Discussion: over your entire life, what single game have you spent the most time playing?


Over the course of our gaming lives, most of us play hundreds of different games. Some of them barely get a minute or two of our attention, others take hours, days, or weeks. But there are always those few games that can hold our attention for years on end. What single game have you spent the most time playing over the course of your life?


Xairylle: Street Fighter Zero 2. I played this with my cousins everyday every summer during my four years of high school. Aside from Starcraft, this was one game we bonded heavily over. We were playing on an old SNES and the cartridge wasn’t really ours so we tried to make the most out of it every year, though eventually we realized that the original owner didn’t want it back. It was the game I’d play if I wanted quick games with no story lines and puzzles. It was also the game I’d play if I was sad or angry. Just lots of action and lots of Ryu Hoshi. I eventually introduced the game to several younger classmates in college (I was four years older than them) and we’d have mini round-robin tournaments at my place.


Iain: Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (BGII). It was tough to choose between this and Fallout 3 but in the end BGII has to be the winner. If you look at the rest of my colleagues, you will notice a leaning towards multiplayer, but unfortunately I lived in the middle of the British countryside surrounded by aging farmers with dial-up internet speeds. There weren’t a lot of options for me to play multiplayer games. Also, I hate people.

And so it was that I got hooked on Forgotten Realms by the gone-but-not-forgotten developers of Black Isle. I loved the sweeping stories, the myriad of options and the insanely cool characters. I’ve played through most of the Forgotten Realms games at some point but BGII remains my favourite. Why? Because you are the child of the Bhaal, god of murder, that’s why! Screw you Hercules, my dad is literally the god of stabbing people who aren’t expecting it, take Zeus and his sissy lightning bolts and sod off.

It’s a great story and can be played again and again to different effects. The character scripting is amazing and so, so detailed. I have completed this game and its expansion packs at least a dozen times and I have been resisting buying the HD relaunch precisely because I think it will consume my soul. Honestly, I don’t know how much longer I can hold out!


Charlie: Timesplitters: Future Perfect. If you haven’t heard of Timesplitters (most people haven’t) it was an amazing FPS series for the PS2, created by the guys who made Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark after they formed their own studio. All of the Timesplitters games were good, but Future Perfect, the third and sadly final game in the series, was an absolute masterpiece. My friends in college bought me a used copy of the game for $10, and I’ve never gotten more value out of anything in my life. Between the game’s absolutely hilarious single-player story, its utterly addictive split-screen multiplayer and challenge modes, and its brilliant in-game map editor, I have surely spent thousands of hours in the world of Cortez and his associates.

The game seriously has so much content that it borders on absurd: boatloads of missions of all sorts, 150 different playable characters (seriously), and a number of different map-maker themes that allow you to create virtually infinite levels and then play them with friends. I can still remember the layout of one Egyptian-themed map I designed that was a ton of fun for CTF games, and my friends and I still quote the game’s amusing one-liners at each other on a regular basis (we have most of them memorized from playing through the single-player campaign so many times).


Mary-Anne: Motherfucking World of Warcraft, baby. I can’t log in now to check my /played because I haven’t been active for a while, but I will never forget this game. And let’s just say that when I first checked my /played, which was several years ago now, I already got a shock at how high the number was.

In truth I will probably remember World of Warcraft better than a lot of firsts in my life. I have met friends, boyfriends, and random internet people in that online universe. Better than that, it was the closest thing to escaping into a fantasy world. I’ll never forget the first time I stood on the scorched ground of Hellfire Peninsula and just looked up at an alien sky.

Sure, you can say that MMORPGs are just grindfests, but World of Warcraft was the culmination of a decades-old, huge-ass universe first brought to life in Warcraft and…well…it’s really everything you could have expected the world of Azeroth to be. I shan’t go into sappy detail about the game, but it takes a certain sort of game to keep you playing every day for six hours at a stretch, even when you fail repeatedly at taking down a boss. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep playing with friends, or that I was addicted. There was just nothing better or more entertaining than wandering all of Kalimdor, Outland, Azeroth, Pandaria and Northland on foot. Azeroth will always be my second home.

What single game have you spent the most time playing over the course of your life?

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