Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: My Year in Games

Starting on January 1, 2016, I kept a list of every game I played for the whole year, including both videogames and tabletop games. Every game I touched counted, even if I only played it for a few minutes. I didn't especially try to get a large number, I just wanted to keep track of what games I played.

All told, I played 147 games across 10 different platforms in 2016. 

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

The List

First things first, here's the list in chronological order:

1. Assassin's Creed Syndicate
2. Quiplash
3. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
4. Castle Panic
5. Codenames
6. Lara Croft GO
7. UniWar
8. Atomas
9. Find Mii
10. Chronicle: Legends of Runescape (beta)
11. Monaco
12. Paladins: Champions of the realm (beta)
13. Rocket League
14. Rust Bucket
15. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (beta)
16. Choice of the Dragon
17. Space Team (card game)
18. Wizard's Choice Volume 1
19. Puerto Rico
20. Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection - Drake's Fortune
21. This War of Mine
22. Crashlands
23. The Division (beta)

24. Journey
25. Boom Blox
26. Kill Strain (private access)
27. Sage Solitaire
28. Transistor
29. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
30. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
31. Papers, Please
32. Alto's Adventure
33. Puzzle Craft 2
34. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
35. Prison Architect

36. The Wolf Among Us
37. Clash Royale
38. Uncharted 4 Multiplayer Stress Test
39. The Division
40. Life is Strange 
41. Shelter
42. Sports Friends
43. Star Wars Battlefront
44. Guns up!
45. Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight
46. Gems of War
47. Miitomo
48. Final Fantasy XV: Platinum Demo

49. Pokken Tournament Demo
50. Undertale 
51. Mario Kart 8
52. Pokken Tournament
53. Yo Kai Watch Wibble Wobble
54. Disney Crossy Road
55. Kingdom Hearts Unchained X
56. Stories: The Path of Destinies
57. Overwatch (Closed Beta)
58. Pokemon Shuffle
59. The Witcher 3
60. Paragon (beta)
61. Angry Birds Action
62. Downwell
63. Maui
64. Skyreach
65. Metamorphabet
66. Twofold, Inc.

67. Table Top Racing: World Tour
68. Overwatch (open beta)
69. Pocket Card Jockey (demo)
70. Pocket Card Jockey
71. Uncharted: Fortune Hunter
72. Tropico 5
73. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
74. Bushido Bear
75. Vlogger Go Viral
76. Overwatch

77. Nonstop Knight
78. Blades of Brim
79. Destiny
80. Key to the Kingdom
81. Wii Sports Club
82.Ice Age: Artic Blast
83.Teeny Titans - Teen Titans Go!

84.The Secret Life of Pets Unleashed
85.Pokemon Go
86.Pokemon Red (3ds eshop)
87.Monopoly Here and Now
88.Pokemon TCG Online
89.Metroid Prime Blast Ball

90.Tricky Towers
91.Vinicius Run
92.Rio 2016 Olympic Games (mobile game)
93.No Man's Sky
94.Pokemon TCG
96.Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
98.Tinker Island
99.Titanfall 2 Tech Test
100.Guillotine (Card game)
101.The King of Fighters XIV (demo)
102.Seen (mobile texting game)
103.Lego Juniors Create Cruise
104.Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends (demo)
105.Injustice: Gods Among Us
106.Justice Monsters V
107.Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey (mobile)
108.Epistory - Typing Chronicles (demo)
109.Battlefield 1 (open beta)

110.Super Mario 3D World
111.Market Crashers (3ds Mii Plaza)
112.NBA 2k17 The Prelude
113.For Honor (Closed Alpha)
115.Rogue Ninja
116.FIFA 17 Demo
117.Bike Race by Top Free Games

119.Transformers: Devastation
120.Steep (Closed Alpha)
121.Shuffle Cats
122.Pokemon Sun/Moon special demo
123.Plants vs. Zombies Heroes
124.Red Dead Redemption
125.Asphalt 8: Airborne

