The intense but brief love affairs that dominate your every moment, until suddenly they don't.
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What game would you put in a time capsule for future generations?
- What's the last game that felt truly next-gen to you?
- What videogame outfit would you wear in real life?
Have ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴅ ᴀɴ ɪɴᴛᴇɴse ʟᴏᴠᴇ affᴀɪʀ wɪᴛh a ɢᴀᴍᴇ, ᴏɴly ᴛᴏ ᴅʀᴏᴘ ɪᴛ ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴡᴏ ᴡᴇeks ᴀɴd nᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏuch ɪᴛ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ? Mayʙᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ɢᴏt reᴀʟʟy ɪɴᴛᴏ a competɪᴛive multipʟᴀʏer ɢᴀᴍᴇ ᴜɴᴛɪʟ ɪᴛ threᴀᴛened ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏmɪɴᴀᴛe yᴏᴜʀ lɪꜰe, ᴏʀ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋed ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏꜰ a ꜰʀᴇᴇ-ᴛᴏ-pʟᴀʏ ɢᴀᴍᴇ tʜᴇ secᴏɴd ʏᴏᴜ ʜɪᴛ a progress limɪᴛer wɪᴛh a ᴅᴏllar sɪɢɴ ᴏɴ ɪᴛ, ᴏʀ ꜰᴇʟᴛ ᴏᴘᴇɴ-wᴏʀld fᴀᴛigue sᴇᴛ ɪɴ wʜᴇn a ɴᴇᴡ ᴀʀᴇa ꜰᴜʟʟ ᴏꜰ icᴏɴs ᴀᴘᴘᴇᴀʀed ᴏɴ tʜᴇ ᴍᴀᴘ, ᴏʀ pʟᴀʏed Fᴜser?
What did you play obsessively for a couple of weeks, then never again?
Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum.
Evan Lahti: In 2017 I went all-in on Battle Brothers, dropping 43 hours into it over a span that included a holiday weekend. It's exactly the kind of low-fantasy I like: plenty of monsters but no wieldable magic, just clubs and shields and halberds to cut them down with. It's probably the closest thing to 2D, turn-based Mount & Blade. But after I brutalized my way through the sandbox campaign a couple times, I never returned to it. The open-endedness and brutality (characters can suffer permanent, stat-altering injuries like shattered bones and gored eyes) of the campaign, even with some good difficulty modifiers available, made it hard to want to restart at level 1 again.
The devs have since added three meaningful expansions, including August's $15 Blazing Deserts DLC, an entire new arid region with accompanying enemies, gear, and arena combat. It's tantalizing, but as a current Spelunky 2 player there's only so much masochism I have room for in my life. A proper sequel could probably lure me back.(Image credit: Teotl Studios)
Dave James: Way back when I first got my hands on the Vive I took it home for the weekend to give VR a go. I'll admit, at the time, nothing really grabbed me until I hit on The Solus Project, which felt both like a game made for virtual reality, and an actual game. VR in 2016 was still a whole lot of 'experiences' and little that meaty. But The Solus Project worked perfectly with the controllers and my own sense of fear and wonder at being marooned on an alien planet, which gave me a solid weekend of VR gaming pleasure. Though I've never touched it again.(Image credit: Perfect World Entertainment)
Natalie Clayton: I had a strong Star Trek Online moment in the month or so following our Deep Space 9 binge. I wasn't ready to leave that universe behind, so nipped around as a bargain-bin Kira Nerys piloting increasingly massive Starfleet ships until I hit the game's level cap. Turns out, STO doesn't really have an endgame besides dumping money into loot boxes until you get a ship you like. Tempting, but after 120+ hours, that was as good an out as any.(Image credit: Sega)
Steven Messner: Phantasy Star Online 2. This beloved not-quite-an-MMO finally launched on PC in 2020 after nearly a decade of fans begging Sega to release an English version. That so many people are such diehards piqued my curiosity, but PSO2 also came at just the perfect time: The coronavirus pandemic was spreading rapidly, lockdowns were in full effect, and I had nowhere to go. For about a month or so, my every waking moment became consumed by PSO2.
