In 2018 I played a little more than double the amount of video games as I did in 2017. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, now that the twins are older I don’t have to watch them as diligently. I can’t be as off-hands as I was when it was just Scarlett at this age, but I can spend a little more time on my hobbies. Second, a pretty good chunk of that time (15 hours) was spent playing video games with Scarlett so it just took the place of other potential Father/Daughter projects. That said, with me bouncing around various hobbies, it doesn’t matter that I have more free time now because of the kids getting older because I’m splitting it over more tasks. As I write this I’ve really gotten back into programming. It’s all I think about in the pool and whenever I’m not doing it. So much so that I’m 3.5 months behind on organizing and editing my photos. This bouncing around between hobbies is something I’ve documented many times on this blog. It happened a lot throughout the year so there were times where I’d play games for tons of days in a row and then not play video games (other than my Civ VI multiplayer turns) for months. I’d legitimately forgotten about having played some of these games until I went back to compile the list for the year.
Civilization VI (38 hr 17 min): Civ continues to earn its place as the one game I always buy when it comes out on day 1. In 2018 I continued my series where I played as China in ever version of Civilization. I also played a couple single player games, including my first Rise and Fall single player game. The governor system was OK, but I’m not sure I used it to its fullest. And, of course, I continued to play my multiplayer games with Dan and Dave, adding some Rise and Fall games to the mix this year.
Pokemon Red (15 hrs): Now that Scarlett had learned to read I figured she could play her first jRPG. She was also really into Pokemon thanks to Netflix, so I thought Pokemon might be the best choice. Since I never played the original Pokemon (I was too old when it came out), I thought it might be fun to see what it was all about. So far it’s been fun, but Scarlett’s reluctance for grinding means she has not been trying to “catch ‘em all”.
Stellaris (8 hr 22 min): I wanted this game since I saw one of the Giant Bomb employees sing its praises. It would give me Civ or Age of Empires on a galactic scale. It would give me what Spore promised and failed to deliver on. So when it was on sale, I grabbed it. Real-time Civilization is way harder than turn-based. I didn’t stop playing out of frustration, though (as I would for XCOM 2 later), but because – like Civ – it seemed to suck up all my time and I needed a break. I’ll probably go back to it, but with how complex it is, I’ll probably have to rewatch my last video to remind myself what I was up to.
FTL (8 hr 14 min): 2018 was the year in which I seriously played this game and tried to win. Over the 8 hours I played, I tried lots of combinations of strategies. Towards the end I was doing well enough to be able to advance pretty far through the galaxy although I was never in the right shape to face the final enemy.
Civilization V (8 hr 3 min): I’ve mostly fully gone over to Civ VI at this point, but I did play as China for my China series. Also, my multiplayer games with Dan and Dave continue.
Spelunky (6 hr ): Spelunky is always a ton of fun because Derek Yu understands that the most fun and replayable rogue-likes make death trivial so you can jump back in rather than quit the game in frustration.
Civilization IV (4 hrs 45 min): I played this game as part of my China series and realized that Civs V and VI have ruined me for stackable armies in Civ. I used to do quite well in Civ IV, but the AI wiped the floor with me because I kept forgetting the intricacies of combat in the old Civ I-IV system with stacks of doom.
XCOM 2 (3 hr 05 min): I bought this game on sale and was excited to play the sequel to a game I really ended up enjoying before. But it seems that Firaxis went the Mario: The Lost Levels (aka Japanese Super Mario Bros 2) route and made this game for hardcore XCOM players. I was just unable to get the hang of things in the new system. With a very limited amount of time for playing video games, that kind of play just really doesn’t appeal to me. I will probably try starting again at the lowest difficulty setting to see if I can have it be just challenging enough, but where I’m not losing all but one soldier in the earliest levels.
Crypt of the NecroDancer (2 hr 29 min): I first saw this game in a short video video from Dan’s channel and I thought it seemed kind of fun. When it was on sale on GOG, I picked it up and both had more fun and advanced further into the dungeons than I expected to be able to. I was also inspired to play both this game and lots more FTL this year by reading Dungeon Hacks, a history of rogue-likes that made me have a deeper appreciation for the conventions and tropes of the genre.
Witcher 2 (1 hr): My first year doing Extra Life I played the first Witcher game. I wanted to give the sequel a shot now that I had a better graphics card. But with the long opening/training scene, I ran out of time. I just don’t have as much time for these long games as I used to. At this point, I’d have to rewatch my first episode to remember all the shortcuts and commands.
Vertical Drop Heroes HD (34 min): I just wanted to revisit this game for fun. It was a good half hour.
Half Minute Hero (28 min): I played this game during the Extra Life game day. It was a fun little game. They essentially boiled JRPGs to the minimum and it was it interesting to see what that led to. I’ll probably come back to this game in 2019 if I remember I have it.
Pacman DX 2 (15 min): I’m not sure if my control was running out of batteries or (if it was the XBONE controller) if there were USB issues, but frustrating controls meant I couldn’t enjoy this sequel to my favorite PS3 game.
And that gives a rough total of 96 hr 30 min.
My favorite game in 2018 was Civilization VI for continuing to give me a very fun time throughout the year. However, I will say that my surprise hit of 2018 was Crypt of the Necrodancer as I didn’t think I’d really enjoy that game at all. I ended up loving the challenge of trying to make it past the first dungeon. I will almost certainly return to this game in 2019.