By D_W 1 Comments
Late in 2013, after having the typical difficulties of remembering all the games I played that year and what I had thought of them at the time for my games of the year list, I decided that it would be an interesting experiment to log what games I've played and when for 2014. After a year of gathering data I came about some mildly interesting results: I played about 104 video games in 2014, anywhere from a couple of minutes to 100+ hours, and most frequently played between 6 and 10 PM.
Here's the results in lovely graph form:
You can view all the raw data in this list and here's the googledoc of it compiled. You'll notice that I did not include a break down of platforms because I almost exclusively play games on PC so I figured it would not really be worth the time.
Now for a bit of perspective. 2014 was an odd year for me. I started out as the tragic overly optimistic indie dev, believing that despite a lack of experience I could still probably make a living making only games. I was living off the inheritance and a very meager savings. This lasted 6 months. 6 months too long in retrospect. In that time I got involved in some game jams that were hot at the time and made couple of things I'm really proud of. But that's for another article. What's important about those 6 months is that being unemployed and a night owl means I had a tendency early on in the year to play most of games in the early morning between midnight and 6am.
This is especially true of January when I wasn't really sure what to do with my life. I was freshly unemployed and my grandmother had just passed away. On top of that a lot of cool and interesting games had come out. I played 14 games in January. The Banner Saga and the first half of Broken Age were my favorite releases, but I also discovered the wonder RPG, Paper Sorcerer, the tough as nails, Escape Goat, and replayed through the 3rd best game of 2013, Gunpoint.
February saw a distinct drop in games being played. This is most likely because it's when I was working on a game for the Flappy Jam. Typically if I'm working on a game, my desire to play other games decreases for the amount of excitement I have for the project. During that month I discovered a particular podcast called Let's Play the 13th Age right around the time I was getting a bit burned out on Paper Sorcerer and when Banished was released. I ended up playing a lot of Banished. Or at least it felt like I played it a lot. That game really captured things I loved about city builders.
March saw an increase in games played but that's partly due to me going to some indie dev meet ups around Seattle. I was working on what I then thought was a game of moderate ambition. During that time I was regularly going to the Indie Dev Support Group which is a weekly get-together of indie devs in a cafe where we all just work on our games and chat about what we're working on. Unfortunately I don't go to that any more as I've moved to a different part of Seattle and it's a pain to get to that particular cafe.The big game that month was the HD versions of FFX/X-2. I was really into replaying FFX for a while and super excited to eventually get to FFX-2 since I unironically enjoy X-2 quite a bit. But come April my desire to play FFX petered out for one reason or another and I haven't gone back yet. Maybe in 2015. I hope.
April, May, and June settled into a consistent rhythm for my gaming habit despite being some of the most turbulent times of my life. I was having regular issues with my internet dropping out all year (thanks Comcast and old house wiring!) The internet continued to be spotty and come April my one roommate who just moved out decides it wasn't worth informing me she'd be taking the modem. That night I played through Escape Goat 2 to almost completion. It would be about a week or so until I was able to get my own internet back up and running. With spotty internet I found myself downloading games when I could and playing when I didn't have internet access. One that I discovered was the fantastic Gidon Duet by Lulu Blue. It's a simple game and doesn't have nearly enough content, but the level editor makes up for that. Towards the end of April a game was quietly announced to be in closed alpha. That game was Orcs Must Die! Unchained. A game that despite being incomplete would become my favorite game of the year. I would go on to play it consistently up to November where I decided to wait for the next big patch that I cannot talk about to drop. By the end of April it was clear that my project was way to ambitious for my skill level and time frame and that I would need to find a day job.
Come May not much had changed or progressed on that front. By the mid point of May my lovely land lady would inform me that she wanted everyone out of the house because she was going to be renting to someone else and I suddenly had to find a new place at an awkward time with no real source of income. That situation would eventually work itself out to some extent but not fully until October.
Gaming-wise I was playing a lot of OMDU and decided to start a Let's Play of the original Orcs Must Die! over on Something Awful because no had in the LP forum. I've done LPs in the past, but this was my first on SA and it was mostly painless. While I continued to post it over the year there are 3 episodes still to be posted due to reasons I'll go into below.
LRRCON also happened in May, which a convention put on by sketch comedy group and Desert Bus For Hope organizers, Loading Ready Run. They had a lot of games set up for folks to play and I met/reconnected with a lot of cool people there. It was there I took 2nd place in a Nidhogg tournament.
Come June I started a crappy job at Barnes and Nobles that I didn't keep for very long and had moved into a much cheaper place with new complete strangers that I would eventually find I get along with pretty well. June was a scatter-shot of various games I bought on the Steam Summer Sale. While there were a handful that I really enjoyed, the clear and most important one was a game called Lyne. At the time I had pretty much abandoned my one project and where trying something else but it wasn't coming together. Then I played Lyne. And continued to. And played it more. And more. And more. Until I realized that I could probably make something like it and ended up prototyping and idea for a similar game. Very rarely does a game come along that inspires me so directly and instantly to work on something. I spent the next couple of months (up to September or so) working on a project inspired by Lyne. It's great and you should play it.
