2020 - 12 Month Pile Program


Welcome one and all to the 2020 Pile Program, now with 1 extra day (don't let it go to waste)!

This is the umbrella thread for those of us looking at living with our piles.

We don't hate them, they don't define us. We walk along side them, drawing comfort from our bulging collections of impulse purchases, bargains too good to pass up, and nostalgic purchases that we've promised ourselves "we'll get to one day".

This is a support group for people who just need to maintain momentum with their collections. I'll be updating the OP to cover other threads around here that might help you tackle specific genres, be they the RPG thread, Adventure Game threads, Monthly Pile threads, or Achievement Focused game of the month threads.

Check back shortly for an updated list of links, but for now, let's get stuck into 2020's potential for fun and engagement in our shared love of games and gaming.

First in I guess!?!?

I'm not sure how to tackle my pile this year.

I think I need to set up some categories, and targets.

I need to actually assign some gaming time for "proper" gaming.

Decide how much time I spend on my current guilty pleasure of playing DC Legends with A_Unicycles...

And finally, actually commit, and get back into this.

YAY!! You're still around and kicking, m0nk3yboy!!!!! Looking forward to another year of Pile Management!!!

m0nk3yboy wrote:

First in I guess!?!?

I'm not sure how to tackle my pile this year.

I started one a couple days ago but I like having your traditional tread more.

So for me I want to finish*

Lugi's Mansion 3
Yakuza Kiwami
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Astral Chain
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

Games I know are coming out that I want to play
Cyberpunk 2077
Final Fantasy 7 remake

And a couple I want to play more of because I love them

Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Witcher 3

That seems like a doable list actually.

*finish to me doesn't mean see the credits it means feel like I beat the game. I already feel that way about Breath of the Wild and the Witcher 3 but I just love playing them so much I want to play them more.

Hooboy, do I have my work cut out for me in this coming year 2020!

I pretty much threw most of my roadmap for 2019 out and went all over the place, but I'm optimistic and foolish - dangerous combination! - so I'll be trying to stick to some semblance of a plan this time around.

Games I definitely want to complete this year:

The Witcher 3
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (replay for the CRPG club; currently in overtime)
Okami HD
Death Stranding
Tides of Numenera
Resident Evil HD
Ys Origin
Resident Evil 4
Darksiders II
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
Axiom Verge
Double Dragon Neon
Guacamelee 2
Aegis Defenders
The Messenger
Curse of Monkey Island (finish my current replay thereof)
Persona 4 Golden (Been playing it for about a year; it's high time I start hitting it a little more seriously)
Parasite Eve II
Shovel Knight (Replay + all the added content since I originally played it back when it dropped)
Yomawari: Night Alone

Games that will probably/definitely get played over anything else once they drop:

Moons of Madness
Final Fantasy VII Remake Episode I
Cyberpunk 2077

That's looking pretty intimidating but fun!

I dropped a nuke on my Steam, PSN, Xbox, App Store and Play accounts. It was time for a fresh start. If I'd really wanted to play those games I'd have done it by now. I even traded in my old consoles, including my PS4 and PSVR (which I purchased just this month). I'd too many games, too much hardware and not enough time. Less is more for 2020 and beyond.

So right now I have a new Xbox One X, a sparkly new account, a Game Pass subscription and clear, open road ahead of me.

So, I want to finally crack a Disgaea game (PS4 or Vita).

I would like to crack a few Retro titles on my Retroflag GPi. Mobile seems viable.

I'd like to complete another FF game, either an original, on my Vita, or a remaster on PS4.

Persona, either 4 Golden on Vita, or 5 on PS4.

Those 3 jrpgs seem to be quite bulky, so probably some 10-15 hour titles to fill in the gaps?

I could swap out one of those three monsters for either Witcher 3, or Bloodborne, if I want to mix up the big ones.

Always glad to see you around Monkey Boy.

So I decided to look back on what I listed out at the start of 2019, and boy was it optimistic. I'd be far more optimistic about the start of 2020, but my parents took leave of their senses and actually gifted me with an Xbox One X for Christmas. Combined with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, I have already added several games "to play" to my list, and have since begun several new titles to try and play through.

My PS4 is likely to be forgotten for a while, though I should really try my best to at least beat Crystar. The story is trying some Yoko Taro ending shenanigans, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't invested enough in the narrative to want to see how it turns out.

Just... if only it were a handheld game.

Anyway, let's first take a look at everything this Xbox One acquisition has given me.

