Like many gamers, I have a pile of shame. A list of games I own but haven't finished or, in some cases, never even played. Sometimes it's because I get stuck and decide to do something else for a while rather than let myself be frustrated. Sometimes it's because I get distracted by life things -- new house, new job, new baby (strike that last one -- I remain a childless adult). Or maybe I just went a little overboard during a Steam sale. Regardless, there's a bunch of games I have sitting around in digital accounts and on actual physical shelves that mock me with their unfinished states. And I need to do something about it, if only for my own sanity.
Two years ago I engaged on a project I called "Operation Finish All the Games." The idea was to get through as much of my pile of shame as possible. I created a list of rules to ensure that I got significant play time with each title, and documented the process such that I felt a sense of accountability in my task.
The rules were:
1. I had to finish at least one game a month. By "finish" I mean the main story mode, or whatever it takes to prompt a credits scroll.
2. Side-quests and post-story content did not have to be completed unless I really wanted to.
3. More than one game could be finished a month, but it would not count toward future months.
4. Games do not have to be started and finished in the same month.
5. I didn't have to play every single game in my backlog, or even finish every unfinished game.
I engaged in this project for 13 months, starting in December 2013 and wrapping up at the end of December 2014. In that time I finished 29 games. While that didn't completely demolish my backlog, it certainly made a sizable dent. I got to play a lot of different genres, and I really grew to appreciate short games. The downside? I sometimes felt stressed out by the requirement to finish a game -- some months were busier than others, and I didn't always have time to just sit and play.
When I finished out the year, I opted not to continue the project into 2015. I still play video games on a regular basis -- I'm particularly fond of Splatoon -- but there's been no concerted effort to reduce my backlog. Luckily, it hasn't grown considerably while I've been "on vacation."
As we head into 2016, I think it's time to get things started again. Starting in January, I will endeavor to finish one game a month. Some of them will be short. Some of them will be long. Some will be new. Some will be games old enough to drink. But I will play them.
And I'm crazy enough to add a few new rules:
1. Episodes of an episodic game (Telltale) do not count as complete games in themselves. All episodes or bust.
2. If I buy a new game, that means I have to finish one in return... separate from the monthly requirement.
There are also lesser goals I'd like to commit to, like finishing certain games, but I'd rather not restrict myself that much -- what if I get stuck? What if they turn out to really, really suck and I need to bail? So I'll still leave myself that coward's option.
At the end of each month I'll do a recap post here on Public Access -- how many games did I play, which titles and what did I think of them? My backlog currently stands at 41 -- let's see how much I can knock that down.