Addicted to buying games, but can't finish them.

Sep 12, 2017
I've had the exact same problem recently, although I think I am starting to address it. GCU has made me trigger-happy about picking up games - I can justify it as I can make back my money on resale- but as others have said, you get that hollow, shitty feeling of just consuming, consuming, consuming, without any real enjoyment. For better or worse, that'll be over with soon, and I intend on cutting down significantly. I'm fine with it, because my spending was getting bit uncomfortable. Multiple staff don't even ask for ID at the pickup desk anymore, which makes me think I might be getting a little over the top.

I've just become a father too, and between that, closing in on 40, doing evening classes AND interests outside gaming I'm realizing that I don't have all the time in the world to fritter away, and certainly not to play every game that comes out for a few days before moving on to the next one.

I had Red Dead for a hot minute: even just waiting for it to install cut hugely into any time I could invest in it. The story and the size of the game required a level of commitment that I couldn't possibly make right now, and that I might not be willing to even if it were an option. It went on ebay quite quickly, along with a huge chunk of my back-catalog. I'm playing The Messenger on Switch and Picross for the Super Famicom instead ( I swear I am not trying to hook in people enjoying RDR...). Right now, games need to be short and sharp, something I can pick up and put down without too much bother.


The nicest person on this forum
Mar 22, 2017
I think the biggest problem for some people is the need to finish games as fast as possible. I bought DQXI in day one and just I finally got to the 3rd act and I'm still highly enjoying the game I wish the game doesn't end. Its okay take your time fully enjoy the game, I rather fully play and enjoy 3-4 games rather than play 100 game halfass.
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Likes: Hudo
Jun 9, 2004
Your therapist can help you address the issue, but he or she needs to be aware of your spending and feelings of emptiness.

You're trying to fix a problem by buying stuff.
Feb 15, 2018
Seems like you're better off just avoiding buying too many games then focusing only on one or two games then move on the next once you're finished, or better yet just buy games that can be conpleted in 12 or 16 hrs. I also feel this way once in a while and it's also one of the reason why I've avoided ac odyssey until I'm done with rdr2. Having too many games to play and factor in open world games which needs like a 100 hrs of time investment can be really exhausting and would just make you lose interest eventually.
Oct 29, 2007
I used to have this problem with console games, bad...Then I started collecting Arcade Cabs and Pinball Machines about 5 years ago, the sickness doesn’t leave, just gets more expensive. 50k+ and counting in purchases over the years, but damn if it isn’t rewarding when you get that new machine and the collection sings.

I still fight the urge to buy everything that hits for consoles, I’ve been really into building my digital library on PS4 lately, I’ll play 15 minutes of a AAA title like Spider-Man or RDR2, then go and play Shenmue for 2 hours.

I don’t know man, I think it’s just modern games now, they really do suck because they are so formulaic. I’m just glad to see many others in this thread with the same feelings.

So, you are not alone OP...
Likes: kingbean
Jan 7, 2018
I am the same way. Last game I finished was....uh Dark Souls 3. I bought Spiderman, Uncharted 4, RDR2, RDR1, Pillars of Eternity and countless others. Next game I think I will actually finish are REmake 2 and Sekiro.
Aug 27, 2007
IMO, I believe games have become way too over whelming when it comes to all the options available to you. Too much upgrading, collecting, selling, trading, switching, finding, of gear, equipment, weapons, outfits, automobile parts, bases, magic, spells, new moves, etc, etc, etc.... I miss the days of just picking up a game playing a hyper fun linear game with a few items to collect and upgrade. In addition, open world games have also become too large. Traveling across some of these open world games takes up too much time, and I find my self spending hours just traversing a map rather then playing a mission. But Hey what do I know, Im just a grumpy old gamer with a few strands of gray hair.
Likes: mutt765
Dec 15, 2008
Jakarta, Indonesia
Stop playing catch-up with the latest and greatest, OP. Play games that you enjoy playing, if they do not interest you (after you give it a fair time) then you should move on.

Well, gaming time is so precious to me (a mid 30's family-man with a job) that I am no longer care with this called "backlog". I have written a piece in my personal blog about my personal tips for gaming dads. I don't know if my story relates to you or others.

