The Pile Of Shame: A Resolution To Take On The Backlog

At the start of the new year, it’s traditional to make a resolution that you hold yourself to for as long as you possibly can. It could be to exercise more, give up a certain habit or something more personal – and it’s often forgotten and dismissed after a few weeks . When 2015 was rung in I found myself without a resolution.

Actually, I was actually at the pub and rather inebriated, so if I did make a resolution I really can’t remember it. The next day I decided to do a bit of gaming in that rare instance where free time was there to be taken, and downloaded Octodad to see what it was all about. A few hours later I had completed the game and I remember thinking, “That is the first game I’ve completed in 2015.”

Then an idea came to me and next thing I knew I had logged that completion into a spreadsheet, along with the date and which platform it was played on. I can’t say what possessed me to do so at the time, but now I’m a bit thankful for it. You see I’m privileged in the sense that I get to play a lot of different games each year, but by the time the end of December rolls around I won’t always remember what I’ve played in the 12 months prior. It’s not always because some games are forgettable experiences but due to the sheer volume they just won’t be retained in my mind. This year is different, and it will also be a challenge to myself.

You see this has already grown to be more than keeping a log of games I’ve completed, and I’ve challenged myself to finish as many games as possible. I mean this in the sense of completing a story mode of a game, rather than 100% completion of a trophy list, because I don’t really go in for that side of games unless that game is something that is truly special to me. I reckon on average I may complete around 20 games a year, with many more joining the backlog that so many of us have.

Every year I tell myself I will eventually get a clean slate in my gaming library, where each new game I play isn’t at the expense of me ignoring one sitting on the shelf unfinished. This time I will do it, and I also recommend the idea to you. If you were to look at your game collection now, how many of those can you say you finished? If you notice quite a large number of unfinished titles it may be wise to play them, and return to experiences abandoned halfway because something newer came along. You might find something you hated before but like now, or vice versa. Keeping a log will also make your personal gaming habits more apparent to you too, which could help to a degree in narrowing down exactly what future releases you want.

Within the first week of January I’ve already managed to complete the stories of Valiant Hearts, Contrast, Octodad, and Escape Plan. Out of the four Valiant Hearts was definitely my favourite due to the nature of the story, but Octodad was surprisingly enjoyable for me once I had got used to the controls. I must admit that Escape Plan is exactly the type of game I would have forgotten by the end of the year, and when I do remember it now, it may not be too fondly due to a couple of the levels. The same could be said of Contrast, but this too has been logged on my completion list.

2015 is the year where I will look back to the games that I played but didn’t finish, and the ones that I bought but never even took out of the shrink wrap. That’s a lot of untapped gameplay hours, as well as money wasted, and it is time to tackle that mountain. It might also prove to be a nice little money saver to due to how limited my free gaming time really is, and if I’m trying to complete games bought previously I can enjoy the price drops when eventually picking up newer titles. I think a part of me also wants to complete the backlog as a final hurrah to the last gen, before fully committing to the new gen. I’m unlikely to buy a PS3 or Xbox 360 game again unless they’re exclusive to those platforms, so what better way to close that generation than to finish every game I ever got for them. This journey is all about creating new gaming memories from past titles.


  1. I started doing this last year.

    I’m terrible for buying new releases, or picking up bargains from Humble Bundle and Steam sales, so my backlog is in the hundreds right now.

    I decided to set myself a goal to finish more games than I buy last year. It didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the number of games that I bought as I still bought a silly number (too many great new releases I couldn’t pass on!), but it did make me put in more effort to finish games from my backlog. I managed to get through 105 games last year, which I’m very pleased with.

    I’m setting myself the same challenge this year, but also adding into the mix that I can’t buy a new game until I cross off one from my backlog first.

    • Very healthy attitude, to not buy new games until you finish a backlog one first, but dude: 105 games in a year?! Holy crap, that’s like two games in a week?! Crazy number.

      • My thinking too. I am lucky if I knock one game off a month and that includes short ones and only ‘completed’ in the sense of compulsory missions/tasks.

        If I completed two a week I wouldn’t have time to go to work and earn the money to buy any more games anyway!

  2. Nice read Aran ^^

    I recently installed an app on my phone to help me get through my backlog and keep track of games I will finish in 2015, so I have a nice list at the end of the year. FYI it’s called My Game Collection on android. Really well done, I like it.

    • Good shout out, might be an improvement on the multi-sheet spreadsheet I use now.

      The problem I have is that since PS4 fw 2.00, I’ve been adding all plus games to library and have barely tried any since.

    • I’ve downloaded this app to give it a go. The whole article and idea is great.
      I constantly bought games when ps3 was in its heyday and bareley completed them.
      Think I’ll make my way through them before committing to ps4.

    • when you have a list of games you want to complete and have somthing like a spreadsheet then your taking things too seriously and this is when gaming is no longer fun and feels like a job or a chore.

      • I think everyone has the right to enjoy games as they want. Maybe for someone keeping a spreadsheet plan for his gaming is FUN. I love gaming and order as well so…

  3. I purposely held off buying a new console until my 360 backlog was down to a more respectable level. Went from 35+ games to around 10. Good thing was all my new game buys were funded with tradeins for most of last year.

  4. Being fortunate to have ps3, ps4 and vita it’s the ps plus that is soley responsible for my backlog. I really can’t imagine getting around to downloading many of the games never mind finishing them.

    • Same here.
      I have games that I have downloaded for free and that simply sit there until I start to run out of space, then get deleted! I feel bad for them in a way.

  5. I have recently placed a ban on myself buying games/receiving them as gifts due to my ridiculous backlog. It’s not huge but does span all the way back to PS1 games. My second child will be arriving imminently and my gaming time is set to become even more limited so I really don’t need anymore games, especially since most of my backlog is lengthy RPGs.

  6. I really need to do this. Terrible at starting games and not finishing them. I started, and finished swapper yesterday, and that is the only game I have finished this year so far. Think I will work on finishing octodad and mass effect before I start other games.

  7. A good tactic is to require oneself to finish at least two games before buying a new one.

    I’ve had to give up on much of my backlog on PS3 and PC as it’s simply too vast to deal with without giving a pass on the current generation.

  8. My resolution is just to not add to the backlog. So far have resisted the January sales and continuing to try and complete AC: Unity, GTA V and Dragon Age Inquisition.

    Must not buy more games until complete…….
    Must not buy more games until complete…….
    Must not buy more games until complete…….

  9. I am now the proud owner of a PS3, Vita and PS4 backlog. It never ends.

  10. I hate you all for the amount of free time you have to dedicate to maintaining spreadsheets of how many games you have completed :-P

    • I don’t even have time to create a spreadsheet detailing the time I don’t have to dedicate to making spreadsheets about how many games I have completed.

      • I don’t even have the time to read this comment about having the time to create spreadsheets about having the time to create spreadsheets about how many games you have completed. I have literally had to go back in time just to type this, which has caused a messy continuity rift.

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