Of 2013: The Games I Played the Most
- Grand Theft Auto V/Online (354)
- Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (98)
- Dungeons of Dredmor (36)
- State of Decay (34)
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown (33)
Wow… so, uhh… I can explain. After the 97 hours I put into Grand Theft Auto V’s single-player game I figured I’d at least check out what GTA Online was all about. It was mostly a mess for the first week as servers imploded, but as things stabilized Katy and I discovered a whole new kind of GTA that we could play together and alone, away from the unwashed masses on public servers.
The game has layers of unexplained options, features and mechanics and discovering them with Katy and our growing cadre of international cohorts drew us back night after night. Around 250 hours later I was finally starting to tire of things when Rockstar rolled out a weekend’s worth of beach themed content and shortly after that, the content creator tools. It was another week of obsession where I couldn’t stop playing, only this time it was brainstorming and plotting out races and stupid deathmatch arenas. It’s been about a decade since an online-only game latched onto my heart and it reminded me of why people love playing Call of Duty or MMO’s.
Before the GTApocalypse dominated my life I spent nearly 100 hours creeping around Capcom’s peculiar stab at expanding its Western audience in Dragon’s Dogma. The Dark Arisen re-release included all of the game’s questionably priced DLC from 2012 in one cheap package so I had no issues with sleazy marketing. The game lays out tons of odd systems and doesn’t explain much of how they work but isn’t as punishing or plodding as Dark Souls. It’s Dark Souls-lite and I had a blast puzzling out how the world works and exploring its nooks and crannies without the overpowering fear of perma-death.
My big at-the-office hook was 2011’s Dungeons of Dredmor; a roguelike overflowing with nerd fan service. The constant fear of being perma-killed at any second balanced with the increasing armory of weapons and skills had me wrapt for close to 40 hours. It’s perfect for work as everything is turn-based with simple 2D artwork that promptly minimizes to the desktop. After one epic run that lasted for two weeks I was finally destroyed by Dredmor himself and, well, let’s just assume I beat the game and moved on.
Similarly roguelike-ish was State of Decay, a zombie survival game where you’re number of “lives” depended on how many people you could keep alive, happy, and well fed. If that weren’t stressful enough, your stock of food, medicine and ammo depletes even while the game is turned off! I would eventually get too stressed to keep playing, shut it down and immediately start panicing about all the things that I wanted to escape. It was immensely effective and it made for a few great, tense weeks with the game.
I would never have bought XCOM: Enemy Unknown on its own but after I got it as a bonus for pre-ordering Bioshock Infinite I figured I might as well give it a try. Wow, how foolish I’d been to ignore this game. I didn’t realize it before but it fits perfectly with the roguelikes I’d been playing with tense, critical battles that could wipe out my progress with a single misstep. I was hooked and determined to see it through to the end while juggling research, squads, income and global threat levels.