4 Tips For Beating Your Gaming Backlog

Over the past two weeks, Steam, the PlayStation Store and the Xbox Games Store have all been holding major sales, in which it was possible to pick up a lot of great games at very cheap prices.

If there is anything that a good sale and the desire to purchase a ridiculous number of games at one time reminds me of, it is my growing backlog list that seems to just keep on growing with each and every sale.

I seem to have a load of great games in my backlog that I never get around to playing and feel terrible about it because not only did I spend money on the game, but I feel I may be depriving myself of a rather worthwhile experience.

A few months ago, I finally decided to have a crack at culling my to play list and was able to at least get through a few titles and make the list a little bit shorter (well, at least, until the sales started again…)

I know a lot of other gamers also have a backlog with a load of games that they would also like to get through and due to this I decided to share a short description of the strategy I used in attempting to beat my backlog in the aim of possibly helping somebody else.

The strategy consists of four steps as follows:

Step 1: Stop Buying Every Single Game On Sale

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You don’t need to own all the games. (Credit: quickmeme.com)

This step is primarily meant to prevent growth of one’s backlog list as opposed to anything else.

The problem with sales is that they often coerce us into buying games that we kind of already know that we won’t really like or play, but feel we need to own due to the fact that they are simply available at very cheap prices.

For example, you may not like open-world games or maybe you are fatigued with the genre, but then at the next major sale, still decide to buy something like a Far Cry 4/Primal bundle because the deal offers two games at half the regular price of a video game.

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Far Cry Primal. (Credit: Ubisoft)

In these instances, you are probably buying a game with the idea that some time in future, you will feel the desire to play the game and you better take advantage of this opportunity because, you know, it may never come again – until, the next sale that is.

The problem with this is that either the desire to play said game never comes or you start playing the game and are immediately reminded why you originally may have been somewhat apprehensive about purchasing it

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to stock up on games during a sale, but rather that one should really ask the question of whether they want to play a particular title before one decides to purchase it just because it is available at a cheap price.

Step 2: Acknowledge That There Are Some Games You Don’t Like Or Will Never Play

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It’s okay not to like some games. (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Credit: CD Projekt Red)

If I really had to think of how many games I actually own, the number would probably exceed 250 or so titles.

I can’t say that I have played every single one of these games to the fullest extent because, firstly, I don’t think I have enough time to play all of them and then, secondly, some of these titles I’m just not all too interested in.

As suggested with the previous step, sometimes you buy games you aren’t interested in because they are available at a cheap price. Other times, maybe a title that received great reviews was made free with PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live or some other means and you feel compelled to play it because it received such great acclaim even though you’re not really into it.

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Do I really want to play this? (Color Guardians, Credit: Fairplay Studios)

It’s important to remember that it is fine to dislike some games and that you don’t have to play every single title that was critically acclaimed.

If you don’t like a particular title, quite simply, don’t include it in your to-play list and never force yourself to push through it just to say that you finished it. Remember, most people play games as a hobby and if you’re not having fun with the game that you’re playing then why waste your valuable time on it?

All this will do is create resentment towards the hobby.

Step 3: Start With The Shortest Games First

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5 hour campaign? I’ll start with it. (The Order 1886, Credit: Ready At Dawn)

Sometimes, quite simply, it is the large number of games on one’s backlog list that prevents them from actually chipping away at it as it may seem impossible.

Once I has whittled down my backlog list by eliminating the games I knew I would never play, I still had a rather large number of titles to get through and it seemed kind of daunting.

I found the quickest way to cull down this number and remove this mental block was to start with the games that required the least amount of time first. Once the numbers started dropping, I had no problem in getting into the next game on the list.

Step 4: Make Time To Play


Sometimes, making a schedule is actually rather helpful.

This idea is based more on an overall life skill than just trying to beat a backlog list.

Personally, I have often found that the quickest manner in getting a number of tasks completed quickly is to designate a particular time in which to do each task.

It is true that in the case of some gamers finding time to play video games is a very big culprit in creating a large backlog list.

Sometimes, the daily activities in one’s life prevents them from playing video games as much as they would like to, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t always perhaps schedule a particular time during the week to engage in the hobby.

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I made time to come find you, Wandering Soldier 06. (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Credit: Konami)

I have heard some take this idea a little bit further by even scheduling time to play each specific game.

If you really want to beat your backlog list, you will need to make the time to do so. I’m not saying that gaming should be the only activity you engage in your free time, but if you don’t make some time for the hobby and still continue to buy a ridiculous number of games, I don’t know how you’re ever really going to cull down your list.


There are so many different strategies in tackling a gaming backlog available. Perhaps, I’ve missed some ideas that other feel are more helpful in getting through a backlog than the ones I’ve provided, but I do hope that my strategy may help others.

What is your strategy in working through your backlog, if you have one? Do you agree with the steps I’ve mentioned? Please share in the comments down below.