Tracking JRPG Playtimes

When it comes to gaming, JRPGs are my fave. This genre of escapism is time-consuming. For example, check out HowLongToBeat for the numbers on Xenoblade Chronicles 3 — 100+ easily. Last year, I spent about 120 hours playing Dragon Quest XI S before finally finishing it. And recently, I finished Octopath Traveler at over 83 hours. With so many great JRPGs to play and little time to spare, it makes sense to use a service or a spreadsheet to keep track of it all; I do both.

Game Services

Here are some favorite ways to track my gaming via web sites.

Grouvee - This is a cool social-cataloging site, like Goodreads but for games instead of books. It’s free to use — from what I remember, ads were non-intrusive. You can use it strictly for cataloging and ignore the social stuff, but it’s nice to geek out over a common interest with other like-minded folks.

On the cataloging side, you can create game lists to organize however you want, and there’s built-in status categories like “Wishlist” or “Playing.” It also has game-related info like average completion times for each title across various systems.

For the social aspect, each user has a profile page, can post status updates for games, and there’s a common reverse-chronological feed of others’ posts. Friending is optional, as are liking and commenting on posts. Grouvee’s gamer community is nice and feels small like a Discord server. Posts and comments generally are friendly, respectful, and can be insightful — there are no Twitter-like trolls or bots I’m aware of. And if the main feed isn’t enough, there’s also a classic forum where players can post in certain topics. I like the service enough that I volunteered to pay for a Grouvee Gold subscription to show support and get a few perks. If you’re into gaming at all, I recommend it:

“Grouvee is a place for you to keep track of your video game collection. Once you sign up for an account, you can start adding games from our database to your virtual shelves. Every user starts off with four shelves: Playing, Backlog, Wish List, and Played. You can create as many shelves as you want by going to your My Games page, and clicking the Add Shelf button. We import our data daily from Giantbomb, so we should always have very up to date information on just about every game out there.

In addition to being able to track your game collection and backlog, Grouvee lets users rate and review their favorite (or not so favorite) games. Get your friends signed up for Grouvee and add them to your friends list to see their reviews and game shelves to make Grouvee even more useful!” — Grouvee

HowLongToBeat - This site is a game nerd’s delight; it’s a great resource of game stats to freely view. Create your own account and you’ll enjoy the stats and tracking of your own games too. I use it for keeping up only with JRPGs I’ve played. It readily displays game status, like Backlogged or Completed, as well as playtimes and completion levels. Think of it like a crowd-sourced online spreadsheet of average game times.

IGN Playlist - Popular game site IGN recently launched what’s called, “Playlist.” I’ve been using it for a few months and really like it. Playlist is both a web app and a mobile app; I use both. The user interface is simple and elegant, making it easy to track the status of any game you like. You can create playlists for games and find IGN’s own reviews and guides for them. The cherry on top is that HowLongToBeat playtimes are also integrated. Playlist has similar features as Grouvee for cataloging your game library, minus the social aspect.

Game Spreadsheets

I use Apple’s app, Numbers, for my personal spreadsheet — Microsoft Word or Google Sheets would work too. I’ve made three main files for game tracking. One is for my video game library, which lists all my owned games and what systems they’re on. Another is for logging my daily playtime and progress in each JRPG I’m actively playing. And another is for JRPG play status where I break titles down into three main categories based on time: Played, Playing, and Play. There’s also sub-categories:

  • Played
    • Completed
    • Retired
  • Playing
  • Play
    • Backlog
    • Wishlist

Games I want to play but haven’t bought (yet) go on the “Wishlist,” while those I have bought are on my “Backlog.” For JRPGs I played, there are different ways to say one is “finished.” I base it mostly on rolling the credits at the end, meaning I “beat” the game. For those, they’re “Completed.” If I played a JRPG for at least 10 hours but never saw the credits or final boss, then I mark it as having been played but did not finish (DNF), so “Retired.” This can happen whether I rage quit, fizz out, pause indefinitely, or get distracted by life in general. Sometimes I resume and complete them.

Between online services and my own offline spreadsheets, keeping track of my video games, especially JRPGs, is a fun and manageable task, which helps me see progress. I’ve made something like a gaming schedule, set a daily playtime goal, and record times and take notes on JRPG progress. Seeing that progress with metrics outside the game itself provides motivating feedback to me.

As an adult with plenty of career and parenting responsibilities, game tracking helps me enjoy what I’m playing now while also anticipating titles I’ve yet to play. It helps me pursue my hobby and keep some fun in my otherwise serious life.

Do you track your book reading time or movie watching library?