So, here are my personal tips:
  1. You have to realize that you will play less, especially if you have a newborn. However, please do not make it an excuse to stop enjoying something that you love. Create a routine for playing games. Maybe a couple hours during night time or weekend. Flexibility and time management are the keys to achieve this.
  2. Focus on 2 – 3 games at one time, don’t juggle between games (especially for big narrative games). Sometimes your gaming library (is huuuuge) makes you feel a bit overwhelming, but it is totally your choice to have them as many as you want. For me, finishing a game could make you feel rewarded and accomplished. So don’t forget to try completing your game once.
  3. Accept that interruptions may happen at any time, but don’t be afraid !! your games will not go anywhere. Pay full responsibilities and attention to your baby and significant others, gaming can wait while you are needed elsewhere.
  4. When it is possible, you could make a journal/notes about your progressions, so that you will never loose on track should you have to be away (for a while) from your games.
  5. Respect your time…!! you don’t have to stick to something that you simply do not enjoy. Give them a fair chance of time, if you are not interested in them then you can move on.
  6. Respect to yourself…!! Don’t play games when you do not want to. Sometimes you feel tired from work and does not feel like to play video games. Gaming is a hobby, so please do not force yourself or otherwise, it will be a chore.
  7. if finding time for the single player game is hard, then multiplayer is even harder. I play single player games more than multiplayer ones. Yes, multiplayer sessions are still possible for gaming dads, but they are more challenging since you cannot pause in the middle of your games. It would be ideal if you have co-op buddies that understand your situations. Please do not make this as a turn off for you.
Good luck.
Mar 18, 2013
Omaha, NE - USA
A convienient thing I rely on is purchasing and preloading from my mobile phone. I did it with Halo 5 and I do it with PSN preorders. It helps save time if you don't mind buying digitally. I'll also leave the console to preload. That way when I go to play, things are ready. I wish Steam had mobile preload or even a game code activation option on the app.
Sep 21, 2006
Did you buy baseball cards (or another kind) as a kid? I get the same kind of feeling buying games as an adult. They're a lot more expensive though, at $5-$100 a pop. I'll buy games knowing full well that I'm never going to play them simply because they are on a digital sale for 85% off.

Full time job is the worst trouble for gaming. I'm lucky with a seasonal job and low cost of living, I get 4 months out of the year free with no work to game all I want. Still, my backlog is endless.

Only advice is to make your goal to beat games quickly on your first playthrough. No searching every corner, no maxing out your builds, just get to the end. If you like the game enough come back to it again later for a 100% run.
Oct 23, 2018
I just spent a lot of money on building a PC. Kinda wishing I held off a bit. It's good enough for next gen so no problems there. It should feel like a good investment later down the road. I hold off on buying games more than hardware. My biggest problem haha. I played splatoon 2 for a year and then thought to buy Octopath traveller, but I'm holding off for a digital sale from the Big N. Even though I just spent 800 on pc equipment.....
Jun 22, 2013
I only play one game at a time. Complete it and move on. I very rarely go back to a game I’ve played in the past. Juggling many unfinished games would drive me crazy and I would never be able to follow the story lines.
Likes: Floppo
Jan 1, 2009
London UK and France
I call it my gaming ADHD. That and I Don’t have as much free time as I used to to play games.
But I play handheld and try and play as much or as little of a game as I can sometimes. Currently re-playing Luigi’s mansion 2 and some other games I have on my switch and 3DS
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Jun 25, 2013
Just ask yourself which games you absolutely HAVE to play. If you have doubts about a game then dont buy it; chances are you weren't going to play/finish it anyway.
Likes: kingbean


Jul 26, 2018
I hit this point a few years ago. So, I decided to build a collection of games I wanted to play and replay. This allowed me to start saying 'No' to most games. I've already resigned myself to the fact that I will not be able to play all of the good games out there. The market is so large that I can cherry-pick and still always have something entertaining to play.

What fighting games do you play regularly? That's where the gold is: arcade genres like fighting, arcade-racing, Vs puzzle, shmups, platforming, etc. These games give back whatever you invest into them. I've sunk 60, 70, 100+ hours in a lot of fighting games and shmup over the past years yet there is a very short list of traditional "story driven" games that've taken up an equal amount of my time.
Yep, went the same route. I've become quite content to saying "no". I'd rather have a smaller collection of highly replayable (for me!) games than every good game (there are just too many!). As a result, I've actually sold many of the games I have never played.

