There are few things more intimidating than a long backlog of video games. This is something that can escalate into an existential crisis for avid gamers. How to justify buying a brand new game when they have 30 intact on Steam? Even when you think you’re going to get there, backlogs seem to have a way of spreading endlessly.
It’s easier than ever to rack up a giant stack of games these days. Steam apparently has a sale for every minor celebration, forcing us to get a good deal. Services like PS Now and Prime Gaming distribute giveaways like candy. And don’t get me started on Xbox Game Pass, which introduced Netflix-style “gamer paralysis” into gaming. How can someone get through every game they intend to play while trying to keep up with a never-ending stream of new releases?
If you’re in that boat, now is the time to dig into that pesky backlog. January is always a great time to tackle all the old games that are collecting dust in your library. But this year is not just a good month to catch up; it might be the last one you have until 2023.
The storm is coming
If you haven’t checked out the 2022 games release schedule yet, be prepared for some real fear. It’s going to be a relentless year for new releases with the biggest games delayed for 2021 coming out alongside those slated for 2022. We’re in a double-jam year.
What’s particularly intimidating, however, is the number of giant and long games to come. In February alone, we will have Horizon forbidden to the west and Ancient ring, two huge open-world games that few players could reasonably juggle in a timely manner. These two games alone threaten to erase the pipeline for players who don’t play like they’re on a shift. Other potential colossi like Starfield, Forspoken, Sonic Frontiers, and the rest of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are also looming. It feels like there might not be enough hours in the year to hit them all – and these are just a small part of the games that are set to launch this year.
That’s where this month becomes a pivotal time for anyone looking to erase some old games they’ve been dying to access. Historically, January has been quiet for new releases, giving players a month to breathe. This is also true this year, with a few exceptions. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is January’s big game, although it kicks off at the end of the month. Rainbow Six Extraction is the other major release this month, though its co-op gameplay likely has some niche appeal.
Other than that, January will mainly bring already released gaming PC ports like Monster hunter rise, God of the war, and the Uncharted series. It’s a relatively quiet month, which makes it a great time to tame an unruly backlog.
I already take this rare breath to heart. Since mid-December (when I was finally done covering the new 2021 releases), I’ve taken some time to fill in some of my more glaring gaming blind spots. I played through the entire Dead Space trilogy and checked out the original Paper mario via Nintendo Switch Online. With Bayonet 3 coming this year i think i will use this month to finally play the first two games in the series. Alan wake is also on my list, as a sequel is finally in the works.
Of course, there is also another reasonable solution to your backlog problem – to kill it completely. Video games should be fun or at least challenging. If the thought of playing something fills you with dread, something has gone terribly wrong. Sometimes players may feel pressure to play certain titles, not because they want to, but because they feel like they are playing. have at. No one will take away your player badge if you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption 2, so give your backlog the Marie Kondo treatment and cut games that don’t elicit joy.
If you are simply unable to break free from this self-imposed pressure, I sympathize. We live in an age where there is apparently a new must-have game every week. It’s only natural to want to play a bit of everything so that you can follow the conversation. Even single player games can be a social experience that encourages us to connect and communicate with others who have clicked with the experience. I like to play games because I like to talk to other people who like games.
So if you’re in a similar boat, take the next few weeks to reduce your backlog as you see fit. Remember, it’s meant to be fun, not a chore.