Getting overwhelmed by Backlogs

Hey fellas, If anyone might understand my first world problems, I’m sure it’s you guys.

Since quite some time I feel myself getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice available in my free time. I have so many games I want to beat, but not only that, I have quite a couple of endless/competitive online games that constantly beg for my attention. And if that wasn’t enough, there are a ton of series/anime/books that I want to get to. I’m definitely suffering from the phenomenon of choice paralysis.

So my question to you is: How the hell are you supposed to juggle all of these things? I mean I tried cutting down to playing one story game at a time, but that’s only the top of the iceberg. I am definitely an overthinker and I might sound ridiculous, but I very often observe myself not being able to enjoy my free time, because the amount of stuff to do is really bothering me and I keep telling myself “hey you should practice this online game” or “you should watch this” instead of focusing on what I’m actually playing at the moment.

Can anyone relate? Please someone give me some advice, because this is really driving me insane at that point :smiley:


I can absolutely relate, and it’s not ridiculous at all. There’s tons of interesting stuff out there and I just want to plug my brain directly into the Internet so I can pick it all up!

For me, it helps to limit what I’m taking in–no picking up a game just because it’s free, no pushing myself to finish a book just because I started it, just picking up the stuff that truly appeals to me and only continuing what can hold my interest–and then I just put my attention where it’s drawn at the moment. (Easier said than done, I know, but I personally found that became a lot easier when I stopped thinking “oh, I HAVE to watch this because it’s a classic” or “I MUST finish this because I paid for it”.) After that–I’m a sucker for achievements. If I can watch my yearly books read counter go up, or my achievement completion percentage climb on Steam, that keeps me going with what I’m focused on at the moment.

I think a good place to start is to ask yourself how you’re most motivated. Do you like to complete challenges, write reviews, even just check the “played” box? Then how can you use that? Thinking about that really helped me start having fun again instead of being completely overwhelmed by my options.

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There are definitly different ways to balance these things. I think it is a good not to force yourself to complete something you don’t enjoy but to force yourself to make a decision if you want to continue a game early (less than a week imho). When you think it’s not worth of your time just delete it from your backlog. It’s not the Olympics.

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I’ve found that I just have to accept juggling hobbies means that there will be months where I hardly do anything for some of said hobbies. I’ll sometimes not play games much for a while, and that’s fine. The backlog is something that will always be there, and there’s no way I’ll ever keep up with all the games coming out that look interesting to me. One other thing I had to learn was that, just because there’s a crazy good sale going on, doesn’t mean I have to get anything. (There’s pretty much always a crazy good sale going on these days.)

I think some folks using Grouvee might take the “Completed” checkmark a bit too seriously. If you’re not digging a game, it’s fine to say you’re done after you’ve given it a fair shake (what that constitutes would likely vary, depending on the game’s genre). I don’t want to force myself to get all the way to a game’s ending if I’m not enjoying it. In the rare instance where I’m still curious about the ending, Youtube pretty much always has me covered.

It’s not the most helpful advice, but I just say no need to feel rushed with any of your hobbies. If you want to go back to an old favorite game for the hundredth time, that’s fine. If you want to just binge-watch The Simpsons for a few weeks during your free time – hey, maybe that’s what you need. If you want to start 20 different games just to try them all out, that’s cool too. No need to pressure yourself to finish any of them, or even “officially” put them in your backlog. In fact, if your Grouvee backlog list is feeling super-intimidating, I say delete the whole thing (or just save a handful of titles). Chances are you’ll eventually re-discover anything you were particularly wanting to dive into.


Yeah I can totally relate with the “plug my brain to the internet part” :smiley:

To be honest I barely buy new games anymore, I’m overwhelmed as it is already and adding to it won’t help. I agree that you shouldn’t be doing things because you feel like you HAVE to do it, but my personal problem is, that I’m not even able to properly judge anymore if the game itself doesn’t appeal to me or if the pure stress of wanting to play so many games makes me not appreciate the current game even though it might be good, so I’m very hesitant to drop games halfway through. Do you know what I mean?

Interesting question. I think what motivates me the most is seeing progress, be it in a story or by getting better in a competitive game. But it’s really hard to balance backlog gaming and competitive gaming, I have to admit.

