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January 01, 2010

Where the Time Goes, Part II

or, The Year We Watched Too Much TV

As I did last year, I kept track this year of how much stuff I watched, read, and played over the past year.

The big surprise, looking at the numbers/lists, was just how much TV I watched this year, which is particularly surprising considering I do not have cable and no television reception to speak of¹. Instead, I have a Netflix subscription, which allows me both to receive movies and seasons of TV in the mail and to stream whatever's available on the service.

The other big event this year is that I jumped into the latest generation with both feet, buying myself a 360 Elite and a high-def television back in May or so. That has led to many many hours of games but also television and movies, via the Netflix streamer on the 360.

Anyway, here are the numbers:

  • 139 films, or more accurately, as last year, 139 film or video experiences. This seems starkly down from last year's 192, but when I stop to consider that I watched 28 seasons of television (yes, complete seasons) compared to the prior year's 16², I think, holy crap, did I watch a lot of television this year. Thankfully, I think this will slow down in the coming year and I can get back to watching films, including a pet project a friend and I will hopefully be doing in the near future. I have only one season of Buffy left, two of Angel, and LOST's final season starts in about a month. I have a few others I want to see, but if I were to make a prediction about this, I think this year was likely an anomaly.

    In any case, I saw 32 films in the theater, which is about the same as last year, and 19 of the movies I watched this year were primarily because I have kids (I'm looking at you, summer blockbusters).

  • 72 books, which is ten more than last year. I didn't count any of the books I read aloud to the kids save one (A Christmas Carol, which is sufficiently hefty to be countable), but I did read a fair amount of genre fiction this year. I read a handful of nonfiction books (4) and three books for work (3 -- also nonfiction, but separated out), which means I read more than 90% of people in my profession did this year, if Steve McConnell is to be believed. This is up from 62 books last year, with roughly the same distribution.

  • 11 games, which is up from last year as well, and those games I played I tended to play quite a lot of. I played Fable II and bought every property; I played Far Cry 2 and found or earned every diamond. I think I found all but two points of interest in Assassin's Creed (flags, or whatever), solved all the Riddler's challenges in Batman: Arkham Asylum, and found all the orbs in Prince of Persia. That's quite a lot of OCD gaming, my friends. And that's not even counting the games I've played quite a bit of but haven't finished (hopefully we'll see them here next year): Brutal Legend, Braid, World of Goo, Tomb Raider: Underworld... I also started several handheld games, never to finish them, and while I don't think I'm likely to, I did put some hours in there as well.

    And again, this doesn't count boardgames, though between me and the boys we have already started to amass a significant collection.

The Resolutionary: I have no resolutions really to make except that I think that much television is excessive. Four series really grabbed me this year: MI-5, LOST, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel. Of these, LOST probably takes the least of my attention -- it's more an emotional rollercoaster while I'm watching it than anything else. I might also aim to play more quirky games this coming year, especially downloadables. I have played several but only finished a couple.

The Accountant: I honestly have no idea where I found this much time for all this entertainment. Granted, I was not crunching on a game at all, so perhaps that's reason enough to have found a lot of time -- there were two or three months in 2008 where I barely read, watched, or gamed at all.

The Biorhythmicist: Uh, why did I have this category last year? I guess I went into a period this year where I was really into playing games; all of the games I finished this year, I finished since May. I didn't play any in those first five months or so, at least, none that I cared enough about to finish.

The Apologist: Those seasons of TV were especially gripping :) And having said last year that I'd like to blog more about games this year, I'd have to say I largely fell down. I did post twice as many blog entries in the last year than the year prior, which is good; I haven't yet posted about several games that I finished and have something to say about, which had a lot to do with when I finished them and how driven I was to get to the next one. I played a bunch of games in November and December, and only posted about the one. I hope to turn that around this year.

See you in the next week when I start a series of posts about some game design work I did over a decade ago, and the lessons I learned doing it... I've already written most of the first one, so this is not an idle threat ;)

¹At least, I haven't tried with the new television. I had no reception with the old tube TV and although this one is LCD, I think I'd need to buy some kind of antenna or something. I'm not going to bother. (back)
²Even putting a season at a conservative 10 hours or so, this would mean about 60 more "movies" worth, meaning I'd have seen slightly more filmic entertainment than the prior year, or about the same. (back)

Posted by Brett Douville at January 1, 2010 08:46 PM