Looking Back on Gaming – 2021 Edition

It’s time! Time to highlight just how patchy my gaming is when it comes to sticking with individual titles. Despite a preference to otherwise gloss over that fact I very much love having my gaming history available. It’s a huge part of why I do this whole crazing ‘blogging’ thing. The idea to document my gaming history in this specific manner was inspired (read: directly lifted) from Belghast when I put it into action last year, for 2020.

I don’t really know at this end of the post, as I start, what differences I might find. As I so often do with posts that might even remotely resemble a series or continuum, I have the previous one open as a reference. Beyond that though, I haven’t yet started to take a close look at what patterns might have emerged or where I might have instead diverged from last year.

To get started though…

Top 10 2021 Games — By Months and Hours Played

Sorted by months played.
Sorted by hours played.

The first thing I notice when comparing 2021 to 2020 is that the number of single-month but all-consuming hours titles are cut in half. Four single-month titles made it into my top 10 (by hours played, of course) last year and only two this year. More, Tales of Arise — the top single-monther this year — would’ve only made it to 4th place, as compared to the other single-monthers, last year.

I started to wonder whether this might be indicative of either some change in my approach to playing games or perhaps in the games themselves. Then I realised Black Desert Online could almost be considered a single-monther itself. I started playing right at the tail end of Jan and stopped very early in March. ~138 hours of the 148 total were played in Feb.

Black Desert Online with Valencia, the desert jewel, in the distance.

I also noticed that 6-months in a single year continues to be the most months I will play any single game. And the longest continuous streak continues to be 5-months, achieved with Cities: Skylines last year, and Dark Souls: Remastered this year. The Dark Souls streak only came about due to experimenting with playing to a schedule. I played between thirty minutes to an hour each week and the hours played reflects this.

The experiment was interesting to go through — but even now I’m uncertain whether it was helpful or harmful in terms of getting through DS:R. I’m leaning toward the latter though. Left to my own natural devices, I think I would’ve played it for far fewer months but made much greater progress. You’ll note though, at least as I write this, I still haven’t pulled Dark Souls: Remastered off the ‘Current Games of Interest’ widget despite not having played it in 5 months. I still expect I will go back into it, unburdened by the experiment I’d attempted and just blitz through it.

Of course, whether that happens before or after Elden Ring is a whole other story!

Top 10 Games Overall — By Months and Hours Played

Sorted by months played. Clickable for clearer detail.
Sorted by hours played. Clickable for clearer detail.

It is going to take a long, long while to dislodge WoW from this list. Despite stopping in May, a good two months ahead of the Blizzard culture exposé and never returning since — my time getting raid ready and then raiding itself just sailed this to places few other games can go.

Also — I have to correct what I said just above. 5-months isn’t my longest streak; 7-months is. And that too, is held by WoW. It simply crossed 2020-2021 to get it.

There have been some changes to the games making these lists — and plenty of reshuffling in terms of their ranking — but overall it is remarkably similar to last year. I mainly note that as I believe there are games coming in the next two months which will shuffle a bunch of these off when I come to do this again at the end of 2022. Namely: Monster Hunter Rise, Lost Ark and Elden Ring.

I think Monster Hunter Rise and Elden Ring will both hit at least the bottom of the ‘hours played’ view, and Lost Ark (with 4 months and 62 hours behind it already from playing in other regions and the beta) will probably crack into the by months played ranking as well.

At least… This is certainly my hope. The hype for these three in particular is very real.

The ‘Complete’ List

Spoiler: This isn’t a complete list at all. Not by a long shot. There are 166 games listed in the spreadsheet (up 531 from last year) from over the (almost) three years I’ve been capturing this data. This is just the top 63 (i.e., the number I could fit on screen without zooming out further). Last year, cutting it off roughly here only excluded games with below 4 hours played. This time, the cut off occurs for games at around 7 hours of play.

Sorted by hours played. Clickable for clearer detail.

Not to worry — taking another page from Belghast’s book; if you’re interested in the full data set, you are free to take a look right here.

In both versions of this graph — where games are compared vs. the number of months played and the number of hours played — the number of games that receive play for just one month or less than 5 hours, outnumbers the entire rest of their respective charts.

That I have those buckets as the largest doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

But… That they outnumber everything else? … I mean… I want to be surprised by that. I think for a moment I was. But after a moment sitting with that… I think the best thing to do here is to bury this information until it inevitably raises its head again next year. ;)


  1. Honestly, I would’ve guessed this to be somewhat higher!


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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