How I Tackle My Backlog Anxiety

Many of us have huge libraries of games, whether it be on Steam, or your console of choice, you have more games than you can ever imagine owning when you were younger, but that very collection of games has been given a term of a “backlog” in current gaming culture. We all feel the urge to play through that pile of games that we spent our hard earned money on but something always stops us from doing so. It might be that you are into a huge time sink of a game, such as Players Unknown Battlegrounds, DOTA, or Hearthstone, that you just don’t have the time to play any other games, or maybe you just can’t face the thought of this huge long list of games you have purchased but have yet to open.

I am guilty of the latter, even though I have sunk way too many hours into Hearthstone than I would like to admit, the “backlog anxiety” as I call it always used to stop me from picking a game, playing it, and enjoying it. I would spend hours just scrolling up and down my Steam library deciding what to play, and then by the time I had chose what to play, I had run out of time or just had no motivation to actually play a game anymore.

In the past I had formulated methods of deciding what to play, each having varying success. Methods ranged from using one of those random game selector websites to going through my library from A-Z. These methods allowed me to explore games that I wouldn’t normally think are my type of game, but it did result in me playing a lot of games that were just…garbage.

That was my method up until a few months ago when I discovered

This site allowed me to organize my collection of games, and give me something to aim for in my quest to work through my backlog.

While the site has the ability to import your Steam collection automatically, I chose against that, mainly because I have 3000 games in mine, and half of those will have come from bundles that I have absolutely no interest in playing. So we’re off to a great start. My backlog has already been cut down by 50%.

I then set out one Saturday morning to go through my list of games on Steam, pick out a collection of games that I really wanted to play. From the 3000 games, I had already cut out half which were already classified as bundle fodder in my Steam categories, so I only had 1500 to wade through. Guess what? I then managed to cut that 1500 down to just 300 games that I wanted to play. So in the space of one Saturday morning, I had already wiped out 90% of my backlog. Not bad!

Now you may be thinking, what I thought at the time “What about all that wasted money?” Well yes, I did waste a lot of money on those games which I have no interest in playing, but that thought will only add to the anxiety that we are trying to avoid.

I was quite happy with my list of 300 games that I had an interest in playing. My next task was to make use of Completionator’s “PlayList” feature. This feature allows you to set out your games in an order in which you wish to play them, so you always know what is on the horizon.

A site I have often used in the past, is – armed with my list of games, I took to HowLongToBeat and started searching for the how long it would take to beat each and every single one of them. I put that information into a spreadsheet and sorted them from quickest to longest. I found that my collection had six distinct length categories. Quick Games (>5 hours), Short Games (5-10 hours), Medium Games (10-20 hours), Long Games (20-30 hours) and Open World/Epic Scale Games (30-60 hours) and Never Ending Games (60 hours+). Once I had split them into the six categories, I then started adding games to my play list. I would add one Quick Game > Short Game > Medium Game, Long Game > Open World/Epic Scale Game > Never Ending Game > Quick Game…. Etc etc.

My first playlist looked something like this Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series -> Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes -> Saints Row 2 -> Minecraft: Story Mode -> Dishonored 2 > Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. This continued until I had filled out my whole playlist with my games.

I then started to take a look at the sites “Playthroughs” feature. Now being the complete geek I am, I could rattle off all the games I have completed in the past few years, just by scrolling down my Steam library, so I started inputting those games in as being completed. There is something about lists and being able to tick or cross things off which gives me great satisfaction, so this was a procedure I enjoyed and also brought back plenty of good memories of those games too. So now my profile had 300 games to play, and around 280 games completed! Success! I already felt good about myself.

Okay, so I have my Play List of games, let’s get into playing them shall we? Well like I said, I always LOVE being able to tick things off. Completionator also has a feature that lets you set out goals for your playthroughs. So for instance right now, I am currently playing through Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I added each of the chapters in the game as a Goal. This meant that when I was playing through I could wipe off chapters as I went. This gave me the sense that I was always making a dent into my backlog. This really helped when it came to games such as Wildlands, or another larger game which can sometimes feel like even after a few hours gaming you haven’t made any real progress.

I am now 4 months into using Completoinator to aid my progress through my backlog, and I have to say I have completed more games in those 4 months than I have done in the past 12 months combined

We aren’t affiliated with but I would strongly advise anyone who has had this sort of problem in the past that they check them out!

Written by: Tom Olson

Even though he has a massive backlog of games, he will always somehow find an excuse to play the latest releases. That pile of shame is never going to get any smaller...


We all have one, and we are all ashamed of it. Backlog Critic will tell let you know which of games from your pile of shame are worth playing.

All of our reviews can be found on OpenCritic.





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