5 Games I Could Play Forever
This article is not about my “favorite” games, though some of my favorites are on this list. This list is a grouping of games that I could play forever. If I could only play five games ever again in my life – a thought that is truly tragic – these would be those games. Probably. I reserve the right to change my opinion, especially if all the great things E3 is promising pan out.
When choosing 5 games that I could “play forever” I found it to be a difficult decision. There was a set of criteria that had to be met. The games had have replay value, a certain kind of magic to them, and possibly some nostalgic affection. These are the games I would choose for a lifetime, in no particular order.
As beautiful and stunning as the second installment of The Witcher is, my heart belongs to the first one. It is one of the most atmospheric, beautifully crafted titles I’ve ever played and I might be able to actually live within it. Well, not really. I mean I’m sure most things in the game smelled like sweat and poop and there was a lot of violence and injustice and, you know, monsters and what not. It’s not exactly the most pleasant world in which to exist, but sitting in my living room, curled up on my gaming chair with a glass of red wine I was still transported to Temeria and was able to get lost with my favorite Witcher, Geralt.
Everything from the reality-altering soundtrack by Adam Skorupa and Paweł Błaszczak to the sounds of rain or birds being flushed from the bushes as you pass; the conceptual artwork that acted at the loading screens; the rich story; the addictive (if somewhat simple) combat system – all of these only served to keep me playing and playing and playing. The Witcher is a game that is so chock full of side quests and fun little discoveries that I feel like I will always miss something when I play, which will always inspire another play-through.
Having played the game through a couple of times, I feel as if it’s really just one of those games I can pick up whenever, no matter where I left off in the story and play a few hours just to get that immersive escape. That’s why it’s on my list. Even if I never actually finish a full game of The Witcher ever again, turning it on and wandering around killing monsters, collecting herbs, making potions and collecting cards from whatever peasant lady who wants to sex up The White Wolf will always keep me coming back… even if it’s just for a little while.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
It’s not Skyrim. Skyrim is a beautiful game that I have spent more hours than I care to admit playing, but the time I’ve spent playing Skyrim is nothing compared to the literally hundreds of hours I have spent in Bethesda’s fourth installment of the Elder Scroll series – Oblivion.
There is a magic to the game; a kind of magic I personally felt was lacking a bit in Skyrim. Perhaps it was the beautiful music by Jeremy Soule, or the gorgeous vistas which all served, like The Witcher, to create a truly immersive and atmospheric experience. I know Skyrim has these things (right down to the stunning views and spectacular landscapes) but Oblivion is truly something special. In all my time playing I feel like I still have not discovered everything there is to discover, and discovery is one of the greatest parts of the game. The fact that my player character can wander aimlessly and just happen upon a mine where I can just maybe decide to go inside and probably find some vampires or bandits to kill is good enough; but the fact that I might not have even stumbled upon it at all is what kind of blows me away. The effort the design team put into the very minor content that many people simply might never see is what’s so impressive to me. It’s almost as if the game is alive, populating itself with people, situations, places and objectives.
You might complain about how every character in Oblivion is ass ugly and sometimes terrifying, or you might get annoyed at the wretched community theater voice acting by all the same three old guys, but these are just some of the things I find charming about the game now that I’ve played it so much.
Yes, the combat and talent tree builds leave a little to be desired, but I will never stop playing Oblivion. There is no need to. It will always be possible to make my own story, my own game using my own imagination to wander around in it. Oblivion is the true definition of escapism.
The Sims 3
This might be cheating a little as I don’t really know if The Sims series classifies as a “game” as much as it is, um… a sim. But I don’t care. The Sims 3 is something I’ve lost countless hours of my life to, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Either way, it’s always been something I’ve been able to go to when I’m bored or when I just want to live a different life as a master criminal who wears slinky black pants.
Watching my Sims go through the various stages of life and ultimately playing some sort of god-like force that nudges them along has a certain level of satisfaction that I think will always be there, no matter how much I play the game. Like the above mentioned games, this is one that I can just pick up for whatever reason and live within it for hours at a time.
I have to be careful when playing this, though. There is a darkness when one ventures into the Sim world. There is a tipping point when your Sim becomes more successful than you are in real life and when you turn the game off and find yourself in sweat pants next to a discarded Hot Pocket wrapper having not showered for 48 hours, there can sometimes be a crushing depression that crashes down upon your head.