Even though it's ancient by this point, it was a worthy game to lose myself into. Not only is it extremely grindy (but the good kind of grindy), it's also incredibly complex. The combat system requires a lot of skill in order to survive the tougher boss fights, and there's a wealth of ways to customize your character and slowly turn them into a murder machine. It's a little bit like if Monster Hunter and Path of Exile had a baby.
By the time I finally was released from PSO2's grip, my bookmark bar was a smattering of links to different guides and wikis and YouTube channels. I had Google docs mapping out my builds. I had bought the premium subscription and was making a tidy profit selling items on the in-game marketplace. And then one day I just woke up and never played it again.
I don't know what exactly changed. But PSO2 was cutting into my other hobbies in a big way and maybe I just decided I had to bring some balance back into my life. But I haven't revisited the game since. I plunked about 100 hours into PSO2 over the course of a few weeks (which is absurd), and the game still holds a very dear place in my heart. I still think about getting back into it but maybe with a bit more restraint. But with New Genesis on the way—a revamped PSO2 expansion that's basically just a standalone game—I might just wait to play that instead.(Image credit: Ubisoft)
Phil Savage: I'm not really sure what happened. Despite also falling off The Division pretty hard, I was having a good time with the sequel's campaign. It was full of great levels and set-pieces, and was released long after Xbox 360-era cover shooter fatigue had passed. I figured I was finally ready for another cover shooter in my life. And while I never got close to the endgame, the couple of times I met up with some friends to head into the Dark Zone seemed fun. I suspect the problem was Destiny 2, and the fact that it was having a pretty good year post-Forsaken. I already had a live-service game in my life, and struggled to find the time for another. So I stopped playing it one day—I assumed just for a bit—and then never went back. Sorry, The Division 2. It wasn't you; it was me.
Morgan Park: I had a brief, passionate relationship with the medieval combat sim Mordhau. Its physics-heavy blade-clashing and crunchy finishing blows had me obsessed with winning duels for a few weeks there. I even wrote about the fun of politely murdering players in 1v1 dueling servers. I lost the motivation to soldier on after people started getting very good at the game. Samuel's report on Mordhau's toxic community and the once-considered 'woman toggle' killed any love I was still holding onto.(Image credit: Lucas Pope)
Andy Chalk: Return of the Obra Dinn. I was laser-focused on Obra Dinn (not for a couple of weeks, obviously—more like an extended weekend) and loved every minute. It's every bit as good as we said in our review. I'd made very good progress, had the majority of the crew sorted, was ready to get down to the business of untangling the final threads and discovering the dark truth, and... I stopped. I have no idea why. I know I intended to return to it. I still do! It's a phenomenally good narrative experience, and I want to know how it ends! I'm committed enough to going back that I've avoided endgame spoilers so far, so I know absolutely nothing more about it than I knew when I stopped. But I haven't returned to it yet, and the further it slips away, the less that fact bothers me. Maybe someday. Maybe not.(Image credit: 1C Entertainment)
Jody Macgregor: I'm a perpetual multiplayer dilettante, and have done this in various card games, MMOs, and lobby shooters. One rare time it happened with a singleplayer game was King's Bounty: The Legend, which I got heavily into for a while—building up my army, marching around the world, marrying a frog, you know, normal strategy game stuff—and then the rest of the map opened up. I realized I wasn't even halfway through, and my interest fizzed away like an Alka-Seltzer.From our forum
MaddMann: Stardew Valley for me. I waiting until after most folks had already passed through the hype before I picked it up. Once I did though, it became an addiction very quickly. It just hit that niche for me that I needed to see through to fruition. I think I one session of playing that game I didn't stop at all for at least 12 hours. I really needed that diamond sprinkler... Now I am afraid to go back.
Pifanjr: The only game that comes to mind is Eador. Masters of the Broken World. I played about 75 hours in a week or two until I hit a game breaking bug. I might have been able to get around it by going back to a save a few hours earlier, but having the risk of running into the same bug again didn't really make it worth it.
