Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!



Happy 4th Anniversary!

Saturday was the four-year anniversary for Take On The NES Library!

In last year’s anniversary reflection, I commented on how it was my most prolific year to date in terms of games completed and how I hoped to keep up that kind of pace going forward. Specifically, I thought in Year 4 I could beat my average in completions per year. It turns out I hit EXACTLY average. This year I finally got around to creating a table showing progress year-over-year, so let’s take a look at that:

Year Beaten Total Beaten Yearly Average Days/Game End Date Average Difficulty
1 38 38 38 9.6 7/14/2033 5.5000
2 24 62 31 11.8 6/27/2037 5.4355
3 43 105 35 10.4 1/5/2035 5.3238
4 35 140 35 10.4 1/3/2035 5.3214

(Note: It must be some sort of rounding thing in that my estimated end date is now two days earlier.)

How I managed an average number of completions this year is a bit interesting. I know that I played several games this year that took a long time to play. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’ve put my programming skills to use by having my master game list for my project in an SQL database. This lets me generate pretty much any kind of report that I want. I decided to look at how many games took me longer than two weeks to finish. In total, there have been 18 games like that. In the last 12 months, I have played 8 of those games, and I’m in the middle of another long one right now. My suspicions were right in that Year 4 has been the Year of the Long Game. Some of those were difficult games that took time to master, while others were just lengthy games, overall a nice mix. On the other end of the spectrum, looking at games that took a week or less to complete, there were 23 of them played in Year 4. That’s a decent number, but it ended up as my lowest percentage of all four years so far. This data suggests that I should have come in under my average this year. I think the difference between past years is that I spent less time in between NES games, often jumping from one to the next either same day or the next day. That is tougher to check in the database, so this is just a hunch for now. We could also be looking at small sample size issues as well.

The other new data point I checked up on is average difficulty rating. I crossed the 20% mark of games completed this year, so that is a large enough sample to see how balanced I am at rating relative difficulty. The numbers suggest that I am doing well representing the library as a whole. My 1 to 10 point system means that the average difficulty should be at 5.5. In Year 1, I hit that number exactly, while it has lowered slightly each year since. I certainly feel like I am getting better at beating NES games than when I started, so perhaps that is some bias I have toward that average trending downward. As long as it holds in the 5.x range, I will be satisfied.

I suppose this anniversary update has become an analysis of project metrics. I certainly had a good time looking at all the data and figuring out some trends, hopefully you did too. I’m already excited to see what findings I will have next year.

My biggest non-data-related takeaway from this year is that I am still having a blast combing through the NES library. This year featured some challenging games and some long games, but my enthusiasm remains high. Even playing games I’m not so crazy about, it feels like this is what I’m meant to be doing. To what end or purpose, I don’t know. I’m not setting the world on fire playing these games alone in my basement or anything. There’s not some grand lesson or divine gift given only to those who beat every licensed NES game. I just think this is a fun project that gives me something extra in my life to look forward to. Thanks for reading and following along on my progress. Here’s to another year!

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