So in 2019, I decided kind of arbitrarily to keep a journal of all the games I played for the entire year. There was no real purpose to this, just maybe wanting to be able to look back on it and generally keep track of the games I’ve been playing. (I log all the books I read on GoodReads out of a similar need to keep a record of things.) I can remember anecdotally that there were several times throughout the year that I wanted to remember the name of a game, or recall something about an event I’d been to, and the journal came in handy for that.
So after some normalizing of the journal (which is just a text file) it had 365 lines in it, each starting with a date, followed by a comma separated list of games. I wrote a simple python script to parse the file and output a list of game names in the order of the number of times that game appeared in the file.
Here are the games I played in 2019 that I played on at least 10 days:
- nintendo labo vr : 10 days – This was almost always played with my kid. Pretty fun parent/kid bonding activity. I have a bunch of cardboard left to assemble in a closet somewhere. I should suggest it again sometime soon.
- splendor : 10 days – This is my niece’s favorite game, and we play it whenever she comes over.
- innovation : 11 days – I got back into this game toward the end of December. I’ve been playing it pretty much daily on Board Game Arena.
- pinball wizard : 11 days – This is maybe my second or third favorite Apple Arcade game. I assume there is an ending, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
- art inc : 13 days – One of those garbage games I mentioned, I probably played this for two weeks straight.
- manifold garden : 13 days – My guess is that I would have played through this in a lot fewer days if it’s release hadn’t coincided with my trip to Germany for Essen Spiel. I really loved this game though, and at least one or two of those days were after I’d finished playing it, and started over again from the beginning. My game of the year pick for 2019.
- dino people : 15 days – Another free-to-play idle game. Cute low-poly dinosaur art. Not much else going for it.
- yonder : 16 days – I wanted to like this more than I did. It’s got a lot going for it, but I didn’t stick with it.
- grindstone : 17 days – Another Apple Arcade game. I still enjoy this one on occasion.
- baba is you : 19 days – Man, I wish I was better at this game. I refuse to look up solutions, so there are quite a few levels I’m totally stuck on. I do think I make progress every time I play, but it sometimes feels like I’m Sisyphus with this one.
- lumines : 20 days – So much nostalgia for playing this on the PSP! I do love this game in most iterations. I actually started writing a blog post about it, but didn’t feel like I was saying anything important, so I shelved it. Probably in my top 5 game franchises of all time.
- 1010! : 21 days – This is a staple when I want a monotonous puzzle. A good game for playing while I’m “watching” TV.
- thrive : 24 days – I’m a bit surprised this wasn’t more, but when I was demoing (and actually playing), I sometimes put in around 10 games per day!
- picross s2 : 27 days – Nothing helps me zone out like Picross. I can predictably do my 20 minute workout without noticing that time has passed other than between puzzles.
- shards of infinity : 29 days – I got pretty into this after I met the developer at GDC. I think I was on the TestFlight at first, but I played it regularly for quite a while even after it came out.
- cats are cute : 37 days – Another free-to-play. Black and white line-drawn cats. Cute.
- adventure communist : 66 days – Ugh, this game. It’s such a skinner box. I’m still weaning myself off it, but I think I’ve got it down to once a day, or maybe even every other day, at this point.
- wizards unite : 86 days – I played this regularly for a while over the summer. I’m over it now tho. I like the story, but of course they’re going to dole it out so slowly… probably not worth it.
- picross s3 : 89 days – I think it was at lunch at MinneBar 2019 when I mentioned to Stephen that I was playing a ton of Picross S2, and he blew my mind by telling me there was a third one.
- pixel puzzle : 113 days – This is a really nice mobile Nonogram/picross implementation. It’s totally free and all the art in it is from Konami games. I finished all the puzzles.
Reviewing the list for this post, some points I think are worth noting:
- There was not a day in 2019 that I didn’t play at least one game. (Yes, I am somewhat proud of this.) But quite a few of the items on the list are what I consider to be relatively garbage games. (Endless idle games with ad monetization, for example.)
- I’m fairly certain the journal is missing a statistically significant number of games. In general, I thought I was very diligent, but I noticed that especially when I’m playing board games in a group, it can be especially hard to remember. Most recently, I was going through photos I took in 2019, and realized that I’d taken a bunch of photos of games that I didn’t write down because I figured I’d do so later.
- My second most played game last year was one I basically only play on the Nintendo Switch while I’m working out on an elliptical machine.
- There are a bunch of abstract strategy games that I played almost 10 days. And if you counted the number of times I played them each day, I played many of them much more than 10 times. These include Nick Bentley’s Blooms (a recent obsession), Santorini (which I played 9 days in the iOS app), and Control-V, which I picked up at Spiel.
I’m definitely going to continue this journal, and this year I’ll make it a point to keep the format a little more strict than I did last year. (I definitely had to do a lot of massaging to get some parts of the journal to parse correctly.) It was really neat to look back over this list!