2012 had some of the longest games ever released, if you look past all the shorter iOS applications that became proliferous this year. Being a timesink isn’t necessarily a bad thing—in fact, just the opposite. Here are five games of 2012 you’re sure to get your money’s worth out of.
5) League of Legends
Inspired by a popular Warcraft III map, this game was released in 2009 and continues to grow in popularity. This year, it was impossible to avoid the game in conversations with other gamers, earning it this spot on the list despite its age. The game is free and generates revenue through a microtransaction model, which might seem like a poor decision, but seems to work well for Riot Games. Addictive at its core, don’t try this game without putting a couple hours aside.
Although Minecraft has been around for several years, its constant updates make it worth playing continuously. This year brought more mobs, more redstone manipulation, more crafting ingredients, and more recipes—almost transforming it into a new game entirely. The next update is bound to have fireworks as well, just in time for New Years. Even exempting the amount of content, you’re more likely to spend your hours building monuments and castles in the randomly generated landscape. If that’s not enough for you, there’s hundreds of mods available, the best packs being Tekkit and Technic.
3) Pokemon Black and White 2
Although the campaign length of a Pokémon game hasn’t changed in years, the amount of end-game content took a huge increase with this game. Collecting hundreds of medals is now required for completing your trainer card, and the variety of activities means you don’t get bored as you collect them. Along with that, everyone knows EV training and IV breeding the perfect team takes hours on end if you want to play competitively. There’s also a plethora of Dream World Pokémon only available through online gameplay. This is the biggest timesink for me this year, personally, and probably will stay that way until the next Pokémon game.
2) World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Getting to level 85 is no joke in the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion. Adding a new playable character class and race, the expansion also features several new areas and creatures to defeat. One of its most interesting additions is an NPC auction house that posts generally rare items for a cheaper price than you could find elsewhere. Although the game starts slow, it still stands as one of the best WoW expansions, if not the best.
What would this list be without Skyrim? Although it was released last year, Skyrim released tons of DLC this year to sate gamers who somehow managed to plow through its hundreds of hours of gameplay. Laced with plenty of new content, the DLC expansions included the ability to buy homes, ride dragons, fight vampires or become one, adopt children, and explore the old island of Solstheim in a new and complex plot. The amount of new content is absolutely immense, and XBOX 360 owners have the luxury of enjoying all of it.