2017 in Video Games

It was a pretty busy year for me in 2017 as I got more into cooking as the twins got older and I didn’t have as much time to myself. I felt I hadn’t nearly played as many games in 2016. But when I started gathering the stats, that’s when I realized just how much less I’d played. In 1016 I’d played 132 hours of video games compared to only 42 hours in 2017. And over half of that was in Civilization VI – once again proving to me that it’s the one game that’s worth spending my money on as I’ll always go back to it. Just writing this makes me itch to get back to the game.

Youtube seems to have removed the ability to embed playlists – or maybe they’ve just moved it somewhere I can’t find it. So this year I’ll just discuss a bit about each game. If you want to watch any of them, just follow this link and then go to the right playlist.

Civilization VI (26 hours 26 min) – Some of this came from playing solo games and some from playing multi-player games. The game continued to evolve throughout the year and so each game was slightly different.

Human Resource Machine (3 hours 37 min) – AKA Assembly Programming the Video Game. I had a lot of fun trying to remember how to do assembly. Stopped when it got a little too hard and I just didn’t have the time to devote to it.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (3 hr 13 min) – Last year this was my game of the year as I said it was the one I was most enthused to get back into. I did indeed spend a good chunk of early 2017 working to beat the game.

Team Fortress 2 (2 hours 42 min) – I played a bit around Halloween and had a blast. If I had enough time, I’d cycle back and forth between this game and Civ VI.

Rocket League (1 hour 31 minutes) – Vinny’s kid is about Scarlett’s age and he was talking about how much Vinny loved Rocket League. Scarlett had some fun with it, but also didn’t enjoy losing so we haven’t played much since the third time we played.

Contraption Maker (58 min) – Scarlett hasn’t asked me to get this game going in months, I think she forgot about it.

Double Dragon Neon (33 min) – I wanted to see how much this game was like the one I remembered – it was…a little too much. Still, it was fun to live that nostalgia trip.

LA Noire (30 min) – I can’t remember for the life of me what was going on with this game. I’m sure in an alternate world where I got it before the kids and played it continuously I would have loved it.

Dirt3 (28 min) – As a kid I always loved racing sims. But back them most of them were arcade ports that required the player to finish in a certain time or lose. I had fun mucking about in Dirt3 and would probably play it if someone payed me to play video games full-time, giving me lots of video game playtime.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! (26 minutes) – Scarlett wanted me to play the game again.

KickBeat (26 min) – I like rhythm games, but this one got too complex too quickly. Most likely won’t be playing again.

BEEP (17 min) – the game that didn’t want to be played. It just wanted to crash all the time, especially if I was trying to record my time in the game.

Game of the Year

It’s kind of silly to think of a game of the year when I barely played games this year. But I really did like the charm of Human Resource Machine – from the minds behind Little Inferno and World of Goo. If I didn’t play that in 2017 I would have just given it to Civ VI again.

Video Games Q1 2017

Things are busier now, especially as the weather warms up and we begin to do more outside, so I’m switching from keeping track monthly to doing so quarterly.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (3 hr 15 min)

Finally beat this game. It was a lot of fun and I’ll probably play some New Game+ this year if I find the time.

Contraption Maker (1 hr 20 min):

Scarlett loves when I play this game and it’s always fun to go through the brain teasers to try and figure it out.

Double Dragon Neon (33 min):

A trip along memory lane as I play an update/sequel of one of the first console video games I ever played. Additionally, I get someone dropping in on the stream!

LA Noire (30 min):

I finally get to the facial recognition engine. Plus lots of flashbacks. The game should be pulling me in more, but I’m having trouble getting addicted to finding out what happens next.

BEEP! (17 min):

Not sure why I originally got this game or what bundle it was from, but it’s not for me.

Portal Stories: Mel (20 min):

Hurray! More Cave Johnson! Want to play this so much more!

Spelunky! (15 min):

Just revisiting the caverns and dying…a lot.

Civilization V (14 min):

No Civ VI this year, but continue to try and get through our years-long Civ 5 multiplayer games.

Cook! Serve! Delicious! (10 min):

Scarlett asked me to play so she could watch the patrons come in.

