Weekend Hot Topic: Longest ever gaming session

Readers discuss the longest they’ve ever played a single video game for, and what they did about issues like eating and going to the toilet.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Tolly, who asked what’s the longest you’ve ever played a game without any substantial break. Did you purposefully set out to play for that long and if so, what preparations did you make for it?

How long is long varied for each person but the most common reasons for an extra length gaming session were chasing achievements and being alone for the night.

Nerdish decadence
The longest I ever did was a little under 30 hours. I started on a Friday evening, playing Bloodborne, and I got so into, while enjoying a surprising amount of success, that play all the night through and ended up going to bed on Saturday at a normal time (well, a bit early to be honest).

I’ve always been a bit a bit of night owl and still play until 3 or 4 in the morning without too much trouble. This time I was so drawn in by the game though that I just couldn’t stop myself. My girlfriend was away for the weekend, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone else, just where I was going to make a break for the toilet because, it being a From game, you can’t pause at any time.

Once I realised the way things were going I found a safe space to stop and organised “dinner”. By which I mean I found every bit of junk food I could in the kitchen and brought it into the living room next to me.

To be honest being a slob like that was kind of a enjoyable and I revelled in the nerdish decadence of it all. I got really far in the game too, broke the back of it, so to speak, and to be honest it’s one of my cherished gaming memories. I’ve never really had the chance to repeat it though because, let’s face it, it’s not the sort of thing you’d want to do if there’s anyone else in the house.
Cosmo

Christmas memories
The longest session I can recall was an absolutely marathon eight or nine hours on Zelda: Ocarina Of Time back in 1998, which went on until the wee small hours. I played it solidly for three weeks after receiving it on Christmas Day and it’s a wonderful, nostalgia filled memory.

There were breaks, of course, but I certainly wouldn’t allow my own children such an indulgence. It was great fun though and consisted mostly of the Shadow Temple and the legendary Bongo Bongo boss with the hands bouncing you up and down.

My gaming sessions have definitely shortened as I’ve gotten older, although there have been a few epic ones nonetheless. XCOM, Dishonored, Subnautica, and Elden Ring immediately spring to mind.
Mark Fitz

Sunday Knight session
The longest gaming session I ever had was about six hours. That might not seem that long to most people, but I only tend to play in one hour bursts as my eyes start to tire after an hour. However, there was one very rainy Sunday afternoon where I had to do something to quell my boredom, so I just went on a huge session playing Batman: Arkham Knight.

I had already finished the main story and was going for the platinum anyway but I knew under normal circumstances I had quite a way to go. This Sunday afternoon session though got me through a significant chunk of what I had left to do, and I had a good time doing it all.

I’ve always found the Arkham games to be one of the best when it comes to side missions and collectibles with the Riddler trophies, which are sometimes little puzzles. By the end of the day I had got the platinum and it was a Sunday well spent.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing : Metroid Dread (Switch), Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters (Steam Deck), and F1 22 (PC)

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Half a day
Despite the fact that my sleeping patterns are all but ruined now, my longest session remains Skies Of Arcadia when it was still new over 20(!) years ago now…

I think I must have started fairly early in the afternoon; I was unemployed and had plenty of time on my hands so I may have been at Daccat’s Island at the beginning of the day – a dungeon that sees your party split into two teams of two and ended just as Galcian raises Soltis, destroying his base of Dangral Island under the clouds in the process.

I just could not tear myself away! It was about half-three in the morning when I saved and quit. Other than pauses for food and calls of nature, that would have been easily over 12 hours!

Can’t do that these days. Games. They’re a young man’s game, ey?
DMR

The great war
My longest ever single gaming session was on Advance Wars around 15 years ago.

Myself and three other friends were playing via the Game Boy Player on GameCube. We always made our own map and this took around an hour or so on its own.

We started in the early evening and there was no real breakthrough for a long time. In the early hours I snuck into the party host’s HQ and took his army out in one move with Sami’s Super CO power. He went to sleep behind the sofa after this, which poured fuel on the growing fire of accusations from the other two friends that he simply let me take his army out.

A few hours later and the sun comes up. The other two friends took me out and then another couple of hours went by before there was a winner.

The friend who had gone to sleep had woken up, gone to work and told us to lock the door and put the spare key through the letterbox.

It was around 14 hours total before there was a winner. That repeated theme tune is seared into my memory.
Sami

Game unknown
Probably about eight hours. I regularly play for two to four hours a day if I have a single-player game I am working through.
TommyFatFingers

GC: Steady on, you don’t have to go into that much detail.

Never again
My longest gaming session is around five hours and anything up to that time, though that’s usually because I feel as though I have had enough by then. Longer gaming sessions are usually reserved for moments of breakthrough in overcoming something or needing to find something out before I got to sleep.

I could imagine in the far past (of which I never timed myself) that I’d have been on for up to six hours, before my parents decided I needed to do something else, like have tea or do housework.

I don’t have time to do that regularly now and three to four hours is normal now. I feel time goes by so quickly in real life but jumps to warp drive when you’re in a game!

My absolute longest, as two achievements were involved, was surviving for five and seven days, respectively, in Dead Rising. The Xbox 360 had to be on for over 14-odd hours or something, which is seven days in game time. If you mess up, which I did, you have to start again! I also forgot to feed myself in time and died of starvation.

I was absolutely drained and practically starved myself in the real world whilst trying to survive in the game world. Tactical breaks for eating and bathroom visits were needed as well, due to no pauses in the game and the fact that the in-game time continues regardless.

But boy it was fun and a huge gaming success in my eyes. The other success was that my Xbox 360 survived also, despite the possibility of overheating problems. But otherwise, four to five hours at the most, on a normal gaming session, Is all I can do now.
Alucard

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tolly, who asks what’s the longest games session you’ve ever had.

Put simply, what’s the longest you’ve ever played a game without any substantial break? Did you purposefully set out to play for that long and if so, what preparations did you make for it?

Have you ever sat down to play and been surprised by just how long you’ve been there once you finished? Did you consider this a good thing and generally speaking what’s your preferred length of time for a gaming session?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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