As adult gamers, we’ve all poured more time into gaming than we’d admit to many of our friends, family, co-workers or therapists (hey, we don’t judge). Regardless of which platforms you game on or which genres you enjoy, we’ve all experienced great video games whittling away the hours until the sun starts to rise, bringing with it a groggy, lethargic day – but no regrets.
There are thousands of incredible games to play, and some of those amazing games become franchises that leech away at our spare time for years, if not decades. We asked GrownGaming’s team of adult gamers which video games series they’ve put the most time into. These were their responses.
CS Armstrong: Resident Evil
The game series I have put the most time into is most definitely Resident Evil. I don’t even want to try and calculate how long I’ve actually spent killing zombies and fetching medallions, let’s just say it’s a long time!
Most notably for me is Resident Evil 4, I still know every inch of that game like the back of my hand. I’ve played it countless times across multiple platforms; PlayStation, GameCube and the Nintendo Wii. I’ve completed it on every difficulty, fully upgraded every weapon, found all the treasures and discovered every secret. If I could have strapped myself into the games code Matrix style, I would have.
I got close with the VR version of Resident Evil 7, my god that is an experience! I’ve never felt as immersed or terrified by a game, it is truly fantastic! I’m still obsessed with the series and eagerly eat up every morsel of information that staggers forward about the upcoming 8th instalment. My love for the Resident Evil series has spanned over twenty years and so far, is seemingly undying, undead till I die!
Dean Freeman: Sam & Max Hit The Road
According to my Steam account, my most played game is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I loved that game, but I find it hard to believe it took up more hours of my time than those I’ve ploughed into the intricacies of Hitman or the aimless wanderings of GTA V.
Instead, I’m going to throw Sam & Max: Hit The Road your way. If you count trying to get it to load up with working sound drivers and the opening cinematic in full, via a DOS window (I was 11) then there’s no question of it. I got stuck at The Mystery Vortex for years, which seems apt. Without the internet to help me I just wandered round and round and round clicking and interacting with everything, hearing the jokes a hundred times and still laughing. Back then, I was so enamoured by the idea of interactivity; that clicking here and there would make things move. I must’ve rode the cable car up to the top of the Giant Ball Of Yarn a hundred times because the slightly 3D nature of the cable car just looked so good. I envy how easily impressed that young me was.
Many years later I found out that one of the rooms could scroll over to the right, offering a simple solution to the puzzle I’d long given up on and I finally made it to Conroy Bumpus’ mansion. Very happy days.
Robin Gale: Total War
The gaming series I have put the most time into is the Total War series. A bizarre choice for me, seeing as I haven’t played one for many, many years. Equally bizarre because I’ve only ever played two of them – Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War (that II always feels like it’s in the wrong place). Unlike Zelda, Mario or Resident Evil this isn’t a gaming series I’ve followed particularly closely over the years, and frankly don’t have a powerful enough PC to even consider now, but I consumed both those games (and their expansions) in my teenage years.
Put onto Rome: Total War by the excellent/incredibly aged UK TV show ‘Time Commanders’ the game seemed like a dream come true. Fresh off a Command & Conquer and Age of Empires addiction, the Total War games allowed me to play as a politician and general. To this day there are very few feelings in gaming as satisfying as pulling off a successful ambush or repelling a superior force from your castle. In a completely different way seeing your empire grow, improving your technology and strategising over your alliances and expansion plans was just as satisfying. This was a gaming series with an addictive – and long – loop that kept me coming back for more.
It is that replayability that puts it easily at the top of the hours-played list for me. Each new campaign was different, and each expansion pass felt like a new game. Every time I reached a zenith of power, or suffered a defeat, I would simply start up a new campaign. This was particularly true in Medieval II: Total War – over the years I brought Europe under the domination of powers ranging from the Holy Roman Empire to the Scottish. For a solid eight years or so I would usually have a Total War game on the go, and my last was just as thrilling as my first.
But as I switched to consoles, the new games just didn’t run on my aged PC. After doing some initial research for this piece though, I really need to look into rectifying that…
Phantom: Football Manager
I always forget about the Football Manager games whenever someone asks, “what series have you poured the most hours into?” I must, in the reptilian part of my brain think that Football Manager is not a game but a necessity.
My first experience with the series was when it was named Championship Manager. The obsession took hold with the 97/98 season edition and hasn’t diminished since. That “one more game” or “just until the transfer window closes” mindset still remains within me which has been both a blessing and at some times a real burden.
Over the years I have poured not hundreds but literally thousands of hours into this series of games. My big year was 2014 where I dumped 1,328 hours into Football Manager. Thinking back to how I actually managed this, I am simultaneously filled with nostalgia but also a smidgen of disgust. I must have been working, sleeping, eating and playing Football Manager. That type of hour count doesn’t really leave much else.
Why the obsession? Well, being an avid fan of football (the correct term of course, not soccer ?) I am constantly looking to solve the inadequacies that my own ” in real life ” team seem to indulge in. I love to shape and mould a squad that will eventually, even although completely unrealistically, challenge for all available honours. League and European alike.
I have won every honour you can think of within Football Manager. I have started with small teams and built them into European juggernauts, I have plied my trade abroad taking minnow teams up through the divisions toppling many giants of the game. I have even won world cups with my own country Scotland if you can believe it. You name it, I have achieved it. In some ways its hard not to when you are pushing the hour count I have with these titles.
You also may be wondering where is the satisfaction. Afterall when you win a trophy you get a simple notification congratulating you. You don’t get any skins, or new content like many games nowadays. There is no new game + for Football Manager.