Video Games of 2016

What a year for gaming. I tried to take advantage whenever I could to get a chance to game and I was able to do a nice mix of newer and older games. I also made a bit of a dent in the list of games I got as part of a Humble Bundle. Well, let’s get into it.

Civilization VI (27 hours)

Another five years passed and so and so another entry in the civilization franchise was released. This time they made what is probably the biggest change in the series thus far, they exploded the cities out onto multiple tiles. That really revamped the planning and for once I couldn’t just make every city make all the same improvements. I’ve enjoyed it and hope to get more time with it in 2017.


XCOM: Enemy Within (25 hours)

A fairly robust to a great series. It was fun to go through the XCOM experience understanding how it works and, therefore, making less mistakes that compound out over time.

Torchlight (23 hours)

I set out to try and see what the whole Diablo craze was about. I found it a bit repetitive and I’m not sure if I’ll get back to it. It also had only the barest bit of story so there’s not even that to drag me back in.


Civilization V (17 hours 30 min)

Knowing that Civ VI was coming out in 2016 meant I limited my Civ V play so that I could spend more time playing other games.


Spelunky! (5 Hours 47 min)

It’s happened so many times – Dan talks something up and I just don’t get it. Sometimes it’s just hard to convey something with words. Ali G sounded horrible, but was great stupid-funny. And the same was the case with Spelunky. It just sounded like something I’d hate. But then I played it and it was a blast! And I got further addicted to rogue-alikes.


Contraption Maker (5 hour 30 min)

If I’d discovered this game before the kids, I probably would have beat the whole thing. It combines silliness and dad-jokes with puzzle solving. It’s right up my alley. But I’m also glad I didn’t get to it until having the kids because it’s a ton of fun playing with Scarlett. I’m sure it’ll be even more fun when she’s able to contribute solutions.


Vertical Drop Heroes HD (5 hour 25 min)

After Spelunky! I was perfectly primed to enjoy this game. And I did. I originally intended to rotate playing it with other games and I wound up just making excuses for why I should be playing this game instead.


Civilization: Beyond Earth (3 hours 45 min)

I think a lot of what was special about Civ VI got its start in what the team did for their spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. That said, I got the game in a Firaxis Humble Bundle a little too late – as the father of 3 kids – and I just don’t enjoy the game mechanics as much as I do in the main series.


Civilization III (2 hours 15 min)

Not only was 2016 the year of Civ VI, but it was also a milestone anniversary year for the franchise. So I had an overly ambitious plan to play from III (the first game I legally own) onwards. I do intend to continue in 2017. We’ll see what happens to that.


Team Fortress 2 (2 hours)

If I were forced to choose one game to play forever, it’d be Civ. But if I could choose 2, the second choice would be TF2. But I don’t have to choose and there are so many games I own that I haven’t even played yet (thanks to Humble Bundles), so TF2 gets neglect. They changed this up this year for the first time in a LONG time. Now there are tiered matches and leveling up and all kinds of stuff. 2 hours isn’t enough to tell if I prefer the old method, but what I don’t like is that it dumps you out each time so it takes forever to play (vs staying on the same server with map changes) and time is important to me since game time is limited.


Dear Esther (2 hours)

I’d heard about this game for a long time. When I finally played it – it more or less lived up to the hype.


New Super Mario Bros Wii (2 hours)

Unlike the Mario games I cut my teeth on as a kid, this one lets everyone play together. So I thought it’d be a better experience for playing with Scarlett. Unfortunately she’s not quite there yet. Then again, I got my NES when I was 5 or 6 and each year makes a huge difference in what kids are capable of.


FTL (1 hour 15 min)

Just wanted something to play while I was visitng the in-laws (plus played it while reviewing the Steam controller).


Always Sometimes Monsters (1 hour)

This game probably leads to something profound. But I just didn’t have the patience for it.


Unholy Heights (1 hour)

I thought I was going to love this game, but with an inability to understand what I was doing wrong leading to an inability to progress, I gave up on it after an hour.


Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (1 hour)

Danielle and I were obsessed with this game during our undergrad years. Danielle ended up min-maxing it even though I don’t think she finished it. I got caught up in trying not to fail out of college and ended up not playing that much. But now I can enjoy it with Scarlett.