  • Gears of War 4
  • Gears of War 5
  • The Witcher 3
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Halo 5
  • ReCore
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Anthem

Note that I have already begun a playthrough of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, a nostalgic run through the original that I haven't played in some years. My friends and I will be replacing Destiny nights with Halo 5, which will give way to Gears of War 4 and Gears of War 5 in time. I will no doubt also be returning to Halo 2, my favorite in the franchise narratively and thus a title I've got a soft spot for. As my Xbox One X was the Gears edition, I have the whole franchise downloaded to my system and will likely want to try and get through 2 and 3 again as well before 4. Fortunately, these games aren't all that long, and while I'll be playing 1 and 2 on Hardcore, the Lambent of 3 are such a chore that I'll probably just get through it on Normal and be done with it.

The Witcher 3 has been on my pile for a while, and my friend and podcast co-host has been nagging me to play as much as I've nagged him to play Breath of the Wild. So I've begun this morning, and it certainly promises to be engrossing. That will be my big bad game to conquer until March, which I'll get to in the next navel-gazing spoiler-tagged segment. Nonetheless, ReCore, flaws and all, has been in my interest realm for years due to the involvement of Keiji Inafune and its development of Armature Studios, founded by ex-Metroid Prime devs. I know it will not be great, but it should hopefully at least be interesting. The Outer Worlds was a game I was psyched for, but after Control and Star Wars I just wasn't ready to drop full price on another lackluster game. Who knows when I'll get to it seeing as I just started The Witcher 3.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a carry-over purchase from my 360, already in my library and ready for installation. Now that I've played and enjoyed Bloodstained, I'm curious to give this game a second try.

Anthem is the odd one out, and likely would not be there were it not for my niece. One of the reasons I wanted the Xbox was so that I could play games with her. The downside is that she and I don't have much of a Venn Diagram. With the exception of FortNite, she's into a lot of the titles that tweens and teens become obsessed with these days. Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved, Apex Legends, Overwatch, these are games she'd like to play. However, she had also told me she had purchased Anthem recently, and so I decided "Well, that's the closest to the sorts of multiplayer games I like to play".

Anyway, all of that text is to say that what could have been a quiet January and February has instead become quite crowded. I haven't really thought of myself as having a pile before, but I certainly feel like I have one now. While a lot of people sing the praises of Game Pass, I'm uncertain if I want to keep it. I know for others it increases the freedom of just dropping a game, but for a variety of reasons I'd rather be far more... precise in my game playing, to maximize my enjoyment.

Now then, let's look at the upcoming releases I know about.



  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore


  • Darksiders: Genesis
  • Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection


  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Bleeding Edge


  • Resident Evil 3
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Trials of Mana
  • Gears Tactics


  • Marvel's Avengers
  • Maneater


  • Bayonetta 3(?)
  • Bravely Default II
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • No More Heroes III
  • Project Sakura Wars(?)
  • Rune Factory 4 Special
  • Rune Factory 5(?)
  • Shin Megami Tensei V(?)
  • Tales of Arise
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

March and April are going to be a disaster. So many new games, and so many of them demanding of so much time. It's going to be a messy release window of trying to prioritize and figure out which games I will or will not buy. Tokyo Mirage Sessions? Eh, I'll probably wait on it since I'm playing Pokemon right now on Switch. Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection? Can also probably wait. Avengers? Eeehhhh.... Maneater? Depends on what else is out.

But when I look back at 2019, I didn't even know about a game like Astral Chain. I didn't know I'd actually want to play Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order (and then, while enjoying it, feeling like time could have been better spent elsewhere). I didn't know that Dragon Quest XI S would be releasing within thirty days of three or four other must-buy games on Nintendo Switch alone.

Which is likely why I don't mind getting the Xbox One X now and then just going Switch for another two years. Let me play catch up for a bit.

So really, the only thing I know about 2020 is that I can't count on it being a quiet year.

Which wouldn't be too big of a problem anyway, only I am trying to plan more time to record footage and work on games for the YouTube channel, but that's a whole other discussion and is an annual tradition for me anyway, so not going to waste words here on it.

Regardless, I don't have a plan for 2020. I'm just going to hope I don't waste money and enjoy all the time spent playing games.

My 2019 pile plan died when WoW Classic released. Hope I can start up again with some progress in 2020. Will probably try with a much shorter list this time. I tend to only get halfway before new purchases completely take over anyway.

Xbox Game Pass generally, and Dead by Daylight specifically, pretty much killed any pile progress for the year. However, I did cut back my purchasing of new titles back substantially, nearly everything that's come onto the pile has been through Game Pass/ GWG.

