January Update

First progress update of the year and loads of updates and games played as I had some playing time over the holidays.

New game pickups

  • Gran Turismo Sport Digital Deluxe Edition (PS4)
  • Inside (Xbox)
  • Unravel Yarny Bundle (Xbox)
  • Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles (Xbox)
  • Undertale (PC)
  • Refunct (PC)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

A number of new games picked up in the Christmas/New Year sales. That said I only spent about £30 on the above, as I had £20 in Microsoft vouchers. My one physical purchase was a Legend of Zelda game on 3DS but at only just over £10 seemed bit of a bargain.

Been playing (Grouvee)

  • Forza Motorsport 7
  • Rage
  • Ashen
  • Gran Turismo Sport
  • Dear Esther: Landmark Edition
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Hammerwatch
  • FTL: Faster Than Light
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Overwatch

A lot of games started or played this month. I tried Forza Motorsport 7 again to compare to Gran Turismo Sport which I have just started. Fair to say both are great games that I need to play much more. I also started Ashen as this has recently hit Xbox Game Pass. Although early I feel like Dark Souls-lite or an easier Dark Souls is fairly apt.

Over the holidays I played some of the indie games in my backlog. I’ve reviewed Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and FTL: Faster Than Light. I still need to spend time with Hammerwatch. I wrote about what drove me to try Unreal Tournament and I’ve been trying to get into Overwatch recently.

Completed, Abandoned & Shelved

Completed Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and Rage. I probably won’t be that far behind in finishing with Hammerwatch or FTL but still want to play these games a bit more. Anyway off to a good start to 2019. Also I have shelved Hearthstone as I am just not playing at the moment.

So 3 games completed and 1 game shelved this month!

Updates

Loads of the stuff on the site. SSL encryption now fully enabled and upgraded PHP behind the scenes. Also did a number of minor edits and tidying up the site including: tiding up tags on some of the reviews and added a summary of games trackers to new Backlog page (was called rules before). I also tidied up my Grouvee shelves and games.

Up next

A few games on Xbox Game Pass I’d like to try. Also a number of games I stopped playing that I would like to return to.

Two more games trackers

When I originally launched this site I checked out a few of the different Games Trackers and noted my thoughts about them. I would then add to this when I came across the AllMyGames which I wrote about in November last year.

Since then I stumbled into this discussion thread on ResetEra: ‘We are getting closer to a Letterboxd for games’. This peaked my interest because also since setting up this site I have discovered Letterboxd and love logging movies I have watched in the Diary view. As well as tracking what’s coming up. Although as I’m not a serious movie fan my use case is limited.

However this led to trying out two new Game Trackers.

GG

Interestingly this advertises itself as Letterboxd for games. Like both of the game tackers mentioned here I love the visual presentation style, lots of screenshots, clean and simple design which seems to extend through to the feature set. The are some basic categories for Beaten, Completed etc. and the ability to add lists and make these public. And you can also follow your friends on the site to see what they are up to.

I do feel the site is a bit basic in what you can do at the moment. You can’t track how long you’ve played the game for, or record what format you own a game on. Also lacking an import from a platform feature so everything has to be logged manually. However a strength here is that it has its own mobile app on Android and iOS.

IGDB

Again a really nice presentation style. Kind of a cross between Twitter meets Letterboxd. Like GG mentioned above this seems quite basic at the moment in terms of the feature set but the developer seems very active and has mentioned big changes are coming for 2019. There is nowhere to log time played or other metadata. And it could do with more categories (called Activity Lists here). Although like GG has it’s own mobile apps on Android and iOS. I think the strength of this site could be discoverability of games through it’s community provided it gains an active and large enough audience.

I definitely want to keep an eye on both websites to see how they develop as they both look very promising.

I’ve also adding a short summary list of all the Game Trackers I’ve tried to my new updated Backlog page (was called Rules before).

2018 Review: In numbers (not that many!)

As we are coming up for the end of year I wanted to have a look at my progress against my backlog since I set this website up around five months ago. Originally my intention was to setup up a WordPress site from scratch, learn new skills, as well as being able to track how many games I own, or have access to. Sites like Grouvee are very good at logging games but generally very bad at a timeline view.

2018 in numbers

  • Backlog: Increased by 12 (264 to 278)
  • Played: Increased by 3 (192 to 195)
  • Completed = 2
  • Abandoned = 1
  • Played = 6

So overall not that many games played, or completed although as a whole I think I managed to play a total of 17 games this year. However I only set-up tracking along with this site in July, so there may be a chance that I’ve missed a game or two. However this number excludes retro games like Tetris on the Nintendo Game Boy.

There is a discrepancy in my figures on Grouvee because I’ve realised I have played 6 new games for the first time since setting up the website: Rage, Fortnite: Save the World, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Forza Motorsport 7, Dying Light and Starlink. Everything else was either played earlier in the year or I had started playing before. I believe the discrepancy is simply that I am not regarding a game as played on Grouvee until I am done with it (i.e. Rage).

