--------------- Preamble ---------------

I'm a gamer at heart. I know I spend too much time on this pastime, yet it's difficult to let go. I've tried quitting on several occasions with little or no success. I play a lot more after a period of withdrawal, so these efforts could be counterproductive. Currently, I'm on my longest 'no-gaming' streak so far and I'm hoping it'll last as long as I'm here. Otherwise I'd be squandering this lovely opportunity in Japan next to my laptop.

The purpose of this post is to in part serve as a grisly reminder of life passing me by, as well as to just serve as a list of the games I've played so that I can glance and reminisce on good ol' times.

--------------- The Meat ---------------

Gamer levels:
Casual gamer 1-2 hours/day, Enthusiast 2-4, Dedicated 4-6, Hardcore 6-9, Extreme 9+

Let's first start off with the two periods where I didn't play games. One of these periods is right now! The only other period was in grade 12 second semester, application season for university. (After I got in, I thought I'd be at the bottom of the class, so with a "why try?" attitude I drastically lowered my standards and just cared to pass; the marks I somehow ended up with first term suggested I could fare much better had I cared...)

Now those two periods aside, the following is about my gaming life since grade 5, when I got my first PC.

University: I'm around the "dedicated" level at university, with the notable exception of the WoW period, where without fail I played 8 to 12 hours a day. In particular, I binged on the weekends I stayed in 'Loo, where at the very least I played 14 hours a day.

High school: I played everyday after school, almost religiously (like with EQ) until around midnight. For EQ, I even woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning to play. I was dedicated during school days and turned hardcore or extreme on the weekends... :P

Grade school: Still everyday after school, though back then I was also into calligraphy, chess, and science. Probably around enthusiast level on average.

--------------- /played estimate ---------------

How much time have I spent on games? Let's start estimating with an old mathematical approach: find the lower bound. The games that really left an impression have a short description. (All units are hours)

Computer games

World of Warcraft
Total time spent: > 720
November 23, 2004 to January 23, 2005: 19 days 5 hours. In other words, 32% of the two-months time was spent on WoW. Basically I could take 24 hours, subtract sleep time and 1-2 hours for substance, hygiene, etc, and that would be my play time for the day. No regrets: it was a great time, though my marks suffered a 6% drop. =P

Guild Wars
Total time: 150 to 250
May 2005 to present. Not sure if there is an in-game chronometer. I estimate completing the game at 40-60 hours, 40 for classes like the Monk which can complete missions easily with henchmen. Played about 5-9 hours per day in May and June, while waiting for the Japan visa.

Total time: 600 to 800
One of the most memorable times I've had, surpassed only by WoW. I still remember the opening music and the exact time the music stopped when the game loaded. I still recall a Frost Giant stepping on me.

Half-Life 40-50, Doom II 20-30, Wolf 3D 20
TFC 300-800, Counter-Strike 300-800
Total Annihilation 60-80, Warcraft II 50-60
Warcraft III 250-500, Starcraft 100-150
Diablo 100-150, Diablo II 300-500
Neverwinter Nights 200-250, Dungeon Siege 30
Freespace 40, Freespace 2 40-50, Freelancer 50

Planescape: Torment 40-50
Baldur's Gate 30-40, Baldur's Gate II 50-60, Star Wars: KotOR II 20-40
Star Wars: KotOR 30-60, Albion 50-70, Morrowind 20-30
The Longest Journey 50 (counterexample: WoW was a longer journey)
Grim Fandango 40

Sega Rally 2 20-30 hours, Hitman 2 20-30 hours, Tyrian 40-60 hours

Video games

Smash 300-400 hours, Smash Melee 60-150 hours, Project Gotham Racing 30-50 hours
Mario Tennis 20-40 hours, Tales of Symphonia 90-110 hours
Mario 1 to 3 70 hours, Zelda 1 and 3 60 hours, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 30-40 hours

Chrono Trigger 30-60 hours, Chrono Cross 60-70 hours, FFIX 40-50 hours, FFVIII 40-60 hours, FFVII 60-80 hours, FFVI 40 hours, FFV 30 hours, FFIV 30 hours, FF 25 hours

Gameboy games
Pokemon Yellow 40-45 hours, Pokemon Silver 30-40 hours, Golden Sun 30 hours

Various (Mostly old games; 15 hours each for quick calculation)

Jazz Jackrabbit, Raptor, Commander Keen, Prince of Persia, (10-20 more titles)

--------------- Analysis ---------------

The list above contains the large majority of the games I've played. I've omitted games that I've only played for on a few occasions. Notable examples are Halo, the Mario Party series, Mario Golf, etc. Let's say those games sum up to 100 hours in total.