I am looking to grab a Switch and Ring Fit Adventure this year, but I've set myself a daily exercise goal to accomplish before I get them. I'm about halfway there so far, at current pace I'm looking at finishing around late January/early February, so even if the Switch doesn't see much play, I'll still have done the exercise to earn it, which for me is the bigger win.

I have accepted that playing one game at a time is never going to be my way, so I'm trying to restrict myself to a small pool of active games at one time. One-in, one-out, and if I find myself avoiding one for too long, then I guess I didn't actually want to play it.

Current List:
1. Thimbleweed Park
2. Old Man's Journey
3. Minit
4. Walking Dead Season 3
5. Subnautica
6. Jurassic World Evolution
7. Dead Cells

The list for the start of the year:

  • American Truck Simulator
  • Else Heart.Break()
  • King's Bounty: Crossworlds
  • King's Bounty: The Legend
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Ni No Kuni II
  • Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition
  • The Sims 4
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Yakuza 0

I'm in the midst of Yakuza 0 and Mass Effect Andromeda at the moment, so hopefully won't be more than a month or so to knock those out. At the same time, I'm replaying The Witcher 3, so, uh, who knows what impact that'll have.

My biggest pile goal this year is to re-evaluate what the pile is and how valuable it is to think about it.

For years, I've thought about it all in very stark terms. The pile was all the games I've purchased that I haven't beaten, and the pile is something to feel bad about. It represents waste and recklessness: money I spent on games that ought to have been spent on something else, and as further evidence of that I didn't even finish them!

That view of the pile and of my game collection was really born about fifteen years ago when I spent what little money I had on a GameCube and a copy of Windwaker. For awhile, I bought and played just one game at a time, trading one in for the next when I was finished with it. There was a purity to that situation that I've wanted to get back to for years.

I still remember the first game I bought but didn't finish. The first game that went on my pile, as it were. It was XIII, a cel-shaded first-person shooter that I'd heard good things about. I fished it out of a bargain bin along with a couple other GameCube games with the intention of beating them all like I had done before. Trouble was, XIII sucked. I shelved it and never went back to it. I eventually sold it or donated it or something, but I don't have it (or a GameCube) anymore.

But weirdly, the guilt remains and drives much of my thinking about the pile despite this happening in 2007 or thereabouts. How much has my life changed in the thirteen years since? How much has gaming changed?

Looking back on it, my unbroken chain of finished games was a fluke. I got lucky that I picked a platform with some of the best games ever, from one of the best developers ever, and I played all the best ones. I mean, when you play Windwaker then Metroid Prime then Paper Mario and the Thousand-Year Door then Twilight Princess, it's pretty easy to play every one to completion and be quite happy.

I was lucky! That's not a string of hits I'm likely to repeat again, even if I do due diligence on games before I buy them. Eventually, I'll hit something I don't like, much less something that's not a stone cold classic like those four. Even if I stick exclusively to well-reviewed games that are in my area of interest, I'll find games I don't like. My idea of the pile doesn't account for that.

I was also lucky that when XIII turned out to be not to my liking, I could get rid of it. I could no longer play that copy of XIII even if I wanted to. That's not often the case anymore in an era of digital purchases.

You can't get really rid of digital games unless you nuke the accounts associated with them, and while I have done that with my Steam and Blizzard and GOG accounts, I'm not going to do that with accounts I still use. That ill-advised spree of PSP JRPGs is with me as long as I have a Playstation account, which I use regularly.

But I still try to apply my old idea of the pile to that new situation. And sites like Backloggery encourage that! It's easier than ever now to take a $3 flyer on a game that you're not sure about, but now it's part of the pile forever. Add that up for more than a decade (I bought my first digital game in 2008 on my Xbox; it's still there) and you wind up with a huge, demoralizing backlog of things you'll never get rid of that you're not interested in but feel obligated to play. At least, that's where I've found myself.

So I need to change my thinking. What's the pile? Do I even want to track it? If I do, then how do I track a collection that spans more than a decade across multiple platforms and now multiple subscription services? How do I address games I don't like but own forever? How do I think about games that I cannot by definition finish because they are unending services?

And most importantly: is any of this making me happier? Is it having an additive effect on my hobby? Does tracking the pile help me save money and time (my usual justification) or do I spend just as much but now have more angst about it?

Those are the questions I'd really like to resolve in the year ahead.

The funny thing about me and the pile is that I stopped really thinking about the pile at all. I try to reduce the quantity of games I play, and to beat everything I purchase, and that avoids a continually building pile of titles. I'm absolutely certain I've purchased fewer titles on sale in 2019 than I had in any year prior. I partake in these threads more so that I can keep track and record what I play and try to ensure I don't acquire more than I can handle.

