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 dunno...like 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:
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...
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.