getting your control pad covered in dirt and grime. We could be coming home from work with only a few hours of free time before going to bed to do it all again.

In those situations, some of you probably think “uhh I only have an hour or two what’s the point in starting a game now”, well gamers, all of those little hours add up if it’s the only time you have to take it. Even if you only manage a mission or two you are still making progress, and before you know it you will have a larger chunk of time to edge your way closer to completion and have the chance to move on to a new game from your “pile of shame.”

2. Stop buying new releases

Ok, this one will be a little harder for some to accept but… if you keep buying new games on release your shame pile will only get larger.

You know what it’s like, you see the review for a game you like the look of, it’s scoring high and you think “I need to get that”. Then you do one of two things, you either stop what you are playing and jump to the new game and tell yourself “ I’ll get back to this later” or you decide “I’ll finish this one first and get to that soon”.

With the first scenario half the time when you jump games you end up not going back to the game you started on because, before you know it, another new game has come out and you have jumped again. You then end up with multiple games sitting that you have been meaning to go back to but have no time for, or even worse you do go back and you have lost your mojo and you’re just not feeling it anymore, then your previously loved game just sits there sad and alone.

With the second scenario when you say you will finish what you are playing first, before moving on, you might find that by the time you start the new game it has dropped in price. If only you had just waited in the first place then your wallet would have a bit more cash in it.

So, why not just stick to the one game and if you don’t like it move on. If you are enjoying it then see it through before buying a new title. That game that looks amazing and scored 90% is still going to be amazing if you play it 6 months later, it’s just going to cost you less, and your backlog isn’t going to get bigger if you wait.

3. Stop being a perfectionist

“Collect 100 blue crystals”, “ find the 30 pigeons”, you know that missions like this are called padding, most of the time they take hours, they are boring, and often your only reward is a trophy or achievement. On the rare occasion these missions actually unlock something it’s usually at a point in the game where you don’t need the thing that it’s unlocking.

Play the core experience, skip the padding. Play the parts of the game that you enjoy, and stop worrying about things like platinum trophies. You’ll soon find that you are finished, satisfied with the experience, and ready to move on to your next game.

4. Join a community

I used to really enjoy the PlayStation forums, it gave me an outlet to discuss the games I was playing with people who were playing the same titles, and discussing the games helped to build my excitement for the titles that I was playing, and I found it would drive me forward and want to play more.

With apps like discord now available, it’s easier than ever to connect with people who you can share your experience with, and it’s amazing how discussing a game can drive you forward and give you more purpose and desire to finish what you are playing.

5. Avoid the sales

This is a big one. Sales on Steam, PSN, and Xbox can sometimes be far too tempting. You end up buying 5 or 6 games when you already have 10 sitting there that you haven’t even touched.

Just avoid them, it’s rare that a game has a one time sale so you’re not going to miss out. Just wait for a time when you don’t already have umpteen games sitting there untouched before you take a look, the odds are as more time passes the games will be even cheaper anyway.

Lots of that may seem like common sense, but if everyone thought that then people would not always complain about having gaming backlogs. So, turn off the TV shows, (probably the biggest reason you have a backlog lol), and get gaming. Feel free to share any tips you have to clear your backlog in the comments below.

(I have left off more obvious things like getting a Switch or Vita for remote play as not all platforms have these solutions).