Things have been intense for awhile now haven’t they? We had the launch of two major consoles, a slew of games to close out 2013, and the holiday rush. Now things are slowing down, you’ve played your next gen games to your heart’s content, and that new console is mostly serving as an expensive paperweight until the post-launch games start to trickle in.

It’s the new console hangover. You were excited for months or even years to witness the dawn of a new age, and now you realize it’s actually going to take some time before the games are all that discernible from the last generation. Let’s face it, what Xbox One and PS4 had on offer didn’t blow the critics away. What to do, what to do?

No worries, here are a few tips to get you through this difficult transition period.

Your backlog:

Most avid gamers have them, and over the course of a generation they tend to build up. Often just the thought of the backlog is depressing, keeping you from taking it on. I’m telling you it’s all in your mind. You might think it will be too hard to go back and play “old” games because you’ve seen shiny new graphics but if you can put that out of your head for 15 minutes you’ll be just fine.

First you have to select a game to play. Play what you feel like. That isn’t always an option with such an expensive hobby but since you’ve bought and racked up this backlog they are already something that interested you at one point no? Take a moment and just ask yourself what you need. Open world? All out action? Fantasy? Just got to shoot something? Grab whatever is closest to your needs and force yourself to give it another go. If nothing comes to mind grab a genre you haven’t tried in a long time. Often times we stopped playing just because it wasn’t what we were in the mood for at the time.

If none of that is convincing and you are the kind of gamer who buys games and stacks them up without even taking them out of the plastic then pick one of those. Often just opening up a “new” game is enough enticement to sit down and get into it.

Buy a reduced price/used game:

I know we are all tapped out from holiday gift buying, but hear me out. You probably got a gift card or two, maybe some cash, or at have enough left over to take advantage of the incredible post-holiday sales.

Use the internet and bring up a list of games over any given recent year and look for any titles that grabbed your attention. Don’t just grab any AAA game you missed, more mainstream stuff isn’t the answer right now. Pick something in your area of interest that scored well but not high. Believe it or not a game in the 6-7 range is usually still pretty great as long as something about the concept or characters interest you. I’ve always loved crazy Japanese stuff and I recently grabbed Killer Is Dead. Is it an incredible leap in action gaming? Of course not, but it’s balls to the wall fun and utterly unique. That trumps all the little nitpicks that brought the scores down.

Another idea is to nab an attractive indie game off the store that you thought you were too cool to play, those never cost much and are usually quite innovative.

So go ahead and sacrifice a few bucks on just a little bit more, you’ll thank me later.

Do a trophy/achievement hunt:

I’m not a trophy hunter. I often like collecting in-game items but so many of those things are unreasonable and since I never have the time to go for the platinum it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. This whole trophy and achievement thing is all about competition with friends anyway right? Not so fast. One of the overlooked purposes of these virtual trinkets is to add replay value to your titles. Pick up one of your old favorites and have a look at the list of achievements, pick out one hard one or a few medium difficulty ones and make it your mission to get them done. You’ll get a little more enjoyment out of a favorite game and a little more worth out of your purchase.

Plan for the future:

There’s really no better antidote to the malaise surrounding a bleak release schedule (I don’t see more than a couple must-buys for XBO and PS4 in 2014 yet) than a plan for tackling the costs of the year. First find yourself a list of what will or is likely to release this year. Next rake up some teasers and trailers for those games to give you a good idea of your hype levels. Read up on whatever information you can find to help make your decisions. Now plan out which ones you’ve got to buy on day one and which ones you think you should wait for. Then decide what you’re likely to pay for them. I know I plan to get the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition right away, but you might feel that the full price is just too much for that game and you’d rather wait to pay $40 or less.

Figure out your accessories too. The Xbox One came with its camera but if you have a PS4 maybe you want to look into whether or not that camera will be worth a purchase. If one of the upcoming games is going to have some local co-op that you know you’ll want to try then you might want to plan to have enough money for more controllers.

Clean out your collection:

Lightening the load is always liberating. I know my collection has gotten very bloated. There are titles in there that I’m just not going to have time to get to, and others that were great but I know for a fact I will never play again. It feels good to be rid of those, and that dreaded backlog will diminish.

If you’ve got a Powerup Rewards card and a short attention span go ahead and make the trip to Gamestop and unload all that junk. However, if you want to get your money’s worth then take your time (you’ve got plenty of it now if you’re not gaming) and get those suckers listed on Ebay. You’ll be able to make another gamer happy at a reasonable price and without Gamestop as the middleman nobody gets ripped off. Consider it a project or public service.

Patience is a virtue; those truly great next-gen games are on their way but it’s best to have something to do while you wait if gaming is in your blood and I hope these tips help.



David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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