This has, I think, done me far more good. I can still find games I purchased and have not yet played, but by reducing the games acquired altogether and making tough decisions, I've avoided a lot of stress.

I've also free'd myself to go back and revisit old games guilt free. I could be beating Crystar right now instead of letting it linger, or I can spend more time with Witcher 3 since it's technically been on my pile for a while, but I'm revisiting the Gears of War series because why not? It's not like they're very long games anyway.

There are other factors that add stress and pressure, but as we approach 2020 I'm kind of feeling like... y'know what? It's okay. There are no deadlines but those which we make.

What I find fascinating about your story, Clock, isn't so much that you had four excellent games to play in a row. It's that, by your telling, you focused on just one game at a time, and each of those is more than twenty hours (well, maybe not Metroid Prime, but the other three certainly are). Your recent discovery in these very threads was that you rarely find yourself consistently engaged after fifteen hours, and thus it has been more productive for you to bounce between multiple games.

Perhaps the secret to the pile and reducing your stress is in this rotation? Games worth seeing to the end will naturally continue in that rotation, calling you back?

I dunno, just rambling I suppose. I do think everyone needs to figure out how to best approach the pile for themselves, and that there's no singular way to do it. Anything else would be a massive digression.

And most importantly: is any of this making me happier? Is it having an additive effect on my hobby? Does tracking the pile help me save money and time (my usual justification) or do I spend just as much but now have more angst about it?

I have difficulty conveying how deeply this speaks to me, so please forgive what I assume will be a novel-length post. You don't need to read it, but I think I need to write it.

For well over a decade, I had a very unheathly relationship with buying video games. In college and law-school, I would spend hours upon hours browsing Gamestop's website, memorizing the prices of cheap games I thought looked good, I would make shopping lists and travel around on weekends picking up cheap games. I spend exponentially more time browsing game review and sale websites and shopping for games than I did playing them. Shopping for games was more fun than playing them.

Sound crazy? It's not. It's how dopamine works. Dopamine is released in the brain at the anticipation of something pleasurable to come, but not when you actually achieve that thing. The sensation is unbelievably addictive. For a fascinating explanation of this, and a much better one than I could ever give, I highly recommend the book "The Willpower Instinct" which goes into the human and animal testing of how scientists discovered how dopamine production effects the brain.

I was dealing with untreated (at the time) depression and anxiety disorders. For me shopping for video games was a way of fantasizing about a happier future, anticipating a time when I would have the time to play all these great games, and my future self would appreciate stocked up on them for pennies on the dollar. I was guarding against the possibility that something I would want to play in the future would skyrocket in price (see the PS1 RPG catalogue) and that I would be forever beating myself up about having to spend $200 on something I could have once gotten for $5; talk about fear of missing out. I spent thousands of dollars on a collection of games so large that, even if I never bought another one, I could never finish them all.

I didn't see it as hoarding behavior. To this day, I still have real difficulty calling it that.

Then came the really dark years. I spent several years working in an incredibly rural, isolated, and poor area. Groceries were hard to come by, let alone anything else. There was no shopping, because there were no stores. There was no streaming and downloading because internet was unaffordable. I felt trapped and isolated, as if the world was passing me by; not because of my lack of access to games, but because I was doing work that exposed me to horrific trauma on a daily basis hundreds of miles from my friends and family. But buying games felt like a tenuous link to the world I had been forced to leave behind. I would mail order large batches, and when I would travel to visit friends and family, I would obsessively roam thrift stores collecting prizes to bring back with me. They were physical reminders that there was a world and a life outside the one I was stuck in.

Finally, after three years, I came home. For my first year back, I would frequent thrift stores multiple times a week. I picked up all sorts of cheap random junk, just to remind myself that I was back somewhere where I could, and to distract myself from the horrible memories running around my head. After another year went by I got rid of almost all that stuff with no regrets. The process of shopping for it and buying it had been a method of numbing pain. It had served it's purpose, I didn't need to keep it.

The crippling size of my library had been a major source of guilt for years. Waste of space, waste of money, a non-stop reminder of what I saw as past bad decisions. I felt obligated to shrink the pile. I would limit myself to buying new games only after I had beaten a set number of old ones. This lead to me focusing on beating a lot of short games I didn't really enjoy so I could earn the right to buy games faster, so I could snap up whatever was on sale or at the thrift store at the time. Because for me, the dopamine rush of buying a game I would enjoy in the future at a price my future self would be grateful for was still the goal. Needless to say, this system worked very poorly for me.