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I have definitely been there and have been amazed myself at how much I have been able to cut down from my backlog over the course of 6 months +. What has seemed to work for me is a few things:

I have come to the realization that I may not get to play/ experience everything that I am suggested/ should/ or want to, whether that be books, films, games, etc. In that respect, we are all human (hopefully, lol), and therefore we have limited time and so with that time constraint, I would rather play something that I find enjoyable, rather than something that is not, no matter how lauded the product/ art is. For example, The Last of Us has been considered by many to be an almost perfect game, and I have to disagree personally, as I found the game to be sluggish, annoying and just downright un-fun if that makes sense. Does that mean I should just slog through it because how great it has been considered by many? I choose not to. I have gotten to experience so much in my short time here, and especially since joining this site, I have allowed myself to be more open to games that I may not have even been aware of before, but that doesn’t stop me from being picky with the time I put in.

I believe instead of putting the “You should…” statement towards yourself, you would fare better by putting the “You would…” as it takes account of what you want to do rather than what others think you would enjoy. If you were given a few months to live, what games would you want to experience? I don’t know if this helps, but I truly hope it does in some sense.


I have played about 900 games from 2014 until now. I’ve also watched dozens of tv-series. And a bunch of movies. Et cetera. Here’s my golden rule:

“If you don’t enjoy a product, stop consuming it.”

It’s easy to get trapped by the sunk cost fallacy. You’ve paid for it so you should play it! You’ve already started playing it, now you have to finish it! You’ve been following this series for years, you have to know how it ends!

I’ve learnt how to quit games as soon as they really bother or bore me but i personally find it harder to quit tv-series because they involve people and they require no effort on my part. One trick that tends to work for me is to stop keeping up and tell myself i will catch up later. Lying to yourself can be very effective. :stuck_out_tongue:

Another thing that has worked is to just uninstall it. That game with the daily quests/rewards that has become part of your routine? Uninstall it. Don’t think about it. Make up an excuse like “i’ll wait for the next expansion”. It’s similar to stop watching a tv-series but in case of (especially free-to-play) games you have to deal with evolutionary psychology being used against you.

I’ve also found a good way to deal with the pain of not getting your bang for your back. I used to buy bundles all the time and most games in those are subpar. Writing scathing reviews makes me feel a lot better about having wasted my time and money on them. Hopefully i can stop others from making the same mistake! :slight_smile:


Picking through the backlog is something i find really satisfying. There are games on it that I might move to ‘abandoned’ and i’m not afraid to do that, but a lot of things in there are higher and lower priority.Now depending on who you are, how long you been putting things in that backlog and how big it is, is a personal question and matter of your own tastes. We have a lot of choices for working on that or picking new games (and got so many that i’m ashamed to not have played) I tend to chip away at backlog and maybe get something done once a month or something, but i also try to tailor new games i start as ones i think i’ll finish.

And that’s kinda the problem for me, what new games to play? That’s a wider gamut of the decision factor. I’m interested in literally all eras and systems and genres with little discrimination. Whether its on the backlog or wishlist I still do the same thing though, I just pick diff kinds of games and slot and rotate. (genre) I might play a FPS then RTS, etc. (length) I might have a short length game and something longer and might mix that in (or between) an endless/online game. I’ll eye a game and slate it for something.

(platforms, eras/year) I also slot consoles, Say I want to play more games for particular consoles, I might flip between a certain generation (or early CD era games, which is what i’m trying to get more in)

I found the Grouvee Challenge really helps me pick and slate things and get into that kind of variety mindset. I try to spend a minimal amount of time with it, but even with the time investment of setting it up I plan to reuse my template for next year as well (I’ll change some things/refine i’m sure) It’s good because it gets me a sort of playlist going for diff categories, and i have shortcuts to all these games right inside my Launchbox… Everything just a click away, lol. Also HLTB and reddit guides that help me pick lengths (“reddit short games under 8 hours” etc) gets more progress done (and less hangups) so that way you can pick things that arent too long if your backlog keeps ballooning because you thought you could tackle three final fantasy games on your week off! hehe If you really are bothered by it i would suggest you look up each of your backlog games on HLTB or screen for shorter ones, and make a Grouvee Challenge spreadsheet and slot those suckers first, work them out as you work in new games from wishlist. You’ll feel better trimming 10% or more off the backlog and it’s definitely something you could do this way.

