Analyzing my completed games of 2023 list

Parallax Abstraction
8 min readJan 2, 2024

View the official list here

I beat 82 games in 2023, which is without a doubt, a certain all-time record for me, even though I’ve only been officially keeping count for 3 years. I honestly have no idea how I pulled this off. Between my full-time job, my side business, looking after a needy dog and a house by myself, doing YouTube and Twitch, and oh yeah, having human relationships and stuff, it’s a nerdy miracle of sorts. Gaming has been my dominant hobby most of my life, but even so, that’s a lotta’ games. It’s not something I see myself topping potentially ever, but I’ve said that before so who knows.

This list is just enjoyable for me to keep in general, but I also do it to see how my tastes and game playing trends are changing over the years and it provides a lot of interesting insights so I thought it would be fun to break the data down some. If you have your own list of games you’ve finished, leave a comment as I’d love to hear them and if you’re considering making your own list this year, also let me know and I’m happy to give you a copy of my Google Sheet to use as a template.

One caveat that can skew the data just a little bit is that a handful of games on the list are ones that I started in 2022, but completed in 2023, but everything counts toward 2023 totals. I like to think this kind of balances itself out over the years, but I’m going to add a column starting with the 2024 sheet where I can mark games that I started the prior year. It’s not like this list is a legal document anyway.

First, let’s break down the time. I played a total of 528 hours, 36 minutes and 11 seconds of games from this list, which comes out to 10 hours, 9 minutes and 56 seconds per week or an average of 6 hours, 4 minutes and 33 seconds per title. And that’s only games I finished, not the myriad other ones I still have on the go, including some I hoped to finish before 2023 ended. On one hand, that’s an insane amount of time to devote to a hobby, especially with a busy life like mine, but on the other hand, it kind of also seems low to me? It’s weird to think that, but I know people who devote that many hours a year to single online games in some cases.

The most interesting part of this data point for me is how few “big” games I played in 2023. The overwhelming majority of what I completed took 10 hours or less, with many games being far shorter. There were only 5 games that took longer than 15 hours, and only 2 that went over 30 hours. Honestly, I’ve come to appreciate short games a lot more because it allows me to play a wider variety of stuff and most super long games I get bored of well before I finish them. It’s gotten to the point where I find large, open world games to be intimidating, both because I know there’s going to be so much filler and also because I know they’ll take a lot of time I could devote to more individual games. Honestly, I don’t see this trend changing any time soon, especially as more open world games feel like palette swaps of each other, but I’m totally fine with that too.

Moving on to platforms, I’ve almost always been a PC first player, but have no problem with consoles and tend to buy them all. However, I was shocked to see just how few things I finished on them this year. I finished 63 of my 82 games on PC, with 51 being on Steam, 11 on PC Game Pass and a single outlier on Itch.io. I only beat 3 games each on Xbox Game Pass and non-Game Pass, two games on Switch and a single one on PS5, though I will say I have several games in progress on each of the latter. I also often play Game Pass games on my PC and also on the Xbox in the living room, but I only count the platform I played the majority of it on in the list.

This really surprises me. It feels like I used by Xbox a lot more than I did and I’m stunned at how little I used my PS5. I have yet to play several big Sony first-party staples like God of War: Ragnarok, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone and Spider-Man 2, but I hope to start tackling those this year. I definitely thought I used my Switch more than I did, but a couple of the games I’m working on are big ones, plus I also covered a lot of small Switch indies for YouTube this year, most of which I didn’t finish. I do like the PC most as a platform, plus most of the press codes I get are there, but I would expect to see more completed games on console for me in 2024. We’ll see though.

I also keep track of entries in the list that I played in co-op and that were DLC, mods or replays of games I’ve previously beaten, though they all count toward the total. My friend WereTiger and I tend to play co-op a lot, but to my surprise, we only finished 8 games together this year, 3 of which were DLCs. I also finished Escape Academy with InfiniKnight. To be fair, one of those co-op titles was Far Cry 6, which took almost 35 hours just for the base game, plus another 6 for its 3 DLCs. The first game I finished in 2024 was a co-op with WereTiger, and we do have a big co-op backlog, so maybe this will be the year that number gets a solid spike.

