The word hardcore when applied to gamers tends to paint a picture of a person who plays games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and Gears of War, not someone who sits with his little Nintendo DS and plays hours of Cooking Mama or Super Princess Peach. Believe it or not though, every hardcore gamer has his or her favorite game that they would rather not admit to others that they play, or even tend to feel funny while playing.
We call these our guilty pleasure games, and though there is nothing wrong with playing them, we still feel a little goofy or bad for playing them. You can't tell me that you haven't felt a little embarrassed when a woman on the subway leans over to see what you're playing on your Nintendo DS and gives a cute smirk when she is greeted by images of little critters digging for fossils in a cartoon environment or felt bad when you've spend 10 hours straight playing Civilization when you're friend wanted you to go out with them.
Never fear though, there are thousands of other gamers out there that are playing those guilty pleasure games too and to prove it, here's a list of the top 14 guilty pleasures of gaming.
14. Retro Games: Retro games are at number 14 on our guilty pleasures list because they aren't the kind of games you hide from your friends, but you definitely feel guilty playing them when you have over a $1,000 worth of next generation consoles sitting in your living room and you're still spending hours a day playing on your old Atari system.
13. Games based on movies, TV series or other licensed crap: I don't care how much you loved the tv series or the movie, if the game for it sucks, it sucks. If you love American Idol that much, you should expect the best of the game designers for your American Idol Karaoke game. Paula should be available to provide the voice and character model no matter how high she is. The producers should strap her to a chair and bride her with valiums to do her lines perfect if they expect to sell this game to the fans. Demand the best or they will just keep pumping out crappy games like X-Men: The Official Game or That's So Raven.
12. Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball Series: We all know you did't buy these games for the gameplay or compelling storyline, you really bought it to watch the bouncing fun pillows on all the DOA girls. If this game had been playable with one hand, there would be a lot of sad, sad guys sitting in their basements for hours on end with nothing more than a box of tissues and a bottle of Vaseline. Heck, I bet there are those of you that already figured out how to play it with one hand anyway. That's sad.
11. Hentai games: Deep in the box under your bed is your collection of Hentai games that you only play in the late hours of the night and even though you trick yourself into believing the girls in Peach Princess's X-Change 2 are actually above the legal age of consent, we all know that Michael Jackson would be on them like a fat kid on a skittle. No amount of added subtitles declaring the girls are calling each other sister and mother are just terms of endearment will change our minds. Don't ask how I know that people do that either.
10. Card Battle Games: We mocked the Magic: The Gathering players in high school but now you find yourself playing Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales and loving every minute of the game's card battle system. You picked up Metal Gear Solid Acid and tried to use the excuse that it was to keep your MGS collection up to date. Admit it, you were wrong about card battle games and now there are a few calls you need to make to some former classmates.
9. Pokémon Series: We've all bought a Pokémon game even though we hate to admit it. Even I bought into the hype and purchased a Game Boy and the three original Pokémon games when the series original came out. Heck, I even bought the trading cards, the TV series, and the movies, but in the beginning it was cool to have the Pokémon series. Now after several sequels, Pokémon is no longer cool but you shamefully keep purchasing the games because let's face it, "You gotta catch'em all!"
8. Anime Games: Naruto, Dragon Ball Z … as long as the fans keep buying the games, the companies will keep pumping out sequel after sequel, series after series, and you can't get enough. You know each character and their bio by heart. You make me sick. I bet you even cosplay at conventions, don't you?
7. Nintendogs, Tamagotchi or any other pet simulator games: You spend hours and hours each day training, feeding and playing with your cute little digital pets, while your real animals get fat and depressed because you would rather play with a bunch of digital fur balls then your real pet. Shame on you and shame on the companies that pump out these horrible ... oh look he's standing on his hinds legs. How cute! Umm ... what was I saying?
6. Harvest Moon Series: Instead of saving the world from Destructoid destruction, you spend your hours farming and taking care of animals; that's so cute. Harvest Moon, probably the most repetitive and goalless game I have ever come across, somehow manages to suck hundreds of gamers into its web of endless planting and harvesting, and we love it. Damn you, Harvest Moon and your cute little cows!
5. Animal Crossing Series: Another game that manages to suck us gamers in and force us into a slave like relationship with a raccoon. We spend hours and hours digging for fossils, delivering items to neighbors, and fishing. All for what? So we can pay off our mortgage to only get a bigger house and another mortgage? Will the vicious cycle never end?
4. Cooking Mama Series: Who needs a character with a power sword or gun when you can spend hours playing with a potato peeler? Yes, Mama has worked her magic on hundreds of gamers and has those working hours upon hours in her kitchen, threatening them with her evil eyes when they fail to meet her standards. Mama has convinced all of us that cooking can be fun when it's with a stylus and there isn't actually something to eat in the end.
3. Viva Piñata series: This game is truly the work of the devil with its piñata inbreeding, lustful piñata mating dances, and killing of innocent piñatas for profit. Much like the Pokémon games, we feel compelled to continue playing the game despite our feelings of guilt for each piñata we breed and sell for chocolate coins, because we have to obtain every type of piñata and every achievement goal. The very theme song calls to us in our dreams, demanding that we return to the garden and continue our quest to catch'em all.
2. Music Games: Whether your pleasure is playing Samba De Amigo, or tearing it up on the Dance Dance Revolution game in your local arcade, you wear these games like a badge when trying to pick up the hotties. You spend hours wishing you were a great singer or a famous dancer, but lack the talent to actual pursue your dream, so instead you settle for singing into your PS2 while playing Karaoke Revolution or entering the DDR contest at your local arcade, hoping that with practice you can one day try out for shows like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance? We look forward to your blooper clip.
1. World of Warcraft: From housewives to hardcore gamers, WoW has sucked in millions of people to fork out $59.99 for a game that they will then have to pay $14.99 a month to play for the rest of their lives, not to mention another $59.99 for the expansion. The game has been the apparent cause of failed marriages, shut-ins, deaths and slave labor for in game gold mining in foreign countries, yet we still continue to play it for several hours a day.
I bet even you have spent several days playing WoW while ignoring your homework, girlfriend or job and I bet you even were tempted to get an IV put in your arm and start wearing diapers in order to help you get your character to level 70 quicker. For being the most played and most addictive guilty pleasure, we give World of Warcraft the number one spot on our top 14 list of guilty pleasures in gaming.