In July I continued through the games I had gotten from the Summer Sale, but nothing really stuck outside of One Finger Death Punch. It was just so intense and enjoyable. Sessions of that game would feel like I played it for hours when it was only about 15 to 20 minutes.
August was an odd time for me. I don't really remember what I was doing other than going out to a lot of job interviews and being pissed I had to, but very thankful I could, rely on family support to pay the bills. I continued to play Lyne, OMDU, and others but I was looking for something to escape into. I found that in Trails In the Sky. It has been a long time since a jRPG had grabbed me as much as that game did and I was glad for it. I ended up putting over 50 hours in it and seriously considered NG+ once I finished in September.
At the end of August there was PAX Prime and that meant PAX after parties. I was able to meet the OMDU devs at there meet up they did and that was awesome finally being able to put a face to the voices I've was pestering for months over the secret team speak server. The next day was Doublefine's party and I got to meet a ton of amazing people that I've admiring for a long time. Including Brad Muir (:D), Dave Lang, John Drake, Dan Teasdale, and Tim Schafer. And other cool people who aren't yet known to the Giant Bomb community. There was also the first time I got to play the newer version of Gang Beasts having previously only briefly messed around with the alpha version. I also played Roundabout in a hotel lobby before the party and knew I was going to be playing it when it came out. Unfortunately I missed out on the GB meet up and didn't run into any of the GB folks at all.
The next day, September 1st, last day of PAX prime, was the Seattle Indies Expo. I volunteer there and if you were wondering why I played so many more games in September than all the other months it's because of that event. While not specifically focus on local multiplayer games, there were many great local multiplayer games being shown. I was finally able to play Crawl and really enjoyed it. There were a lot of notable games from that event; Tumblestone, SlashDash, Paperbound, Memory of a Broken Dimension, but my time with them was too brief. While I can't say all of them interest me personally, there wasn't one that wasn't at least interesting.
The rest of September was filled with new hope on the job front and three newer games; Shovel Knight, Defense Grid 2, and of course Roundabout. I liked Shovel Knight but wasn't in love with it. I didn't like the over-reliance on instant death traps. DG2 was just about everything I could have asked for in a sequel to Defense Grid. The only problem was there wasn't enough of it.
I apparently didn't play very many games in October, but the ones I did play were memorable. The MASSIVE CHALICE backer beta thing came out and I really enjoyed my time with that game even though it was incomplete at the time. The first part of Dreamfall: Chapters came out and I could have been more excited. The Longest Journey has a very special place in my heart and DFC felt like coming home. One of the reasons why I didn't play as many games in October and the first half of November was because I was working. Not only at a new job, but also on a new game. Something that I'll be announcing with a proof-of-concept prototype soon. There was also something else that happened. Something real fucked. My main desktop broke. The one hard drive is most likely the case. I haven't been able to get the money to fix it until recently. So we'll see how it goes. I actually took its death very well considering I can't do a lot of work. But earlier in the year my monitor died and everything needs an upgrade in it so I should have saw it coming. Fortunately I have a laptop and have been making games on it since my monitor broke.
My birthday is in November. I'm 29 now. I won't go into the psychological ramifications that almost being 30 has had on me, but it meant that I'd have some extra cash and some new games to play. Since I didn't go anywhere for Thanksgivings I decided to play stuff. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth came out that month and I had a blast playing that for about a week before burning out on. I suspect I'll come back to it every now and again though. My one roommate got a Wii U and I was able to play some first party Nintendo games. None of them really grabbed me, but they're fun for what they are. Lastly I played Dragon Age: Inquisition. It barely runs on my laptop, and I don't think it's very good. I stopped playing it once I hit a game breaking bug. I might come back to it once I get my main PC fixed.
December was a busy month for me. I spent a lot of time working on my current project and even more working my day job. Which thankfully gave me a lot of cash. I barely played anything during December. The only things of note were The Fall and Lost Constellation. I had been meaning to play the Fall since the Quick Look but didn't get around to it until then. I was looking for more games for my GotY list and decided to play it over Jazzpunk, Fract OSC, and Always Sometimes Monsters. I wish I had played it sooner. Lost Constellation came over the Christmas break. It was a delightful little experience and makes me happy that stuff like that exists.
2014 was a odd year in a lot of ways. I felt I did a lot of growing as a person and may finally have my life on track. This last year leaves me hopeful for the future in spite of all the horrible things that have happened around gaming culture. I think we have a bright future ahead of else, though I haven't checked twitter since I started writing this.
I will be doing this again for 2015, but will be refining the process significantly. So keep a look out for that I suppose. Thank you for reading and have a great year.