Shameless Gaming: Tips On Reducing Your Pile Of Shame

July is Shameless Gaming month at Kotaku - your chance to play through all those games accumulating on your pile of shame. Since it's almost the weekend, and it's time to get focused, we asked Trjn, the creator of Shameless Gaming, to share some of his tips.

The first week of Shameless Gaming month is over. Some of us have made progress, others not so much. That’s okay, it happens. There are pesky things, like reality, that might get in the way of progress.

If you are really intent on making a dent in your pile of shame, having some sort of method to your madness may be helpful. Blindly going forth and gaming can be fun, it just doesn’t always work.

Probably the greatest way to get through your pile of shame is to give yourself incentives. If there is a television show you want to watch instead of gaming, deny yourself the privilege until you have reached the next chapter. Whatever you’re using as an excuse to procrastinate could be instead used as a reward.

Many of us have a reasonably formidable pile of shame. That means that there will be games in your pile of shame that belong there for a very good reason, such as being so terrible that they don’t deserve to be finished. These can be ignored in favour of the other, less horrifically bad, games.

After all, why should you focus on a game that you despise when there is something that you might potentially love sitting right next to it? It doesn’t make much sense to put time towards something you hate. Not unless you’re as stubborn as I am, then it makes perfect sense (at the time).

Odds are there isn’t just one game worthy of your attention. Most of us will have several games to try and choose from, all of them perfectly valid choices.

Learning to juggle multiple games can definitely work in your favour. There are times in almost every game where things start to drag, where the game simply becomes less fun. In the past, that may have been reason to abandon a game, adding it to your pile of shame. If you’re constantly switching between several games, you can tag out a game that is frustrating you for one that is not. Then when that game starts to frustrate you, tag the first game back in.

I’ve been alternating between Darksiders, Trauma Center: Second Opinion and Starcraft 2 over the last week Once the difficulty and imprecise controls of Trauma Center frustrate me, I switch to Darksiders. After I grow weary of the dark gritty dark darkness of Darksiders, Starcraft 2 comes in to provide reinforcement. Then when I become fed up with my incompetence at Starcraft 2, Trauma Center comes back to save the day. It’s a beautiful cycle.

Another strategy that I’ve employed so far, to what could be considered success, is to try and marathon through a game. Simply sitting down, shutting up and beating that thing in one go.

When done as a solo venture, this works much in the same way that piercing your ear with a thumbtack works. The job gets done but it’s messy and there are far better ways to do it.

Aside from the obvious drawbacks that come with sitting by yourself for hours on end, those frustrating moments that all games have are amplified by the fact that you’re committed to not going anywhere until you are done.

If you insist on marathoning a game, try to wrangle a friend into it.

Unlike the solo attempt, co-operative marathons are one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of going through. Everything that makes a solo gaming marathon go poorly doesn’t seem to be as bad when you’ve got a good co-op partner by your side. It could have something to do with the power of friendship or some other nonsense.

There is also the possibility of things going completely haywire and a great friendship will be ruined. If that happens, I take no responsibility for daring to suggest that you try a co-op gaming marathon.

Playing with friends isn’t just limited to co-operative marathons. Singing the praises or venting your frustrations about a game you’ve been playing is rather enjoyable but often requires someone who has also played that game. This experience can be somewhat engineered by making an effort to play the same game (or games) as others.

Taking a look through the piles of shame that people have listed so far, there are a few titles that I saw mentioned with alarming frequency. They were: Infamous, Bioshock, Darksiders and Batman: Arkham Asylum. This knowledge may help you optimise potential venting and/or praising.

If these methods can’t motivate you, why not a simpler motivation? Having one less game in your pile of shame. That is what we’re striving to do, reduce our pile of shame. Maybe these methods will help you do that, maybe you’ve got your own little tricks.

However you approach this month, try to enjoy yourself. This doesn’t have to be a chore.

How are you guys going with your pile of shame? Let us know in the comments below. We're also discussing Shameless Gaming on Twitter under the hashtag #shamelessgaming. You can follow me @Serrels.


    My pile of shame isn't too bad at the moment. I did however pick up a copy of Mafia II a month or 2 ago that I have been meaning to start playing. I intend to spend at least a couple of hours on it this weekend, which will determine how much of it I'm going to play in the long run.

