5 Tips to Get Through Your Steam Backlog

Steam has done great things for PC gaming, some might even say it has revitalized the platform by giving a great outlet for indies. But, a terrible side effect of that is your Steam backlog. Steam sales and game bundles have overburdened PC gamers with an extensive collection of games that can make gaming a chore. The past few weeks, I have been trying to crack down on my own backlog, and here is my strategy in 5 easy tips.

1. Remove the Games You Will Absolutely Not Play from Your Steam Backlog

We have all acquired free games from promotions and from bundles where we only wanted one or two of the games on offer. Take some time to go through your library and set aside (using Steams category feature) to put all the games you absolutely have no interest playing into one category. This will make your actual backlog smaller and easier to manage resulting in making the task less daunting. This was the first step I took and I reduced my backlog by about 5 games! Ok, it is not much but perhaps you aren’t as excited about your games as I am.

2. Check the Time to Beat Any Given Game

Go to howlongtobeat.com and check the average completion time for your games. I usually just checked the games that I knew or had a feeling were short. Use your judgement and time wisely, as there is no point in checking how long it takes to beat an RPG. We want to tackle the shorter games first because this is the fastest way to reduce the size of your backlog. The less daunting the list looks, the less stressful it is. By identifying your shorter games you have created a list of games to start with.

3. Forget About Achievements

Achievements are fun, but by achievement hunting, we are slowing down the speed at which we can get through our Steam backlog. Getting achievements organically as you play is fine, but do not go out of your way to get 100% completion. Most games can be completed and considered played even without getting all of the achievements. If you really want to 100% a game, I suggest setting it aside after you beat it normally so you can go back and 100% when your Steam backlog has been reduced.

4. Make Your Time Worthwhile

Sometimes there is a game that we get really excited about but then we end up playing it and we do not like it so much. However, we want to get through our backlog and need to consider the game “played” according to our personal standards. For me, I don’t quit on a game that I have grown tired of until I hit around 35% achievement completion at a minimum. I know I said to ignore achievements but I am a complicated person. Other people decide the cut off is one or two hours. If the game turns out not to grab you, you can not be faulted for not completing it. As long as you feel that you understand what the game is about, there is no obligation to finish it if you really are not enjoying it. If you can’t put at least an hour or two into a game, then  maybe it should have been relegated to the trash category as per step 1. You are doing these steps in order, aren’t you?

5. Create a Category for Finished Games

The final step, because every list needs at least five, but also because we need to keep your library clear of clutter, is to create a separate category for finished games. When you finish a game, or are finished with it, assign it to your finished category and delete local content (your saves and unlockables should be saved. SHOULD. I take no responsibility if they are not). The reason I do this is that it removes the completed games from my library (as the categories are minimized) so I know, at a glance, just exactly how many games are left. For games that are never truly finished, such as multiplayer games and some roguelikes, I create another category I call “Continuous”. As in, I will continuously play these games because they never end! I am very particular with keeping my library uncluttered.

 ??? Profit

These are my tips, and so far they have helped me out. Maybe I will show a screen shot of what my Steam backlog looks like so you can see how it is organized, but it is too embarrassing at the moment. Also, it is best to stay away from bundle sites and flash sales when you are working on your backlog. Feel free to share any other tips and tricks for us who struggle to clear our backlog of games. Also, some of these strategies could be applied to other parts of your life.


Who knows.




  1. Good advice here. I definitely got caught up in the achievements for a while before realizing I was forcing myself to play a game I didn’t enjoy for hours on end, just to increase my average game completion rate. On the other hand, saying we should stay away from bundle sites is like telling a heroin addict they should just lay off the heroin for a while – but I only unlock the games I actually plan to play and give the others away. It means my Steam library isn’t *quite* as full as it would be… but it also means that I actually intended to play every game that’s in there, which is just a terrifying prospect.

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