Even worse is when your Sim’s life actually resembles yours. For instance, my Sim, which I sort of based on myself once spent most of her time in pajama pants, licking dirty plates clean and eating ice cream in front of her computer while posting on forums and farting. It was an unpleasant mirror to have held up in front of me.
In any case, when I get bored with Sims 3 I can simply ignore it for months at a time (or as long as it takes to recover my dignity) until it’s time to create a new little person in my own image with hopes and dreams I can then crush or turn to reality. Oh yeah…watch out for that whole God complex thing.
Saints Row: The Third
There is no game on this planet that has made me laugh quite as much as Saints Row: The Third. This is a game that knows it’s a game and embraces the fun factor at every chance it gets. I will never be sad playing Saints Row: The Third. It will always make me smile and, just when I think the game cannot top itself in ridiculousness, something truly and shockingly hilarious and creative will happen.
“Giddy” is a word best used to describe my entire state of mind while playing this game and with the scads of downloadable content, [something I hope they never stop making (wishful thinking)] I will never be bored. Aside from the main story line, which is awesome enough that you can replay over and over with different avatars and different voices, there are so many different activities, side missions, achievements and chances to make money that the game can be somewhat overwhelming.
Get tired of doing the main questline? Why don’t you just go punch some people in the balls to get an achievement? Wanna parachute off of some skyscrapers and see how many points you can get for a good landing? Go nuts. Oh, and hey, if you just wanna drive around running over people and shooting people dressed as mascots, that’s just fine too. If you’re in a really kinky mood you can just bash passersby with a big floppy purple dildo bat or maybe pick up some hookers.
There is no shortage of hilarious fun in Saints Row: The Third. It’s a refreshing break from all those “artsy” games with serious storylines and emotional engagement. Those games are great and all, but sometimes you just wanna laugh. And if you’re not laughing the entire time you’re playing Saints Row: The Third then I can’t help you. I don’t even know what you need out of life to be happy.
World of Warcraft
It may not be the “best” MMO out there but it is certainly the one from which many others were born. Play any MMO in the past few years and you will find a universal user interface, color coding of items, and a similar if improved upon quest system.
World of Warcraft, in my opinion has always been The One MMO to Rule Them All, so to speak. It was the first I played and even today when I haven’t played in months and months, I cannot bring myself to cancel my subscription with Blizzard. WoW is like an old friend to me (one the sucks cash from my bank account anyway) and I know it will always be there whenever I feel like playing. I’ve long gotten over the need to power level to the top tier or go on serious dungeon raids with cranky, bossy guild members. World of Warcraft exists, for me, as a safe haven – a familiar escape. If I show up online for an hour or two just to do some crafting or check out the auction house, and that can be enough for awhile.
World of Warcraft will never end. There is no need for it to. The vice grip Blizzard has on the figurative balls of every player who has ever shared their credit card information is enough to keep them rolling in it for years. They’ll keep expanding and I’ll keep occasionally picking it up and smiling.
So, those are my five, and I’ve put a lot of thought into them. They may not be yours, and you may be wondering where some of those other games are, so here are a couple honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list.
The Mass Effect trilogy
These are three of my favorite games ever and I am an avowed Bioware fangirl. I probably always will be. Yet as amazing as these games are, I’ve played through them several times. I’m done now. After a few playthroughs, slogging through some of the side missions starts to feel a little bit like a chore, and no matter how much I love the dialogue, the characters, and the story – there’s not a whole lot left to pique my interest (barring further downloadable content). Add to all this the somewhat bitter taste the end of the series left in my mouth, and it’s just a beautiful game series that better exists in my own head space now rather than on my console.
Red Dead Redemption
This is another impressive open world where I can get sidetracked for hours on end. Admittedly, this openness is the very reason I never actually finished RDR. I didn’t get very far in the main questline at all, in fact. Most of my time was spent knifing bears and getting shooting achievements or roping horses or spending as much time as I could in the multiplayer mode (including Undead Nightmare). By the time I had ridden off into a bajillion sunsets in the desert, gathered 500 lbs of desert sage and accidentally shot about thirteen of my own horses though, I had no desire to continue on with the rest of the game. Tremendously gorgeous and fun to play, just not enough to be on my list here.
What are your five? They’re hard to think of! Tell me in the comments below.