126.The Trail
127.High Risers
128.Burrito Bison Launcha Libre
129.Cars vs. Bosses
130.Steep (beta)
131.Titan Brawl
132.Pokemon Sun
134.The Oregon Trail Card Game

136.Invisible, Inc. Console Edition
137.Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (closed beta)
138.Bold Moves
139.Super Mario Run
140.Dungeon Defense: The Invasion of the Hero
143.NBA 2k17
144.Madden 17
145.Hogwarts Battle (card game)
146.XCOM: Enemy Within (Android)

(As I wrote this post, I discovered a couple things: I hadn't recorded playing Paperback or Mario Kart WiiMario Kart Wii is the only Wii game I played, so the analysis below is only for 145 games and 9 platforms. Also, Sports Friends is on this list twice, so even though the list above ends at 146, there's only 145 unique titles there.)

Great. Now, let's analyze!

By Platform

I played games on 10 different platforms this year. Table in this case means a literal table--I included board and card games on this list.
And 1 on the Wii!

By Personal Review Score

I used a very basic scale and gave my gut reaction to each game. The scale was Bad, Fine, Good, Great, Amazing, and Pile. Pile simply means I played it, but not long enough to really form an opinion. 

One exception: Red Dead Redemption. I didn't really play it long enough to form a full opinion, but I played it enough to know it's at least great. So I'm counting it as that here.

Here's the list by review score:

Rocket LeagueAmazing
The Witcher 3Amazing
Uncharted 4: A Thief's EndAmazing
Pokemon SunAmazing
Metroid Prime Blast BallBad
Choice of the DragonFine
Sage SolitaireFine
Papers, PleaseFine
Paragon (beta)Fine
Table Top Racing: World TourFine
Bushido BearFine
Vlogger Go ViralFine
Bike Race by Top Free GamesFine
Pokemon Alpha SapphireGood
Castle PanicGood
Find MiiGood
Paladins: Champions of the RealmGood
Space Team (card game)Good
Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection - Drake's FortuneGood
This War of MineGood
The Division (beta)Good
Boom BloxGood
Valiant Hearts: The Great War Good
Alto's AdventureGood
Fire Emblem Fates: BirthrightGood
Prison ArchitectGood
The Wolf Among Us: Season 1Good
Uncharted 4 Multiplayer Stress TestGood
The DivisionGood
Life is StrangeGood
Star Wars BattlefrontGood
Final Fantasy XV: Platinum DemoGood
Pokken Tournament DemoGood
Mario Kart 8Good
Stories: The Path of DestiniesGood
Uncharted: Fortune HunterGood
Blades of BrimGood
Pokemon GoGood
Monopoly Heare and NowGood
No Man's SkyGood
Hearthstone: Heroes of WarcraftGood
Titanfall 2 Tech TestGood
Injustice: Gods Among UsGood
Letter Quest: Grimm's JourneyGood
Battlefield 1 (open beta)Good
Super Mario 3D WorldGood
Market CrashersGood
NBA 2k17 The PreludeGood
For Honor (Closed Alpha)Good
FIFA 17 DemoGood
Steep (Closed Alpha)Good
Shuffle CatsGood
Pokemon Sun/Moon Special DemoGood
Plants vs. Zombies HeroesGood
High RisersGood
Burrito Bison Launcha LibreGood
Steep (beta)Good
The Oregon Trail Card GameGood
Bold MovesGood
Assassin's Creed SyndicateGreat
Lara Croft GoGreat
Brothers: A Tale of Two SonsGreat
Clash RoyaleGreat
Sports FriendsGreat
Pokken TournamentGreat
Overwatch (Closed Beta)Great
Overwatch (Open beta)Great
Pocket Card Jockey (demo)Great
Pocket Card JockeyGreat
Key to the KingdomGreat
Teeny Titans - Teen Titans Go!Great
Pokemon RedGreat
Pokemon TCG OnlineGreat
Pokemon TCGGreat
Lego Juniors Create CruiseGreat
Red Dead RedemptionGreat
Hogwarts BattleGreat
Chronicle: Legends of RunescapePile
Rust BucketPile
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (beta)Pile
Wizard's Choice Volume 1Pile
Puerto RicoPile
Kill Strain (private access)Pile
Puzzle Craft 2Pile
Guns UpPile
Frozen Free Fall: Snowball FightPile
Gems of WarPile
Yo Kai Watch Wibble WobblePile
Disney Crossy RoadPile
Kingdom Hearts Unchained XPile
Pokemon ShufflePile
Angry Birds ActionPile
Twofold, Inc.Pile
Tropico 5Pile
Nonstop KnightPile
Wii Sports ClubPile
Ice Age: Arctic BlastPile
The Secret Life of Pet UnleashedPile
Tricky TowersPile
Vinicius RunPile
Rio 2016 Olympic GamesPile
Tinker IslandPile
The King of Fighters XIV (demo)Pile
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends (demo)Pile
Justice Monsters VPile
Epistory - Typing Chronicles (demo)Pile
Rogue NinjaPile
Transformers: DevastationPile
Asphalt 8: AirbornePile
The TrailPile
Cars vs. BossesPile
Titan BrawlPile
Invisible, Inc. Console EditionPile
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (closed beta)Pile
Super Mario RunPile
Dungeon Defense: The Invasino of the HeroPile
XCOM: Enemy WithinPile
NBA 2k17Pile
Madden 17Pile

