There have been thousands of games released in the past 10 years, some of them memorable, and few thoroughly captivating. Certain titles are so alluring that they can be played well beyond the first week honeymoon, lasting for years without sacrificing the essence of what made them so charming to begin with. Their mere mention evokes thoughts of days spent glued to the screen, weeks that disappeared in the blink of an eye; in other words, games that behold an unprecedented amount of value. So which games fall under this umbrella?
Minecraft is conceptually one of the simplest games in existence, but its ability to make creativity a fun and exciting playground for exploration is commendable. As with anything that puts the mind to work, it’s a time-draining affair, but one that leaves your footprint in the game world to remind you where your long hours have been spent.
Getting together with friends and building complex structures is reminiscent of playing with Legos as a child; time flies as you construct architecture from the ground up, block by block. Minecraft’s Survival mode is able to interlace adventure and intensity using the same toolkit, and the rising sun is a reminder that you’ve spent another 20 minutes in its charming world.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The endless quests of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are the bane of addictive personalities (and the people who live with them). Even when you’re confident that you’ll turn the game off after you finish your current quest, the allure of the quest-giver asking you for one final favor can’t be ignored. Remember, this is a world that you care about, and you wouldn’t be able to call yourself a good person if you don’t lend a hand to those in need.
By the time you feel even a tingle of fulfillment you’re sure to notice that your sleep schedule has been dismantled. Your coworkers will take notice to your constant yawning from losing sleep. But hey, it was worth it now that your speech skill is maxed-out.
League of Legends
While the pain of defeat after a 50-minute game of MOBA action is demotivating, the excitement of performing well and winning a game never gets old. League of Legends’ teamwork-based approach emphasizes strategy, while its growing list of dozens of characters encourages the growth of knowledge—knowledge you’ll never need in the real-world. Since success in the game is relative to the quality of teamwork, you’re forthright to tell your friends about the game, and its free price tag will make their decision easy. The next thing you know you’re spending entire weekends hanging out with friends, experiencing both victory and defeat. Well, in the virtual world, of course.
The Civilization series is known for the phrase “one more turn," and for good reason. Driving a group of settlers to develop into a sprawling empire is rewarding, and one more turn can be the difference between your army holding off Gengis Khan’s army and them taking over more land. Going to sleep without knowing if your civilization is going to see the light of day is unsettling for any competitive gamer. Thus, you take flight in gaming marathons ripe with strategy and lower back pains. In the end you can prove yourself victorious under one of several conditions, and deciding how to prove karma exists to your most hated enemy is one of the best choices man has ever been given.
World of Warcraft
Despite being over eight years old, some gamers have never escaped the powerful clench of World of Warcraft. Those who were lucky enough have quite the tale to tell. Continents full of detail and rich story are home to millions of real people who play the game for any number of reasons: competitive play, raiding, crafting, adventure, collecting, and more. As its audience has matured—physically, that is—so has its content. The moment you feel you’ve beaten the addiction of World of Warcraft, Blizzard announces even more innovative ways to utilize your toon with over 100 days of game time logged. You might be able to log out of World of Warcraft, but you’ll never be able to shut it down. If you aren’t playing it now, you will be once you start seeing commercials for its next big patch or expansion. Now that’s an addicting game.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Company of Heroes
Team Fortress 2
Rome: Total War
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic