Best of 2018: Gaming

Taking a look back at my gaming in 2018.

“2018 has been a great year for gaming” is a phrase I feel like I have said every single year since I started writing and talking about video games on the internet. It’s true though, each year there are more and more cool things happening in the industry

This year, I’m taking a slightly different approach to a top 10 list. Instead of only including singular games as my “top things of the year” I’m branching out to services (I’m sure you can guess), accessories, announcements, memories and moments that served me well, and just more gaming culture things.

Why am I doing this? Well… I’ve had a busy year working on some really cool games at Harmonix (some of which you’ll see next year!), so I mainly focused on playing a few games. Definitely not enough to make a list of just 10 games I truly enjoyed. Also, I think this format is more fun and allows for more commentary and unexpected things to pop up!

A note before I kick this off: Yes, I’ve included a Harmonix thing or two on this list. Yes, I’m biased, but I really enjoy and love the stuff we work on love sharing them.

Also, if you know me, you probably know I mostly only play games on my Xbox. Don’t expect too much PC focused stuff here, it’s just not where I’m currently playing games once I get home each day. Maybe next year!

Anyways, it’s almost 2019, so let’s jump into this list of things!

PUBG (Xbox)

PUBG on Xbox has been my go-to game each and every night. Even right now as I’m writing this, I’m craving to jump back out of that plane and chase that chicken dinner.

The Xbox version has seen it’s ups and downs, but it has vastly improved this year. In September the game came out of early access and finally reached “1.0”. Even since then (which feels like FOREVER ago) it’s gotten better, is more stable, and there’s been more content. It almost feels caught up with the PC version which I sneak a game or two in every once in a blue moon.

With the new snow map launching to the test server over the holidays, and coming into the full game in January, I can’t wait to keep playing this game as it grows.

Red Dead Redemption 2

I’ll admit, I actually haven’t even finished this game yet. It’s huge, and just as I felt the urge to go back in, they launched multiplayer. I’ll also admit, I have some problems with this game. It’s long, stretched out, and if I ever need a quick fix of a game, this isn’t the game I start up.

That being said, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece of a game. It’s stunning, beautiful, and looks amazing on a 4K TV. The writing, environments, and story are also great (but as I said, the story feels stretched out and I wish it was shorter or easier to play in bite sized chunks).

With the online mode in beta and theoretically launching in full next year, I’m also very curious to see what Rockstar’s plans are for this. I can see it going in a lot of ways and from the small taste they’ve given us so far, I hope to be returning to this almost as often as I do PUBG.

Forza Horizon 4

Remember when I just said Red Dead Redemption looks stunning in 4K? Forza Horizon 4 also is one of those games that not only is beautiful and a highlight of this generation of consoles, but also is a really well fleshed out experience.

Unlike RDR, you can play this game in as many bite sized chunks as you’d like, but it does a great job at sucking you back in after each race to do just one more thing, every time.

A new expansion just came out for this game which I’m itching to get back into in the new year, and there’s still one or two more on the way, I think. Can’t wait to keep playing this game.

Xbox Game Pass

At the top I mentioned that there won’t just be singular games on this list, and Xbox Game Pass is why. This year with Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft/Xbox have outdone themselves. It’s a service I can’t stop talking about or recommending. I’ve also snagged some good deals on the servicing extending my subscription all the way out to 2021 already. That’s how invested I am in this.

There are hundreds of games available to play for just $10 a month. It’s how I’ve picked up Forza Horizon and Sea of Theives and been pleasantly surprised by a new game every now and then. Also it’s really helping me get back into achievement hunting. Oops.

The Taco Bell Xbox One X Platinum Edition

I had a problem earlier this year. I bought a lot of Taco Bell in hopes of winning this limited edition Xbox One X that makes the Taco Bell “dong!” sound when you hit the power button.

While I did not win it from the sweepstakes, I am potentially buying one off of Ebay in 2019, if the price is right. Stay tuned…

Rock Band + RWBY (and RTX!)

Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams at the Rock Band booth at RTX 2018.

This year at Harmonix we announced that three tracks from Rooster Teeth’s RWBY were coming to Rock Band. As a fan of Rooster Teeth, this got me very excited!

On top of helping put this together, I got to head out to RTX in Austin, Texas this year to promote the new songs. This was my first time traveling to Austin and first ever RTX.

It was a lot of fun and I’m hoping to find a reason to return to either RTX or just Austin to visit. Also the songs are *really* fun in Rock Band!

A Whole Lot of Achievements!

Courtesy of

While I said I didn’t get a lot of time to play games this year, I did make some time to to actually do some achievement hunting on Xbox!

Throughout the year, I’ve unlocked 583 achievements worth a total of 14,310 gamerscore. That’s about 24.5 gamerscore per achievement.

April, May, October, and November were my highest months for chasing achievements. I feel like when I get that huge urge for achievement hunting I’ll go on a one or two month binge of just trying to unlock a bunch of achievements. Seems like I did that twice this year.

Y-Axis is True Achievement score, not Gamerscore.

I started a total of played a total of 81 games, 57 of which were new titles. I also unlocked all the achievements in 5 of the games in my collection this year. Those five games are:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender – Yes, I finally caved to one of the easiest 100%’s there are on Xbox. It was on sale for like $3!
  • Midnight Deluxe
  • Super Destronaut DX
  • Jack N’ Jill DX
  • Rock Band 4 – I finally rounded out the remaining achievements I needed in the game this year. The hardest was definitely Going Solo which was for getting 85% on all the guitar solos on the disc on Hard or Expert. Phew.

For more achievement stats, you can visit my True Achievements stats page here.

Rocksmith 2014

A game with 2014 in the title, what is this doing on a 2018 list?

Just like Rock Band, Rocksmith is a game I go back to very often. It’s a game that helps you learn to play the guitar in a way that is super friendly and accessible. I’ve owned multiple copies of this game across various platforms throughout the years, and this year I picked the game back up again.

However, instead of focusing on lead or rhythm guitar like I usually do, I’ve been cracking out the two bass guitars I own and trying to really hone my skills playing on those instruments.

I’ve been enjoying Rocksmith a lot and am going to continue to find time to play and learn more with this game next year!

The Harmonix Show

Our streaming studio.

The Harmonix Show (aka the Harmonix live streams) have been a project of mine, Riley’s, and Troy’s, at Harmonix for the past few years.

This year we really doubled down our efforts and had a very successful year with a whole year of consistent streaming. We exceeded the goals we set out for ourselves, created a lot of great streams, and have even bigger ambitions for next year.

If you’re one of the people tuning into our show on Twitch and Mixer every Thursday at 5PM Eastern (2PM Pacific), thank you! We appreciate it and are thankful for the wonderful community we have built.

2018 was a great year, and I’m very excited to see what 2019 brings. Surely there are things that I may have forgotten to include on this list, and if I remember I’ll either make a note and update this post, or I’ll make a new one. 😉

Thank you for taking the time to read (or skim, you’re choice!) through this list. I hope it was worth the read, and that you have a wonderful 2019!



Nick is a games industry professional with several years experience publishing across AAA and Indie. His recent work has been on the blockbuster music game franchises Rock Band and Dance Central.

He also is an avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and mozzarella stick critic.

About Nick

Nick is a games industry professional with several years experience publishing across AAA and Indie. His recent work has been on the blockbuster music game franchises Rock Band and Dance Central.

He also is an avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and mozzarella stick critic.

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