10 Most Severely Addictive Video Games Of The Last 10 Years

You will fish for mackerel for hours on end for Tom Nook, and you are gonna like it!

Final Fantasy XIV
Square Enix

One of the classic stereotypes of gamers is our addiction to our hobby, but it takes two to tango, and games have long since mastered the art of the "one more try" mentality.

From the classic arcade games and their intentionally implemented sudden difficulty spikes meant to siphon kids' hard-earned quarters, to recent, far more predatory methods like Live Services and microtransactions, half of game development is just asking "how do we keep these kids coming back for more, forever?"

While I'd love nothing more than to turn this into another screed against predatory measures, this list will instead focus on the good version of game addiction, where clever game design and specific appeal are all a game needs to keep you coming back for more.

These games, all released - or were at least at their most prevalent - within the 2010s, managed to siphon away all of your time and/or money.

10. Elden Ring

Final Fantasy XIV

Applying the soulsborne formula to an open-world game was a stroke of genius, as Elden Ring is one of the undisputed kings of "just one more try!"

The Lands Between is one of the more fleshed-out and fully realized worlds in gaming history, where every stretch of land, every abandoned shack, and every babbling weirdo you find in a cave tells the story of this murdered world.

Elden Ring understands, like the other open-world games on this list, that one of the best ways to keep people coming back for more is to subtly clue them in that there is indeed more there, and make them care about the prospect of finding it. And if there happens to be an obstacle in the way like, say, a giant nightmare creature made of hair, eyeballs, and hatred that one-shots you, all the better.

Now the player is curious, now they wanna get stronger, so they can see what's so damned important to have an eldritch abomination acting as a bouncer. And thus, the rest of the game is explored, and more secrets uncovered, and more bosses are encountered. The player is hooked.

And all without nickel and diming them at every turn, funny that.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?