During the past year, my relationship with buying games has changed substantially. (Also, I got some professional help for the PTSD and depression.) I found something that does work for me. Several things actually. First I had to let go of the pile. Not physically. I didn't purge my library or delete my digital accounts. I forgave myself for buying all of it in the first place. I wanted my hobby to bring joy again, not a constant helping of guilt, stress, and reminders of past decisions I regretted. There was no actual moral weight to my having bought all those games. I wasn't a bad person for doing it, and there's no balance sheet waiting at the end of my life to heap guilt on me for being an evil and wasteful person for never getting around to each one of them. I kept what I physically had room for in my home, and I will make decisions about what to play and for how long as they come. I don't have to predict the future about what I will like and what I will want. If I never get around to some of them, I don't. If I were immortal, I could play them all start to finish, but I still probably wouldn't because some of them probably suck.

There's no moral weight to beating a game either vs dropping it when it stops being fun. Recently I finished Yooka-Laylee. I marked it off my list as done with my character sitting at the doorway to the still-unbeaten final boss. I loved the Banjo games and always hated the Grunty fights. Fighting the final boss in Yooka-Laylee wasn't fun for me, it was a grind that I wasn't enjoying. Since I was no longer using the system where I had to beat games to earn the right to buy new ones, I didn't spend hours of frustration banging my head against that boss fight.

Here's what I'm doing instead: I focused on what I actually want out of my hobby and more importantly what I don't. I want to enjoy my time playing games, whether I beat them or just dip my toe in, whether they're new games or replays of old favorites, I don't want stress and guilt for playing what I want to play at the time rather than what I feel like I should be playing so that my past self didn't waste money or I can lower my unbeaten percentage on Backloggery. I don't want to spend more than I can afford on games, and I don't want them taking up more space in my home than I have room for.

I changed two major aspects of the way I buy games. First I started tracking how much of my leisure time I spend playing games compared to other activities and I let that guide my budget for what percentage of my entertainment budget I spend on gaming. Currently, approximately for every hour I spend playing games I set aside one dollar towards future game purchases. It doesn't matter what game I play or how far I get in it, so I end up feeling free to drop anything I'm not into. And if I spend a month only reading books and not playing video games, I'm not adding more to the pile during that time. More importantly, for me at least, I gave myself blanket permission to not worry about how much games cost. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it has actually cut my video game spending to a fraction of what it was. If a game is full price when I'm ready to play it I just pay full price, rather than trying to stock up on sale games that I might want in the future. If I spend $60 on a game that I only play for 4 hours, there's a $15 game that I've spend 100 hours on, so it's a wash on that front. If I have to pay $100 for some vintage game on ebay, that's the price of years it didn't take up room unplayed on my shelves, and that's a price I'm willing to pay. As a result, I've only been buying games right when I'm ready to play them, and when I've put enough money in the budget to afford them. I've stopped visiting thrift stores, and buying Humble Bundles, and browsing Steam sales. With Xbox Gamepass, I've bought almost no games this year. I actually have a substantial surplus budget waiting in the wings for the next big thing I can't wait to play. If it's not on sale, I can easily afford it because I haven't spent the money on a bunch of other cheaper games I wanted less.

This year I've spend more time playing games and enjoying them and spent less money on them than I have in each of probably the previous dozen years. Is my system 100% perfect? God no. Will it work for anyone who isn't me? I have no idea.

This is my very long way of saying that when you ask if tracking the pile is an addictive behavior, it was for me, I cannot say what it is for you. It cost me time and money rather than saving them. I don't know whether that's the case for you, but it's certainly worth taking a fresh look at.

Your present self is not obligated to suffer punishment for the impulse purchases of your past self. (At least from a time and enjoyment perspective, only you know the state of your bank account.) Your future self will thank you for buying only what you are going to play right away and not adding to the pile, no matter how good the sale, but will also be able to forgive you the occasional slip, because none of us are perfect.

If you read this far, thank you. This was cathartic to write. I wish you all joy in your games, however you choose to play them, however long you play them for, and however long they've been on the pile. I hope you don't let the stress of having a pile interfere with your fun.

Now that was a brilliant post, cheers erdahs.

I definitely identified with snippets. $1 budget per hour of games played sounds intriguing.

My gaming time dropped dramatically in 2019, but my spending continued. Sure it was less than in previous years, but way, way more than $1. Majority of which were sales games I've not touched since.

My gaming plans for 2020 might change, not a lot but tweaked.

We bought the kids a Switch for Christmas. We put aside the grocery money we "saved" each week through buying off brand products, multi-buys, and other specials. They learnt the power of cumulative saving over a long period to achieve a goal, I had an excuse to finally play some of this generations Nintendo.