      My pile of shame is just like Leon in Flying High (and Leon's getting LAAARGER)

      Mirror's Edge
      Red Dead Redemption
      Burnout Paradise
      Dead Nation
      3D Dot Game Heroes
      Valkyria Chronicles

      And that's all I can think of right now. There's probably more...

        Mate, don't let Mirror's Edge stack onto your pile of shame. That's an 8 hour game (and a damn awesome one at that) maximum game. I think my first run was 8 hours but now I have the whole game down to 2.5 - 3.

          *The word game was featured more times in that sentence than originally intended.

    Yea, Steam sales are playing Havok with the shame pile so far. Spent like 2hrs on Beat Hazard last night, I think I am blind now because of it! The daily acheivments are also making me go back to games a lot, so I can get some tickets and maybe win my wishlist. I really want to polish off Duke and Crysis 2 and I have to get a bit further into Dirt 3, it is great so far. I saw the iRacing stuff on Good Game a few weeks ago too, a bad move signing up to that, I just cant stop racing and they take so long! A great racing community though and lots of fun.

    I haven't made any progress since finishing FEAR and FEAR2 last weekend. Sadly I have been feeling rather poorly and not inclined to do anything. The first game I played since Monday was a few hours of Halo: Reach last night in a bid to win steak from Bungie (as if I stood a chance).

    As I have finished each campaign mission of Halo Reach countless times, if you were to create some sort of shamefulness graph with ultimate shame at (0,0), my Halo Reach anti-shame point would be quite literally off the charts.

    So I have accomplished nothing this week. The only way I could do worse would be to go ahead and un-finish games from my collection

    Something else to keep in mind is to try not to buy games just because they're cheap. The Steam sale is awesome, but if you're never going to play any of those ridiculously cheap games it seems a bit pointless.

    Then again, my main computer is a Mac, so avoiding the Steam sale is a lot easier for me.

      I try to tell myself this. But it never works. My thinking is more along the lines of "If I buy it now for a few bucks, it doesn't matter if I play it for months or years. At least I've got it there to play when I finally get around to it".

      As for my shameless gaming month, it hasn't started very well. The double xp in Black Ops used up my gaming time last weekend. I'm about 50% of the way through Resistance 2, however. I am working the next 2 weekends, but I have rec leave for the last 10 days of July so I hope to get through a few games then.

    My tips for getting through a backlog of games is simple... Play the shortest ones first. Here is a site which people submit their times for run throughs, it's not exact but it gives you a rough idea:

    My other tip is, if you aren't gripped by the game and don't really enjoy it, just walk away... no point wasting your time on garbage when there could be some quality sitting in your pile.

      Playing short games really helps if you need to feel like you're making constant progress.

      It's definitely a lot more satisfying to play a game for two hours and know you're half done than to play a game for four hours and feel like you've made barely any progress.

        Honestly it's for this reason I don't mind when games are only 6-10 hours long... I love being able to burn through a game in a single day, especially if I enjoy the game and would love to play it again... a second play through which would again only take 1 day.

        Red Faction Armageddon for example... 6 hours long, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (Blowing the shit out of buildings is always fun)... Will definitly play it again one weekend.

        Witcher 2 on the other hand, epic epic game, but a second playthrough requires a good 30 hour investment!... 30 hours which I could use to finish 4-5 other games.

    my pile of shame is entirely zelda related.

    link's awakening. (almost done)
    spirit tracks ( literally only played 10 minutes so far)
    ocarina of time 3d ( stuck at the water temple... again)
    wind waker ( half finished it as a kid. plan to start from scratch once the others are finished)

    Steam's sale has dramatically amplified my pile of shame :/

    Going to take a long time to get through the list, and many are long-winded strategy types. Curse full-time employment making gaming so hard!

    Company of Heroes is at the top of my pile. I've had this amazing RTS for 3 years and I still haven't finished the original campaign. For shame.

    Excellent work, Trjn, definitely helpful advice.
    It can also help to work your way backwards, finish the most recent additions to your pile and work backwards. This can help restore your memory of controls and save games and it can ease you into the older style of games, depending on the chronological density of your pile.


      That seems like it might just be cunning enough to work.

    "If there is a television show you want to watch instead of gaming, deny yourself the privilege until you have reached the next chapter."

    reminded me of

    "Can I have a cookie?"
    "Not until you finish your sundae!"

