Game Hoarding and Gamer Paralysis

Posted January 23, 2020 by Zach Waske

Hello my name is Zach and I am the newest staff member for Laclede’s LAN. I am excited to be here, and was tasked with creating the first blog post for the new website. We’ll keep this blog updated on a monthly basis featuring a post from a different staff member each month about a variety of LAN/Gamer/Tech topics, etc.

How many games do you own?

Seriously, count them up, right now. I can wait. Just in my Steam collection I have 86 games, and 12 in Epic’s digital platform for a total of 98 games. Of those, I have not beaten 60 games. I haven’t even played 43 of those games. Some of them I have owned for YEARS, going back to 2013. That means I haven’t played over 60% of the games I own!

After all my years of gaming I have started recognizing I have a problem. I am a game hoarder. I’ll admit it. That’s the first step to recognizing you have a problem, right? I don’t have a severe case of game hoarding, but a rather mild case. I know several friends who own several hundred games, while I haven’t yet broken the 100-game milestone (let’s not start counting console games). Yet at every single Steam sale, the past few years I have found myself browsing through the catalog, looking for any good deals. I used to spend $100+ during Steam sales, but after recognizing my problem, I now allow myself one game, if that.

This leads to my next problem….

Gamer Paralysis is what I call it.

It comes from the fact I have too many games to play, too many choices, and frankly, it is paralyzing. It’s like walking down the potato chip or cereal aisle at the grocery store. Have you done that lately? They have EVERY variety of potato chip or cereal you can think of. There are simply too many choices. But I digress….

What game will give me the “most happiness” in the single hour I have to play before bedtime? Am I in a tough spot on a game that will take me awhile to get through? Better save that for a weekend when I have more time. Am I at a boring part in this other game? Or…do I even remember where I am at in this game? It has been so long since I last played. Half the time, I debate what game to play for so long that my single hour of game time is reduced to 20 minutes, if that. And when that happens, I usually fall back on Stardew Valley because I can finish a single day in a few minutes. I then go to bed upset because I squandered my time, taking something that is supposed to be relaxing, like gaming, and turning it into something stressful, like making life altering decision. Does this happen to anyone? Are you paralyzed by making a decision on what game to play? Too many choices, not enough time, worried you’ll make a bad decision? There is a lot of scientific study on this topic, a great book, The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less written by Barry Schwartz details out how our brain operates in these situations.

My 2020 Resolution

Therefore, as we turn the page into 2020, I am resolving to fix this issue by picking 5 games I am already playing, and finishing them before I play any other games. These 5 games and the brief reasoning behind them are:

  1. The Witcher. I’ve been playing this game on/off since 2011 and not finished it. 83 hours played.
  2. Divinity Original Sin 2. Need to make my efforts worth it and finish this game. Almost 100 hours in.
  3. Stardew Valley. Great relaxing/calming game to play, and great for short play times.
  4. Grim Dawn. Very enjoyable Diablo-like game. 26 hours played.
  5. Child of Light. Great game, great visuals, good story. I want to finish this title and move on.

Hopefully this will allow me to eliminate the paralysis I often times experience when deciding what to play, and can instead enjoy my choice and be happy with it. What games do you hope to play in 2020? Do you have any titles that are hanging over your head, haunting you because you never beat them? Games you’ve started and never finished, but still think about? Maybe now is the time to organize your game portfolio and pick out several titles to focus on and finish them?

Hey, you made it to the end. Congrats, and thanks for reading! Now go beat that old game you’ve been meaning to finish for years.