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Top Five Comfort Games

October 5, 2006 By Glenn Turner

Like food, games can provide comfort in a time of need - be it a need for something familiar or just a quick pick-me-up after a particularly distressing day. Here's a list of my current favorite stick-to-your-ribs games. You should chime in with yours in the comments!

1) Burnout 3 - Burnout 3 allows me to experience a perfect storm of visual and aural noise. It's not just the engrossing Road Rage mode, which pits opponents against each other in a shunt-vs-shunt auto-porn fest, but the custom soundtrack which rivets me. I grind fenders to the tune of Jim Thirlwell (I prefer driving to his classic 'Pussywhipped' remix of Front 242's 'Religion', Asche ('Riding On The Atomic I.C.E.' is always a lark), Haujobb (nothing's better than the 'High Frequency' remix of 'Dream Aid') and even Sleater-Kinney ('Entertain' is surprisingly fun to crash to) and more. While sober, it completely fuels my gaming cells. While inebriated it overcharges them. Nuts to Burnout Revenge's traffic-checking madness, Burnout 3 incites real vehicular drama that moves my very core.

Burnout 3

2) Guitar Hero - It's no secret that I love Guitar Hero, and the hours and hours I've spent playing the game make it particularly suitable for a day that require mindless winding-down and external reinforcement of just how hard I can rock. After a few playthroughs of Take It Off or Unsung, I can't help but find myself gleeful despite a day of horrendous events.

3) Mega Man 2 - This Capcom classic has been with me since I was a kid, and I know it like the back of my hand. I'm sure that, if blindfolded, I'd somehow intuitively be able to maneuver through the levels, but I'd much rather be able to view it in all of its 8-bit goodness and remind myself of the good times.

4) Samba de Amigo - Call me crazy, but I actually prefer playing this with the Dreamcast controller instead of the maracas. Of course, that might be because we've never been able to get our maracas to work properly, but hey, I feel I can better reach "the zone" and be a more precise maraca champion without them. Plus, no matter how many drinks I have, it's always fun and never infuriating. Lastly, I bowl better thanks to Samba & Ricky Martin, and that's nothing to scoff at (okay, some maybe it is - but just a little)!


5) Zoo Keeper - Yet another game I've been vocal about. Its puzzle-ways have properly numbed my mind in times of need, and I suspect it'll do so many more times. Is it derivative? Sure. Have any recent casual game managed to out-shine it in my mind? No way.

And the runners-up:

1) Crazy Taxi - Sadly Burnout 3 has stolen its vehicular thunder, but I occasionally return to it when I'm shunt-ed out. A pulsepounding soundtrack and excellent energy keep it from being completely lapped though!

Runner-up 2) Viewtiful Joe - Sadly, there's only room for two excellent Capcom platformers on this list, and Joe's just a bit too recent to get anything but bronze.

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8 comments for ‘Top Five Comfort Games’

#1 Benedict Oct 5, 2006 01:56pm

1) Soul Calibur. Probably the definition of a Comfort Game, but it was extremely fun. I never really played multiplayer, but the single player mode was enough for a ridiculous amount of fun
2) Sonic Adventure. A somewhat odd choice, but to this very day, I will pop the disc in and run through a few levels and bosses. Playing the Lost Highway stage will make any day much better.
3)Rome: Total War. Another odd choice, considering the depth of this game, but I honestly will still go and play the campaign mode when I get home and just veg out in front of it.
4)Homeworld 2. Now, I haven't played this in a while, but since it came out to whenever I stopped, I would go through the custom battle mode constantly. It had a somewhat throw away story at times, but the use of the third dimension for RTS maneuvring was very fun.
5) Advance Wars. Yes, a third strategy game. It's not so much that I love strategy games, as they're a big part of my quick play template. I love to go in and play a level of this amazingly fun and stylish game just a bit every now and again.

#2 breakbread Oct 5, 2006 08:48pm

In no particular order:

1) Fallout 2. The way to make an RPG. I feel like the possibilities are endless with this game, and maybe they are. Easily one of the greatest RPG systems ever implemented.

2) Rome: Total War. What can I say? I love sandbox strategy games, and Rome: Total War is the best example we have so far. Every campaign is different, and there are so many variables at your disposal that make it easy to get lost in this game and find yourself still playing at 3 in the mornin

3)Soul Calibur. I've always liked to call SC a strategy fighting game. There's so much more depth to this game than any fighting game. It's easy for me to just sit and play this game for no other reason than it just makes feel good. Guard, guard-parry, guard-cancel, front, side, back: so many variables that open up so many different attacks.

4) Chrono Trigger. It's not so much the gameplay as it is the story. Even after all this time I look back at the story in that game and it simply comforts me. I love how light-hearted it is, yet at the same time there are serious undertones.

5) coming later...

#3 WholeFnShow Oct 5, 2006 10:00pm

My choices are fairly predictable given the genre they all fall in.

1) Bust A Groove/Bust A Groove 2. Easily some of my favorite game music ever in both games, and they really don't take a ton of effort. The first considerably less than the second, which can take your reactionary senses for a ride at times. Either way, it's like controlling a show more than it is like playing a game, so it definitely takes the edge off a long day.

