The Games You Never Stop Playing

The Games You Never Stop Playing

Like everything else in life, video games come and go. Or, at least, some do. Others stay with you for years at a time. The truly special ones never leave. What are the games you never stop playing?

I started thinking about this question earlier this week when I was riding on the subway. I pulled out my phone, as I so often do these days, to start playing Threes. After getting some truly pathetic scores, it occurred to me that despite playing Threes for months now, I haven't really gotten any better. Nor do I have an specific goal I'm trying to achieve by playing it. But I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I just, I it?

I've continued to play a lot of my favourite 2014 games in a similar way — the new-gen version of Diablo III, The Sims 4, Tomodachi Life. Sometimes this fits nicely within Kotaku's new reporting methodology of covering games on an ongoing basis. But other times, I just keep playing games because I love them so much that I don't want to stop. I still race around in Mario Kart 8 despite the fact that its online multiplayer has become depressingly lonely, and I can't seem to pull myself away from Shadow of Mordor despite the fact that I've technically "finished" all of the narrative bits of the game.

But still: these are all games that came out this year. The games that I hold on to on an ongoing basis are much smaller in number. Gamers have precious time to sink into an already time-intensive hobby, after all, so we have to be very selective when choosing the games we hold near and dear to our hearts. What are some of yours?

I'll get us started with one of my all-time favourite shooters. Take this example we can all use as a template:

The Games You Never Stop Playing

Game: Gears of War (horde mode in Gears of War 3, specifically)

What keeps me coming back: I wrote about this back in May already, but it bears repeating. In my humble opinion, Gears of War is still the best shooter out there. Everything about it is just so expertly balanced. Each of the guns serves a unique purpose, so there's no bloat or inefficiency in its core system — that system being shooting gross sickly white monsters in the face. The same can be said of its bad guys. Everything from the tiny drones known as "Tickers" to the cave troll-esque Brumaks provides a unique challenge that must be met in its own special way. Explosive tickers force you out of cover, for instance, while the priest-like Kantus class undermines all of your diligent sniping by reviving other wounded members of the locust horde.

It might be an third-person shooter, but this ever-changing combination of enemies and weapons often makes it feel more like a puzzle game. A very, very gory puzzle game. I think this is why horde mode is particular fantastic. The endless waves of increasingly challenging bad guys force you to always think on your feet, and master all the nuances of the various weapons you have at your disposal as well as the nooks and crannies of the terrain itself. Maybe it's just because nobody else has bothered to make a solid shooter with local co-op, but I still play one level in Gears of War 3's horde mode on a weekly basis.

A single map. That I've been playing on for three years. Three years! I think that's a sign of perfection in a shooter if I've ever seen one. Luckily, my last two roommates have both been more than willing to join in. I don't know what i'm gonna do if the next one doesn't feel the same way...

The Games You Never Stop Playing

Tell us about one (or more!) of the game's you never grow tired of in the comments below. And try to include a favourite screenshot or gameplay clip if you can.

Happy Friday!

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq.


    Tetris, Counter Strike: Source, and Quake 3/live.

    I've played through the various Arkham games a few times each, and play the challenges regularly.

    I also tend to play through at least one of the Max Payne games (the first 2, the third doesn't exist in my world) every year. I just love their style and gameplay.

    Football Manager because torn ligaments, >burnout, greedy agents, capitalist 4-4-2's, wheeler dealing and LONG THROWS.

    I always go back to Twinsun every few years - the Twinsen/LBA games were formative titles for me as a PC gamer when everybody else was playing Legend of Zelda, but aren't such prohibitive time sinks to replay through amidst real world responsibilities... also just something about that whimsical and distinctly European sense of world and character design (the same can mostly be said for Beyond Good & Evil, which acts as a spiritual successor of sorts, and the well paced linear narrative driving something like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons or Cave Story). FYI GOG are doing a giveaway of LBA1 and a 75% discount on LBA2, and both have received fan patches to allow them to run on most modern systems without issues... also I believe a version of the first one came out recently for Android.

    In terms of racing games I always like to revisit Re-Volt, RollCage II and the little known Mini Car Racing - we haven't really seen their like since, at least not to the same standards, and certainly not with the sheer amount of content!

    I also have a major soft spot for GTA: Vice City - the crazy colours - the fun vehicles - the best licensed video game soundtrack until Brutal Legend came along (though VC has the awesome period parody radio chatter as well)

    I suspect I'll also stick by Spelunky and Binding of Isaac - essentially my arcade games of choice when I have 40min free and a bit of a death wish :p

    For me its the metro series, 2033 more so then last light, I seem to fire them up at least once a year and flogged them both at launch. before that doom 3, I think in some ways are very similar in how they play. Doom 3 (fan of the series) came out in 2004 and I kept playing it to metro (2010) . I played a lot of quake and doom as a kid so I guess I'm drawn to this post apocalypse, kill monsters style that doom/metro are known for.