We've set up a clear set of parameters for their future game purchases too. They're only going to buy physical, and they have to "complete" a game before they look at getting another.

They define "completed" also. That's been the interesting part, looking at this situation through young, fresh, eyes. Some are easy to categorise, Mario is done when they fight Bowser for the last time, but do they have to "catch them all" to mark off Pokemon Shield as complete? Interestingly, the default go to for them has been "it's done when it's no longer fun".

I think I'm going to embrace that myself, and use that as my main compass direction this year.

That's great, m0nk3yboy, solid parenting there. Think I'll take a page from your book, if you don't mind.

Really enjoyed the thoughtful posts, above, about how you all approach your piles.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

So I need to change my thinking. What's the pile? Do I even want to track it? If I do, then how do I track a collection that spans more than a decade across multiple platforms and now multiple subscription services? How do I address games I don't like but own forever? How do I think about games that I cannot by definition finish because they are unending services?

erdahs wrote:

Your present self is not obligated to suffer punishment for the impulse purchases of your past self. (At least from a time and enjoyment perspective, only you know the state of your bank account.) Your future self will thank you for buying only what you are going to play right away and not adding to the pile, no matter how good the sale, but will also be able to forgive you the occasional slip, because none of us are perfect.

Both of these resonate with me. I started tracking my pile because I felt like I'd be happier, and enjoy gaming more, if I could see everything that I owned, and had some little tracker nudging me to finish stuff. And, I've found that this is true; I am. But I soon realized I didn't necessarily want to finish everything I owned, and I definitely didn't want to play old(er) games, forever. I had been doing that for a while, staying a console generation or two behind, but after finally getting a PS4, I found plenty of the new games much more compelling. I found that some games I owned, I never really cared about playing again, or even at all. Some of these I could sell, but some were the "own forever" games that Clocky describes.

So, I started looking at Backloggery more as a house-clearing tool: I don't have to finish, or even play everything on my backlog, but I do (eventually) need to make a decision about everything. Flagging something as Null, and moving it to its own category on Steam, lets me feel satisfied. I don't know if I'll ever actually get to zero, and I'm not even trying to push myself to do that. But having this more intentional approach to my games feels like de-cluttering my brain a bit.

Anyway, I don't have a list of everything I want to play in 2020, nor do I think it would help me to plan the whole year in advance. But here are some things on the pile, or coming this year, that I think I'd like to tackle:


In the First Quarter of 2020 (or thereabouts)
A Short Hike
God of War (2018) [This is a carry-over from 2018]
Ys Origin
Disco Elysium
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Later in the Year
Fire Emblem Echoes - Shadows of Valentia [Also a carry-over]
Valkyria Chronicles 4 [Also a carry-over]
Ori and the Blind Forest
FF7 Remake
Cyberpunk 2077
Hollow Knight: Silksong
JRPG Club Game - Q2 2020
JRPG Club Game - Q3 2020
JRPG Club Game - Q4 2020

My commitment this year is to only buy one "entertainment" thing a month. It'll keep me from spending too much money (getting married in October and bought a house only a year ago), plus it'll let me knock down some of my backlog of games and books.

We will see how it goes, but I have a spreadsheet already made in Google Docs, so... here goes nothing! I hope this thread helps me focus on certain games too.

(I'm pretty sure I've said this at least twice in the 13 years I've been on this website).

This year I think spending money on video games is going to be one luxury expense too many. Board games and associated mini painting is something am enjoying at the mo and can't afford all of the things. In terms of time as well as cash.

I have plenty of digital games to play. I have plenty of board games too. Am going to try and limit my spending as much as possible to minis, paints, brushes etc. Board games one in one out maybe.

Which brings me to a pile of sorts for 2020. Not listing the entire heavy pile, just those I'd like to play this year.

Witcher 3 (in progress)
YS Origins
Dragon Age Inquisition
Skyrim SE.
God of War
Steamworld Dig 2

Civ VI
Mario Vs Rabbids
Zelda Breath of the Wild

Returning evergreens
Stardew Valley
No Man's Sky
Rocket League
Hatsune Miku

I like the $1 per hour spent gaming budget idea posted above by erdahs so might give something similar a go, well £1 per hour for me.

There are a few games I'm keen to try this year including Cyberpunk 2077, Animal Crossing to be released and Borderlands 3, but I shall endeavour to not purchase anything until I feel I'm playing and enjoying enough videogames to warrant a new purchase.

Finally absolutely no buying of games on sale, just for the sake of a bargain. Majority sit there unplayed, it's a waste.