I finished 19 DLC add-os this year and no mods. I only tend to buy DLC if it’s on major sale or if it’s a decent size and adds a lot to the base game. With the exception of DREDGE: The Pale Reach (which I do still recommend if you’re starting a new game with it), this was the case for all the DLCs I played. I also got a Far Cry 6 bundle at a discount that included those. The two Ancient Gods add-ons for DOOM Eternal and Separate Ways for Resident Evil 4 both really stood out for the amount of new and different content they added, though Ancient Gods was way too hard for average DOOM players like myself.

I’m not surprised I finished no mods in 2023 since I didn’t start any and most of the games I finished don’t support them anyway. With my Twitch streams in 2024 focusing on my Deep Backlog however, you can definitely expect this to change as many old games have vibrant modding scenes, and some of those mods are specifically mentioned in that list. I also did no replays this year, though some of the Deep Backlog titles are ones I have finished before, just not in many years.

My gaming tastes have become pretty refined and I’m pretty good at knowing a game isn’t one I’ll want to play before I ever start it. I’m happy to say that my instinct led me well as I at the very least found something to like in almost everything I finished in 2023. The only games I actively disliked were The Shore and The Expanse: A Telltale Series, though the Bud Spencer & Terence Hill games and the Project HeL DLC for the first Ghostrunner pushed my patience hard. As I wrote in my review, The Expanse really bummed me out because they had such an easy opportunity to make a great choices matter game based on an awesome universe, only to clearly have it rushed out in a state not befitting the talented team that developed it. I am glad to see my personal taste is so on point though and I hope I can keep that streak going.

The biggest things I take away from this list are that I’m more into indie games than I’ve ever been and that I’m really falling out with AAA games. Of all the games I finished, only 15 of them would be traditionally considered AAA titles, and 6 of those were DLCs. I used to be a big defender of AAA games, but I just can’t abide how most of them ship as unfinished, buggy or broken, filler-crammed, monetization-laden nightmare fuel now. It actually makes the news when a AAA game launches that isn’t a mess. I’m far from the only one noticing this and I’d like to think the industry might finally be starting to pay attention, but with all the layoffs and studio closures in the last year due to the approaching recession, I only see belts being tightened further in that segment. Unless a AAA title is one I’m really excited about and launches in a good state, I typically wait until it’s on deep sale so you’ll probably see me complete several you recognize, just well after their release.

I like indie games because of the immense variety of experiences they offer and that they aren’t afraid to be shorter or to design themselves around being tighter, one-and-done experiences. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re much less expensive and on sale much more often so the barrier to entry is lower, plus most PC storefronts have refund policies if a game really doesn’t measure up for you. I would always rather play a super tight, polished and fulfilling experience that’s 4 hours long instead of a 40 hour AAA game that is mostly busy work and that I wished was over long before the credits roll. I don’t see this changing for me any time soon and while I feel for all the AAA developers this might hurt, I also don’t feel bad about trending in this direction and would love to see the big publishers think about paring their experiences back, while there’s still a shred of profit viability left in them.

2023 was one of the best years for gaming in recent memory for everyone, and definitely for me. We had a torrent of treasures the size we could only dream of in some past years and as even more pandemic-delayed titles start to reach our screen this year, I think 2024 could end up being a banger as well. There’s never been a better time to be playing video games because we have more variety, ways to play and ways to buy than we ever have. If you want retro, the Internet and some niche companies have you covered and if you want modern games, you can find them in almost every direction of every size and shape. While I don’t think I’ll finished as many games in 2024 as I did in 2023, I know I have more incredible experiences at my fingertips than I could finish in my life time. The medium has come a long way since I started in the early 80s and I’m still excited to see where it leads me this coming year.

Do you have your own list of games you finished in 2023, or just some highlights you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments, along with what games you’re looking forward to in 2024!

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Parallax Abstraction

Gamer, variety/indie/retro Twitch streamer/YouTuber, pet parent, IT ninja and much more. I'm not opinionated, I'm just always right!