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5 Tips on How to Beat the Backlog

After 2017, the backlog is real. A truly amazing year for games has meant that many of us have already entered 2018 playing catch up.

I personally still have Horizon Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata and Persona 5 all to play through, and I still haven’t finished Breath of the Wild yet…


So, as the next big batch of games are soon on their way, here are 5 tips to help you beat that backlog:

Illustration for article titled 5 Tips on How to Beat the Backlog

1. Make a List and Plan Ahead.

Whether it’s with an Excel spreadsheet, using a dedicated website like Backloggery, or just plain pen and paper, make a list of the games that you want to play. It will help you recognise the amount you still want to catch up on, as well as help you organise those games into a digestible order.


You can then use this list to organise when you play these games! I’d recommend browsing HowLongToBeat.com to see how long each game is. You can check the average length it takes to complete nearly every game on that site, helping you to prioritise.

Got a big, free weekend coming up? Time to make a dent into the 95-hour long Persona 5 perhaps...


Organising like this is actually a well-known psychological trick. It’s very similar to the weight-loss tip of counting calories! The simple act of being able to see how many games you have left to play will hopefully encourage you to work through them. No more putting them off for another quick game of Overwatch.

2. Know When You’ve Played ‘Enough’ (and Don’t Force Yourself to Play).

Not enjoying a title? Move on.

Very often it can feel as though you have to finish a game. You’ve already sunk 4 or 5 hours into it, and there’s only 3 hours left, right? Wouldn’t make sense to give up now, just in case it gets good at the end.


Wrong. Don’t feel afraid to just leave a game behind, should the experience degrade somewhat. You will always be able to go back in case you feel the itch again..

For most games, a couple of hours is all you need to get the gist. By then, you will know whether it works for you or not. It’s doubtful that finishing it will change that.


3. Have Multiple Games on the go.

Sometimes it can be very easy to be sucked into a game. Some titles are so good, that they can become the only thing you can think about. (I’m looking at you X-Com 2).


But it’s worth resisting the overpowering pull from any single game. Having multiple games on the go can help stop any one game become stale. By playing through 2, (or even 3) games at a time, you can easily switch it up if you get bored. Becoming fatigued by the constant weapon degradation on Breath of the Wild? Go jump on Sonic Mania!

Don’t play games that are too similar however. Playing both Super Mario Odyssey and A Hat in Time may mean that you can burn yourself out on 3D platformers very quickly. These type of games may also have similar, but partly-different control schemes, that could confuse you.


Same goes for long-form RPG’s, or open world games. Stepping away from Horizon Zero Dawn, and jumping on to The Legend of Zelda probably won’t give you that refreshing feeling you’re looking for.

And, importantly, if you don’t feel like playing games, don’t. Take a break, go for a walk.


4. Play on Easy Mode.

I know, I know. This can be seen as heresy for many of you out there. But hear me out.


On Easy mode, you will never have to struggle for over an hour on a mid-level boss. On Easy mode, you won’t even realise that there are any checkpoints in the game, because you never die! If you want to get really lairy, you can just run past most of the enemies without even attacking them!

Yes, it sometimes takes away from the sense of accomplishment when completing a hard game. But it’s also nice to absolutely blitz a game at times.


(And if you already play on easy mode then I’m sorry ☹)

5. Drink Plenty of coffee.

You’re going to be up all night. You’ll need the caffeine.

And those are my 5 tips to help you beat the backlog this January. You better be quick, because tomorrow sees the release of both Monster Hunter: World and DragonBall FighterZ both release, and you can already tell that they are both worth adding to your collection.


What other tips do you have? Let me know in the comments.

Big credit to Georgina Howlett (@HowlettWrites) for the Headline image at the top of the page. I wish her the best of luck working through that backlog...


Follow Cleon on Twitter for more tips, guides and things you don’t really need to know but it’s interesting anyway.

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