What’s The Video Game You Just Keep Going Back To?

What’s The Video Game You Just Keep Going Back To?

Every once in a while, when I’ve got a couple hours to kill or just feel a certain craving, there’s always one game I’ll pick up: Sid Meier’s Colonization. This unlikely 1994 Civilization spinoff is a top-down strategy game set in the 16th and 17th centuries. As an explorer from one of four major European powers, your job is to head to sea with nothing and somehow build a thriving, sprawling country. The white Australia starter kit. You can farm for crops, fight off foreign nations, trade with indigenous peoples (or burn down their villages), build up an army and eventually start a revolution.

It’s a brilliant game, full of minute-to-minute decisions that require smart thinking and planning. And I love it, not just because it’s so rewarding to create an efficient network of well-staffed colonies but because everything about the game feels comforting, from the little pixels that make up each citizen to the way the indigenous people will always, without hesitation, try to ambush and steal any treasure you might find. I’ve spent two decades playing this game, on and off, and I know all of its intricacies and rule-sets like the back of my hand, if the back of my hand were a pixelated land to conquer. I’ve even grown fond of the weird janky bugs — pro tip: try to keep your ships on separate tiles or else they might accidentally swap cargo — and the horrible tendencies of Colonization‘s annoying AI opponents. It’s comfort food to me.

So what about you, Kotaku readers? What’s that video game you just keep coming back to, year after year? What’s your video game comfort food?


  • I have a big enough backlog that I’m usually playing something I haven’t played before. That being said though, I do tend to regularly (annually mostly) have a run of games like Breath of Fire III, Suikoden II, Four Heroes of Light, Alundra and other older PSX/DS games.

  • UFO: Enemy Unknown (original 1994 version). Play that game to completion at least once a year. Still just as good as I remember it the first time round, quirks and all.

  • It’s gotta be DOOM as in all the early ones be it Doom, Doom 2, Ultimate Doom etc and Command and Conquer Generals, such a fun RTS.

  • Dune II: The Building Of A Dynasty (1992, I’m feeling old)…. Can get a bit annoying not being able to select a group of units, but I love it so much. Always play House Harkonnen

    • Yes! This game was my childhood! My family’s too! Me and my siblings would always play this. (My older sister would almost always win.) I’m actually doing my IT Website project on this game!

  • WoW – current iteration is on Nost’s vanilla servers. I just can’t get the hook all the way out.

  • WoW is my “game between games” in that ill play a new release to completion then once im done with it ill go straight back to WoW until the next game im looking forward too comes out.

    Edit: if the drought goes on and i happen to get bored with wow, then ill jump to either skyrim, fallout: new vegas or fallout4, or X3 terran Conflict with the Albion Prelude expansion

  • Banjo Kazooie, pokemon gen1, ocarina of time, age of mythology, warcraft 2 &3, wow, europa universalis, victoria 2.

    Also right now i cant stop going back to heroes of the storm. Its an absolutely infuriating game. Balance patches take forever, matchmaking is broken, its still in preseason 9 months after release and will be for a long time yet. I’ve uninstalled a few times but keep coming back.

  • Crash bandicoot 2, gta 2. Wolfenstein 3d, commander keen, dangerous dave, Batman Returns for dos, dark forces.

  • Ikaruga

    i cant think of any game i own more versions of (don’t have the DC version unfortunately)
    i now play it on steam with my xbox one elite controller. good times

  • Aside from obvious ones like WoW and Minecraft, I feel the urge to play through Sleeping Dogs every year or two. I’ve got 100% completion on it but it’s just such a well-crafted game. I love seeing the lights of Hong Kong reflecting off the wet streets in the rain at night. Plus you gotta love the karaoke.

    • I agree. The original Deus Ex is still my favourite game. I can’t believe others haven’t said it until you.

  • Lufia on SNES (which in the west I guess is Lufia)? A classic monster killing dungeon crawling tale about going from a humble monster hunter to basically a god. Can’t get enough.

  • Lufia on SNES (which in the west I guess is just Lufia)? A classic monster killing dungeon crawling tale about going from a humble monster hunter to basically a god. Can’t get enough, amongst everyone trying to complicate plots sometimes a cliche is exactly what one needs.

  • I’m suprised no-one has mentioned a Civilization game. For me it’s Civ V Brave New World. Oh, and FIFA Manager (ducks the tomatoes being thrown by Football Manager fans).

  • Max Payne – Was the start of my PC gaming.
    Super Maro bros for NES – Was the start of my console gaming.

  • Age Of Empires 2 + Expansions. I’ve been a huge fan of it ever since some beardy old man in a blue and white robe came up to me in the street and said “WOLOLO”

  • Master of Orion 2. Best 4x of all time – hopefully the remake eventually replaces it.

    Half Life 2 – still the best FPS of all time

    Dota 1 & 2 – I’ve quit a few times, and I always get the itch and get sucked back in. I’ve decided to just embrace it.

  • Red dead Redemption – just to ride by jet black Horse (named Gus by the way) thru the wilderness and shooting up Outlaw hideouts, hunting and playing a little Poker is a great way to unwind every once in a while.

  • I got one that’s pretty much guaranteed to be no one else’s – Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn. Often looked at as the lowest in the series by some, it’s my favourite game of all time and I’ve run through it at least 9 or 10 times. It was my first, I know everything about every map and character back to front and it is amazing to me.

    Looking through everyone’s picks, it’s an interesting trend: 80-90% of people’s go to games are strategy or RPG’s. Just pointing that out.

    • Although I can’t claim 9 or 10 times like yourself, every couple of years I’ll play through Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn back-to-back. Such an excellent story.

      • Aww man, I know right! It’s such a shame they are so hard to find – I really think they deserve to be right up there with awakening and now fates in popularity. Some of the best side characters in there as well.

  • I’ve been playing PC games in some form since pre-EGA days and I still keep going back to the Fallout series, Infinity Engine games, TES: Daggerfall, qqTSR Gold Box games and Spiderweb Software Exile games – for modern(er) games I love Fallout 3/NV and Skyrim.

    I’ve never been strategic enough to win at games like Civ or HOMM and FPS only ever appealed to me for campaign games.

    Been meaning to get into the Witcher series for a while and I’m looking forward to Tyranny and Torment: Tides of Numenera. Haven’t got a rig to play Fallout 4 on which means I still have a social life thankfully!

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