Ratings by Platform

What platform was most worth my time in 2016? Let's find out!

Diving further, I used a weighted scale to score each platform. Each game gave it's platform a certain number of points based on its rating. Here's the scale:

RatingPoints Given

Here are the results:

PlatformSum Score
Wii U12
Xbox One0
But where did I get the most bang for my buck? Take a look at the average score per game by platform:

PlatformAverage Score
Wii U2.00
Xbox OneNA

By Release

I didn't take the time to track down the exact release date of every game, but I did a quick analysis on how many games were released in 2016 or earlier. Here are the results:

Total 20167954.48%
Total Before6041.38%
Total Expansion64.14%

In this case, "expansion" means a game that didn't come out in 2016, but had some significant content addition that released in 2016. For example: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine and Destiny: Rise of Iron.

Fun fact: 25 of the games on this list (17.36%) were not "released" when I played them--they were in beta, alpha, or whatever the developers decided to call it at the time. 2 of them (Overwatch open beta and Steep open beta) were even second pre-releases, meaning I played it in one state, then another state before release.

Did playing a game before it's release cause me to buy/spend any money on the full game? Exactly 24% of the time (6 purchases). One caveat: 2 of the games (Gwent: The Witcher Card Game and For Honor) are not released yet, so I couldn't spend any money of them yet even if I wanted to (though for now I wouldn't in either case).

As for letting me play it twice before launch? 50% purchase rate: bought Overwatch, didn't go for Steep.

Other Fun Facts

  • The oldest game I played this year is Key to the Kingdom, originally released in 1990.
  • I played 4 games on multiple platforms (Hearthstone, Rocket League, Lego Juniors Create Cruise, and Overwatch). Rocket League wins with 3 separate platforms played: PC, PS4, and Xbox One. What a game! (For purposes of the analysis above, I only counted each game on the platform I played it in on most.)
  • My Witcher 3 save file claims I have played the game for 722 hours and 4 minutes. The game was released on May 19, 2015 and I've played it on and off since then. I suspect this number is somehow inflated, but I also can't prove that. For context, that's the equivalent of 18 full-time work weeks. What a great life I have!
  • I played no fewer than 8 Pokemon games this year across 4 platforms. Congratulations, marketing team. You really nailed that 20th anniversary thing.
  • I helped make one of the games on this list! Maui was my thesis game at the University of Utah's Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master's Program. Skyreach was published by another team in the same program. I helped test a lot of other games around the program, but only these two are on the list because they're the only ones for which I played the final, public release versions. (I gave both games a "Fine.")
  • 5 of the games I played in 2016 were purely for Eli, my 2-year-old son. However, he also got excited by a few games I would've played anyway: Pokken Tournament, Pokemon Sun, Rocket League, and Mario Kart in particular. I can't wait until we can really play games together (rather than just him watching). Maybe that can happen in 2017.
  • Only 12 of these games are sitting on a shelf in my house right now. The rest I either never owned, got rid of, or own digitally.
  • On that note, there are 4 videogames on my shelf that I didn't touch once in 2016: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, Just Dance 2015, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and The Last of Us Remastered). I'm not even going to bother counting how many tabletop games I own that I didn't play this year. I have a hard time believing I never played The Last of Us or Metal Gear Solid all year, but neither made it on the list.