However what is clear is that I have been playing GaaS/Live Services games and when I’m not playing these sort of games I do speed-up considerably at progressing in other games. I’ve written about this before. In addition other projects such as buying a new PC, upgrading my Unraid server, house DIY and work etc. have also played their part in limiting my time playing games.

With regards to purchasing new games it doesn’t appear too bad. However some of this is rebuying games on Xbox Live or Playstation Network which I already owned on PC and therefore hasn’t increased the numbers. Also free games from Games With Gold, PlayStation Plus or Game Pass reduced my new purchasing a little bit. Although I don’t add these onto my backlog figures, overall I nearly acquired 100 new games in the time of setting up the website. Most of these will be free games.

2019: the year ahead

I suspect it going to be hard to ignore The Division 2 in late February although I would like to avoid the launch and see what the game is like first. Partly because of how other similar games like Destiny 2 went, but also to allow time for microtransactions and the overall business model to settle. There are a few games like Anthem and Days Gone that are also intriguing to me.

Beyond that I missed out on a number of big hitters from the second half of this year that are on my Wishlist. Namely Forza Horizon 4, Marvel’s Spiderman and Red Dead Redemption 2. Depending on sales these might be games I pick up sooner than later. I do have access to Forza Horizon 4 via Game Pass but am put off by not having the VIP pack (earn in-game credits 2 times faster).

I would also like to buy a Nintendo Switch but with a hardware revision rumoured in the second half of 2019 this will be put on-hold for now.

And other than that probably continuing to move away from PC gaming. I am still playing many PC games but the fact is with the sharp increase in the cost of PC components (particularly in the UK) I have therefore stopped buying as many games on PC. And this is something I intend to continue with as we see new Sony and Microsoft consoles in the near future. Dying Light, Rage and Inside are all good examples of games I purchased or played on console that previously I would have picked up on PC.

Realistic targets

It would be nice to complete or shelve somewhere in the region of 15 to 25 videogames in 2019. I think that might be hard but achievable. Certainly I would like to have played at least double the number from this year. As the first full calendar year of monitoring this will be interesting to see if I can meet this target.

Anyway an early ‘Happy New Year!’ for everyone who read this far. Thank you.

December Update

A quick update as I intend to do a more in-depth review of 2018, or at least the first 5 to 6 months I have been running the site, and look at the few games I managed to play this year.

New game pickups

No new games, but a whole bunch of Starlink: Battle for Atlas ships, pilots and weapons. Managed to basically obtain the entire remaining set, as the packs have been reduced by 50% by most retailers in the UK.

In addition I picked up 18-months of Xbox Game Pass (despite saying I wouldn’t!). 12-months was £47.99 from Amazon, and the 6-months was £18 direct from Microsoft (used a £5 voucher).

I also extended Xbox Live Gold by 6-months through the Amazon offer on the 3-month pass (included £10 of Microsoft credit). So most subscriptions until the end of 2020 now.

Been playing (Grouvee)

  • Rage
  • Path of Exile (New Betrayal League)

Not much time to play games this month, so a small amount of progress on Rage (up to the Eastern Wastelands). In addition I’ve been playing the new season on Path of Exile. Again playing with an axe wielding Marauder build.

So no games completed or thrown back onto the shelf (again!).

Up next

Christmas has been fairly busy but hopefully I get a chance to complete Rage. However as the last update before the big day; Merry Christmas everyone!

All the games are belong to us

When I first set up the site, I tested a few different videogame tracking websites and came to the conclusion that Grouvee was the best one for me. Indeed I ended up contributing to help support the site I liked it that much. In the months since I’ve come across some more videogame trackers, such as Completionator, Darkadia and SteamCompletionist, amongst others.

However I have just recently become aware of another videogame tracker; AllMyGames (after stumbling across the reddit feed: r/AllMyGames). This new website appears to have been recently setup this year and indeed signing up to the site awarded me an ‘Early Adopter’ badge. After trying out the site I have to say I was left feeling pretty positive about it. It’s import feature works really well and is the first time I’ve seen importing of your games from anything other than Steam.  It appears to look at your achievements from your console games to build your library. Although I have a total of 1086 games (at the time of writing according to Grouvee), the import on AllMyGames managed to pick up 841 of those. That’s very impressive.

What I liked

  • Easy and fast import process from Steam, GOG, PlayStation and Xbox
  • Clean, big screen presentation style with an emphasis on cover art
  • Can select which version of the game you are adding (although l couldn’t select the digital version of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Ultimate Edition).
  • Succinct categories; might play, won’t play etc. – I love this!
  • A icon with a relevant link to HowLongToBeat.com page for each game

Would love to see

  • Ability to add own lists
  • Sort by format, as well as platform
  • I personally hate duplicates so the option to merge duplicates games with an icon for each format the game is owned on
  • Some more metadata options such as time played, or to complete etc.

I will play around with this one more, but it’s great to see another option for videogame fans looking to list their games with regards to sorting their collection or backlog. As noted this seems to be in an early stage of development so I look forward to how this website develops.

You can check out the site yourself at the following address: All My Games.

Tracking the backlog after 3 months

I thought it would be worth a few thoughts on how I have found setting up a backlog tracker for my games and whether it has made any impact to my gaming after a few months.