2)Rez. I regard the last level of Rez as the best final level of any game I've ever played. For having so little to it, overall, it allows so much pleasure in playing it over and over. It probaly isn't healthy overall, but I tend to feel sleepy after playing. Maybe it's the hours I put in, I dunno.

3)Phantom Dust. I'm lucky to be able to hop on XBL and find a good couple of people to face when I get the urge. But when I do get the opportunity, it's always a bright, flashy, and pretty, explosion filled romp. Keyword being Explosions.

4) Space Channel 5/Space Channel 5 part 2. The soundtrack is, once again, the drawing point for this selection. I somehow haven't unlocked everything in both games, and refuse to see exactly what I need to do to get the stuff. (This fact adds lots of replayability to all of my games) Just like BAG 1/2, it's basically an interactive show.

5) Monster Hunter: Freedom. I get to go out and kill various dragons. Also, the following:

And because sometimes you can't be too sure they're dead

Such a quirky game with a nice simple soundtrack that isn't too bad either. Oddly enough, if you put headphones on while playing this game, you get the feeling you've got surround sound going on. It's a really lush aural experience.

Honorable Mentions:
Wipeout: Pure. Pretty and a great soundtrack.
Wrestlemania 2000. The Penultimate wrestling video game.

#4 yearoftheflea Oct 8, 2006 11:04pm

1. Unreal Tournament 2004
2. Guild Wars
3. Shadow of the Colossus
4. Any Tribes Game
5. Soul Calibur II

#5 presleye69 Oct 9, 2006 09:20am

I've got a mix of PC and PS2 titles and they are as follows:
1. Battlezone - Easily the best mix of strategy and first person simulation. This game is almost 10 years old and still nothing has come up to match it. Build your offensive and defensive resources, manage raw materials and participate in missions. You could command teams ala Command & Conquer and also lead missions and snipe enemy pilots ala Battlefield 1942. And this was in 1998 !!
I keep wishing someone would pick up this game from Activision and create a worthy sequel. Battlezone 2 was a complete let down and was obviously rushed to market without a good understanding of what made Battlezone so popular.

2. Quake 3 Arena - First game to really get the arena style, never-stop-running, jump-twist-shoot style of game play so common now. If this game didn't invent the style, it sure did perfect it. When all you want to do is blow somethin' up, this is your game.

3. Soul Calibur - This game seemed to have the best balance of features, moves, atmosphere and playability. Whether you played as Cervantes or Kilick or Soung Mina the game gave you new reasons to keep comming back.

4. Return to Castle Wolfenstien - This was a fantastic sequel to the first-original first person 3D shooter. The sequel had a great ambiance and very good game play. The levels weren't too hard or too easy. The plot was not too involved, but deep enough to keep you interested. Good mix of weapons and lots of fun moments.

5. Half Life 2 - Since this game came out I've played it many times. Even after Far Cry and Quake 4 and Doom 3 and Area 51, this game still stands alone. The plot and graphics and weapons and scenery are all amazing. The variety of required skills and techniques to advance keep the game challenging. I'll be enjoying this game for years to come.

#6 Soup Oct 11, 2006 04:42am

1) Day of the Tentacle: I think this was the first game where I laughed uproariously at the onscreen occurances. Thank the gods (and SCUMM) I managed to find a CD copy of this game at a yard sale.

2) Metal Slug X: A remake of Metal Slug 2. I used to slide quarters into this coin-munching cabinet every day after school. Even now the simple but skillful gameplay never fails to brighten my day.

3) Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory: Free WW2 class-based shooting fun. Get your kicks panzer after panzer, constant airstrikes, or sacrificing youself to stick your teammate with a revive syringe. Mindless gameplay at its best.

4) Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: With its timeless gameplay and soothing graphics, playing Wind Waker is like remembering that daydream you had when you were in grade school, where you jumped into paintings.

5) Disgaea: Somehow, this Strat-RPG made grinding fun for me. I'm _still_ working on getting my party up to level 1000. (haven't played the sequel yet)

Runner up 1) Puzzle Fighter. My friends and I would unwind with this all the time. It's runner up only because I never got around to buying it (It was only fun against other people).

Runner up 2) Halo/Halo2: Again, I don't own the game, but I won't turn down a chance to run through co-op.

#7 Robot_named_Jake Oct 11, 2006 06:50am

one word...Worms.

#8 Grimson Oct 12, 2006 01:06pm

Listed in no particular order:

1) Secret of Mana: This was kinda my first game I really liked as a kid and it was sort of my first foray into rpg's. I loved the weapon and magic system which made all sorts of combinations of attacks possible. The story was merely okay, but it still provides some good stress free fun to this day.

2) Worms Armageddon: something so satisfying about selecting armageddon mode and blowing up the enitre landscape, seeing how few worms survive.

3) Heroes of Might and Magic III: I think this was arguably one of the best might and magic games. It has a pretty simple formula that can keep me engaged for a long strethces of time if I'm not careful.

4) Curse of Monkey Island: the puzzles are fun and the artwork pleases me. Plus the music was great.

5) Call of Duty: One of the few FPS I could really get into. I generally really only liked the single player, because after ever break I took from that game all the hardcore players kept getting too good to play on, but the campaign mode still entertains me.