Steam’s Built-in ‘Make You Feel Old’ Generator

I still have a number of nits to pick with the refreshed Steam Library tools. The big one, or so I thought, was in relation to the filters being ‘AND’ with no option at all for an ‘OR’ filter. This makes organising with dynamic collections nigh impossible.

Turns out, though, it gets worse.

You know those odd facts that just really hit you in the ‘Oof. That was a long time ago. … I’m old now.’ kind of way? Different age brackets will have different examples of this, but a few that have hit me over the past few years:

  • Inception came out over 10 years ago. (2010)
  • The Matrix came out over 20 years ago. (1999)
  • The Little Mermaid came out over 30 years ago. (1989)

Those are all movie examples, I suppose, so what about: The iPhone first launched in 2007 — 15 years ago. Although I’m not sure about you, this one lands a bit different. It feels like the whole Smartphone concept has been a part of my life essentially forever, even though that is patently untrue. We haven’t even had smartphones for over half of my life quite yet.

Steam has its own built-in version of this, but for games. Now — I imagine this is only going to work up until some maximum age that I’m not entirely sure of. Steam has only reliably been tracking game time and last played time since September 2012, it would seem. At least a few of those still managed to land their blow with me, despite the fact I can track all the way back to seeing The Little Mermaid in cinemas.

If you’d like to do it to yourself as well, here’s how:

This image I took for the title graphic is actually a pretty good illustration of the process, too.
  1. Go to your Steam Library, and Click the ‘Sort by Recent Activity’, clock icon.
  2. (Optional, but recommended) Click the ‘Advanced Filters’, sliders button and select ‘Played’.
    You can take a look without the played filter out as well, but I certainly found the greatest impact seeing those I actually spent some time with.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of your left-side results list, and start opening the oldest Year categories you have.
  4. Revel in the shock of how long ago some of those games were played.

Of course, one requirement for this to have any effect at all is that you’ve actually had a Steam account for long enough for this to be meaningful. My Steam account would’ve been created back somewhere around 2005 — so I definitely wish the tracking had been cloud-based that far back. Although I suppose, even if it was, before that, I had largely physical media for my games. I had the tin-box version of Bioshock, for example. A beautiful three-CD spread for X3: Reunion. All sorts!

Although perhaps for my mental health, it is best if we don’t put those, or the even older games still, into their proper context. :)

Now I used a qualifier before. I said Steam didn’t ‘reliably’ track played hours and last played until September 2012. And I say this because I have another category of games in this filter mode titled ‘No Recorded Activity’ that… well; they very much do have recorded activity. At minimum, some played time. Sometimes played time and a date (although nothing earlier than August 11th, 2011).

I think my biggest personal surprise was Dragon Age II. It came out March 2011, 11 years ago. My last played date on it is Feb 12, 2012 and I have a bit over 31 hours in it. Dear Lord I was looking forward to Dragon Age II before it came out. I still finished it, but it certainly fell well short of my expectations after the original Dragon Age… Which I’m somewhat reluctant to look up, but here goes…

Steam has no idea when I last played Dragon Age, but it knows I played at least 125.3 hours of it. And it came out… November 2009.

… Alright, it’s time to put on some slippers, get a lap blanket, and have a nap sitting up.

This was posted during Blaugust 2022, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in year-round!


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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