FF Tactics (52 min)

I’ve had this game for about 15 years when I bought it as part of a PS1 sale at Best Buy when I got all the FF games I never played when they first came out. I am enjoying the game but haven’t been able to give it the time it needs.


Pixel Piracy (45 min)

I just did not find this fun. People into the mincraft look might enjoy it.


Chromagun (38 min)

The premise was fun. I might give it a chance if I feel like playing some physics puzzles.


Atom Zombie Smasher (33 min)

As someone who’s pretty sick of zombie-everything, this ended up being a lot of fun. It’s definitely a game I’ll revisit at some point.


Eurotruck Simulator 2 (30 min)

After the Giant Bomb guys kept talking about the (Insert Geographic Region)-Truck Simulator games, I thought I’d give it a chance. I don’t think it’s my cup of tea, but I could definitely see how it would be a pretty relaxing time for some people.


Cook Serve Delicious (30 min)

Not much new to say here, just playing a quick round.


LA Noire (30 min)

Dan got me this in 2015 or earlier (I can’t remember) and I finally put it in to play. The driving drives me batty, but I could potentially grow to enjoy the game. I’d like to get back to it. Time will tell if I can.


Paragon (30 min)

I wanted to check out a MOBA and this one came with the nVidia 1000-series cards. (Or at least some credits for fake in-game money) It was fun, but the time requirement for a match means I’ll not get back to it until my kids are much older, if ever.


Botanicula (30 min)

It’s a beautiful game and the puzzles are fun to solve, but it just didn’t grab me.


Cthulhu Saves the World (26 minutes)

I think my nostalgia for the 16-bit era RPGs just isn’t strong enough to get me to put the time into these games. I thought differently after To the Moon, but it’s just not really there for me. I *might* get back to it, but don’t get your hopes up.


BloodRayne: Betrayal (23 Minutes)

A return to beat-em-up platformers that has lovely animation, but I just don’t care to spend time on it.


Gwent (21 minutes)

Reminds me of when I played Magic: The Gathering in middle school. I could potentially play a lot if I had the time.


Back to Bed (20 minutes)

This game has an aesthetic seemingly inspired by Salvador Dali, but has gameplay akin to a game of Lemmings if it were 3D and only had one lemming. It was fun, but I think I’ve had my fill.


Awesomenauts (16 min)

My actual first MOBA, but so unmemorable, I completely forgot I’d played it.


Rhythm Heaven Fever (15 min)

Unfortunately no video footage here. I was just trying to show Scarlett the depth of games here, but the fact that I suck at the golf game kept us from going any further.


Game of the Year

I think this is the first year I didn’t have a strong, standout contender for game of the year. If you take a look at the games I enjoyed most you can drop the list to a top 3 of Dear Esther, Vertical Drop Heroes HD, and Civilization VI. Interestingly, I think Civ VI is the only game on the list that actually came out in 2016. However, If I discount Civ VI due to the incredible amount of work yet to be done (while the core mechanics are great, the AI has much work to be done), I end up with two wildly different games. I think VDHHD gave me more joy while DE was more of a game that blew my mind. I’ll give it to Vertical Drop Heroes HD merely because it’s not only the most fun I had, but the game I want to return to most in 2017.

November Video Games Report

Took advantage of MIL’s presence to get some gaming done before I would be too busy to game for a while.

Civilization VI (18 hours):

This time around I play as Greece and try for a cultural victory while also getting more involved in the religion part of the game.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (1 hour 25 minutes):

On Extra Life game day I end up further than I’ve ever been in the game.

Contraption Maker (30 min):

I haven’t uploaded the video to Youtube yet.

Civilization V (15 min):

Haven’t uploaded the video yet. But I continue to work on the multiplayer game with Dan and Dave.

October Video Games Report

Civilization VI (9 hrs)

The latest iteration of this series I’ve been playing for the past 25 years was released and the changes have made the game more dynamic and, for the first time in the series, have really made it so that I can’t just do the same thing every game because of how much the terrain makes a difference. It’s been neat and with the reduced gameplay over the past two months, it’s displaced all over games.
Civilization III  (15 minutes)

Another little entry in my attempt to play the Chinese in all Civs from III to VI.

