How to decide what to play next?

Hi everyone! So, I was recently laid off so I'm off buying games for a while. I just finished AC:Odyssey and Origins and I'm looking for something new to play. I have about 1,000 games in my Steam pile and I'm trying to figure out what to play next!

My question is, how do y'all go about choosing something from your pile to play next?

I wish I had a system. It's entirely driven by my current mood, and I'm usually unable to enjoy something if I play it in spite of that.

Enter the GWJ GOTY thread at your own peril...
There be good ideas but it could end up lightening your wallet.

I look at all the unplayed games I have, then just play another 4 rounds of Slay the Spire

First, I make a list of all the things I'm vaguely excited to start playing.

Second, I sort, color-code and categorize that list.

Then, I ignore that list and continue to play the same old sh*t I've been playing for ages.

Sometime later, I'll make a new list that's very similar to the first.

I might even install some of the games on that list.

Then something shiny and new releases and I get distracted by that long enough to forget where I put the list.

I'll end up uninstalling those games I'd planned to play, usually to free up hard drive space to install some other games I'll not get around to not playing.

Eventually, I'll get around to playing something on the Pile. Probably for an hour or two.

Two months later, I'll have entirely forgotten how the game works when I come back to it, and can't be bothered to replay the first hour, so I'll uninstall it and play something else.

lol, you folks crack me up. Great comments!

I'm starting my color coded sorted list now Jonman.

Also, I discovered this site: https://www.howlongtobeatsteam.com/#/

It looks up every game in your Steam library and tells you it's time from HowLongToBeat. So, I'm going to user this to find a nice 10-20 hour(ish) character action game.

I always add at least 50% to the HLTB times. Either I'm slow as dirt, or only speedrunners post their times there.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

I always add at least 50% to the HLTB times. Either I'm slow as dirt, or only speedrunners post their times there.

I always use the time minus about 90%, because that's how long it will take me to walk away and leave it on the pile... :/

@PWAlessi.... If you find a way to decide let me know! I seem to continually go through cycles of trying dozens of games over the course of a month or two before finally getting deep into one and sticking with it until total burnout. Then, back to game hopping and the cycle repeats. I'm in the game hopping phase right now, no idea what to focus on.

I'll sometimes fire up lorenzostanco.com and use it's pick a random game button to find something new to play. But most often it'll be down to mood, time I have available, or sometimes I'll here enthusiastic chat on a podcast about a game I have but haven't tried yet so I'll give that a go.

For one, I try to keep my list smaller!, which helps with decision paralysis and makes it faster to weigh the options available. Knowing you'll never play 1,000 games, any arbitrary reason to slough some off of your list is a good reason. Life's to short for "good enough" games when you could play nothing but "fantastic" games.

Mood and time available matter. Tense/horror games I tend to reserve for summer. Winter I need lighter fare that makes me feel good. If I'm busy, shorter and simpler games. Since you've been laid off, this is the time to give those complex RPGs or strategy games a shot.

Obviously, though, nothing so engrossing that you don't remember to take care of your health and apply to new jobs.

This topic came up as a derail in some other topic a few weeks ago. It's an interesting question, because Steam designs their user experience to focus your attention on stuff you don't have, and guides your attention away from stuff in your pile. There is essentially zero functionality around helping people explore their inventory to find something to play.

I occasionally make lists at work of games I want to play and when, mapping out the coming days or weeks.

I then take those lists home and put them next to the pc.....where they stay for a few days until I accept that it's pointless and throw them away.

It's like lottery tickets. I make the lists to dream of what could be if....

I started an 'In Queue' category in Steam. But, I don't feel like playing any of the games that I have queued up.

Since I have some time, maybe I'll work on implementing a Machine Learning algorithm to tell me what to play next.

Jonman wrote:

First, I make a list of all the things I'm vaguely excited to start playing.
Second, I sort, color-code and categorize that list.
Then, I ignore that list and continue to play the same old sh*t I've been playing for ages.
Sometime later, I'll make a new list that's very similar to the first.
I might even install some of the games on that list.
Then something shiny and new releases and I get distracted by that long enough to forget where I put the list.
I'll end up uninstalling those games I'd planned to play, usually to free up hard drive space to install some other games I'll not get around to not playing.
Eventually, I'll get around to playing something on the Pile. Probably for an hour or two.
Two months later, I'll have entirely forgotten how the game works when I come back to it, and can't be bothered to replay the first hour, so I'll uninstall it and play something else.

Bad joke: also doubles for the underlying reason as to why airplanes [jets] are so darn expensive?

