The 500 Hour Mark

I saw a question going around Twitter last week asking people to list out video games that they had played for 500+ hours.

Artwork provided by my daughter

This apparently stemmed from the developers of Dying Light II saying that the game would require 20 hours to play through the main story, 80 hours to finish the main story and all side quests, and 500 hours to “max out” the game by going down all possible choices and whatever, which generated some minor controversy and whatever.  Articles have been written, posted, and probably forgotten by this point.

I honestly don’t even know what the game is about.

But, as tends to happen, a side discussion about time spent with games came up with people listing out games they have spent 500+ hours playing.

And that is where I want to go with this.  After playing video games for more than 45 years I have to have more that a few titles with which I have hit the 500 hour mark.

Here is the thing.  I kind of want to be sure about it.  There are a lot of games I have spent a lot of time playing, but have I really spent 500 hours?  That is equal to a full time, 40 hour a week job for about three months.  And people, myself included, often wildly overestimate how much time they really spent with a game.

For example, I figured that Civilization V would make the cut.  I played a ton of that in the last decade.  But Steam clocks me in at just 425 hours played.  That is a lot, but it isn’t 500 hours.

And Civ V is the game I have the most time with on the Steam platform.  I have several games there I feel I have played thoroughly which only have 20-40 hours recorded.

But then there is something like Valheim.  I played that for a few months just a year ago.  I have 280 hours played on it, which still isn’t 500 hours, but is over half way there in under a year.  So it doesn’t have to be a title that I have played for a decade, it can be a title I focused on a lot in a limited time frame.

So I am going to break my titles out into confidence levels.  Some things I have numbers for.  My monthly ManicTime measurements enter into things as well.  I started using that to measure game play time back at the start of 2019, and there are titles I have hit 500 hours with since then.

Verifiably Have 500+ Hours Played

  • TorilMUD

I played this regularly, with a few breaks, from 1993 until late 2004.  The current running version, which represents the third one I have played, shows I have over 100 days played, which gives me 2,400 hours played at least, and that came after the last pwipe in 2002.  So there could easily be more than double that invested in the game.  Would I bet on having played 5,000 hours?  Maybe not, but it seems possible.

  • World of Warcraft

Yeah, pretty easy on this one.  Given all the time spent with the instance group, having played through WotLK from launch until Cataclysm, and time devoted to later expansions like Mists of Pandaria and Legion, I am probably past the 500 hour mark at least four times over, if not more.

  • WoW Classic

I am going to differentiate this from WoW, in part because they have different clients, but also because all of my WoW Classic time has been tracked by ManicTime.  And ManicTime puts me in at 775 hours played.  Yikes.

  • EVE Online

After fifteen years, this is pretty easy.  Once again, even my ManicTime measurement for the last three years puts me past 500 hours, and that is impressive given how much time I spend tabbed out of the game when I play.  I swear I am logged in twice as long as ManicTime tracks.

Almost Assuredly have 500 Hours Played

  • EverQuest II

I could probably get EQII into the above category if I went in and did /played on half a dozen characters.  I played it a lot in the first year and then have come back to it at various times.  I have a lot of alts spread over the few remaining servers at this point.

  • Civilization II

I have absolutely played more Civ II than Civ V, and since I have a benchmark for Civ V via Steam, it stands to reason that I have the hours in for it.

  • Minecraft

Have you seen how much time I spent building roads and rail systems?  Minecraft had the advantage of being something I could play for hours while listening to podcasts or audio books.

Pretty Sure I have 500 Hours Played

  • EverQuest

I mean, come on, I must have 500 hours in for this.  This one gets into the mists of time though.  I did play a lot back in 1999 and 2000.  But  I no longer have the account I used back then and I am fairly confident I haven’t put in that much time with my current account.  So I feel like it is over 500 hours, but I don’t have anything to really anchor it to.

  • Lord of the Rings Online

While I really never get far beyond Moria, I have been back into the game enough times now that I must be well past the 500 hour mark.  I have played through the original content many times at this point.