Civilization V (15 minutes)

We continue with our multiplayer games.

FTL (15 minutes)

I played a little to test the Steam controller. Having some issues rendering that video, but hopefully I can get it out soon.

September Video Games Report

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (2 hours):

I continued to be addicted to this little rogue-like. I’m getting pretty close to level 10 and the hinted reveal.

Civilization III (2 hours):

It came a bit later than I wanted it to, but I started playing Civ III in an attempt to play Civs III-VI between the end of September and the end of October when Civ VI comes out. (Unless things went horribly awry, it should be out by the time this post is published)

No videos uploaded yet

Contraption Maker (1 hour):

Scarlett wanted to play a bit more Contraption Maker.

LA Noire (30 Minutes):

Dan got me this game about 3 years ago, if I remember correctly. I finally found the time to start it and had a powerful enough graphics card to play it. So far I hate the dynamic camera angle changes.


Final Fantasy Tactics (30 minutes):

A little more time playing this game. It’s tricky just like XCOM because you have to be in range to make an attack without being in range to be attacked.

Civilization V (30 minutes)

There is absolutely no way we’re going to finish these games before Civ VI is out.

No video from this month uploaded yet

Paragon (30 minutes)

My first modern MOBA is pretty fun, but there’s NO way I’ll be able to dedicate the time needed to complete a match unless the wife and kids are out of town.

August Video Games Report

Civilization V (2 hrs)

A few more turns in our multi-player games.

Team Fortress 2 (2 hrs)

I decided to play a little more and work on creating an overlay that allows the game to be full screen while also still presenting my Extra Life information. After a of couple tries, I like where it ended up.

Vertical Drop Heroes (2 hrs)

I thought this was just going to be a quick Eric Checks Out, but it turned out to get me really addicted to the point where I wish I was playing it every night before bed. Of all the rogue-likes I’ve played, I feel like this one gets the best mix of allowing you to die without it hurting too much.


Unholy Heights (1 hr)

This game seemed perfect for me – a bit RPG and a bit building sim. But I was unable to quite figure out the strategy to allow me to progress beyond the first fight.


FTL (1 hr)
FTL Battle
FTL Battle

I was watching through Dan’s videos and that made me want to play more. I played on my laptop, so I didn’t end up with any videos of the playthrough.


Chromagun (38 min)

I was given a a steam key for this game in exchange for streaming it. It seemed like it’d be Portal-like and that was true. Instead of Portals it’s about colors and mixing colors. I enjoyed it until I got to the part where it was completely unforgiving of any mistakes.


Euro Truck Simulator 2 (30 min)

The Giant Bomb guys have spoken quite often about various truck simulators. I had this from one of the Humble Bundles and I thought it’d make a nice Eric Checks Out. It was pretty neat to drive from Belgium to France since that’ll probably never happen in real life. But I can’t see myself spending more time with this when there are other awesome games to play.

BloodRayne: Betrayal (23 min)

Of all the Bloodrayne games to play for the first time in the series….I ended up with this one. It was also part of some bundle I’d purchased before. It was OK.

FF Tactics (22 min)

One of the games I bought 11+ years ago when I was trying to catch up with all the Playstation Final Fantasy games I missed. Finally playing it for the first time ever. Also, introducing one of my overlays for SD video games.

June and July Video Game Report

I forgot to do June last month, so a double header this time.

Contraption Maker (4 hours)

I continued to play and entertain Scarlett with my puzzle-solving skills.

Spelunky (17 minutes)

Dan donated to my Extra Life charity drive and forced me to do a butt-load of pushups. (An arm-load, really)

Civ V (1 hour)

I barely advance our multiplayer games as the timing just doesn’t quite work out between the three of us to go any faster.

Dear Esther (2 hrs)

I heard about this game a long, long time ago. I couldn’t remember much about it, but I was curious what all the buzz was about. It’s a pretty great experience, once again showcasing how video games can tell stories in a similar, but different way than movies. I didn’t like it as much as The Stanley Parable, but I did like it quite a bit. Also, for the first time, Tony showed up in Youtube chat while I was playing a game and that was fun.