@OP I would advise trying to stop buying games for one month to get a "feel" for how it is for you. It might help to make yourself busy somehow. For me, it happened because I was so busy at one point that I basically had only time to sleep a couple of hours and shower. So after a couple of months, when I had some time again, I reflected upon my "buying behaviour" and asked myself "do I REALLY want to play this?" and went on from there...
Jun 21, 2018
As i said.......buyed Hitman 2 (preorder) and Blackops 4 (Really fun).
Those are my last games till.......TLOU2.
My wallet will thank me....and my inner me. The Guilt of buy a game that you know you will have no time to play its big.


Neo Member
Jul 15, 2018
I too used to fall into the Tsundoku trap with games, as evidenced by my Steam library of over 3,000 titles.

I started trying to focus on games that I knew I would enjoy (or at least thought I would) and dedicating myself to actually playing them when I get them. New game coming out I want to play? Better finish the one I'm playing first. The upside is that the new game will probably get a pretty good discount by the time I get around to having time playing it.

A few consequences of this I've found have been a bit weird - I found I really like games like Elder Scrolls Online or Diablo III that have a huge amount of content that I can play over the course of years. Also, since the majority of my console games were purchased physical - I have about 250 PS4 games in my library but have only added about 6 games in the last year which feels pretty weird to me.

So this is me, minus that huge of a game library. I have been on an ESO kick for the past few months. Before that WOW was a regular. Really WOW was an off and on since vanilla. I cant seem to stick with a single player game for more than a hour to a couple with out being completely bored. MMO's on the other hand can suck me in for hours at a time and be played for years as well.
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Jul 27, 2018
My backlog is at this point a ledger as thick as a Stephen King novel.

Even games I was super hyped for I am unable to finish. I haven't finished Spider-Man and I love Insomniac games.
I picked Horizon Zero Dawn back up last night and played for a few hours and was still pretty bored.

Persona 5 couldn't finish. It was too long and dragged it's ass
Assassins Creed Odyssey, barely played a hour before I just dropped off.
Every Nintendo Switch game other than Zelda(beat Ganon and I'm still playing it slowly. Just finished the 90th shrine) I give up a few hours into.

BUT. I just finished replayed Devil May Cry 4 SE and just started on Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen for the first time and I'm having a good time. I'm also 20 hours into Dragons Quest 11 and I'm enjoying that quite a lot.
I also play many fighting games on the regular.

So it's not like i don't like video games anymore, it's just that I don't like most games anymore... I guess.

False Edit: I just realized that of all the games I've finished have been either retro games or Japanese games.

Edit: I've been playing games since the early 90s. I've also beaten tons of games not listed because it would be massive. It probably has to do with the fact that I have a full time job and I'm tired when I get home.
I am pretty much exactly like you. Except I beat Spider-Man. God of War, AC, HZD...those I haven't. They're all just dust collecting despite me loving all of them and going hours in.
Likes: kingbean
Jun 22, 2013
Canada, Québec
I think I'm just getting out of this. I try harder to put time and interest in something else.

By giving video game less importance, it feels better and more grounded when you play anew and it has been a week or more. I do feel less stressed.
I have a pretty decent sized collection and a huge backlog too but I find its pretty easy to pick up and play (especially over the winter) its not uncommon for me to be working on 2-3 good games at a time to change it up abit. The way I look at it, by the time I'm ready to pass along, I'll have a sizable collection where some things have went up in value, not everything but some at that time my daughter can sell it all off and probably have a bunch of money and I will have enjoyed a lifetime of gaming.
Likes: kingbean
Jun 7, 2011
Barcelona, Spain
I was mostly collecting without control last gen, but for the current one I decided to catalogue and keep a control list of everything I buy, play and beat.

Seeing how much money I’ve expent so far really helps the urge to buy more shit. Have gone from 73 PS3 games of which 32 are beaten (44%) to 30 PS4 games and 11 beaten (36%). Still need to just finish more PS4 games but I’m definitely buying fewer games altogether.