It is Quite Possible I have 500 Hours Played

  • Rift

I wasn’t even thinking about this, then I went back and looked at some old posts about Raptr and the time tracking it did, and I hit Elite in Rift for hours played.  It was the WoW replacement for quite a stretch.  Add in the Rift Classic experiment and I feel pretty sure I am there.

  • Civilization

I played the original pretty obsessively back when it came out.  I never went back after Civ II came out, but it was a few years before that happened.

  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

This came after Civ II and there was quite a stretch between that and Civ III where this was the big strategy game.  I liked this a lot more than Civ III and a bit more than Civ II, but it had problems in the long term as it was locked into a few full screen resolution sizes from the 90s, while Civ II was just a window that even today resizes to the fit my current huge monitor

  • Age of Empires II

I think I make the cut on this one just due to longevity.  I have played this off and on since it came out more than 20 years ago.  It used to be a staple at work on a Friday night back in the day, and Steam say I have about 100 hours played with the HD remaster.

  • Pokemon Go

The math works here for the most part.  My wife and I have been playing for almost five and a half years at this point, so 500 hours requires less than 15 minutes a day on average.  The only thing keeping me from being completely on board with this is figuring out what really constitutes “playing.”  Me tapping on my phone screen, yes.  But how about me going for a walk to get steps?  Does the walk require intent?  Does spinning a Pokestop make the whole duration of the walk count as playing, or just when I have eyes on the screen?

The Mists of Time are Thick, but I think I made 500 Hours

  • Wizardry

Have I mentioned the annotated, hand drawn maps I made of the game back in the day?  I have a couple of Apple II titles that probably make the cut, but this one left behind physical evidence.

  • Ultima III

The last in the Ultima series before Lord British got all moody and introspective.  I played this to death, and then bought an editor that let me make my own modded version of the game, which I then played some more.  Also, my girlfriend at the time wore makeup with the Ultima III brand, completely unrelated.

  • Lode Runner

There are a lot of Apple II games that I played for a bit, and then there are a few that I played for ages.  I played a lot of Lode Runner, solving all those levels and then making my own levels.

  • Stellar Emperor

I spent a lot of time… and money… playing this back in the day.  I won the game once.

  • Klondike

This was the first really good solitaire game that I found on the Mac back in the day.  I used to play it obsessively at times.  It had a scoring system that rewarded smart, efficient play, and I developed a whole philosophy of play to adapt to it.

  • NetHack

Maybe, sort of, if you count the time I spent digging through the code and modifying it to see if I could make the game better… better for me at least.  It was a bit of an obsession for me in the early 90s.

Missing From the List

  • Diablo Series

While I have played all the titles from the Diablo series, often intensely at times, it has tended to be in short bursts.  I might have played them all for a combined total of 500 hours, but no single title has hit that mark.

  • Pokemon

Again, my combined time playing Pokemon, by which I mean the core Pokemon RPG games on the GameBoy, DS, and Switch, no doubt adds up to more than 500 hours.  But I have not spent 500 hours on any single title.  The champion was probably Pokemon SoulSilver, when I caught them all.  My blog post of that shows I invested 243 hours getting there.  Nearly half way to 500, but half way doesn’t count.  I probably spent closer to 50 hours on most of the ones I finished.

  • Atari 2600 Games

From 1977 to 1983 the Atari 2600 was my only real home video game outlet, so I am sure I played many more than 500 hours.  But did I play any one game that much?  Maybe Adventure or the Indiana Jones game… but most likely the Blackjack cartridge.  The fourth game on that was Poker Solitaire, and I could sit and play that for ages.  But that was so long ago, I really can’t commit to saying I have 500 hour into any of those cartridges.  They were not deep games.

So that is my guess at the games I have invested 500 hours into.  But when you’re into the back half of your 50s, you’ve had a lot of time to get there.

11 thoughts on “The 500 Hour Mark

  1. Pendan

    I taught myself to program on an Apple II. I still have my Wizardry maps too and I am sure that was over 500 hours. I remember completing 150 levels of Lode Runner but no idea how many hours that was.