Back to Bed (20 minutes)

I got this game as part of a Humble Bundle. It’s a strange puzzle game about a narcoleptic that takes place in a dream world that’s a mix of Salvador Dali and an Escher Drawing. It’s fun because the dream logic means you have to use an interesting logic to figure out how to get this guy back to his bed. It reminds me of how I had to twist my brain to solve the puzzles in Portal.

May 2016 Video Games Report

Civilization V (8 hours):

I started off playing the same multi-player games we’ve been playing for years now. Then I heard Civ VI comes out this year and so that inspired me to play a solo game.

Contraption Maker (1 hour):

I started off just intending to check out this this game. Then Scarlett saw me playing and asked me to play some more.

Always Sometimes Monsters (1 hour):

I thought this was going to be a game literally about monsters. Nope, it was an RPG about someone having a really bad day.

Atom Zombie Smasher (33 minutes):

I put this off for a long time because it involved zombies. It felt a bit played out. Instead it turned out to be a highly addictive game that I’d really like to keep playing.

Awesomenauts (16 minutes):

Imagine Team Fortress 2, but a platformer. That’s the best way I can describe it. Also, it has a great opening song, but I don’t think I captured that.

April 2016 Video Games

In April I took a break from playing so many games to focus on comics and books. But I still go some play time in.

Civilization V (1 hour):

Cook Serve Delicious (30 minutes):

I just wanted to test how well it would work on my Linux computer with Steam Big Picture. For some weird reason, it didn’t work with the Xbox controller despite the fact that I was able to use the controller with Big Picture and with Poker Night 2 (at least when streaming from the Windows computer). It worked OK with the keyboard. Strangely the mouse was a bit offset from where it was clicking.

Spelunky (30 minutes):

Just a little more time with this gem of a game.

Rhythm Heaven Fever (15 minutes):

I still suck at the opening golf game.

Screwed over by DRM AGAIN!

I will not be having a Star Wars day today on May the Fourth and it’s thanks to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). For people who wonder why I often blog about DRM – this is why we need to fight it. I bought LEGO Star Wars five or more years ago. It was OK, but I needed someone else to play with me because the game is pretty crap with just one player. So I couldn’t wait until I could share the game with one of my children. Scarlett saw a LEGO computer game on Youtube and wanted to play. PERFECT! I went to load it and, because Microsoft no longer supports SecuROM, I can no longer play this game that I paid money for! This is why I only buy books without DRM; why I only buy movies on BluRay, not Amazon – because the DRM is trivially removed. And now I buy games on GOG whenever possible because they sell games without DRM. Don’t flush your money in the toilet! Buy DRM-free!

March Video Games

Spelunky!  (5 hours):

Proving the worth of Let’s Play videos to anyone on the publishing side who still doesn’t believe, when Dan first told me about Spelunky! it didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. When I got around to watching Dan’s Let’s Play videos, I decided it was indeed something I’d enjoy. Five hours later….I’m still enjoying it – mostly because of the endless variety that comes from the walls that are constantly shifting.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2 hours):

My second XCOM run ends as I defeat it with the Enemy Within expansion pack (as we used to call DLC back in the day).

Civilization V (PC) (1 hour):

Our multi-year multi-player games continue!

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth (45 minutes):

I play a session as I get back into this game.


February Video Games Report

XCOM: Enemy Within (17 hours):

By the time I was done with February I was nearly done with XCOM: Enemy Within. It was a fun revisit of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but I think I’m done for a while. That’s a good thing since I hear that XCOM 2 has some beefy PC and graphics card requirements.

Civilization 5 (2 Hours):

My brothers have accelerated the pace of their turn-taking – so the games are proceeding apace.

Thank You OBS Developers

A quick thank you to the developers of OBS for adding the latest features in OBS Multiplatform 0.13.1. It was already a great platform, but with Studio Mode and video sources starting anew when going to a scene, it is near perfect for my use. All this by volunteers and for all three major OS platforms: Windows, Mac, and Linux! It is now extremely competitive against XSplit and competition among software devs always leads to better stuff for users!