The Concept

A new year approaches, and with it, new and fantastic games! Grand Theft Auto 5, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, Watch Dogs and many, many more are all on the docket for release next year. We even have rumors of new systems coming next year! It’s an exciting time to be a gamer: we’re spoiled for choice, and the bounty of plenty seems to be never ending.

But there’s a temptation that arises when we’re faced with the abundance of choice. We feel like we want it all. Perhaps it’s the nagging voice at the back of our mind saying “The price! The sale! The hype! The game! It’s too good to pass up!”, or perhaps it’s just our well-meaning intentions to purchase now and consume the content in the near future. Whatever the reason, what will inevitably happen is we will develop a backlog of games we’ve been meaning to to play.

What can this do to a gamer? It can demotivate you: It’s depressing to stare down at a stack of games and realize you’d need to invest more hours to complete them than you have in the year to play games. There’s also little motivation to dig into these titles when everyone else has already played the game in your backlog, and the community at large has moved on to the latest, greatest, shiniest title.

The Plan

Hi, my name is Ricky, and I have a backlog problem.

There are many, many amazing titles in my backlog. You can see the full list here, a Google Doc that I’ll be using for this challenge. My plan is to focus solely on the titles on this list in 2013, working through them based on a few rules and guidelines:

  • I will focus on playing one game at a time.
  • I don’t have to finish a game to move on to another. If a game isn’t clicking with me, then I can put it aside knowing that I gave it a go.
  • I don’t have to play all the games on the list in 2013. This isn’t meant to be a chore: it’s a personal challenge. Come 2014, I’ll evaluate how I want to approach unplayed games.
  • I love playing games with my friends. I love the gaming industry. I love being involved in the launch of a series I’m passionate about. For these reasons, I’m allowing myself to purchase no more than 3 new games throughout the year. I can pick which titles I purchase, but once I’ve bought 3, that’s it for the year.
  • Games that were purchased in 2012 won’t count toward the above limit of 3 games. For instance, I pre-purchased Company of Heroes 2 long before I developed this challenge. I also have a number of Kickstarter games set to be delivered next year. As games come in, they’ll be added to the list.
  • Games purchased for me by others don’t count toward the limit of 3 games. If folks want to do that for a birthday, or during a sale, that’s cool. However, note that I won’t be gifting any games next year. This is so that it doesn’t appear like I’m doing a “favor for a favor” sort of thing. If I gift a game, it counts as one of the 3.
  • As I play through the games on my list, I’ll be writing about my experience in a post unique to that game, as well as in the Weekly Gamentary post. I’ll use this page to collect all of the content in one convenient place.

The Tools

  • Here’s the Google Doc list. I’ll be tracking each title played, and I’ll include a link to any associated content in the Doc.
  • I’ll try manage my limited gaming time using
  • I’ll have the option of picking my games, but I’ll also use Steam Roulette from time to time.
  • I’ll chronicle my progress here on Gamentary.

The Twist

Every good challenge needs to have a risk and reward facet. Neither Preezie nor Albert think I can successfully complete this challenge based on the guidelines above. So each of them have offered to buy me 1 new game in 2014 if (when!) I complete the challenge. If I fail, then I have to buy them each a game. Risk buying 2 games to get 2 games? Deal.

Want to Participate?

You can! You can just follow the above guidelines, and you’re set! You can send tweet us, email us, Facebook post, whatever, to keep us posted on your progress. But in the end, this is an exercise in self-control. The only person you have to answer to is yourself. If you want to modify the guidelines for your own particular gaming habits, go for it! I only recommend trying to maintain the spirit of the challenge by working through your backlog before purchasing too many new games.


Update 1/25: Completed Sleeping Dogs. Started Spec Ops: The Line.

Update 1/29: Completed Spec Ops: The Line. Continuing Assassin’s Creed 3

Update 3/7: Completed Assassin’s Creed 3. Started Mark of the Ninja and SimCity.

Update 4/18: Started and completed Tomb Raider at some point. Started Bioshock Infinite.

Update 5/31: Completed Bioshock Infinite and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Getting back to The Walking Dead.

Update 6/19: Completed The Walking Dead. Started Dishonored.

Update 8/26: Completed Dishonored. Continuing with The Last of Us.

Update 10/11: Moved to GTA V. Still need to finish The Last of Us.

Updated 10/30: Completed GTA V and To the Moon. Back to The Last of UsList updated.