The pile of shame, a different kind of gaming addiction

by on December 5, 2016

I, like many of the videogame playing public have quite a few games (a backlog if you will) stretching over hundreds of games across PC, 3DS, PS4 and Wii U. Many of these are games I really want to play, things I want to devote time to yet I just can’t bring myself to do it. There are so many titles languishing on my hard drives, shelves and in my drawers, but I don’t boot them up; this isn’t because of their quality, it’s something else entirely.

Regularly I find myself perusing sites; I check the PSN blog for new releases and sale updates, I look at hotukdeals for bargains, and I’ve been scouring the web for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts I can find (new PS4 slim get!). This is to scratch a very particular itch, one that pushes the idea of playing all those unfinished titles to the back of my brain, the desire to start something new.

There’s an odd thrill that comes from the feel of starting a new game, booting it up for the first time and getting stuck into a new character and a new story – it’s way too easy to get addicted to it. I recently went through a bit of a funk where I couldn’t bring myself to play anything. It made me question whether I really wanted to play games at all, yet starting up Picross 3D: Round 2, then moving on to Pokémon Sun, and Playdead’s Inside saw that rush come flooding straight back; this is on top of the adrenaline that a quick play of Thumper sends pumping through you.


As a games reviewer this is an easy thing to get addicted to as well, a steady flow of new games keeps that fresh feeling coming over and over again; finishing a review heightens this too, with you eagerly awaiting your next assignment just so you can feel it all over again. The downside to this though is that when the slow season comes and that feed dries up it’s easy to get into a funk and for apathy to set in.

This isn’t something that’s exclusive to new releases either, hence why people like myself check out sales constantly, it’s just the idea of starting something that’s new to me. It’s something that eats up what little disposable income I have just to ensure I get that next hit. It’s counterproductive and yet exacerbated by the rise in digital distribution, which while brand new RRP can be silly expensive, just the right sale can see a decent title go down to an extremely attractive price, and I can get it right away; as such this generation just makes it easy for our piles of shame to spiral out of control.

I should really exact some self control, but being in a position to constantly monitor games in this way means that giving into temptation is all too easy. There’s no real solution to this, and you can’t really say it’s a lesson to be learned, but there is a certain release to be had from understanding just what it is that causes your piles of shame to continue to grow. It’s not an inability to finish, it’s a desire to begin again.

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