Saturday Morning Gaming: Good games for when you’ve got a lot of time to play
There are some really good games for when you’ve got 30 minutes to play. Roguelikes (procedurally generated games that have permadeath as a feature) and Roguelites (the basic skeleton of Roguelikes but they add features like they reward replay after certain milestones have been reached or remove permadeath or similar). Boardgames like Lords of Waterdeep or Cacassonne or Ticket to Ride also fit the “I’ve only got a few minutes” model pretty well.
You play, you die (or win) and, whoops, it’s time to do something else.
But let’s say that you find yourself with a stretch of hours and hours and hours of time available. What games are good for having hours and hours and hours?
I have heard that MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are pretty good for open-ended play but if you prefer Single-Player games (like I do), MMOs probably ain’t gonna do it for you. I mean, I have MMOs under “clean the house” on my list. So what are the good long-hours Single-Player games?
This first suggestion is for if you have videogame skills like “timing” down. (If you aren’t particularly dextrous, jump to the next paragraph.) If you are a superhero fan, you’re probably familiar with Batman: The Animated Series. If you liked the voice actors, you’ll be pleased to know that the Batman Arkham games used the same voice actors (well, mostly… Penguin is Australian now and they brought in John Noble to play Scarecrow in the final game). The first one was a masterpiece. Then, when you play Arkham City, you’ll say “holy cow… they improved it!” Arkham Origins explores the whole “Detective” thing to a new degree and gives you several first-time interactions between Batman and the supervillains you’ve grown to love. And Arkham Knight ties everything together with a nice bow (some people complain about the inclusion of the Batmobile in the last game… personally, I found those sections to be pretty fun). What makes these games good for binging is the fact that The Riddler has hidden stuff all over the map. Find every Riddler trophy! Solve every riddle! There is a ton of little hidden nooks and crannies and, hey, collecting all of those silly little items will take up a lot of time.
If you want a game that uses your brain but doesn’t require finger skills, I’d suggest XCOM. You’re in charge of a military organization fighting against an alien invasion. Move your soldiers around the battlefield and take your shots against the enemy and achieve your objectives. There’s a ton of strategy involved with figuring out cover, distance, damage, and leveraging your soldiers’ skills as they go up levels. At the same time, there’s management of your home base where you research stuff that will help you fight the aliens that you autopsy and reverse-engineer the weapons you capture. And then, after you’ve beaten that, XCOM 2 takes everything you’ve learned from the first game and improves it. New enemies, new skills, new things to research.
“Do you have anything that isn’t… you know… violent?”
As a matter of fact, I do! Stardew Valley. You inherit a dilapidated farm and you get to turn it into a productive one. Till the soil! Plant some seeds! Cultivate the earth! Bake some bread! Go to town! Talk to friends! Decorate your house! Get a cat! Get a cow! Plant a tree! Plant an orchard! Go fishing! Make everything juuuuust right. Experience Zen. You’ll see some stuff that you’ll want to do… but that stuff has pre-reqs. And the pre-reqs have pre-reqs. And the pre-reqs to the pre-reqs have pre-reqs. And, little by little, you’ll turn your farm from messy chaos into delightful order.
And I’m sure that I missed a number of really, really good games that are really, really good for keeping someone entertained while they’re stuck in a basement somewhere…but all of the ones above are really, really good for binging, binging, binging.
So…what are you playing?
(Featured image is what you see when you first go outside of your house in the first moments of Stardew Valley. There’s a lot to clean up! Better get crackin’. Screenshot taken by the author.)