My answer is: the journey. The process of building something that can be successful and stand the test of time is supremely satisfying and is a feeling that is hard to replicate.
I used to be a PC user of Football Manager but now that my time is much more limited I have turned to the Nintendo Switch. Currently, the “touch” version allows me to feed my habit with a few games per night just before bed. The obsession still remains and if they keep making them….ill keep buying them.
John Santina: Football Mana-argh, darn-um, FIFA?
I’d been meaning to ask the team this question for well over a year now, and my answer was clear cut: Football Manager. Then I saw Phantom’s dedication to the series and, well…weeped a bit. Here’s my hourly count, which is paltry by comparison:
I know what you’re thinking: “why not just play Football Manager 2014 for 8 more hours?”, right? Okay, maybe not.
Despite being dwarfed by the 2014 count (and just about every one of Phantom’s counts), I had the most fun with Football Manager 2016. A colleague and I at my previous job used to play it before work, during lunch and occasionally on quiet days in the office. We started off as Aston Villa (me) and West Brom (him) to make our rivalry in the Premiership mean more. We played through dozens of seasons, during which time he got sacked and went to Manchester City (not too shabby) and I snapped to every wonderkid I could find as I turned Aston Villa into the richest club in the world, winning countless trophies, including a series of Champions League trophies. It wasn’t the winning that made it special (though that was awesome), but it was the constant rivalry with my friend, competing for players, battling for the league and in Europe, bidding for each other’s players…good times.
The only other video game series that could come close is FIFA, though the fact that I played Pro Evolution Soccer for 4-5 years during my teens probably scuppers FIFA’s place in this list. I last bought FIFA 3 years ago and easily sank a few hundred hours into it. Overall, though, my total playtime with the franchise probably struggles to beat my top three Football Manager totals, let alone my time with the series overall.
I recently picked up Football Manager 2020 and am playing through a save with a 2003 database. So far I’ve put 35 hours into it, which is a far cry from the days when I’d play for hours while half-watching TV. I’m enjoying it, but I’m not ready to give up playing every other game like I was a few years ago.
Hasan Mansoor: DOTA 2
DOTA 2 is my bane. I’ve put in well over 2800 hours in about 5 years of playing before I finally stopped playing. The majority of these hours were spent inside gaming cafes with ashtrays filled to the brim.
After about 2000 hours, I accepted that I’m never going to play in pro leagues and the last 800 hours were spent realizing how much I’ve gotten worse at the game. I stopped having fun. Responsibilities came along, the game got less interesting and regrettably, it made me a toxic online player.
When I discovered all of the above, I found it very easy to delete the game and never think about it again. Then came my Xbox (you could link my first article here) and the rest is history.
Clifford Reeder: World of Warcraft
Throughout my life, I have spent countless hours playing video games, especially those in my two favorite genres: fighting games and RPGs. Whether it was playing fighting games at local game shops, adventuring through an RPG world, or even dabbling into team-based games when I felt like playing something a little different, it’s safe to say I’ve logged thousands of hours into video games, many of those hours dedicated to fighting games alone. Maybe that is why it should be daunting to say that they barely hold a candle to the one-game series that has truly stolen my time over the years: World of Warcraft. This might seem like an obvious winner for “most logged hours” given that I play so many RPGs and MMOs, but WoW has always been such a prominent feature in my life that I can’t even remember a time when I wasn’t playing it.
I was 11 years old when I first learned about World of Warcraft. It had just hit store shelves, fascinating the populace with its vibrant world and high-quality gameplay. I was ecstatic about the idea of playing it for myself. Despite my father having been a prolific fan of MMOs himself, however, my parents weren’t exactly keen on the idea of me having this new game. They weren’t willing to purchase the game nor pay for its daunting monthly subscription, partly due to my mother’s disdain for video games, and so I was forced to look on with hungering eyes. I would watch segments on TV shows like X-Play or G4 TV where they would give out World of Warcraft news and tips, scan forums for people talking about their experiences, and even went as far as to buy the licensed strategy guide just to read about this magnificent world called Azeroth. Even before I got the chance to play this game, I was enthralled by its charm.
Fast forward a few years and my parents had unfortunately separated. My mother moved to Texas with her new husband, and I, then 13, was forced to bounce between her and my father’s home every few months. It was a very low point in my life, but as if by some backhanded miracle, my mother’s new husband was very much into playing World of Warcraft. After 2 years of looking on and wondering if I’d ever be able to play a game as grand as that, I’d finally been given the opportunity I’d been searching for. He allowed me to make a character on his account, and from that point on, I was sucked into the fantasy. I remember dancing between so many characters that I lost count of how many races and classes I took for a test drive because I was so eager to see how unique they all were. I remember playing as a Dwarf, somehow wandering from Ironforge all the way to Thunder Bluff, before being inevitably slaughtered by the town guards because I had no clue there were Horde-only cities. Most of all though, I remember having the time of my life. Dipping into this world time and time again and always loving every second of it.
It was the most fun I’d ever had with a game, and given that I’m writing this article so many years later, it’s probably not hard to tell that World of Warcraft is still a huge part of my life. I have purchased and played through every expansion and patch WoW has had to offer since its release. I’ve had my ups and downs with the game, and I’m certainly nowhere near a top player, but I’ve had fun and created new memories each and every time I’ve come back. Now, with the newest expansion on the rise and having finally gotten my adoring girlfriend to enjoy the game as much as I do, I’m excited to take another leap into the unknown and lose myself in this game once again.
Which video game series have you sunk the most time into? Let us know in the comments!