I did actually come back to it recently and played for a few hours, but I realized that with the limited time I have available now there's a bunch more games I'd rather play instead.(Image credit: Private Division)
Krud: Too many to count. Patched-up No Man's Sky, Stardew Valley, Outer Worlds, possibly Cyberpunk 2077 (unless they come back with some great DLC), and pretty much any semi-linear adventure game of the past 20 years... it'd be easier for me to list the exceptions to this pattern, the games that I keep coming back to, because those are far more rare for me than the games that I get really into and then suddenly drop.
Almost every single MMO I've ever played, I've gotten into for a few weeks and then got bored and never looked back. Sometimes I'll dive into a game, play it for several weeks, walk away for YEARS, and then come back to it and play through it at a regular pace. I did this for The Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity, and some other RPGs. I'll probably go back to Pathfinder Kingmaker and go through that one properly, too. Same with Kingdom Come Deliverance.
(Though usually not "obsessively", but that may be relative. I've never played 75 hours in a week, for instance, or a 12-hour game session. During the initial quarantine, I might have played Witcher 3 for 60 hours that week, but that was a rare exception. )
Anyway, of all the titles this applies to, the one that I really powered through obsessively because I was on a time limit, was The Outer Worlds. I don't remember how many hours it actually took me, but I completed it during a 10-day trial or something along those lines. (I think it was before XBox Game Pass gave you an entire free month, but I might be confusing my trials.) I plan to revisit it once any and all DLC is released.(Image credit: Deep Silver)
mainer: Most of the games I play are RPGs, and if I really like a game I play for hours, but even if I "hit a wall" and need to take a few days or weeks off, I always go back. I can think of one game that I played that fits your question, and that was Risen (the 1st one) from Piranha Bytes. I love their games, and was really into Risen, as it was much like Gothic 3 in gameplay (though quite a bit smaller). I was obsessed with it until the end game. Exact details are a bit fuzzy as it was many years ago, but basically you had to wear a certain armor set and wield a certain weapon (regardless of how you built your character), then battle the end boss on a tile like floor, that had disappearing tiles, which would instantly kill you. I rage quit after about 10 tries and never went back. I really, really hate doing that, but it was the one RPG I couldn't finish. It still bugs me.(Image credit: CD Projekt)
DXCHASE: The latest game, because this happens a lot, would be Cyberpunk 2077. Played a huge chunk, did most of the sidequests/jobs as well as work towards the secret ending, beat the game, secret ending and all. hated the ending, couldn't go back to my character unless i reverted before the ending mission. Uninstalled and moved on, and wont go back until new DLC...maybe
JCGames: The most memorable one was "Sunless Sea" I played the game over a free weekend after the Zubmariner expansion came out. I bought it with the add on and played it for a few more days and then moved on to Mass Effect andromeda. I did put a solid dent into it with 30 hours played, so not a waste for sure. I've always meant to go back it really was a fantastically dark game.(Image credit: Bethesda)
Scaramouche: Isn't that how you're supposed to play every game? One title does come to mind. Fallout Shelter. For weeks I would check on my post-Apocalyptic ant's nest. Luckily I played on PC and could cheat a bit, otherwise I would have spend hundreds or dollars in microtransactions on mobile. Still, at one point it was just obvious that the fun had stopped a while back and there was only chores and OCD left. I uninstalled and made sure my save file would be forever lost as well.
Zloth: I didn't play obsessively but Outer Wilds took about two weeks. Then I quit because I won - and this really isn't the sort of game you play a second time. (But I do like listening to the music from time to time.)(Image credit: Blizzard)
Sarafan: Maybe it's not just a couple of weeks, but I have to say Hearthstone. I was almost addicted to the game and played it for two years basically every day in a row. It was very time consuming, but I just had to do daily quests. Luckily it didn't impact negatively on me, apart from variety of games that I played in this period of my life. I stopped playing Hearthstone mainly because I didn't like the changes that the game underwent. I have no intentions of returning. I would probably need to spend insane amounts of money to be competitive once again. Besides that, I now prefer to diversify the types of games that I play. Hearthstone clearly doesn't favor this type of approach to gaming activity.