Ahrmm, more on target with the outlined methodology: I can attest to the success of Jonman's approach; as in, it's successfully allowed me to avoid seeing the end of Baldur's Gate yet (outside of YouTube). WIP though I swear!

I've been trying for awhile to go through things alphabetically. I've had to modify that a bit overtime, so its now "alphabetically but skipping anything that is infinitely repeatable". Those games I move to a separate category and just play them when it feels right to do so.

I frequently break from this. Perhaps my favorite recent break was to sort by average time play (descending) and go through that way. I knocked a lot of games off my list quickly, which was satisfying. It was mostly games I probably would not have chosen to play otherwise, and for the most part I enjoyed them. I might need to try that again soon.

Serious answer now: a while back I made a "focus" category in Steam and only put a few games (either actively playing or wanted to play soon at the time of inclusion) in it. For Steam games at least, it keeps me from getting too distracted.

I did something similar with console games, putting only a couple (same criteria as above) on a separate shelf. This hasn't worked quite as effectively as the Steam category.

Join one of the game type monthly threads and let them choose your game!

I have a spreadsheet that I can filter by genre. Within each genre I order the games by how badly I want to play them which is based on what I read on the forums, descriptions on Steam and how they look.

I put my top picks from each genre in my favorites on Steam and play them from there. When I'm done / had enough I'll re prioritize it and put it in a new slot in the list, or mark it done.

Questions for you, doc..

absurddoctor wrote:

I frequently break from this. Perhaps my favorite recent break was to sort by average time play (descending) and go through that way.

Is this "average time you've already played" or "average time for a playthrough, globally"?

And, what do you use to display and sort this list?

Wanted to introduce more randomness into my gaming, so like any good gamer, I broke out the dice.
- Roll one D6 to determine the system. 1-2 = Switch, 3-4 = PS4, 5-6 = PC
- If PC, roll a D6 to determine the distribution platform (Twitch, Epic, Uplay, Origin, GOG, Steam)
- From there, roll based on how many games i have. So, for example, have over 300 on Steam, so roll a D4 to determine the which "hundred" (ex. 1 = 0-100), then a D10 twice to determine the game.

Current game via this method - NBA Playground

My game choices seem to flow from one to another. For example: I went ham on RE 2 Remake and when I was finished my fifth and final play-through I had found I missed the survival parts of survival horror. So my next games were Subnautica and Metro 2033. I'm enjoying the underwater exploration of Subnautica so I think I will dig up my copy of Abzu, next. Metro has me in a FPS mood, too, so I'll probably finally play Titanfall 2 when I'm done. Who knows where those will lead me. Probably to another exploration game after Abzu.

Shoot, forgot about Thimbleweed Park. That has me wanting to play the second season of The Last Door.

i need to finish Last Door season 2 as well! But i'll probably have to replay a couple of chapters now to remember what happened.

...better that than Thimbleweed, tbh!

I do something like this:
Do I want to think or no?
Do I want to race or fly?
Do I want to shoot Nazis or Zombies?
Are 1980s arcades calling?

Binge watch Netflix for a few days and then fire up the console.

Yoyoson wrote:

Questions for you, doc..

absurddoctor wrote:

I frequently break from this. Perhaps my favorite recent break was to sort by average time play (descending) and go through that way.

Is this "average time you've already played" or "average time for a playthrough, globally"?

And, what do you use to display and sort this list?

I was using https://www.howlongtobeatsteam.com/, sorted by the global 'complete' time (they separate by 'main', 'extras', and 'complete'). These numbers won't be perfect since there is a large amount of self-reporting involved, but they do what I need them to.

I noticed now that I said 'descending' where I meant 'ascending'; ie I wanted to run through the games that look the least amount of time for others to complete, so I get that satisfying cross-off-the-list feeling a bunch of times in short succession.

I have a "games I need to play" category in Steam where all the games sit that I bought but haven't put much time into yet, but it's not exactly set in stone that I will play off that list. I still play whatever I'm feeling like playing. I'm pretty consistent, though, in that I'll usually play a game through to the end before I move on. I also do like... projects? I guess? Where I'll play through the entirety of a series just to see how it evolves, but sometimes I take breaks in the middle to play other games.

Like I decided recently I would play through all the Kingdom Hearts games, so I've been working on that... I did put it on pause to start Divinity: Original Sin, but I will be going back to my Kingdom Hearts project once I'm done with Divinity: Original Sin I & II.

Lastly, a major deciding factor is if there is anything new that I've really been waiting for. Like if Cyberpunk 2077 were to release in the middle of anything I would drop everything and play it.