The end of a year is always a good time to look back and reflect, to help prepare for the next year. But looking back and reflecting isn’t my style, I wanted to find evidence of what I did last year to see how it flowed. And then it clicked: finally, a practical application for Achievements! So I present a new annual feature: Earnings!
A note on my methodology: naturally, this is imperfect. My Xbox 360 is connected to the web 99% of the time, but it occasionally is not, and in those situations, achievements are noted as “Offline” rather than a date. I did not sort through my Offline achievements to find ones I missed. And obviously, these achievements only track my Xbox play, ignoring Steam & Battle.net achievements, PS3 Trophies, and the like. If this is a lot of fun I might integrate those into it; I wanted to do Trophies, but I couldn’t find a way to sort my entire trophy list by date.
There’s one other massive issue with using achievements to track my gaming. Achievements are indicators of certain gameplay milestones. This means that they can be used to track my progress through most game’s plot, but are less useful for sandbox games or multiplayer situations where I earn little to no achievements for continued play. This means my hours of late-night ODST gaming with my buddy Demo Mag aren’t tracked, nor are any of my Halo 3 games tracked on Bungie.net. My Rock Band 2 practice isn’t logged.
To perform my achievement tracking, I used TrueAchievements to track my achievements. The site provided me with helpful Achievement & Achievement Point totals for each month, making my job as easy as scanning through my list of achievements to see what they actually were without doing any awkward counting. Nice!
Still, this isn’t a peer-reviewed empirical article, this is a fun experiment, so let’s see how I did!
2010 began with a bang; January saw me netting the most achievements I’d get all year. It’s sort of sad that it’s all downhill from here, at least things started great! The majority of these ‘cheevos which were from the excellent Bayonetta, which deserves a replay. Near the end of January there’s a short burst of Gears of War 2 gameplay, followed by a small bundle of Achievements as Mass Effect 2 launches, but more will certainly be earned in the following months.
February was a weaker month, with only 35 achievements, most of which were from two major games: Mass Effect 2, and Bioshock 2. Overall, the month was pretty dominated by Commander Shepard, although there’s a sprinkling of Gears of War 2 as well. And it’s also sad that I begun Bioshock 2, but basically never played it again. I really should finish that game.
In terms of games I owned, March is the first major 2010 lull, bringing a corresponding lull in earned achievements. After some Gears of War 2 progress (seriously, how did I make Gears of War 2 last three months without playing multiplayer?), the Xbox was turned off until I rented Just Cause 2 near the end of the month. As a result, only 25 achievements were earned.
April was an even sadder month. Only 18 achievements were earned, all of which came from the excellent Splinter Cell Conviction. Unfortunately, I did beat it in less than a week, but it was still really solid. I also apparently earned a single Just Cause 2 achievement over 3 weeks after the last one; did I re-rent it? Did it not sync properly? Who knows. I’d say it was an April Fools joke, but the achievement was earned several weeks later. Weird. That said, it shows that I’m at least somewhat responsible, as much of my gaming time was taken up by studying. Some of my gaming time.
My birthday month! And school just ended, so time for a huge gaming spree, right?
Apparently not. May begun silently, with no notable achievement activity until the 19th of May, when I began playing Red Dead Redemption. While I dug RDR, I only earned a few achievements in May, for a depressingly low total of seven achievements. Despite being a terrible month for achievements, May was when I begun this blog, back on Wordpress. Halycon days, friends. Halcyon days.
On a side note, May is also a special note, because it’s when I first launched this blog. My first “real” post (not a welcome post) was about Indie Games; maybe I was too busy playing World of Goo to earn achievements?
June was even more quiet than May for the poor 360, who is now beginning to gather dust. Three RDR achievements were earned, culminating in me reaching Mexico, which really shattered my resolve to keep playing.
While Microsoft can talk “summer of gaming” all they want, July was not my summer of gaming. I pulled the 360 out one more time in order to finally polish off Mass Effect 2. The long delay here spurred me to write Game Procrastination, which I learned nothing from writing. Humourously, while there were only 7 achievements earned, I earned 335 Gamerscore; the same amount as I earned in April, where I earned 18 achievements. Clearly finishing off Mass Effect 2 is worth more points than playing it.
I wish I could say I was fired up un August, but … I really can’t. My single, lone achievement happened once more in Red Dead Redemption, earned because I completed three different gang hideouts in single player. That’s right, I didn’t even progress the story, I beat three hideouts, earning 25 achievement points. I’m such a lazy ass. Of course, it should be noted that I had other games to be playing.
Now we’re talking. September lit up my 360 like a hot balloon, letting it drift into the sky. 42 total achievements were most righteously nabbed, almost all of which were for the fantastic Halo Reach. I also begun Dead Rising 2, which I haven’t yet finished (seeing a pattern here folks?).
As the days cool down my 360 is just heating up. 30+ achievements were earned, including me finally getting on my horse and burning through RDR, finishing it on the 23rd of October. Super Meat Boy also splattered all over the charts, which was awesome. And this rocking month ended with rock, as a bunch of Rock Band 3 achievements burst through the fire and flame and are now sitting on my imaginary mantlepiece. October was my third best month for total achievements earned, and second best for points. Go October!
A much slower month (midterms!), November won me 15 achievements, almost all of which were from a rental of Fable 3, although Rock Band 3 continued it’s respectable showing.
December begun quiet, with no achievements earned until a few days after Christmas Day. While I received Kinect for Christmas, my 360 had a false-start and red-ringed for a few days, but began working again on the 27th, at which point several Kinect Adventures achievements were earned. Dance Central has a few easy ones in there too. 16 total achievements were earned, making it ironically one of the more quiet months for the Xbox, despite Kinect’s launch.
What an interesting chart. You see a huge spike in my achievements after Christmas, which makes sense, as I’m going to be primarily playing gifted-games. And the January->February time must have been absolutely terrifying, as I know I also played the hell out of Uncharted 2 at the time.
Watching the achievements earned drop like a rock is interesting. I’m wondering what the hell I was doing during the summer; Starcraft 2 hit at the end of July, explaining August’s abysmal earnings, but otherwise I must have been on the PS3, or just playing games that earned me no achievements.
The spike right as school starts is interesting, but unsurprising. I really enjoy the core Halo games, so earning a massive amount of achievements from that game all at once is pretty much my modus operandi. But the curve levels out in November and December, and (spoiler!) January of 2011 doesn’t look like it’ll be a huge month for my 360 either. While Kinect is fun, it’s nothing I play for too long, so I don’t earn massive amounts of achievements. Still, who knows what’ll happen, maybe a random rental will revive the month.
This was a fun experiment. Next year I’ll try to integrate a much larger group earned milestones; Achievements, Trophies, everything. If anybody knows of any interesting websites to help out with this, let me know!