tl;dr: Play games (from 20th-century systems) and post your times!
Once more we've reached a new year, and with that it's time to move from the old thread to the new. We're now in the eighth season of our gameplay tracker, and still going strong, but new members are always welcome: the more the merrier, quite literally!
So what is this?
The basic idea is to post what games you played during each week, and for how long. You don't have to time it down to the minute (though some of us do), and estimates are acceptable. Then, at the end of the week, the statskeeper (that's me) totals everything up and we find out which games and platforms are seeing the most action.
Each week, we have top 10 lists for consoles/computers and for individual games. We also have a separate top 10 list for games released on platforms that predate the US release of the NES (i.e. roughly the tail end of 1985). That way, arcade-style vintage gaming doesn't get totally lost in the shuffle of RPGs, collectathons, and other games that take 10+ hours to complete.
However, in 2014 the #1 game by a mile (and for the fifth year in a row) was Kaboom, the quintessential old-school VCS game, so the old consoles (and computers!) are more than holding their own.
1. Be sure to list the system, the name of the game, and the length of time you play. Please note if the game has any alternate titles by which it's better known (i.e. Air Sea Battle vs. Target Fun). If you list multiple games, please group them by system. If you play on a backwards-compatible system, e.g. Atari 2600 games on the 7800 or SMS games on the Genesis, the game should be listed under the older platform's name.
2. Each week runs Monday through Sunday (at midnight), except the first and last week of the year. The deadline for posting stats is now 3:00 PM (EST) on Monday to allow for different time zones.
3. Playing on actual vintage hardware is preferred, although emulators are certainly allowed. In some cases (homebrews in development, rare arcade games) there's no alternative to using an emulator.
4. Our cutoff year is 2000. That is, eligible consoles and computers have to have been released (in the US) before 2000. This includes Dreamcast and N64, but excludes the most recent systems like PlayStation 2, XBox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, et al. You're welcome to mention gameplay on those systems, but as of now they won't be added to the tracker.
The same goes for computers: we count Windows 95 and 98 games, but not XP; Mac OS 9, but not OS X; and so on.
5. Arcade games up to A.D. 2000 are permitted. So are emulated compilations of arcade games for modern systems, as long as they're not rewritten or otherwise massively "updated" versions. If you play 45 minutes of Robotron via Midway Arcade Treasures for the XBox, those 45 minutes are counted towards the arcade game. When you're playing arcade compilations, be sure to list each game separately (don't just put "Midway Arcade Treasures - 45 min.")
6. You don't just have to post a bare list of times -- comments, stories, gripes, and helpful hints are always encouraged! If you're struggling with a level, got a new high score, or have some thoughts about what's great or what stinks about a particular game...well, that's the kind of stuff that makes this fun to read.
How to make the statskeeper's life easier:
- If you post a big list of games, please consider alphabetizing them first (after grouping them by platform).
- Posting your times in minutes, rather than hours + minutes, makes things a little simpler.
- Even if you don't know the exact time, it's better to post a specific number and say it's an estimate. If you say you posted a bunch of games for "between 20 minutes and an hour", I'll just average everything out to 40 minutes, but it'd be better to have a sense of which games you played more and which ones you played less.
- If there's room for confusion or ambiguity, please address that in advance so I don't have to research it myself. Non-US releases, homebrews in progress, alternate titles, and expanded re-releases can get especially tricky.
That about covers it. I've just posted the summary for 2014 (starting here), including the all-time top games, so those who like stats are welcome to check that out.
One more thought:
If you haven't participated before, or if you did and got busy with other things, consider taking part in 2015! You may find that it has some interesting side effects -- I've found that keeping a log dramatically changes how I think about my own gaming, and mostly for the better.
P.S. Past years of the tracker: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014