Every gamer has several titles in their library that, for various reasons, they are embarrassed to share with others. Oftentimes the game is not critically received or is simply viewed as too “casual” for a serious gaming enthusiast to admit to be playing. However, clearly these games do offer redeeming qualities as audiences just can’t help themselves but play them. Despite a mounting pile of AAA releases waiting to be discovered, gamers will continue to devote time to these 10 guilty pleasures. People may not want to admit that these games are good, but actions reveal otherwise.
10. Guitar Hero
It was once the most popular game in town, but after the rhythm music genre quickly become far too oversaturated, Guitar Hero and its cousin Rock Band saw their bubble burst. Originally released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Guitar Hero includes a controller peripheral that resembles a guitar. Becoming a rock star was an overnight success and Guitar Hero flourished for several years. However, when the rhythm genre saw a drastic reduction in popularity and gamers also began shunning controller peripherals, Guitar Hero suffered such poor sales that the series was put on hiatus. When the series was rebooted in late 2015 with Guitar Hero Live, it was seen as “uncool.” Those that can’t resist the series know the reality that being caught with a fake guitar can be embarrassing in some circles. But as one of the best guilty pleasures of all time, it proves to always be worth digging out those guitars from their hiding spot for Guitar Hero.
9. Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution, abbreviated DDR, is developer Konami’s music game series that proved to be a monster hit. Originating in the arcades in Japan, DDR was a party phenomenon and soon made its way to home consoles with the use of a soft plastic dance pad. The game was a bestseller and inevitably made its way to North America on multiple platforms. While the series is enormously successful, serious gamers tend to frown disapprovingly of DDR and its gimmicky peripheral mat. These gamers don’t know what they’re missing because DDR offers unique gameplay and tremendous fun you can’t have anywhere else, along with great music to dance along to. The game also offers stamina benefits; playing the songs on a higher difficulty level is a real workout routine. Gamers shouldn’t be ashamed to play Dance Dance Revolution because this guilty pleasure deserves more positive recognition.
8. Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons
A farming simulator, this series simply sounds embarrassing to play. Of course, anyone who has been playing since the Super Nintendo’s initial release of Harvest Moon 20 years ago can attest that there’s more than meets the eye. Addictive, deep and rewarding gameplay resides in each title and it’s very easy to get completely sucked into the game. As for the name ambiguity, the series was originally known as Harvest Moon, but in 2014 became known as Story of Seasons. Prior to 2014, the series was translated and published in North America by Natsume. But once publisher XSEED Games gained the rights to the series, it was rebranded as Story of Seasons. Story of Seasons is a guilty pleasure because the game contains what reality would refer to as chores and hard work. To the outsider, this makes the games appear unappealing and not fun to play. As gamers have shown since 1996, tending to crops and livestock is a lot more fun than it sounds.
7. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Lego video games have consistently offered high quality, accessible gameplay, along with endearing characters and visuals. The series has been an underrated gem for a while, and Lego Star Wars is the greatest example of its high quality. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga chronicles the first six Star Wars films with the charm of adorable Lego bricks. The game isn’t overly difficult as its target audience is certainly a younger crowd, but Lego Star Wars is amazing fan service for any Star Wars fan and offers simple, fun gameplay everyone should be seeking. Because the core market for the game is children, anybody who hasn’t had the joy of experiencing Lego Star Wars is likely to easily dismiss it as a kids’ game. Naturally, this leads this outstanding game to become a hidden gem, as older players commonly want to hide the fact they play the game. This is an absolute shame because Lego Star Wars offers one of the finest Star Wars experiences anywhere and deserves more recognition as a game that appeals to all ages.
6. Candy Crush Saga
It may not be the most revolutionary game ever made, but developer King’s match-three game is one of the most engrossing puzzle games ever made. Originally released as a Facebook game, Candy Crush Saga was an instant-hit and was quickly ported to mobile devices, where it has routinely resided atop the most downloaded games on the iOS and Android marketplaces. Candy Crush Saga is immensely popular and became a generational hit. However, nobody seems to want to admit they play the addictive game. Perhaps it’s because of the game’s roots to Facebook, or that the game now arrives pre-installed on Windows 10 Home devices, but there is a negative perception surrounding Candy Crush Saga in the gaming community. Candy Crush Saga may contribute to the trend of in-app purchases that many games now offer, but it is a tremendously fun game and one of the best guilty pleasures around.
