The following list will detail ten games that, despite not being conventionally great or exciting, still managed to get their hooks into players for dozens of hours. They hail from all different genres and earn a mention here for a variety of reasons.
Some of them are slow by design, and the mundanity is part of what makes them special. Others are just plain bad games saved by multiplayer or cooperative play because even falling into an erupting volcano must be more pleasurable if friends are around. Lastly, a select few horrid titles lack multiplayer, but possess a unique charm capable of gluing players to the screen for the duration of the campaign. Additionally, what one finds boring may be endlessly intriguing to others.
10 Mario Party
Since the series' inception on the N64, the Mario Party games have received almost universal jeers from critics, yet sequel after sequel kept popping out from Nintendo.
Too many minigames rely on button mashing and the roll of the die means victory is mostly determined by luck. Playing with friends is the only thing saving this title from the garbage heap. At the same time, competition can ruin friendships.
Maybe it was Mario's malicious plan all along to destroy families and relationships.
9 Goat Simulator
To be perfectly clear, Goat Simulator does not accurately portray the life of goats. There is no purpose or objective, only the ability to roam around the map as the animal and cause as much destruction as possible.
Some decry the product as being more popular as a meme than having any value as a game, but those who played cannot deny the charm in its simple premise. No word on what the goat community has to say about it, though.
8 Duke Nukem Forever
After the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever was cancelled, Gearbox Software picked up the bill and completed it. The end result is a game that feels like it should have come out at the turn of the millennium.
For some, this is not a bad thing. The pop culture references and juvenile behavior for which the character is known returns in full force. It lacks Duke Nukem 3D's labyrinthine level design, though enough of the prior game's DNA sticks around. It's a good game by only a painfully stretched definition of the word, but it is fun at its core.
7 Earth Defense Force
This series is notorious for its budget production values. It never admits to being anything more, however.
Blasting away giant aliens invading the city won't fool anyone into thinking it's a AAA title, though the player won't be concerned with this when they are having so much fun.
The press is usually split on the series. Some of them see it for what it is, while others criticize its production values and jank.
6 Crash Bash
Crash Bandicoot's PS1 trilogy are three of the finest platformers to ever grace consoles, and the recent remakes prove how well they hold up. Miraculously, Crash Team Racing turned out to be a worthy competitor to Mario Kart. Just like the Nintendo mascot, the animal's foray into the party game space was a similar disaster.
However, few things are more enjoyable than going through the game's story mode with a co-op partner. There are significantly fewer minigames than in Mario Party, but they are more skill-based. The game is also surprisingly tough, so expect to roll up your sleeves and focus on the task at hand.
5 Alpha Protocol
Western RPGs are expected to be wonky at launch, but Alpha Protocol crossed a line with its surplus of bugs and unrefined mechanics. Underneath all its flaws, however, is a unique experience taking a genre usually reserved for fantasy or science fiction settings and putting it into a contemporary spy thriller.
Additionally, the player's choices factor more heavily into the plot than in most of its contemporaries. All these pros kept Obsidian fans hooked, helping them look past the flaws.
4 Animal Crossing
The only real objective in Animal Crossing is paying off the debt to Tom Nook, and even that has no time limit. Players spend their days engaging with the anthropomorphic townsfolk or doing any number of activities, all of which are mundane tasks like collecting fossils or fishing.
When describing it to someone who has never played it, they can't imagine how this could be enticing. The only solution is to have them create their own villager and start a virtual life of their own.
3 Eat Lead: The Return Of Matt Hazard
Comedy is hard for video games to get right. Some get too dirty without any real substance, while others don't understand the meaning of subtlety. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard's meta premise of a washed up video game character making a comeback leads to some hilarious jokes throughout the campaign.
Unfortunately, everything else, from the movement to the aiming, is poorly designed. The bad game design just adds to the appeal. After all, old video game characters have a hard time adapting to modern conventions. In a way, the game's quality enhances the story.
Some gamers cannot get into Shenmue, and that's completely understandable. Some want to fly away to fantasy settings and go on thrilling adventures. Yu Suzuki's series runs contrary to these ideas, instead putting players into a grounded Eastern Asian setting in the 1980s. Combat is a feature of the gameplay, but most of the time is spent searching for clues by talking to people in the streets and investigating areas.
To earn money, one must work menial jobs like moving crates by the harbor or driving a forklift. Shenmue III sees a return to form for the series. It won't help attract modern gamers, but it's exactly what long-time fans were hoping for.
1 Death Stranding
To get any confusion out of the way, Death Stranding is a modern masterpiece. At the same time, one couldn't be faulted for saying it's boring. The majority of the game involves transporting cargo between places, with the occasional stealth segment and even less frequent shooting levels. However, walking through the barren world and using paths others laid down before is simply magical.
The cherry on top is the story, told through expertly crafted cinematics and text documents such as interviews and emails. Figuring out how to traverse tough terrain is not designed to feel like a high octane action sequence, and we feel sorry for anyone without the patience to enjoy this serene experience. They are missing out on one of the most unique big-budget games in years.