I don’t track my video games super closely, but I’m playing them a ton, so here’s some quick notes cobbled from memory and my Steam Year in Review!
1. Fortnite Battle Royale (and one random Creative level I spammed for XP): I gave up on the game right before they did a reboot, but it’s impossible to talk about me gaming in 2023 and not bring it up. I loved playing with a squad and the battle pass system, if not the microtransactions baked into the whole thing.
2. FTL and Into the Breach: I got these through free Epic Games claims years ago and clicked with them in 2023. (I then bought them in Steam so I could do the achievements there, and so I could throw Subset Games a couple bucks.) FTL is a great game, but a bit outside of my comfort/skill level? Into the Breach is way more playable.
3. Starfield: I played this through Xbox…or I tried, anyway. I gave it about twenty hours of fighting glitches and general problems before giving up. Maybe I’ll try it again in five years, after the modding community’s had some real time with it.
4. Vampire Survivors: I’ve never not had a big year with Vampire Survivors since it came out, but I got it on Switch for the first time in 2023 and got to play co-op with family members! In regards to the Steam version, I also got the Among Us DLC at the end of the year and was somewhat underwhelmed…for Vampire Survivors, which meant I still liked it better than most existing games.
5. Storyteller: Did you know that Netflix has app games on mobile? I’m not sure I recommend it because a lot of the games are available through other means, but I got to play Storyteller for the first time through there, and it’s a great play with a touchscreen. And it’s quick! If you have a quiet weekend and don’t know what to do with it, Storyteller’s a great choice for simple puzzles in a fairy-tale style.
6. The Sims 4: I wish I could quit this expensive, buggy mess. Alas, I love it. Growing Together was a great release, I liked the new lot type in For Rent, and I’ve used build items in Horse Ranch basically since day one. Maybe one day, I’ll finish a 100 baby challenge, but 2023 was not that year.
1. Cookie Clicker: I went on an achievement-hunting tear in the later part of 2023, and I’m sure I’ll be picking up a couple throughout 2024 as well. 505 achievements earned in 2023 while only playing Oct-Dec!
2. Super Life RPG: I got completely blindsided by this one. It ate my life Feb-Apr until I forced myself to stop playing.
3. Star Wars Jedi Survivor: Made Starfield look downright functional, but I loved the story and love the characters, so I don’t regret playing it. I do regret paying day-one prices for it. I might go back later and see if it plays any better; it would be fun to hunt achievements.
4. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals: The ambiance of this series is unmatched. I think I liked the first game better, and I wish I’d known going in that there were multiple possible endings, but it was overall a worthwhile sequel to a very good game.
5. Payday 2: A deeply silly game of cops and robbers where you play as the robbers. The over-the-top slapsticky quality, combined with a generously low easy mode, is the real winner here. Definitely not free of stereotypes and bigotry, but it’s nowhere near the level of, say, a Grand Theft Auto. (I also tried Payday 3 through Xbox, which was serious and harder. No thanks.)
6. Don’t Scream: I watched a Let’s Play of this and bought it nearly instantly; the realistic found-footage look is fantastic. This is still definitely an early-access game, though—I didn’t get a lot of the scares that the Let’s Play had—and it seems like the development is going to get bigger going forward. I’ll definitely be revisiting it in Halloween season this year.
7. Graveyard Keeper: A cozy-style game with a darker aesthetic. Think Stardew Valley with graves. I found the learning curve very steep, but I will definitely be jumping in again when I get the cozy-game itch (and if I’m not playing Stardew Valley or this year’s early winners, Coral Island and Immortal Life).
8. Baldur’s Gate 3: I feel like the toe I dipped in here in December was a prologue for gaming in 2024. I played some twenty hours, much of it co-op, and felt like I barely scratched the surface of a behemoth. My deepest wish for 2024 is to get a quiet week and just dive in. Maybe late winter!
Steam stats (from Jan 1 through Dec 14)
-40 games played, 769 achievements earned
-New releases got 15% playtime, games over 8 years old got 19% playtime, games 1-7 years old got 66% playtime
-November was my busiest month, with 32% of my gameplay for the year
-I played 12% of the time with a controller