Pokemon is a series that naturally appeals to a younger generation due to its colorful anime graphics and variety of creatures with interesting names. But what happens when children who played Pokemon grow up? Inevitably, many of them begin to become embarrassed that they continue to enjoy this RPG series. This is a shame since Pokemon contains very deep mechanics and engrosses players in the endless amount of builds they can generate for their party. Pokemon RPGs are great games and deserve to be enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately, Pokemon is a guilty pleasure as gamers don’t often disclose that they own a copy of the cartridge to their friends who don’t play the series. That’s simply the way the series is viewed in society and that’s not likely to change, which is very unfortunate because very few games offer the combination of accessibility and intricacy that Pokemon does.
4. The Sims
The Sims is the video game equivalent of playing God and appeals to a wide variety of gamers. Its soothing, addictive gameplay proves supremely entertaining and has left many players with an addiction to The Sims. Being able to drop in for 15 minutes during a busy day is the perfect recipe for a player involved in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. Unfortunately, this level of “casual” gameplay has led a vocal section of hardcore gamers to voice their displeasure at the series. Somehow, a small group’s disapproval of the series has earned The Sims a poor reputation that it appeals only to non-gamers. This is entirely untrue, as The Sims is a fantastic experience for everyone and shouldn’t be dismissed. However, society seems to dictate that The Sims is a guilty pleasure because many fans of the series continue to hide the fact that they play the game.
3. World of Warcraft
The urge for more and better loot is a fulfillment that nearly every gamer is familiar with, yet World of Warcraft continues to be viewed with a negative connotation. Indeed, it is one of the most popular video games in the world, yet gamers routinely de-emphasize how much they play of it. People may be ashamed of just how much they play or they adopt the popular crowd opinion that grinding is unenviable. But World of Warcraft offers significant appeal for everyone, ranging from addictive gameplay to comradery, where many groups of friends have been brought together through the social interaction platform that World of Warcraft presents. Once gamers discover World of Warcraft, they never stop since the revolutionary game has proven just how enticing the rewards of leveling up and completing quests can be. World of Warcraft is one of the best guilty pleasures around and will have a lasting impact on the industry.
2. Call of Duty
The enormous mainstream success of the Call of Duty series is largely to blame for the hardcore gaming crowd shunning the video game giant. It is one of the most popular series in existence and has entered American lexicon. In 2015, the game significantly outsold both other major holiday shooting games, as Halo 5 and Star Wars: Battlefront lagged drastically behind in sales. Halo 5 sold well as an Xbox exclusive, but even on Halo’s home console Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 sold over 1.5 million more copies. How does a series that’s so popular qualify as a guilty pleasure? Call of Duty is viewed negatively for several reasons. Due to how often new titles are released, Call of Duty is viewed as a series that offers yearly rehashes. Secondly, Call of Duty is wrongly viewed as containing mindless mayhem and is often associated with the “casual” crowd. Call of Duty is dependable fun with an increasingly-engrossing campaign and addictive online play. It is well worth revisiting for those that have previously abandoned the series.
1. Animal Crossing
It’s not uncommon to pour over 100 hours into an Animal Crossing title, as this addictive game proves to never get old. Nintendo is the master at providing games that appeal to players of all ages, and Animal Crossing is no exception. Unfortunately, the public perception seems to be that Animal Crossing appeals more toward children than adults. Furthermore, the perception is also that female players comprise the majority of the gender demographic. It’s a mystery why an adult male should feel embarrassed to play one of the best series of games available, but alas, Animal Crossing has earned a reputation that seems impossible to shake. Animal Crossing is an amazing series that features open-ended gameplay and a real passage of time. It’s the best guilty pleasure in the industry and one of the overall best video game series.