Here are some things I learned that I hope to apply to my gaming habits in this new year:
  • The numbers don't lie: mobile games are often terrible, and they deserve much less of my time than they got this year.
  • I really do love tabletop games--it's just harder to find the time/other people for them. However, as the numbers above show, it's worth it almost every time. In 2017, maybe I can drop my mobile gaming time and increase my tabletop time.
  • Boy, was I wrong about The Division and No Man's Sky. Both were supposed to be huge releases that took large portions of my gaming time this year. I pre-ordered special editions in both cases. Both turned out to be good, I guess, and quickly forgotten. I haven't played one second of either of the DLC expansions for The Division that I paid for. In 2017, I'm going to be much more cautious before purchasing games. (In fact, I already am--that's why Final Fantasy XV isn't on the list. I didn't want to spend any more money I wasn't sure I would enjoy spending.)
  • My favorite games released this year: Overwatch, Pokken Tournament, Pokemon Sun, and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. I should make special mention of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine because, while an expansion, it helped elevate my opinion of the game as a whole. It was already "Amazing," but after Blood and Wine, it's one of the greatest games I have ever played.
  • After graduating from a games program, getting a full time job, and having a second child in 2016, I'm very sure that my 2017 list will be shorter--but I do plan on keeping a list in 2017.
    • The games I'm most excited to put on that list: Horizon Zero Dawn, Pyre, and Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom.
    • I'm also very interested in Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Persona 5, Injustice 2, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Absolver, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Ever Oasis, and Red Dead Redemption 2. But I have no idea which of those I'll actually play this year. Come back next year and find out!
If you really read all of this, you're incredible and thank you so much. Let's talk more about games!


  1. This is amazing. Do you know of anyone else who does this? I sure don't. Really cool that you kept track and analyzed all this data. I wonder how you feel your skills as a gamer/human improved with such a wide range of games played in one year.

    1. Stephen Totillo, editor of Kotaku, does a list like this every year, but he doesn't do the same kind of analysis. As far as skills as a gamer/human, mostly the conclusion I've come to is that all games are just "pretend + numbers" and most often, one game is a rework of another. That's one of the reasons the "pile" is so large--a lot of games I would play for 5 minutes and know exactly what experience the rest of the game would be, especially in the case of mobile games where the market is less tolerant of both variety and complexity. Basically, if one half of the equation is well done/original, you probably have a "good" game as long as the other half is also at least decent, even if it's uninspired. If both halves are original/extraordinary, that's an amazing game. I think all 6 of my "amazing" picks above are great examples of that.

      All that boils down to simply that I feel much more confident that in 2017 I will be more satisfied with the games I do play and waste less time and money on games I don't actually enjoy, because a lot of the patterns of game design and development are much clearer to me now.

  2. Way to go Pablo! I miss hearing about all of your gaming experiences, so I'm glad you are taking some time to compile this info! Way to go :)

    1. Thanks, Greg! Thanks for checking it out. I miss game chats with you too.

  3. This is so great! Perhaps I should keep my list as well and we can compare at the end of this year. I agree with you that most mobile games are an absolute waste of time. I played Lara Croft GO on your recommendation and that was actually fun. Alto's Adventure was one I really liked, too. My favorite tabletop game from this year was Scythe. Didn't really play on PC but my favorite console release was Uncharted 4.

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  5. Wow Paul! This is incredible! Very interesting data and analysis! Impressive! This is your sister Carol by the way.