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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Longest time spent on a single-player game

Readers reveal the single-player games they’ve spent the longest on, with hundreds of hours spent on the likes of Skyrim and Monster Hunter.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader 84Colbat and includes time spent replaying the same game multiple times, rebuying it when it’s re-released on new formats, or simply playing the same save for a long while.

Although many professed to not having enough time nowadays everyone seemed to have a story of spending hundreds of hours on at least one game or another, with some even getting to over 1,000 hours.

Play it again, Dovahkiin
I think this has got to be Skyrim for me. I don’t know how many hundreds of hours I spent on it with the original version on the Xbox 360 but I’ve subsequently played it on both the Switch and PlayStation VR too.

I know there were many before it, including Oblivion, but Skyrim was the first open world role-player that I got into and while I’ve enjoyed some since, including Fallout, it’s Skyrim that sticks in my mind the most. The world might not be that big now, compared to more modern games, but the whole thing is so well designed, with a secret around every corner and so many memorable side quests and characters.

I really don’t think Bethesda has come close to equalling it since and I think they know the difficulties of doing so and that’s why The Elder Scrolls 6 is taking so long. I don’t know how that’s going to turn out but I know that I’d be perfectly happy playing Skyrim again if they decide to do a PlayStation 5 remake.
Crank

Focused choice
The single-player game (or games) I have spent the most time on playing is Sonic The Hedgehog 1 and 2 on the Mega Drive. We only owned six games at the time of the Mega Drive era because of the games being so expensive and being in my early teens with no regular income.

I didn’t complete many games in the Mega Drive and SNES era as I found games to be quite difficult, but Sonic 1 and 2 I completed multiple times as I had a lot of time on my hands during school holidays with a small selection of games, so you just replayed the same games over and over again.

I don’t do that so much nowadays with modern games, as you get games like Red Dead Redemption 2 which I enjoyed but lasted about 70 hours on one play through.
Andrew J.

One dozen more goes
I recently spent 50+ hours going through all the difficulties in the first Devil May Cry so I could platinum it, which was quite a time commitment for me (especially as I’m not the best at it, so I died loads!) but overall I think it still has to be Resident Evil 4.

I played it at launch on GameCube, then over the years on PlayStation 2, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Switch!

I think the multiple formats have helped me rack up so many playthroughs but really, it’s because the game is so brilliant. I just can’t help returning to it regularly, plus you can really lose yourself to ‘One more go!’ of The Mercenaries mode!
LastYearsModel

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Fond memories
The game I’ve spent the most time on is definitely Forza. I put about 200 hours into each release since Motorsport 2, and it’s practically the only game I pre-order or get a ultimate edition of, mainly so I can take the release day as holiday and play it all day.

A friend sadly died a few months after the first Horizon game was released. I keep multiple old Xbox 360s, so I get to see his paintjobs and even race against his ghost sometimes when I need to. I wish there was a way to download that data so I could treasure it on that box.
RIP JohnnyCor3

Running total, dood
This is one of the easier Hot Topic discussions, as the obvious answer for me is Disgaea 5: Alliance If Vengeance on the PlayStation 4, which I have logged a total of 1,973 hours.

As you might imagine I managed to platinum the game earlier on but carried on playing in order to (one day!) defeat the hardest boss battle in the game, that is outside of the Trophy challenge list. Or sometimes to indulge in a little nostalgic familiarity, rather like re-watching a favourite film.

Strictly speaking I may have equalled the above mentioned total through playing more than one version of the original Disgaea 1, but due to hitting the 1,000 hour limit on the time played counter in the PlayStation 2 version I’ll never know!

In response to this same topic a few years ago I found that I had completed around 4,800 hours on the various versions of the game series, so my running total is now probably around 7,000 hours.

In terms of play time for other games I am quite happy to spend up to 100 hours or so in a sizable role-player or less than 10 in a much shorter game such as Ico. It’s all about quality, and of course what you get out of the game according to personal taste.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I hold down a job and do see my fair share of the outside world, as much as we can at present. I just tend to watch very little in the way of regular television and am in fact second screening the news as I type this.

I always enjoy reading these pages for all your contributions, even ones that I do not agree with, especially in these current difficult times.

Keep up the good work everyone.
Joe90

Pikachu, he chooses you!
I don’t have my DS anymore to check but I’m pretty sure I maxed out the timer on Pokémon Pearl because I played it so more. So I think that means more than 1,000 hours.

I know that sounds like a lot but it didn’t really seem like it at the time as I rarely played more than a few hours at a time. It certainly helped while away a holiday or too though and I was always happy to come back to it and to trade with friends (it’s still basically single-player though). I haven’t played anything for so long since though, not even the newer Pokémons, so I guess maybe it just came at a good/bad time for me.
Conrad

A game for grown-ups
I picked up Mount & Blade: Warband four years ago in a PlayStation 4 sale for around £6, having read online about the amusing time people were having with the faux-medieval sandbox game, and have played it on and off ever since.
Many people would take one look at it and declare it the worst PlayStation 4 game they’d ever seen, and in some many ways I’d be hard pushed to argue.

The graphics were bad when it came out, never mind now, there’s no story (if that’s important to you), the artificial intelligence is dreadful, the first few hours of the game is invariably spent being pounced on by bandits and dragged around the map before being spat out with nothing, having to start from square one… I could go on.

And yet.

All of the above is part of the charm. You start with your own created character, adhering to the unspoken rule that they must be as physically repulsive as possible, and name them with an expletive in their name because the game lets you (I am 31). You level your character up so you can have a larger army of increasingly endurable soldiers, steamrollering the arrogant lords of rival factions, seeking revenge for losses earlier in the game.

The thrill you get when a more powerful faction declares war on you is immense, as you defend a city against an army by standing next to the top of the sole ladder they inexplicably brought for thousands of them to traverse, mindlessly swinging your axe time and again like a knock-off Gimli. Your troops cheering riotously in victory, even if there are 200 of them on horseback and they’ve slaughtered six peasants from a nearby village.

Gaining enough power to eventually betray your chosen faction and found your own kingdom named after a crude synonym for a reproductive organ suffixed with ‘-land’ (yes, I am nearly 31), your faction’s colour spreading like an evil margarine over the map as more and more cities fall to the inexorable march of *land. Again, I could go on (and already have, my apologies). After all that, I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It’s not for everyone.
Nathan
Currently playing: Mount & Blade: Warband with my new character, Bessie Mulhearn.

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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