It might be our job to play games, but sometimes the time we spend in them goes above and beyond the call of nerdy duty. Sometimes a passion becomes an obsession, a vocation, or even a reason for concern from friends and family. From Destiny to The Sims and of course World of Warcraft, here are the games that got team GamesRadar+ hooked.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
World of Warcraft
I'm going to be that guy and say World of Warcraft, which was pretty much the only thing I played for around two years straight back during the early stages of secondary school, before a short but sweet relapse over the summer of 2014, which must have added at least another 100 hours to my playtime. Everyone knows that World of Warcraft is addictive, and dangerously so, but I don't regret my 500+ hours spent with it. Before the days of Whatsapp and easy access console multiplayer, WoW was a way to connect with friends late at night and well into the early hours of the morning, making memories together that I can still recount like they were just yesterday. Spending hours on a 100 player campaign to invade each Horde city and defeat their respective leaders, finally defeating the Lich King after an intense, all night LAN party, getting virtual drunk in Stormwind and revelling with the local bar folk... I doubt I'll ever play World of Warcraft again, and Overwatch is coming dangerously close to beating my total playtime with it, but I can't deny the game's significance as a defining chapter of my teenhood. Alex Avard
While I can't attest to the exact number of hours I've sunk into the entire Sims series (and I probably wouldn't want to either), it easily adds up to probably longer than the lifespan of a toddler. I'm one of those people who's lost entire weekends just to creating a house in The Sims, before crafting little digitized versions of my friends and family to live within. And that obsession only grew with every Sims expansion pack, and then main release, and then expansion pack... You get the gist, right? I've owned every main Sims game and ALL the expansions (although not all the stuff packs because some of those are utterly ridiculous, even by my standards). Even with so many other games on the market, I still feel like there's nothing quite as good as settling down on a Sunday afternoon post-roast to a Sims session with a real tummy full of warm and a digital house full of joy - and possibly a little disaster. Sam Loveridge
I want you to know two things: 1) These are joke numbers you're all posting, and 2) I feel personally attacked by this question. At the time of writing, according to the unblinking eye of this site, I have sunk a terrifying 1,384 hours into Destiny 2 on PC since it launched late last year. Not to mention the 221 hours I'd already spaffed on the PS4 version by that point. Or indeed the 2,257 hours I pumped in over course of Destiny 1's lifespan. Look on my grind, ye mighty, and despair! God knows I'm welling up as I write this. Is that amount of time in-game okay? Doesn't it mean you miss out on other games? Is everything okay? No, yes, and probably not. But since moving to America, Destiny has become part-social group, part therapy-session for me. I sink soothingly into it while watching Netflix shows or football games on the other monitor. It's basically ruined me for other shooters because no one nails the bubble wrap feel of popping alien heads quite like Destiny does. Ultimately, I regret nothing - except for the fact I somehow still don't have the Phoenix Protocol exotic for my Warlock. Bungie, please. Tim Clark
I've put well over 500 hours into Guild Wars, and if you count Guild Wars 2 as well, I'm probably close to 1,000+ hours. Crazy, I know, but hear me out. This game was not only introduced to me by my father, it also introduced me to my now best friend. One day my father came home from work and said he got a new game for his PC. It turns out it was Guild Wars, and whenever he wasn't on it, I'd sneak on and create a character and chip at it whenever he wasn't using the PC. After many weeks, I fell in love with the game and decided to save for a PC to play it when I wanted, and this was around the exact time I started secondary school. It was a scary moment: I knew nobody in my class for a long time and one day I ran into conversation about Guild Wars with this kid in my class. After further discussion I found out he was really good at the game and loved it as much as I did, and from that day on we played almost every day, talked on TeamSpeak, created a popular clan with hundreds of members, and started to do raids in the Underworld (a very challenging place which dropped super rare loot and which only the professional players would dare enter).
