If you're here and reading this intro, the chances are high that you're an avid gamer who puts many hours into your favorite hobby. But what we want to know is - what's the longest time you've spent playing a game in a single session? Have you ever stayed up until the wee hours trying to finish a game, or have you even pulled an all-nighter over a game you were particularly obsessed with? Whatever your answer, we're interested in hearing about it. The USgamer team are no strangers to staying up late to play games - here are their stories.
Most of my gaming marathons date back to the Golden Age of Arcades, when I was vying for record scores on games like Asteroids, Missile Command, and Defender. I'd hit my local arcade bright and early at 7:00 am, when the service people were there cleaning the place up for the day ahead, and I'd start playing my game of choice. The arcade was attached to a local nightclub, and stayed open until around 2-3:00 am, enabling me to play uninterrupted for about 19-20 hours. I did that a bunch of times, notching up some pretty huge scores on my favorite games.
However, I think my most intense gaming session was with Railroad Tycoon back in the early 90's. I remember starting up Sid Meier's classic early on a Saturday morning, and becoming more and more obsessed with it as the day wore on. The game was brilliantly designed so that things started out easy, but became increasingly complex as you built a railroad network across the country, ferrying goods and passengers around to earn money, while competing with other railroad companies for business.
My first game ended in failure when I was put out of business by my competitors, so I started another game immediately, and this time fared much better. As day turned into night, I built a huge railroad empire, constantly upgrading my tracks and trains, and making ever-more-efficient delivery schedules that kept the cash rolling in. And I kept on playing until the very early hours of the morning, when the game finally ended after 100 in-game years.
It's for this reason that I don't dare play games like Civilization. I'm sure if I did, I'd become totally sucked into its action, just like I was with Railroad Tycoon.
My first guess was probably a game of Civilization. Maybe one of the titles I have to marathon for review like Grand Theft Auto V. In the end, I'm going to go with World of Warcraft, because I'm rather sure I have a number of periods during my Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King raiding days where I spent all day on leveling or progression raiding.
For example, many don't really remember how long Karazhan was back in the day. It's a huge, winding dungeon with multiple paths and a total of 12 bosses. Before players had all the mechanics down and were beginning to outgear the instance, a Kara run sometimes took multiple days.
I remember running headlong into Karazhan. I was on a PVP server as the Horde, so even getting into the instance required a blitz towards the gate and hoping the Alliance didn't kill you before you zoned. After the 30 minutes it took to get everyone in the instance, the clear began. Attumen the Huntsman was a pretty easy clear, but beyond than, the fights would get hectic. There's the coordination needed for the Chess event, avoiding the murder of your group with the Flame Wreath on Shade of Aran, or taking on the Big Bad Wolf in the Opera event. Stupid deaths from falling. And lord, trying to clear Prince.
Looking back, I can't really say any fight was really hard, but learning them took time and effort. I spent an entire Saturday with my raid group banging our heads against Karazhan. Most of it was just trying to finish off Prince; hours spent close to win, but not actually clearing him. I'd say that was around 19 hours in total? Counting leaving the instance to restock and whatnot. I recall those moments with some fondness, but I'm glad I longer have to live that life in WoW. I leave that game to the youngins.
I've been to my share of LAN parties that have lasted through the night. But I think my longest ever gaming session was with WarCraft III, which I played obsessively for a torrid summer in 2002.
At that time, I was working nights for campus security, which usually meant that I didn't get home until around 8am. Most sane people would go straight to bed, but I was so hooked on WarCraft III that I would sit down and just start playing. On at least one occasion I played all the way through the morning and well until the evening, fending off fatigue for at least one more game.
Eventually, I got so tired that I started making basic mistakes, at which point my 2v2 partner told me that it was time to go to bed. I grudgingly switched off the PC and collapsed. Given the opportunity, though, I probably would have continued right through another night.
Eventually school started up again and I had to give up WarCraft III, though not by choice. My roommate took the computer when they moved out, and my laptop couldn't run WarCraft III, so I had to go cold turkey. In the end, it was probably for the best: If I had been able to keep playing WarCraft III, I'm not sure I would have finished school. But a few months later, I found competitive Pokémon...
Oof. Long gaming sessions have always been a challenge for me to even attempt. When I was young, my family had one TV and my dad and I constantly battled each other for access, like tigers circling around meat. And by the time I was old enough to afford my own TV, I had to sink an increasing number of hours into schoolwork and part-time jobs. Finally, I tend to feel crummy and cranky when I spend too much time marathon-gaming.
I still managed to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from morning until dusk the day I secured it, though. I skipped school, picked up the game, and went straight home. I played and played until suddenly I woke up and realized my parents were due home from work at any minute but I’d failed to walk the dog, put on dinner, or perform any of my after-school chores.
Well I got in trouble, but at least I saved the Deku Tree that day. Wait, no I didn’t. He died anyway.