    Anyway, I'm still trying to 100% LA Noire. I'm focusing on trying to find every vehicle at the moment, down to the last two :P When I get bored with that I try to get 5-stars in a case, then back to car hunting.

    It never really gets annoying though because I love the in-car radio. xD

      Delicious gaming sundae.

    The recent PSN outage helped me get through part of my backlog. Still struggling, as I play a lot of RPGs.

    Still haven't finished Yakuza 4 or even started Fallout NV. PSN Plus keeps dumping a several small games a month in my queue, many of which will never see more than a few short plays.

    Pile of Shame? It's nearly all virtual on my Steam Library. Sadly it's grown a lot in the last week with this sale. Couldn't resist a few indie games and every id Software game ever! Might also pick up Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines as a classic RPG I never got around to.


    Getting longer because of the Steam Sale.

    Dawn of War 2: Retribution
    Wings of Prey
    ARMAII (Again)
    porbably C&C pack and Company of Heroes Pack when I get home from work will be added to the list.

    I am currently going through Just Cause 2 a game I have wanted to play since release but only just purchased thanks to the steam sale. I will also add that I have been playing Halo Reach MP. Technically this can't be finished but I have been ashamed of how little I played it at release and I have been very happy now that I am back in it.

    WOOHOO got the last of all of the endings for chrono trigger on my DS yesterday. Crossed Portal 2 of my list on Sunday. Almost through infamous 2. It's not going too bad for me

    My 'gaming' pile of shame hasn't moved. Instead of been stuck on the couch with the missus going through our movie pile of shame. Which in some cases can be just as painful as playing through some games. X-Men 3 anoyone?

    This weekend I'm going to take 2 hours out of movie watching to play Truth or Lies to it's horrible conclusion and 1,000 GS.

      X-Men 3? I heard rumours about the existence of that movie, but I refuse to acknowledge it.

      Then again, I can't talk about my movie pile of shame, I own hundreds of DVDs and there are more than I dare to count that are still unwatched.

    My pile of shame is mostly made up of moments in a game that have annoyed me and I've given up on them. This makes it stupendously hard to summon the will to go and irritate myself some more when I could be playing something new.

    Case in point Darksiders, stuck at a bit quite close to the end of the game that's driving me completely batty.

    I've haven't touched any of them. But I'm playing the shit out of Trine. That game is GREAT.

    I have however managed to wrangle my partner in science and am now delightfully solving problems through gestures. We standing at -439 Science Collaboration Points :(

    (the co-op part was on my list of to-do! only a little bit more to go!)

    (It's AMAZING)

    Hang on, what are these obvious drawbacks that come with sitting by yourself for hours on end?

    I don't really have a pile of shame, I have heaps of games that I never finished but in my view they failed to interest me so if anyone should be ashamed its them!

    Is this whole pile of shame thing turning gaming into a chore? Don't think its the point of gaming at all

    My pile at the moment includes Dead Space 2, Valkyria Chronicles, NBA 2k11, LA Noire, and WoW. I'm focusing on 2k11 and WoW for the moment. Soon as I get sick of leveling in WoW, play a game in 2k11.

    My pile of shame;

    - God of War
    - God of War II
    - God of War III
    - Uncharted
    - Red Dead Redemption
    - Dead Space
    - Dead Space 2
    - Brink
    - Dragon Age: Origions
    - Final Fantasy XIII
    - Darksiders
    - Medal of Honor: Frontline
    - Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    - Crysis 2
    - Demon's Soul's
    - WET
    - Fallout: New Vegas

    And, I've yet to finish Mafia II. However, that's because it keeps freezing on the last mission and I can't seem to make it stop.

    Mario Galaxy, Prototype and Red Dead are the most shameful games on my pile of shame. Eternal Darkness is also there if we go back far enough.

    Games I don't want to finish I don't really count. Prince of Persia reboot, aint touching that one!

    So far this I've managed to complete:
    Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 Vegas
    Farcry Instincts Predator.
    I gotta say that boss fight in the room with all the pillars has to be the buggiest fight i've ever had the displeasure of doing.

    I reduced my pile of shame by trading them all in :)
    Now I've got Uncharted 3 Explorer, Assassins Creed Animus Edition and Fifa 12 Collectors all paid off.

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