My habits have one big flaw though: There are a lot of great games that I’m afraid to touch because of length (like Witcher II and then Witcher III) i’m also somewhat more hesitant to play some genres JRPGS but that’s less from fear of commitment and more of because the mood i gotta be in when i play them isn’t something i’m in for. And while it’s not a big problem sometimes I will grind a game for achievements and give it several days more time than it really deserves from me, haha.

Also i looked at your backlog and while ~150 isnt that high i dont know the rate at which they’re growing. I see a lot of titles in that ~8 hour range though that you could finish or make an abandoned shelf for. An alternative would be to have a backlog (low priority) shelf. I seen some on here do that. That might be a good chocie for you if you just find it toughto flip through that shelf and pick things (if thats the case)


Yep, to create an own challenge is always a good method when the backlog is just overwhelming. I do it myself. It’s important to stay flexible at that point and don’t create finishing a specific game as a goal. In defence of The Witcher: Witcher 3 with the dlc’s is definitly the longest game that I beat but it is not the game that I’ve played the longest.

After 30 years of gaming (Oh gawd!) I feel like i’ve played a decent selection of the best games from the earliest to the present. And that’s cool, but I wonder if future generations will look at games the same way we look at books i.e: There’s so many you’ll never play them all!

To answer your question of being overwhelmed by your backlog;

  1. Cut the chaff. If a game sucks, you don’t have to finish it.
  2. Don’t worry too much about what you’re missing out on, they’re not going anywhere and as long as you’re having fun now, then that’s okay.
  3. Don’t feel bad if you keep playing the same games, as long as you’re enjoying yourself.

That’s what it comes down to I think. Having a good time and taking heart from the fact that if what you’re doing now stops being fun, there’s more cool shit to try but also accepting that at this point in gaming and wider entertainment history, you’re probably not going to play/watch everything. But that’s ok.

Raaaaaaaaaaaamble Oooooooooooover baaaaaybaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!


The best part of this quote is I thought, man, I guess he’s a lot older than me. Then I thought about it, and I was like, oh, I’ve been gaming for 30 years too :slight_smile:


Future generations will definitely look at games this way, even the current generations (or at least people like me) do that :smiley:

Thanks for your tips! I do have a few follow up questions though, for instance, I have a really hard time giving up on stuff because of the sunk cost fallacy and because I don’t even know if the game is bad or if it’s just the general overwhelming feel of the backlog and the urge to try something new. Furthermore, if I play an endless game/online game, I might enjoy myself in the moment, but afterwards I feel bad for neglecting story games because I know that I have some story games in my backlog that I will absolutely enjoy and I feel bad for not giving them a try. It’s a paradox really.


I see your angle. (I’m definitely in the 30 years of BACKLOG (oh gawd!) camp. But i think so, think about how much games are being produced now. You just have to accept the fact that your wishlist and backlog is going to keep going up exponentially because that’s how much the industry grows, or chill out and miss out a few years.

Sometimes I feel embarassed to like old games, (I feel like a boomer) But It’s pretty cool that some of us got in on this stuff from basically the beginning of when it started to kick off and go somewhere. For me there’s like a small window in which things were being made that were just little blips on my conscious-experience-making time. But I’ve seen the rest of it.

Imagine being post-millenial or whatever and like 16 and trying to ‘pick out’ games. maybe list them or talk about them with your brahs on discord and pick out what’s what. then wait for the steam sale and load up, binge and hope you don’t slip into buyer’s remorse but cling onto some crap with that “sunk cost fallacy”. Imagine playing like 4 online F2P (or not) games with people but neglecting playing the stuff you bought… for six months, then longer. Then well, gee, time to get more games! :smiley: It’s such a noisy experience now. it’s dictated in ways related to steam sales and whatnot. (I honestly dont ever remember a game being based on how much it was gonna cost. I mean we arent talking a jump of 10 to 20 or 40 dollars it was like 40 or 60 dollars.They were like always one price or another if it was supposedly based off a movie or something they’d have it at 65.) I dont really remember seeing any RPGS for sale though in my area. Like chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy games and things like that (can someone confirm this i dont think its because I grew interested in them later i think they kinda just didnt exist and i’m guessing might have been imports?) I say this because i knew the expensive games were always things like a BATMAN or JURASSIC PARK. which was supposed to be ‘the thing’ for the summer/year whatever.