I actually typed up a really long post with lists of everything I want to do this year, but never posted it. In reality despite how many lists I make, I will play what I want to play at that given time. Because just because I put a game on the list of things I want to do this year, doesn't mean the next day I will actually want to play the said game. Realistically we only have so much time during the year to play our games, and that time should be spent having fun instead of stressing out about finishing the self imposed goals.

Ideally I would like to get some ps4 games cleaned up before PS5 launches, because I know once that hits my ps4 library will be all but forgotten for a long while. I know I am buying FF7 remake, it was my favorite game of my child hood and I will probably play the remake obsessively until the credits roll. There are other couple games that will be day one purchases if they actually release this year, Tales of game and any of the Legend of Heroes games. Cyberpunk is also on my to play list. Just between my planned purchases there is a solid amount of game time already allocated to those games.

Looking back at last year, I think I did pretty good about only buying things I want to play immediately. I think only thing I impulse purchased was a handful of VR games since they were on sale for the first time since I've owned the dam thing.

I had a very unheathly relationship with buying video games. In college and law-school, I would spend hours upon hours browsing Gamestop's website, memorizing the prices of cheap games I thought looked good, I would make shopping lists and travel around on weekends picking up cheap games. I spend exponentially more time browsing game review and sale websites and shopping for games than I did playing them. Shopping for games was more fun than playing them.

This was me couple years ago. Scoring a deal was part of the fun. I think the combination of improved income and realization that I can't play everything that ever exists helped me wean myself off that mentality. I heard a very interesting saying on a motorcycle podcast that rings very true to me

I can do anything I want, but not everything.

Look at that still typed up a wall of text

I have a general outline for games. I don't plan on finishing my pile just a sort of bucket list. We will see.

Edit. I played Control for about an hour and now I'm tired. I'm weak.

I've stated in another thread that Falcom games will be beaten.

Trails in the Sky 2
Trails in the Sky 3 (This will be tough because I don't have it on a handheld)
Trails from Zero
Trails from Azure
Trails in Cold Steel 3

Ys stuff on PSP.

Buying my first home last year really forced my hand and has made me more stingy about what I buy. I have no plans on purchasing anything in the winter sales since realistically I probably won't get to any of them anytime soon. Horizon Zero Dawn is still sitting in shrink wrap after I bought it on sale in June 2018. I have older games on my pile but seeing a physical representation of my neglected games hurts even more.
My planned hits for the first part of the year are Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Last of Us Part 2 but we'll see beyond that. I think I'll continue making a planned games to beat list since even if I don't get to them all it helps me focus when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

My Planned Games To Beat in 2020

Overcooked! (Switch)
Control (PS4)
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Steam)
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Steam)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (PS4)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)
The Witness (Steam)
God of War 2018 (PS4)
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
Resident Evil HD remaster (PS4)
Black Mesa (Steam)
Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Star Fox Guard (Wii U)
Assassin's Creed: Origins (Uplay)

Since my pile is just endlessly growing, I decided to add some of the games into tiers of what I want to play. I mean, I already did that previous years, just cut even further down this time.
So this is my tier 1 for 2020. Started on Code Vein yesterday.

A Plague Tale: Innocence (PC)
Code Vein (PC)
Devil May Cry 5 (PC)
Tetris Effect (PS4)
Kingdom Hearts Series (PS4)
Untitled Goose Game (PC)
Outward (PC)
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC)
Tower of Time (PC)
Icewind Dale EE (PC)
King of Dragon Pass (PC)
Chrono Trigger (PC)
Europa Universalis IV (PC)
Battletech (PC)
CrossCode (PC)

2020 releases look crazy the first 5 months of 2020 though. That cant be good for the pile.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Warcraft 3 Reforged
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Final Fantasy 7 remake
Nioh 2
Resident Evil 3
Cyberpunk 2077
The Last of Us 2
The Settlers (unknown, but it was scheduled for Q4 2019)

I can't even nail down a list of games I want to beat this year. That's twelve months, and anything can change. I'm still sticking to my original post of "limit games bought", which will by itself destroy some of my backlog from a numbers perspective.

Final Fantasy XIV's next major patch in February will get some playtime from me, then my first day one AAA title of the year will be Final Fantasy VII Remake. I thought I'd be more excited for Cyberpunk, but right now I think I'll at least wait for reviews first.

Vrikk wrote:

I can't even nail down a list of games I want to beat this year. That's twelve months, and anything can change. I'm still sticking to my original post of "limit games bought", which will by itself destroy some of my backlog from a numbers perspective.

Oh my gosh, YES! I’m looking at all these lists and I’m like.... “I’ll play whatever I feel like, wheeeee!”

