Trying to decide what game you want to play can be hard. Picture this, you come home after a long hard day ready to unwind and enjoy some games. Was it a rough day at work or did you just take a really hard test at school? Who Cares? It’s time to kick back and play some games!
You grab your snacks, your drink, and your controller. You fire up your console of choice and plop down in your chair ready to enjoy your free time. But wait, what are you going to play? Are you going to dive right into that hundred hour JRPG? Or what about that new looter shooter your friends are playing? Maybe you should get started on one of those games you picked up during the last sale? But aren’t you halfway done with another game already?
Does this sound like you?
If it does, then you may be experiencing choice overload! Choice overload, or overchoice, is a psychological term for when people have a difficult time making decisions when faced with many equally good options. Whether you’re trying to pick out what game to play, what show to watch on Netflix, or what flavor ice cream you want, overchoice can make seemingly simple decisions much more daunting.
We often find it difficult to choose what we want to play when facing an evergrowing backlog because when we try to pick the best option in a limited amount of time we fear making the wrong choice. For example, if you are trying to decide between a game you just purchased or a game you’re halfway through you may think to yourself “If I play the old game I don’t know when I’ll have enough free time to go back and play the new game and I may have wasted that money”. At the same time you may also think “If I start the new game I might never go back and finally finish the old game then what was the point of starting it in the first place?” rest assured, you are not alone in this ongoing battle against the backlog. Luckily, I have some tips that will help you get to finishing your games.
Out of Sight, out of Mind
The quickest and easiest way to eliminate some of your choices is to get some of your games out of view. Try creating folders or collections of games you have either beaten, no longer play, or aren’t necessarily games that you play to beat (e.g. sports games, free to play, sandbox, etc.). Then create folders or lists of games you want to play to completion. If there are games that you have that you don’t care to play through go ahead and throw them into the completed folder or hide them from your library.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
This may be the hardest step, actually deciding what games you should be prioritizing. My recommendation is to start with either the game you have the furthest progress in or check how long it takes to beat the games in your list at howlongtobeat.com then start with the shortest one and work your way down from there. Don’t worry if you want to reorder what games you want to play down the line. The main objective here is just to create a visual plan to help you stay organized.
One Down, Many to Go
Whether you started with the shortest game in your backlog or wrapped up a game you had already been working on, getting that first completion of your new list is highly satisfying! Once you beat a game go ahead and move it over to your completed folder and behold as your backlog begins to shrink. If you decide to add new games to your library try to prioritize what order you’ll play them in so that you never feel like your backlog is becoming too large to tackle.
Some things to remember are that you shouldn’t force yourself to play games that you don’t want to play. If you realize you are not enjoying a game take a break and come back later. If you still aren’t feeling it, just move on to the next one. Also, don’t feel pressured to complete every side mission or find every pointless collectible (looking at you, korok seeds). Though playing just the main story of a game and disregarding the side content may feel like your missing out, it’s worth considering that playing most of the game is much better than sitting at your home screen trying to decide what to play then playing nothing at all!
How many games do you have piling up in your backlog? What have you started playing but haven’t finished? Let us know down below and be sure to check out other Culture of Gaming editorials and opinion pieces here.