    I never tried to hack NetHack but I did do a bunch of work on Oregon Trail or something similar to it. My memory is fuzzy on that now but I remember I was given an assignment in my 9th grade programming class to make a game and I decided to turn in what I was doing at the time to the game not knowing how known the game was. The teacher recognized it but saw how much I had added and gave me an A.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. zaphod6502

    @Wilhelm “I honestly don’t even know what the game is about.”

    Dying Light is an open world first person zombie survival game set in a fictional “City”. The gameplay is similar to Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series where you have to complete main quests, side quests, and unlock points of interest through the game world. The unique features of the Dying Light series are the verticality of movement which encourages players to use parkour skills to travel on rooftops to stay above the zombies on the streets below. The Dying Light world also features a distinct day/night cycle where the zombies become exponentially more aggressive at night but the rewards for completing missions also increase at night making the risk worthwhile.

    The new Dying Light 2 sequel expands on the first game with the addition of being able to influence the success of settlements in the City which apparently can change the accessibility of parts of the City to the player.

    As an open world aficionado Dying Light is one of my all time favourite zombie survival games.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marathal

    Oh that’s a tough one. Wizardry, does Zork 1,2,3 count as one? Atari, so much Atari, so so much. World of Warcraft certainly, probably Diablo 1&2.


  4. Naithin

    I think my list of games making over 500 hours would be just Asheron’s Call, EVE, WoW and Neverwinter Nights 1 (the Bioware game + construction set, not the MMO).

    Getting close would be the likes of Warframe and Path of Exile.

    I might be forgetting something here, but it’s certainly pretty rarified air for a game to be at the 500-hour level. xD

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kiantremayne

    AS a rule of thumb – if playing MMOs is your thing (as is likely is for most people reading this blog), and you assume you spend 3 hours every evening playing your favourite game, that would be 20 hours per week. So any MMO that was your “main game” for 6 months or more would clock up 500 hours. On that measure I’ve certainly passed the 500 hour mark on DAoC, City of Heroes, WoW, LOTRO, RIFT, SWTOR and Guild Wars 2, and according to Steam I’ve clocked up 532 hours in New World already.
    For non-MMOs… I’ve sunk a lot of time into the Civilisation, Master of Orion and Tropico series, but I’ve no idea if any single game swallowed up 500 hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SynCaine

    As basically all of my non-MMO PC gaming is done via Steam, my profile is pretty accurate.

    Mighty Party (5180hrs) and Shop Titans (2272hrs) are the top 2 but don’t really count as they are basically idle games that get left up while working from home. That said MP for sure has actually had 500+ hrs of play time, though I no longer play it.

    PUBG 747hrs. All actually played. Pretty shocking as I don’t like FPS games, but this one is great with friends.
    Life is Feudal:MMO, 696. Most of those are real, that game sucked our group in hard for a while.
    Mount and Blade: Warband: 599. Real, so many good mods.
    Battle Brothers: 586. Real, one of the best games in the last decade IMO, and each DLC has been fantastic to play it again. Will get more hours as more DLC is coming.

    Next on the list is Rimworld at 329, followed by Age of Wonders 3, 327 (multiplayer with one friend), Total War: Warhammer 2, 299, and Civ V, 292.


  7. Halum

    Q: How do you tell if your favorite blogger has ever won a game of Stellar Emperor?
    A: Don’t worry. They’ll tell you. Again. And Again. And possibly post a picture of the certificate. :)

    On a more serious/less humorous note, I hear you on Paradox games. I have tried getting into Crusader Kings 3 multiple times after reading glowing reviews. Love the narratives that expand over time, but I have no idea if anything I am clicking makes a difference and with the length of the run throughs, a statistically relevant (or even suggestive) sample size is just hard to achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Games I played for 500 hours - Battle Stance

  9. Pingback: Games I’ve played for 500+ hours – Mailvaltar

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