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Simon J McDonnell

Creating cool stuff

The Game List of Shame

I saw a tweet today that the Steam Summer Sale 2017 started tomorrow. It got me thinking about a method I’ve constructed to help me stop buying any new games. It is the eponymous GAME LIST OF SHAME. Which, you know, sounds terrible but has actually proven to be fairly effective.

The Problem

I buy and have bought way too many games. I’m very susceptible to low prices on games that either my friends have said are good, or just that were part of zeitgeist at one point or another. This has led to me having the extremely common PC gamer problem of having an enormous backlog of games that I’ve never even booted up. The amount of games I buy each year outstrips the amount of them that I actually complete, which isn’t exactly a healthy approach to any medium.

I’ve known that I’d like to be buying less games for a while now, but the thing that pushed me to do something about it was when laurel got me a PS4 for Christmas. I love playing games on it, and shortly after I got it the Spring PS store sale started. So, following tradition, I bought a bunch of games. These were of course in addition to the four or so games that I had already been bought or been gifted for my new console, none of which I’d completed yet.

I saw the pattern beginning to repeat itself, and I didn’t want to end up with a big backlog of unplayed titles on TWO different platforms.

The List

So I made a list. The contents of said list are all of the games I’ve bought but not yet completed in 2017 and 2016. I’ve sectioned it off into both of my main platforms – PC and PS4. I’ve also included a separate category for Bundle Games, as a lot of the time I would buy bundles for the one or two games in them that i really wanted, so it tends to be quite a large category.

The Rules

I can’t buy any new games until I complete at least half of that list, which for the mathematically inclined among you is 28 games (rounding up). That’s the cornerstone rule, and it has worked pretty well so far. I’ve bought two games in the time since I started the list. one of those was the Alan Wake collection, because it was about to be removed from Steam forever. I didn’t add it to the list because I’ve already completed it. The other was Overwatch for PS4, as I had a voucher code that was about to expire which made it quite cheap. I once again didn’t add it to the list because it’s a multiplayer game that i already owned for PC and had played a bunch of.

The only other rule is that I don’t need to actually complete a game to mark it off the list. if I play something and I feel like I’ve gotten my worth out of it (something like Civ or other endless games) then I will mark it off the list. The other case will be where I play something and I just don’t like it or don’t want to play it anymore. I’ve done this with Dark Cloud for the PS4. It was a game I’d really liked when young, but it has not aged well, and so I marked it off of the list and uninstalled it.

Those two sub-rules underscore a key part of the list – it’s not to punish myself into completing games I do not enjoy playing; it’s to get me to actually try out and play the games I already own. Too many times I will buy a game and let it lie unused, and then buy more and repeat the pattern. It was getting to the point where my main interaction with games was buying them, not playing them.

Conclusion

Since I’ve adopted this method I’ve completed/marked off 9 games, and am working through my 10th, Dishonored 2. I’ve played some really good titles that I’ve had for some time, and it’s been a lot more rewarding than pointlessly expanding an ever-unused backlog for little point other than raw consumerism.

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