I take great pride in the number of games I play each year. I know that’s a silly thing to say, but the knowledge I gain from playing so many games is invaluable both for critiquing them and figuring out which ones we should cover here at Game Informer. In years past, after watching the credits roll on a game, I immediately moved on to the next one. I would rarely devote extra time to side content unless I absolutely wanted to see everything the game had to offer. I was more concerned with staying on top of all of the big releases. In the eight years I’ve chronicled what I’ve been playing, I’ve completed over 50 games each year as an average. The number of games I sample is well in the hundreds in each of those years as well. In each of these games I eventually reached a point where I felt like I should move on to something else. I’ve hit that point with every game I’ve put my hands on.
Well, almost all of them. In my 30-plus years of gaming, I have not been able to shake two titles in particular. I have played Overwatch and Clash Royale almost every day for the last two years. I’ve never stuck with any game that long, and yet I continue to play two releases from 2016. Their allure has nothing to do with making progress or unlocking new things – although getting new heroes to play does elevate the amount of time I spend in each game. Their staying power comes from the sheer enjoyment I get out of the base games. They are always fun to play.
In Overwatch, when a match begins, I’m fully engaged, and never once do I feel like I’m growing bored of the map of heroes. I find myself fascinated by the team dynamics (or lack thereof.) A team that is working together and communicating can put on a show that is as complex as it destructive. If the team isn’t working together, I then search for solutions, almost like a plumber trying to stop a pipe’s leak. Even after suiting up as Pharah (my main) for over 355 hours, I am still finding new strategies for her. Blizzard has done a fantastic job of keeping the content fresh with new modes, timely events, and seasons.
Clash Royale scratches a similar competitive itch, but is different in that it makes me feel like a skilled tactician or chess player. The timing and positioning of troop deployment is well designed and vital to success. You have to be on your game with every single move you make. One error could cost you the match. The matchmaking almost always pits me against a foe at the same skill level, and I rarely know how those matches will conclude until the clock reaches zero or the final tower crumbles. I’ve used the same deck for well over a year, and haven’t gotten sick of it. I get a huge kick out of seeing my strategies work.
I’ve sunk 529 hours into Overwatch, which is roughly 22 days of my life, and netted 3,556 victories in Clash Royale, a feat that took a serious time commitment, although each match is roughly three to four minutes in length. I’ve tried to convince myself that I should move on from both games to use my time to play other things, but I keep coming back. Thoughts like “I’ll just play one Overwatch match” often leads to me playing late into the night, and getting my clan together to push higher in the Competitive ranks. When I’m not at home and find myself looking at my phone, a Clash Royale match is always in my mix between checking the news, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve found a match is the perfect length for waiting for a coffee at Starbucks.
I’ve jokingly started calling Overwatch and Clash Royale “my forever games.” The idea of putting either one down for good seems unlikely at this point. There’s a chance I may drop Overwatch if the new consoles hit and Blizzard doesn’t allow my progress to carry over from Xbox One to whatever its successor is, but I doubt Blizzard will let a new machine affect its player base. Until the next great thing comes along and steals my attention, I’m going to continue playing and loving these games.