    I still fire up Populous from time to time. It gets the difficulty curve the right way around - you *start* with all the toys, where your enemy starts with none of them. As the levels progress you lose your toys while your enemy gets more of them.

    Also the original Master of Orion. Beautifully simple.

    Dark Souls.

    Most games give me only a couple of weeks of entertainment but Dark Souls had me playing regularly from release day right up to the release of Dark Souls 2. So many 100+ hour characters.

    Also every now and then I'll pick up DMC or Bayonetta. There is a moment in brawlers where you achieve what I like to call Brawlers Zen. That point where you become untouchable. I need to go back for that every now and then. I'm sure it can happen in other games but brawlers seem to achieve it for me.


      I have been playing Dark Souls since March and it's hopelessly addictive!

    L4D2, DoW2:R, TF2, Super Mario 64, UT and Dungeon Keeper.

    SimCity 4, and Cities XL still get the love.

    I've been playing Elite forever (well Oolite in recent years, but it's the same thing really).

    I always go back to Halo: Reach and ODST. Reach is a collection of all the best stuff from every Halo game while ODST has the best designed campaign.

    and I'm still looking for Gears of War 3 players. Need to run through the campaign (and DLC) with 4 people. Plus there's so much Horde I need to play with competent people that just don't steal the Silverback and try to punch a Berserker with it.

      If I still had my gold subscription active i'd be all over it. I haven't really touched my other consoles since Destiny came out.


    There's a few I always come back to.

    Original Starcraft (+ exps)
    Diablo 2
    Tribes 2
    Original UT

    This article was written for me. Gears 3 Horde mode is the flat out BEST multiplayer experience I've had. I even matchmade with randoms one time, and everyone stuck it out through ALL FIFTY WAVES. It took the better part of four hours, and everyone exchanged friend requests when it was done. So good.

    Whatever it is, I am usually always playing the most recent Battlefield.

    But I like to hop on Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 every now and then. But right now it's still battlefield 4

      My son and I play local multiplayer BF1942 with bots pretty regularly.

        Yes! I'm so over all the "modern" warfare games.
        I miss the old school "you get THIS weapon with THIS class.. go kill things"
        class skill > P2W "upgrades"

    I tend to move forward too rapidly to replay games. It doesn't help that I play a lot of single player games that I complete 100%, so there's not much to go back to without just restarting everything. I love Saints Row and Fable for instance but it always take a push to get me back in there.

    The only games I really play over and over again are multiplayer games. Stuff like Battlefield. I'm hoping that by installing disc free copies of those sorts of games this generation I'll be more inclined to go back to them. It sounds dumb but I don't really look to my DVD racks when I want to play a game. I've got all these games I refuse to trade in but I only really play games that are next to my consoles. Once they get put away they don't get touched.
    I'm hoping that by creating a pile of games on the main menu it'll encourage me to go back to them on a whim more often.

    Usually international cricket Captain but this year's edition sucks

    I just started playing Baldurs gate on the iPad. It's still an awesome game.

    Pokemon X/Y. I like to play VGC matches (VGC is official championship rules) and no matter what I do, there's always another Pokemon I want to breed and try out in my team.

    ...which reminds me, I need to breed a Goomy for an Eviolite Sliggoo.

    WoW and Zelda games usually grip me screaming back into the abyss. (Ive completed Majoras mask about 5 times now)

    I've been playing Bubble Bobble for more than 20 years.

    Ok, here we go!

    SEGA Rally Championship on the Saturn is one I keep going back to. 3 cars and 4 tracks have kept me occupied for almost 20 years. Holy shit, I'm getting old.

    Super CastleVania IV, CastleVania: Bloodlines, Castle of Illusion and Sonic 3 are games I play through once every 6 months or so. All four are perfect games.

    Skyrim - obvious choice is obvious :)

    Sonic & All Stars Racing: Transformed - I am yet to master this, let alone unlock all the characters I want (it gets bloody difficult), but I keep coming back because it plays so damned well - and it's gorgeous to boot. I own it on 5 different systems...

    Out Run & Out Run 2 - still so unique. I get the urge to play these often. Again, I own them on pretty much every format they've been released on, and I'll continue buying each new version.

    I could go on forever...

    Last edited 08/11/14 6:08 pm

    Civilization 2, since 1996. Playing it a couple of times per week.
    I just realized almost two decades have pasted. I feel so old. :(

    Last edited 08/11/14 6:37 pm

      I'm with you man - a lot of my favourite games are a couple of decades old, give or take... feelin' old.

        Love me some Civ 2.

        However, my ultimate all-time games would be Master of Orion 2, Total Annihilation, Diablo 1, AoE2. Moo2 is probably the one I play most regularly, once a month at least.

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