Oh my list is as much a shield against new purchases as it is a list of games I want to play. Tempted to buy a new RPG, oh look-see I already own a handful of decent RPGs I could have a crack at.

Listing a whopper pile of everything I own doesn't work for me it turns out. A cut down list might, we'll see. All about trying games, not necessarily beating.

I find all the different pile tactics in these threads really interesting, have done since joining the forum. Nice to see those occasions when someone finds a plan that works for them.

Following up on my previous post, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with the pile, what I think "the pile" even is anymore, and whether I want to track it like I have in the past.

I won't belabor the entire thought process that landed me there, but I've decided that my personal concept of the pile is that it's basically anything I pay money to own inside of a year-long window stretching from one Christmas shopping season to the next. I know that that is curiously specific, but a lot of it comes down to my buying habits and how long I actually stay interested in something before that interest flips over into feeling like obligation.

That leaves me a neat little gaming year that stretches from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31. I'm going to keep track of what I spend during that time as well as what I'm playing.

One thing I'm going to do differently versus previous years is focus my attention on what I've played versus what I've finished. Partly as a side effect of using sites like Backloggery, up until now I've always put my focus on beating games. Clear the final boss, roll the credits, etc., etc. That creates a weird psychological burden around games I don't want to finish or can't finish, and it's also literally impossible to achieve with some games, especially online multiplayer games that by design do not have an end.

This year, I want to try putting my focus on just what I've played. I'm tracking that at two levels: games I've played at all; and games I've played seriously, i.e., that I've put some time and effort into even if I don't ultimately decide to finish them. I want to make sure that everything I buy gets a little bit of love, and I'd like to also make sure that most of them get some real effort put into finding out if they're for me. And if they're not? Move on. No guilt.

My goal by the end of January is to have zero unplayed games purchased since Nov. 1 (I currently have 2), and to have at least 75% of the games purchased since Nov. 1 get some serious effort (I'm sitting at about 60% right now).

Since everyone loves lists so much, here's what I'm looking at:

  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Needs time (the above, plus)

  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
  • Divinity Original Sin 2

Clock's and erdah's posts vividly reminded me of 7th grade, when I was getting my first console (SNES), but knew I could only scrounge up enough money for a small handful of games a year. I remember making a heartfelt promise to myself that I would always appreciate the games I owned as fully as possible, even the ones I didn't particularly love. I think years of carrying that intention forward, into the era of steam sales and bundles and more disposable income, may have formed the gnarled root of my pile problem. That said, I'm co-existing with the pile pretty amicably these days, no longer feeling immobilized by the weight of it or instantly guilty about the occasional acquisition. Not saying I've dealt with it once and for all, but compared to the weightier entries on the list of ways I feel I've let my younger self down (turning 40 is fun!), that broken promise felt easy enough to forgive and set aside this year.

My greater concern lately has been getting more enjoyment out of my time - I still find that I'm constantly cycling into being too tired to dig into the pile games I most want to play, and instead settling for spending the majority of my time on twitchy endless games when I should be getting more rest to break the cycle. To that end, my "pile" goal for 2020 is primarily to reduce the time I spend just playing the game of avoiding sleep. I'm planning to track what I'm playing when, at least at the outset, so I can avoid any mental hand-waving and see quantitatively what I'm doing. I may add restrictions to that if needed, but I think I'll see how just being more aware pans out first.

More directly pile-wise, I've done a couple of weekend sessions lately where my kids and I will pick a few random games out of the pile and give them a try. Most of these get filed under "do not want" pretty quickly, thus effectively reducing the pile a bit, but we've also stumbled into stuff we really enjoyed and plan to revisit. I definitely plan to do more of these going forward. I had hoped the various GWJ game clubs would be another tool to help me address the pile in 2019, but sadly I haven't taken advantage of those opportunities very successfully thus far. If I can get my time management issue under control, I'll take another stab at that as pile picks arise in 2020.

I had hoped the various GWJ game clubs would be another tool to help me address the pile in 2019, but sadly I haven't taken advantage of those opportunities very successfully thus far.

I hate to say this because I know that the people who run the game clubs are all here and watching (hi! thanks for all your hard work!) but one thing I really need to do for myself in the year ahead is to not try to participate in any of the game clubs. I've wanted to use them as an avenue for clearing out my backlog or making new discoveries, but the actual result for me has been nothing but stress. The pressure to participate and keep up with other players and contribute to the conversation has almost always had a distorting effect on my enjoyment of a game. Doubly so if I decide to buy the club's selection so that I can jump in.

I love the game clubs, but they're not a good match for me and my psyche.