Lots of time required

Firstly the time investment on listing every game you own, or have access to, is not to be underestimated. It probably took me 10 hours, or thereabouts, to go through and log every game on my Grouvee profile. And even that is with the automated import of my Steam library which took some of the work away.

Adding every game on my backlog tracker was made easier because fortunately many years ago I had already setup a spreadsheet with all my physical games listed. This undoubtedly made the job easier.

However it isn’t just listing the games once, but getting into the discipline of maintaining my Grouvee profile to show what I am playing, moving stuff from Playing to Shelved or Completed, adding new games and updating any notes or comments. This itself probably takes at least an hour or two a month.

So is it worth the time investment?

Obviously this depends on the person but I have found the exercise quite cathartic. It has made it obvious that I have been buying too many games and probably need to be even more choosy, or at least wait for a sale. For example Forza Horizon 4 might be a game I will really enjoy, but do I need day one? Probably not. At £80 for the most complete version it makes sense to wait for a sale.

Unfortunately it is too early to answer whether it helps more easily identify what game to play next. When I have started playing a new game, i.e. Rage, this wasn’t really due to the backlog tracker. However it certainly helps to see my entire backlog across all platforms but it is almost too long a list to know where to start first.

One thing I have noticed is that it has been fun setting up and blogging about my games. Setting up a backlog tracker has led me to set up hosting and putting together a WordPress site. This is something I likely wouldn’t have done otherwise.

And finally one other positive has been the Grouvee website, community and support. I found one bug which I raised on their forums and have continued to have been impressed with the really passionate and positive engagement of Grouvee’s members. I think they really have created the Goodreads equivalent, but for videogames. I really have enjoyed using Grouvee to the point where it was very easy to decide to become a subscriber to their site and support them. A really useful website and service.

I might return to do an update after a much longer timeframe and revisit this post to see how I feel about my experience with tracking a backlog.

July Update

After numerous hours typing away at the keyboard I have finally managed to log every videogame I own on Grouvee. Yay! Tooks ages but hopefully worth it.

There are some Nintendo Virtual Console games on Wii and Wii U unaccounted for, but I’m not going to list them as these online services are either gone or probably won’t be around much longer.

So that’s 1035 games in total, of which 275 are on my backlog. I’m currently playing through 7 games and actually have already completed nearly a fifth of all games I own. Time to start playing some games.

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale/PSN Summer Sale – new game pickups

Just because you can clearly never buy enough games to play, I have also purchased the following in the summer sales;

  • Prey – fancy playing this, not worried about Mooncrash DLC atm.
  • Doom/Wolfenstein 2 Bundle – good price for two!
  • Dishonored The Complete Collection – Dishonored 2 is Xbox One X enhanced, and only £1 more than the complete sequel bundle so it includes the original game as well.
  • Everybody’s Golf

I also purchased Fallout 4/Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition digitally in these sales so I can own sell the boxed disc versions.

Ps. Picked up 3-months of GamePass for £7.99, plus a month through MS Rewards, so that’s 4-months taken care of. Seems a good deal. That’s Forza Horizon 4 taken care of at least.

Thoughts on games trackers

So where to begin when listing all the games you own?

It was a question I’ve had to answer when setting up this website. Lots of options like using a simple spreadsheet, or categories on Steam. However all of these have limitations. One thing I have realised is that there simply isn’t a perfect videogame tracking website. At least for me.

These are my thoughts on the websites I tested:

Backloggery.com
Probably the most well known website for tracking your videogame collection and backlog. I love the simple categorisation and presentation of whether you have beaten or unfinished a game. Has a great one page summary view that can be personalised. The ability to add notes to games or even whether a game is part of a compilation. However I don’t like the presentation style. Obviously aiming for a retro look, but I think it feels slightly dated in use.

HowLongToBeat.com
The strength of this site is it’s community data with regards to how long a game takes to playthrough. It is a very useful reference site in this regard. Nice presentation style, although one minor niggle is you can’t link games to more that one format, therefore creating duplicate entries.

Grouvee.com
Very clean presentation style and layout (Good Reads for videogames basically). Love the fact you can add notes and images to games, use tags, and record games as being owned on multiple different formats. Uses the Giantbomb database for records, so haven’t yet found a game that isn’t on the site. And even after using the site for only a few days, I’ve already observed there is a helpful community who actively comment or respond on profile updates.

Backloggery and HowLongToBeat are free, although you can make donations. Grouvee is also free, but has a $10 yearly subscription that removes adverts and rewards the user with a profile badge.

My conclusions

I decided that Grouvee best meets my needs for tracking my videogame collection backlog. With the ability to tag my games, using their ‘shelves’ system, I’ve been able to simply prioritise the games I want to play or complete the most. And the social features are the strongest of the sites I tested.

However for tracking my physical videogame collection I am still going to use Google Sheets. Simply because this can be used to store custom data such as where and when I purchased a game or hardware, where from and what condition etc. There are more collector oriented websites and programs out there but they are more than I need at the moment.