We got so addicted that we started to host LAN parties with other players in school every weekend, and started to illegally sell gold for cash by farming big bosses and doing 'runs' in the game. 'Runs' are when players wanted to unlock areas that they were too weak to go to, so they'd pay us, say, 50 gold to get them there so they could then get rare armor at a stupidly low level and become what I called 'power players,' aka the ones with the mullah. It's just a great game, with a wide number of play styles, an incredible story line and some impressive enemies. It's by far the best MMO I have ever played. Brandon Saltalamacchia
Metal Gear Online
Metal Gear Online was a hard game to get into thanks to its complex controls and the convoluted Konami ID system you had to navigate just so you could log on and play in the first place. It was worth the effort though, because some of the gameplay modes were truly unique. Sneaking Missions, for example, was a twist on team deathmatch that featured a player taking on the role of Snake. A team could win by eliminating Snake a set number of times, but Snake (sneaking around in an octocamo suit) would be victorious if they collected enough dog tags from opponents. In Team Sneaking, the attacking team wore stealth camo and had to steal a flag and return it to their base, but if the defending team spotted anyone, all stealth camo was temporarily disabled, so a tactical approach was required for the good of your entire squad. I made a great group of friends through the game who I'm still in contact with today, and after playing for over 250 hours in total it was a genuinely tearful moment when we said goodbye to Metal Gear Online in 2012. Iain Wilson
The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
For me it's Oblivion. Over the course of around 18 months I clocked over 380 hours in Bethesda's third Elder Scrolls. I just fell for that world hard, having never experienced anything quite so open before. I just wandered mainly, stumbling on things, adventuring - not really setting out to achieve anything, just looking to see what was out there. I found side missions that turned into epic adventures, set off to see what was on the other side of distant mountains, and generally became a roaming adventure finding my own stories in dungeons and villages all over Cyrodiil. When I finally stopped playing it it was because I’d sucked the very marrow out of everything it had to offer. I'd basically becoming god-like, my ludicrously high-level character all but invincible. When a mission to steal something from a heavily guarded tower played out by me just walking in and taking the loot as 20 guards bounced harmlessly off me, I knew it was time to move on. Leon Hurley
This is kind of cheating because I no longer actively play Runescape, but the fact is I've yet to sink more hours into a single game. When I finally quit Runescape after five years, I had 198 days (4,752 hours) logged on my main account alone. And I still love the game, just from a distance. The version of Runescape I played in middle and high school is now Old School Runescape, and while it's still a good sandbox MMO, I just don't have the time or drive to grind like I did back in the day. But I do enjoy reading and learning about the updates it receives. I've even been known to hop into an Old School Runescape Twitch stream every now and then.
Apart from that, I have around 1,500 hours - or as Tim would call it, a sample - logged between all versions of Destiny. Austin Wood
World of Warcraft
It's kind of unfair to ask which game I've played the most of over the years, because while plenty of games come and go, World of Warcraft has been going for over a decade. Across all my characters, I've spent more than a year (that's roughly 8,760 hours) playing this game. I don't play quite so much anymore thanks to having adult responsibilities, but I've been a Warcraft player for basically half my life at this point - and that's not even counting the RTS games WoW sprung from! I was there when the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj opened. I fought to seal the Sunwell. I was there when Horde and Alliance laid siege to Icecrown Citadel. I escaped Gilneas and traveled to Pandaria. I traveled through time to an unspoiled Draenor and I fought back the Burning Legion on Argus. I've been with WoW almost every step of the way, seen it evolve from a bare bones grindfest to a... well, it's still a grind, but it's much less of a pain and there's way more stuff to do now. And while some expansions have missed the mark, I always come back for the story. I love the world of Azeroth, I'm always curious to see what challenges its heroes will face, and of course, I'll be right there beside them when they need me. Sam Prell
Team Fortress 2
Alex and Sam already have WoW well in hand (I think I've only clocked a mere 700 hours or so), and I'm always bemused by my second most-played game - because it never once felt like so long. Team Fortress 2 is, in my opinion, Valve's best game, with its nine unique, lovable classes that laid the foundation for modern shooters like Overwatch. Steam tells me I've spent 267 hours battling RED vs. BLU in Team Fortress 2 (mostly as the Sniper, Scout, and Heavy) - and no, none of that was spent idling to farm for hats or weapons. TF2 is just eminently playable even to this day, with brilliant map designs, a joyous atmosphere, and a ridiculous amount of control over your preferred playstyle thanks to all the sidegrade weaponry. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, I'm sure that playtime is a drop in the bucket compared to many - but even as someone who flits between games like a moth between light bulbs, Team Fortress 2 still appeals to me more than a decade later. Lucas Sullivan
Which game have you clocked up serious time in? Is Tim's Destiny playtime actually a problem we should be addressing? Let us know on Twitter.