10 Tips for Dealing with Your Pile of Shame

Pile of Shame (2013)

If you’ve been playing video games long enough, chances are you have a fast-growing pile of games that you’d like to finish. Unfortunately, part of being an adult is having a lot of money, but not necessarily a lot of time. So we find ourselves constantly checking our virtual/physical libraries and reminding ourselves to play those games we got as part of a massive promotions a long time ago. But unless we change the way in which we approach the way how we play them, that’s not going to happen any time soon, so I decided to work on a list with some ideas to tackle our piles of shame.

First and foremost, I have to say that the way I play games is quite different to that of most of you (I tend to review pretty much every single title I play.) Nevertheless, I still decided to work on some general guidelines that might be helpful to you. That said, making a dent in your pile of shame shouldn’t become this cumbersome process of finishing one title and then moving on to the next one. My advice is to try making the process as entertaining as you can. If the idea is just playing games for the sake of moving on to others, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons and you’ll probably end up hating the process.

That was a really long introduction, so let’s move on to the tips already:


1. Play with someone.

Do you have a friend who happens to like the same kind of games you do? Give him/her a call and start playing games together. Take turns, try to find the solution together if you get stuck or simply talk about whatever you want when something uninteresting is happening on the screen. Playing with someone is probably one of the best ways to finish some of the most “unexceptional” games in your collection.

2. Avoid certain types of games.

If the main idea is to get rid of some of the titles in your pile of shame, under no circumstances should play the following: massively multiplayer online games (World of Warcraft,) multiplayer-oriented games (Dota 2) and sports games (Pro Evolution Soccer,) among other time-consuming genres. Don’t get me wrong, some of the games I provided as examples are some of my favorite games of all time, but it’s hard to keep playing the latest version of Pro Evolution Soccer when you have hundreds of other titles waiting for you to play them as well.

3. Focus on single-player campaigns.

Arguably, you can say that you beat a game when you see the credits roll (though there are some exceptions to this rule.) Try focusing on single-player campaign only and once you see the credits, put the box back in the shelf and move on.

4. Focus on playing games, at least for a while.

Some of my favorite pastimes include watching films, reading books and listening to podcasts. You must have other hobbies too, but if you’re reading this article, that’s because you’re tired of never finding the time to play games. So you should focus on playing games then. Our free time is very limited and on top of that, other activities get in the way of playing games, so at one point, you’ll have to decide if you ‘re going to watch the latest iteration of the Paranormal Activity series or if you’re going to play Bastion. You know what? Paranormal Activity 4 sucks, so go play Bastion instead.

5. Alternate genres.

Try mixing different types of experiences. Don’t play three puzzle games in a row, because if you do, the whole process will become extremely tedious and you’ll get tired soon. Play an indie game, then a AAA experience, then a flash game, then a racing game, then a shooter, then a point-and-click adventure and so on and so forth. Additionally, try alternating between the genres you enjoy and those you’re not necessarily a fan of.

6. Keep lists.

I save the last few pages of my notebook to write a list with all the games I own and I intend to play. Although this is something personal and different people have different ways of organizing their activities, I suggest you do something similar. If you don’t keep a list, it will be extremely difficult to remember all the games you own. A list let’s you decide which games you want to play and the order in which you want to play them. Also, removing a game from a list is extremely rewarding.

7. Save long games for special occasions.

I always save at least one overly long RPG for when I get sick or can’t leave the house for whatever reason (usually this depends on where you live.) Role-playing games are perfect for those sort of special occasions, but maybe you have your own type of genre that takes up a lot of your time.

8. Start your own blog.

Starting a blog has never been easier and taking into account that platforms such as Blogger are completely free, there’s simply no excuse to at least try it. Not only does a blog let you keep a meticulous list of all the games you want to play, but also let’s you share your experience with other people who might be in a similar situation. It then becomes something social and discussing it with others will encourage you to play more games.

9. Don’t be a completionist.

When I started buying games I used to play them very thoroughly. I remember trying to catch all those butterflies in Final Fantasy X to get a legendary weapon. I remember playing every single mission from the Mercenaries minigame in Resident Evil 4 to get… something. I get it. I spent a lot of money on games (or someone else in my family did) and I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth unless I did every single side endeavor. Now I don’t do that anymore and you shouldn’t either.

10. Try using some of these websites.


How Long To Beat

As its name indicates this is a website that tells you how long it should take you to complete a given game. For each game, you’ll find the time to complete the main story, the main story and the extras and the time it should take you to finish the game if you’re a completionist. The site has a pretty extensive database that keeps growing and growing, so feel free to check it out. Personally, I use “How Long to Beat” a lot to schedule reviews.

The Backloggery

I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but a lot of people have recommended it. Basically, the Backloggery keeps a track of everything you play and orders all the games in your collection for you.

Did I miss anything? Do you have more tips to deal your pile of shame? More importantly, do you have a pile of shame? Would you like others to see it? Feel free to share your pile of shame or other ideas in the comments below.


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