2018 – A Year In Gaming

I’ve been playing video games for roughly 30 years now. However way back in 2013, I started keeping a log of the games that I would beat. I don’t know if it was so I could remember what I beat, or when, or why any of it mattered. Maybe it was because I wanted to be able to make a best-of list and recall what I had experienced so even the most nuanced experiences wouldn’t be forgotten. It started out with a little text file. The next year, another text file but with a few more minor details about the games. By 2017, I had developed a lot of text files and put them into one brilliant spreadsheet which now does a lot of stat tracking for me and was quite handy in 2018. I’ve got the last six years of gaming broken down by the year, month, platform, release date, and genre logged for every game beaten. It was mid-2014 when I started logging time of day, so that metric is a little lacking, but still, I’ve done this now for 164 total game experiences. Some of these game experiences do overlap, such as my most played game in the list, SteamWorld Dig.

From that list I can determine the total games I’ve played, the most common release year of those games, how many I’ve played from which decades, how many per gaming platform, the most popular months for gaming, the most popular time of day to complete games, the most popular platform by year, and perhaps most interestingly… which genres I experience the most. Now that 2018 has come to a close, all my data has full 2018 information in it, and it would be too cumbersome to see what things looked like without it, but I can tell you, there has been a lot of gaming.

When I developed this spreadsheet and 2017 came to a close, I decided that I wanted to try and do one specific goal in 2018. I wanted to play and beat more games than I ever had before. 2014 had been the previously logged record at 34 games and up until December 31st, 2017, I had only come close as in 26 games. My average at that point was about 24 games a year, or two a month. In 2018, in part due to things like the NES Classic, SNES Classic, #IGCParty, and especially #IndieXmas2018, I was able to achieve this goal of surpassing it… by 12 more games! I am as shocked as anyone might be. What might be even more shocking is that it was November 8th when I matched that 2017’s 34 number with Bayonetta 2. Two days later I polished off Sanrio Characters Picross on the 3DS. Then, somehow in less than two months time, I was able to tackle another 11 from there. It’s quite something. Three of these experiences were merely an hour or two long, so perhaps that’s something, but most were quite substantial endeavors. This is something I am quite proud of, to tackle 28% of my gaming over the last six years in just this past year alone, but at the same time, I am completely done with such an endeavor.

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There are a lot of games I would like to play in 2019, and many I plan to. I still have some leftover experiences from #IndieXmas2018 to tackle, I just found myself a 1-year membership at Xbox Game Pass, so you know I need to pursue fully experiencing that while I’ve got it. However I am now a married man. The house needs work. My wife needs support in her endeavors. I’m thinking of going back to school and I’m planning to dive into the woodworking hobby the moment it warms up outside. 2018 was a quantity over quality kind of year but I want to switch into quality over quantity. That’s not to say I might end up at a high number again. Who knows what 2019 will bring and I find that most gaming experiences enrich my enjoyment in life and my enjoyment in the hobby. However I don’t plan to keep that nugget in the back of my mind any longer. 2018 can forever go down as the MAX year, while I hope that 2015 can stay the MIN year at 14 games. With Nintendo poised to release Luigi’s Mansion 3, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and an ew Pokemon game this year… that’s just three right there. There’s a chance at Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, and Pikmin 4 all showing this year also. That’s six. There’s already a handful of Indies I want to play coming out this year, like Untitled Goose Game and Donut County. That’s eight. I started Snake Pass earlier this week and I intend to finish. That’s nine. Plus, I plan to attempt to participate monthly in #DiscoverIndies so that indie developers everywhere can help get their efforts to the masses! So you can see there’s a good shot at hitting that number. After 2018, my average games per year is 27 and I’d be happy with something between 20 and that.

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Now that all that preamble is through with, I’m just going to list, in completion order, the 46 titles I did beat this year. Three of these games are “DLC” experiences but these DLC experiences that Nintendo unleashes are so fully fleshed out that I can easily call them true separate ‘games’.

  1. Yooka-Laylee
  2. Forma.8
  3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champions DLC
  4. Metroid: Samus Returns
  5. Rhythm Heaven: Megamix
  6. Picross S
  7. SteamWorld Dig
  8. Hey! Pikmin
  9. Year Walk
  10. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Three
  11. Chibi Robo: Zip Lash
  12. Wario Land 4
  13. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
  14. Bayonetta
  15. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
  16. Super Mario World
  17. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  18. Yoku’s Island Express
  19. Night In The Woods
  20. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC
  21. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
  22. SteamWorld Dig (again)
  23. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  24. Picross e8
  25. Halo: Combat Evolved
  26. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure DLC
  27. Miles & Kilo
  28. Picross e2
  29. Shu
  30. Picross e3
  31. Octopath Traveler
  32. Hollow Knight
  33. Gradius
  34. Bayonetta 2
  35. Sanrio Characters Picross
  36. Garage: Bad Trip
  37. Super Mario Bros. 3
  38. Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure
  39. SteamWorld Heist
  40. Picross S2
  41. kuso
  42. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: World of Light (single-player campaign)
  43. Alwa’s Awakening
  44. Jack N’ Jill DX
  45. Deep Ones
  46. Sigi: A Fart For Melusina

I would really like to do some deep dives on various titles here. I plan to write up a Year Two of the Nintendo Switch like I had done with year one, but in doing that I’m going to miss my chance to talk about Sigi, Halo, Forma.8, and others that were meaningful to me this year. Now, meaningful can be both good.. and bad… (I’m looking at you Halo-bro).

Looking at this list, it’s clear that I never completed a single Steam game this year. That’s a bit of a shame. I’m halfway through Axiom Verge and Undertale on there, so I’ll have to go complete those in 2019. I would have beaten Firewatch but my computer has a harder time playing it every time I boot it up. I’m going to look into a rebuy situation on Nintendo Switch I think. Hoping for a sale though since I already have it in one unplayable form.

It’s pretty hard to narrow all these experiences down to some kind of top list, but I have to go start my year right and take a shower. So I’ll drop my top 5 experiences below and leave it at that. Happy New Year to any and all readers who stumble upon this lil’-‘ol blog. I really recommend to you the following gaming experiences (in no particular order).

  1. Yoku’s Island Express
  2. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC
  3. kuso
  4. Bayonetta
  5. Octopath Traveler
  6. Metroid: Samus Returns
Shh… I snuck in a sixth.

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Ah, one last thought. The list does show me something curious about the genre styles. Historically my top four genres are Platformer, Adventure, Action, and Puzzle in that order. This year, that’s exactly the order of my genres as well. Those four genres tackle 68% of the classifications amongst all the games this year. Sure it’s pretty vague in some ways, but this also shows me that this year I haven’t played any Sports, Strategy, Survival Horror, Pure Exploration, Rail Shooters, or Real-Time Strategy games. I might need to check if ‘Strategy’ is just irrelevant with how I have things setup.

In 2019, I think if I was to have a goal, it would be to play more independent games of course, but second to that, I’d like to play more games in more genres. Try new things. 2017 was even more a drought on genre so I’m already making good progress. This year I might try to seek out some new experiences with #DiscoverIndies and see what happens.

Happy New Year!

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