By summation,

Σ(floor[/played] ) = 5060 hours

So, I've spent a minimum of 5060 hours playing games. My best estimate would be 6400 to 7200 hours, but this bare minimum estimate suffices for the purposes of this post. It's hard to estimate play time for games like Counter-Strike and Diablo II; I would say the upper bound is much more realistic for those games.

A completely different approach to estimate "/played" would be to take my mean daily gaming time as say, a conservative 3 hours, and multiply that by 10 years x 365 days a year -- this yields 10950 hours! (What's scary is that this isn't an upper bound by any means...)

--------------- Reflection ---------------

Let's finish off by putting the lower bound estimate into perspective, to visualize what "just" 5060 hours can mean. . .
  • A full-credit course in university is about 36 hours of classroom time + an optional amount of self-study or homework time (recommended to be a matching 36 hours). On average, I attend 30-36 hours of lectures, and do about 10 hours outside class. Let's put the total time for a course then at a high 50 hours. With that, 5060 hours translates into the time and effort needed for 101 courses, or 20 terms of school! Indeed, the 720+ hours from WoW alone would be about 3 terms.
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 1, the highest level, is usually obtainable after 900 hours of study. Generalizing other languages to be the same level of difficulty -- very conservative since Japanese is hard -- 5060 hours is ample time to fully master five foreign languages! (I've spent about 36x3 classroom hours + perhaps 50-150 hours self study, so around 200 hours...)
  • 5060 hours is 2.3 years worth of sleep at my usual 6 hrs/day
In conclusion,



Kagami said...

I'm not sure if I want to do a /played anytime soon. I'll just be disgusted at myself, lol.

But Azeroth calls to me...and the WoW soundtrack is so good.... ^^

Jason Yu said...

Azeroth calls to me too, hehe. The expansion especially. I still reminisce about the great times we had almost exactly a year ago. ;D

Soundtrack? Where? :P

Kagami said...

I..."bought" the full WoW soundtrack sometime before its retail release last year. Fully orchestrated, lots of choral stuff, it's awesome. :) Reminds me a lot of the LOTR soundtrack. Vastly different from most of the games these days that just use synthesizers, etc. (cheap bastards...)

It's too bad I never paid attention to the soundtrack while actually playing the game...I think the "battle effects" were probably on too loud.

If you have gmail or something I'll send you some tracks. :D

Kevin said...

Lol. My /played is like 20 days so far I believe. And only from September 14th till now.

Just started on Molten Core. We're at Shazzrah now. ZG's on farming status. I'm a Knight! (Knight Lieutenant tomorrow likely)

Drefen. Dwarf Hunter on Skywall if anyone is playing on skywall =p

I'm thinking of cutting down though.

Jason Yu said...

Kevin: Aww.. too bad you guys didn't join Stormrage. But, maybe it's for the best -- if you guys were, I probably can't resist the beckoning of Azeroth. =P

And yeah, I think one of the purposes of this post was to disgust and remind me of how much time I've spent on games...

Maybe I should do one for anime as well, though that'll be next to nothing in comparison.

Jason Yu said...

Ray: Hmm, if you have time, send some of your favourite tracks to yu.jason -at- gmail.com, thanks! ;D

Alan said...

Whoa...that sure a beast amount of gaming time. I'm pretty sure my /played would be comparable to yours though. I know I've played more WoW at least.

I never knew you also played WoW, Kev! I also have a Dwarf hunter, on Stormrage...he's retired for now. I stopped playing him after this past summer started. Sounds like your guild is at around the place as my guild, though my guild just recently broke up since all the hardcore raiders decided to leave and make their own guild. Reminds me of what happened with Stormrage/Immortal back in the day.

And hey Ray, if you're going to be sending some tracks to Jason, could you send them to me too plz? I'm at theomnifish at gmail.com. Thanks a lot!

Kagami said...

Sent two songs your way guys. Enjoy. :)

Alan said...

Wow, they're really good! (Pun half intended, haha.) Thanks Kag :)

Jason Yu said...

Yeah, I really missed Elwynn Forest, sooo nostalgic... *sniff*. Man, I'm too sentimental. =P

Ambrose said...

I probably play a chunk less than Jason, since I play a lot less online stuff.