Now Its much more complicated. Options used to be more limited to like… what was actually right in front of you. Like remember walking into the STORE and getting a BOXED game? You’d walk around the place and walk out with what looked the most interesting or coolest or whatever. That’s how I picked out Deuss Ex, Half-Life. Fallout, several PC games with really cool presentation. Remember reading magazines and seeing ADS that were goofy? Or whatever nintendo power was trying to push and get its american market so excited about? (how many people here started gaming after Daikatana and don’t remember that ad, or the infamous sega ads?) Or (my favorite) going to the VHS RENTAL STORE :vhs: to get a CARTRIDGE for the weekend, looking at the back of all those boxes, and trying to figure out what a game might be about from little tiny screens and horrendously absurd descriptions. In that same sense I can’t imagine anyone walking into a rental store and grabbing something nearest on the shelf and walking out I can’t imagine someone just going to steam and clicking to buy the first thing they see for FPS.

Now you have unlimited choice to pick from new stuff and its a wide range of things that you can look at to affect your decision too. 30 years ago unless you were like some kind of proto-otaku or a sega/nintendo employee who worked at Nintendo JP/ and NA how could you even know about like the hot new games from japan? And even with NA releases you probably didnt know all of what was available unless you somehow had access to a catalogue or something unusual like that and were from a bigger city using message boards or Compuserve.

there’s more cool shit to try but also accepting that at this point in gaming and wider entertainment history, you’re probably not going to play/watch everything. But that’s ok.

I think it’s safe to assume that most of the people on this site have this issue where they are ‘catching up’ in terms of a series they like, or years they miss, otherwise why would you be here lol. Maybe for some people the best strategy is to just reduce their wishlist growth rate. Maybe if you are a bit younger its easier to just dump things from <2015 or <2010 and call that year ‘the line’ you could base it around a console generational gap or something and just pick up series you like. None of these things would work for me though.

I do think everyone should have an abandoned shelf and feel okay to use it. For a while I just had stuck all my games on the default shelves and backlog grew. I’d rate games to prioritize them and after a while I then had a backlog2 (low priority) which i think i just renamed “Abandoned” lol

and hey if you ever wanna you can always browse your abandoned shelf to dig through stuff to put back on the backlog or playing lists.


I want to say “drop online/competitive gaming completely” but I never play online games and I still have the same backlog problem as you do, so that won’t help much :sweat_smile: Unfortunately only you can realize what you really enjoy doing and then let go of everything else.

I accepted the fact that I will never completely finish my backlog, so what I do now is to try as many video games as possible to understand what kind of experience they are offering. For example, I played Borderlands for 6 hours and that was enough for me. However, I had to play Witcher III for 30 hours to understand what it is. But still, instead of rushing myself and spending 80-100 hours to finish it, I can experience many more games.

As for tv shows/animes, you can limit yourself to watching their first season only. That would give you a solid idea of what that show is about. Then you can switch to another one and do the same. It relieves you from the anxiety of “damn, I will never finish that 10/20 seasons” :smiley:


I have to admit that, after seeing this portion of your statement, I too was hit with the realization that I am part of this club as well. Not that I’m letting it get to me or anything. :wink:

Your response is exactly how I feel, honestly, and it reminds me quite vividly of a Sylvia Plath quote,

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited (Plath, 1982).

I think games, like other forms of art are to be experienced according to not only what they offer but what you are able to take from them. If you don’t like such and such game for x, y, z reason, then move on. Get lost in the medium, and find yourself on shores of games you actually care for, whether it be the music, game play, ingenuity, creativity, world-building, etc.


I think @GigaDeathNullGolem hit a really important point here. Just because you might abandon a game doesn’t mean you can never pick it up again. Maybe you want to make a couple of shelves–one for games that you know you never want to pick up again, and one for games you tried and you’re not sure if you really dislike them or if your brain was just trying to hurry you along. You can always look back at that shelf periodically and move things around. In the mean time, that might help thin out your backlog to make it a little less overwhelming.

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