Last week Ravanel made an interesting post titled "The games I love to play" and then she asked her readers what games they love to play. I decided that instead of doing my usual and just making a gigantic comment on her blog, I will instead make a post here as an answer. Specially because the games I am going to list aren't necessary the games I love to play as much as games I tend to go back to when certain moods hit me and I just don't have the energy or patience to try something new. They are kinda like comfort food for me, they are familiar, they keep me distracted and help to recharge my energies, so to speak.
I will also list what kind of mood I tend to have when I decided to play these games for the millionth time as that will probably give it a better context.
Mood: Social Butterfly, Building
Nowadays I don't have much reason to play MMORPGs anymore besides chatting and doing something fun with my friends. But even with that I can be pretty picky about the games I am willing to play. As I always say, there is only so much good friends can compensate for a bad game. And Everquest 2 just happens to be the only game we can all agree to play without anyone complaining (much) about it.
When I am not out in the world pretending to be an adventurer I am most likely inside an in-game house seeing if I can build something cool. I can't say I succeed at it but I have fun nonetheless!
Mood: Puttering around, getting a fix for my mod addiction
Skyrim isn't a very deep game. It isn't even the best one in the series (Morrowind is, in my opinion). But it did a few things better thanis predecessors and still has a very vibrant mod community producing some very interesting mods. And what depth Skyrim lacks the mods certainly try to add. To make a terrible analogy, it is Skyrim is like bread. It is ok by itself but isn't very tasty (unless it is french bread which I love even it is just by itself) but add some other food to it (mods) and it becomes quite tasty (interesting). So I love to see what kind of interesting things people come up with and how they change the game experience.
It is also nice when I don't want to follow a rigidly, linear story and just want to wander around the world doing whatever comes to mind. Maybe I want to play a noble warrior who fights to protect people. Maybe it is an amoral thief who wants to make money any way he can. Or maybe it is just a guy that pokes his head inside tombs and caverns to see what is inside. Really, it is dependent on what my insane mind feels like playing at the moment.
The Sims 3
Playing as a Mad Scientist, Storytelling, goofy, non-violence, random challenge
The Sims 3 like Skyrim is another game that by itself has a lot of issues. Thankfully there are some mods that fix that to make it more interesting. One of those that I wouldn't be able to live without would be Story Progression, which does a better job at what the game's Storyteller system was supposed to do, i.e. making the inactive sims in your homeworld have some semblance of life. So the world around my sims household is off doing their own stuff and I like to see how it changes and evolves as time goes on. I also like to make my sims household with some theme or goals in mind and then see how they end up interacting with the world. It is kinda like being a mad scientist who pokes at something just to see what happens.
Doing challenges people make-up for the game can also be fun as it makes me try playing in certain ways I would not usually try. They also help me to understand better the game's mechanics.
To Crush my enemies. See them driven before me. Hear the lamentations of their women. Strategy, building a civilization
I like to play Civilization V when I feel like building something from nothing and see it progress and prosper. The problem starts to happen when the braindead diplomacy system kicks in and then the AI starts to denounce and trash talk me me every other turn for some stupid reason. Or some other civilization declares war against me for some stupid reason. Or they build some world wonders I wanted. Or they are too close to a victory. Then I am starting a war with them and when that is over it is another civilization who ends up doing it and before I know it half the civilizations of the world have been conquered by me. Which is kinda sad because I prefer more the building part of building a civilization and researching new technologies. I will admit though it can be fun to beat an annoying rival though.
With XCom it is a bit more of a pure strategy feel. It can be fun to start up with a technological handicap making every decisions in a battle against aliens count. Then as the game progress, you start to research the alien technology and adapt it to your soldiers the fights get easier, there is a bigger margin for error. There is also the part where throughout the game losing even soldier can hurt as replacing them is not easy so you need can't just try to throw more soldiers at the problem. Plus Mech Troopers never get old!
There is more...
Those are the moods I tend to have the most and the games I tend to go back to more often. But there are also other moods I have like playing a more stealth game or one just purely for building or racing and so on. Unfortunately I haven't found yet a game for those yet where I can just launch and immediately have some fun. It might just be due to my lack of familiarity with the game or some gameplay element with it that just doesn't make it attractive to keep going back to it time and time again. So those are a lot more dependent on what is going on in my life at the time. But I often find some ways to scratch those itches though.