Over the years I have developed two habits that help me keep track of what games I am playing in a given month. The first is that I take a lot of screenshots and archive them on network attached storage so that I can reach out and get one for this blog when I need it. The second is that since April of 2013 I have been blogging at a minimum every weekday… and for the first three years and some change… every single day. This gives me a pretty good record to know what I happened to be playing in a given stretch of time. Years ago I used to use the Raptr gaming service to track what games I happened to be playing, but as that got sold and my game time fragmented between multiple console platforms as well… it became harder for me to get a high level view of what I happened to be doing at a given period of time. As such I crawled back through my screenshots and my blog posts and started piecing together a map of what games I played in a given month. Now this is not necessarily tracking the length of time played… but instead that I played a given game during a specific month.
This is going to look like nonsense to my viewers but this image represents the top 25 games played since May of 2012… that I had either written or screenshot proof that I was playing at the time. Essentially I question the reliability of this record any further back than April of 2013, but I decided to extend it out as far as I could just for sake of tracking patterns. There are years when I play an awful lot of games… and then there are years when I don’t play many at all. This year for example I played seventy two different games throughout the year and eight of them I played for more than five months. On the other side of that coin 32 of the games that I played were singletons… where they were only played in a single month. Now some of these were new games that failed to gain traction like State of Decay 2 that I had been looking forward to greatly… and others are games like Horizon Zero Dawn where I booted it back up to return briefly to a game that I had played an awful lot more in the previous year. If you are curious enough to dig into the madness you can see the full google sheet that I maintain here. The biggest trend you will notice is that I am one of those people that revisits old territory quite often, especially when it comes to booting up an older MMO and spending a weekend or two exploring it again.
The problem with this concept is that it is really hard to keep track of a nice clean “Top 25” list as there are ultimately a lot of games that end up being tied for the same number of months. As such for this specific year if we set the benchmark at three months played… because there were thirteen games that spanned two months sorta skewing the results a bit. For games that I played three or more months however we end up with a list of twenty three games. So as a result lets run them down. One thing that I have done since last year is combined time played in Destiny 1 with time played in Destiny 2 since there was effectively a clean cut-over there with no real overlap.
- Destiny/Destiny 2 – 12 Months
- Elder Scrolls Online – 12 Months
- Pokemon Go – 12 Months
- Monster Hunter World – 12 Months
- World of Warcraft – 10 Months
- Magic the Gathering Arena – 9 Months
- Diablo 3 – 6 Months
- Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – 5 Months
- Final Fantasy XIV – 4 Months
- Neverwinter – 4 Months
- Dauntless – 4 Months
- Dragalia Lost – 4 Months
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Martyr – 4 Months
- Fallout 4 – 3 Months
- Minecraft – 3 Months
- The Division – 3 Months
- No Man’s Sky – 3 Months
- Assassin’s Creed Origins – 3 Months
- Path of Exile – 3 Months
- Warframe – 3 Months
- Fallout 76 – 3 Months
- God of War – 3 Months
- Hollow Knight – 3 Months
So if we look at just 2017 against 2018 there are some interesting things at work here. Firstly mobile games played way more of a presence in my gaming diet than they have ever before with Pokemon go effectively being played at least once a month since it released in July of 2017 for a grand total of 18 months of it being on my radar. Dragalia Lost similarly has been played every single month since release, and in many cases almost every night before I fall asleep to at a minimum do the dailies. Another thing that happened this year was that Final Fantasy XIV seemingly feel completely off my radar with playing it only 4 months instead of the previous years 7 months. Destiny looks a little bit weird because there were two months of overlap between the games so 2017 shows it as “14” months because I didn’t have a great way of accounting for that… but during the last two years there has not been a month that I did not play the Destiny franchise and in truth that reaches all the way back to September of 2016 in contiguous play. Elder Scrolls Online held way more of a presence this year as being another one of those games that I played at least once a month all year long going up from 2 months the previous year. The real story of the year however is Monster Hunter World that sort of came out from nowhere and then was the game that I probably played the most throughout the entire year, and also inspired me to latch onto Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate when it released in August. Similar to Destiny 2 this is a game that I started on the Playstation 4 and then moved to PC when the staggered release for it happened… so my time accounts for leveling essentially twice.
This year also made a bunch of changes in the months played all time list, but considering how entrenched World of Warcraft is it is highly unlikely that anyone will dethrone it until I just completely quit cold turkey. Thankfully I can create a nice clean top 15 list here so lets review the “All Time” list.
- World of Warcraft – 57 Months
- Final Fantasy XIV – 46 Months
- Destiny/Destiny 2 – 45 Months
- Rift – 39 Months
- Elder Scrolls Online – 38 Months
- Diablo 3 – 29 Months
- Pokemon Go – 20 Months
- ArcheAge – 13 Months
- Fallout 4 – 13 Months
- Guild Wars 2 – 13 Months
- Wildstar – 13 Months
- Monster Hunter World – 12 Months
- Everquest II – 11 Months
- Minecraft – 10 Months
- Star Wars the Old Republic – 10 Months
This list is going to continue to shift over time, but with the selling of Trion Worlds to Gamigo… I have a feeling that ArcheAge and Rift are frozen in time and will likely not be gaining any more months played. Similarly Wildstar has officially shuttered and it is equally frozen on the list and will eventually work its way out of the top. Monster Hunter World and Pokemon Go are both climbing significantly and I feel like there is a good chance Destiny franchise will climb into the second place at some point in the future as I am playing it way more regularly than I am Final Fantasy XIV. Elder Scrolls Online is going to seize the third spot early next year as well. Diablo 3 is sort of the little engine that could and it will probably always be on the list, but the sporadic nature in which I play that game keeps it from really gaining ground. Fallout 4 is the one that sort of shocked me… but I guess I keep returning to it much the same way as I did Fallout 3 or New Vegas before. If you are curious you can see last years list on the Games Played 2017 Edition post.
This is largely a thing that I do for myself, but I guess the question is… does anyone find it interesting? What games did you play the most often this year and why? I would love to hear your answers in the comments.