Hm, my list of significant /played games is much easier to come up with, but I think its is much harder to estimate my ranges, considering that I've played these games over such a long period of time (like, over 8 years for one)

Biggest time sinks:
- Super Smash Bros.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction

I seriously cannot put an estimate on these games. Well, I guess I can for Melee, just look at the time played on Duy's memory card, I'm probably present for like, 60-70% of that. So say about 500 hrs as an estimate.

Original is much harder to estimate, since it was basically the only game we played in HS and for the first year-ish in University as well. Let's say during HS an avg session consisted of 6 hrs of Smash. Average about 2.5 sessions a month during school months, that's already 600 hrs. Probably another 200-300 hrs for sessions over the summer. With some solo playing stuff I'd say the lower bound is like, 1000 hrs.

And then Diablo 2. Probably the highest avg hr/day over any game's "active period" for me. Let's say I did 5000 Hell Meph runs, at 3 mins a run that's like 250 hrs right there. Played about 12 chracters, say 15 hours of questing/leveling time on average, 180 hrs. Probably another 50 hrs of random stuff like muling, talking, etc.

Conservatively those 3 games account for like, 2000 hrs of gaming since high school. The rest of the gaming time probably went to RPGs. Ones that I've played/beat include:
- FF7-10
- Tales of Symphonia
- Skies of Arcadia
- Kingdom Hearts

Can't think of other ones for now. I've played a minimum of 50 hrs each, notably FF7 and ToS I played at least 100 hrs each. So another 600 hrs here.

Just remembered that I like to play sports Sims. The ones that I've played seasons in are:
- NBA live 2000 (~80 hrs)
- NBA live 2003 (~60 hrs)
- NHL 2004 (~70 hrs)
210 hrs here.

Also, I think Smashy accounts for about 75% of the "gaming session times", like, we do play other stuff, say Mario Party, Mario Golf, X-Men Legends, MvC 2, CvS 1&2, etc. So another 375 hrs (.25 * 1500).

Hm, my estimate runs to 3165 hrs right now. Likely missed a few significant sources, but for now I'll say I played about 3000-3500 hrs of games since high school. Gotta go do work, maybe I'll make a more accurate account later...

Bao said...

Wow, these responses sure can get long… anyway, Smash and Smash Melee seem to be high in the list, and thus they are my highest too; more than Jason, less than Duy’s (and that’s not counting this term when I’m not there). However, I don’t play WOW or D2, but… it’s very likely that Blizzard also owns my 3rd most played spot.

I can’t recall how long I played Starcraft, but I do recall my longest time playing a game consecutively (10 hours? 9pm-7am) was Starcraft. And Starcraft has been around forever, and you can keep playing that too, so it’s most probable that’s what occupies my #3 spot.

Kagami said...

Most played for me is definitely EQ. Then WoW. Not sure what even comes close for third place. Maybe Chrono Trigger? :P

Kagami said...

Actually, it's probably SSB. 4 hours every day for the first year at uni probably adds up to a lot of hours. :P

Either that or Warcraft II + Expansion set. Still, 4 hours/day for a year isn't the same as EQ's 4+ hours/day for 3 years+... :P

Nothing like paying for a second job (MMOs).

Jason Yu said...

OMG, I forgot Starcraft.

Bao said...

Ninja Gaiden Black is now working its way into my top 10 played games.. 60 hours done, and if I stick at it, another 200 hours to go.

As for the next topic, I'll choose either the meaning of life, or the one with pictures :) - Meaning of Life could possibly spark some interesting discussions, yes?

Alan said...

For me, I'd have to replace starcraft with Red Alert 2, but I probably played it for the same amount of time that you guys played starcraft, considering that I played through all the single player campaign stuff, and then used to play it online regularly. I've also played through Donkey Kong Country 1-3, to get a complete game in all of them...doesn't sound like any of you guys have played those.

Just some random games that I've played that I don't think anyone one else here has really. As for the next topic, I say meaning of life also would be a good one. If you're ready for a huge philosophical discussion about many different issues, that is. If not, perhaps it would be better to pick something lighter, like Ramen. :P And also...exams are coming up soon, and I'd want to be able to participate in any meaning of life discussions, heh.

Jason Yu said...

Donkey Kong Country reminds me of SNES... time to add Mario, Zelda, etc. =)

Btw, good luck on exams!

Anonymous said...

heh, with a topic like "Meaning of Life" on that list, you KNOW I'm going to vote for that one!

good luck ;-P

- Silph

Jason Yu said...

Sorry guys, I really forgot what I had in mind to write about that "meaning of life" topic... m(_ _)m