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13 Best PC Games You Can Play Forever (2023)

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One More TurnSid Meier’s Civilization VI

Read moreHow often do you hunt through your PC game library for something different and end up playing an old favorite instead? New games can be a big commitment. It might take hours to decide that a game is not for you, and you have only so much free time. The thing is, it’s OK to play one game forever. PC games often have a bit more depth and staying power than their console counterparts, and you can usually add mods for a richer long-term experience. Our picks here have almost infinite replay value and can keep you entertained for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of hours.

More of a console gamer? Try our guides to the Best Xbox Series X/S Games, the Best PS5 Games, or the Best Nintendo Switch Games.

Updated June 2023: We’ve added Cities: Skylines, Total War: Warhammer III, and Rocket League and updated prices.

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Courtesy of Mojang

World BuilderMinecraft

Can you think of another game with the longevity of Minecraft? It’s surprisingly easy to get addicted to, so alive with creative possibilities that you can return daily for years and never exhaust them. Randomly generated worlds to explore combine beautifully with a survival challenge that drives you to build shelter, craft items, and defend yourself from monsters. The best Minecraft builds are awe-inspiring examples of what you might achieve, but there is a powerful social element, too, with the choice to play couch co-op or online multiplayer. 

Some multiplayer servers boast their own lore and dramatic story arcs that unfold on YouTube to enormous audiences. More than a decade old now, Minecraft continues to evolve, and a big part of its enduring appeal is its ability to be whatever you want it to be.

Courtesy of Firaxis

One More TurnSid Meier’s Civilization VI

Though I’m old enough to remember the original game, Civilization II was the first in the celebrated turn-based strategy series to get its claws into me. The “one more turn” mantra led to frequent all-night sessions that may or may not have impacted my college career. Oops. 

The absorbing challenge of guiding a fledgling civilization through exploration, settlement, discovery, and war over centuries in a struggle to dominate the globe is endlessly engrossing. The game has grown tremendously over the years, and the latest Civilization VI is every bit as dangerously addictive as its predecessors. You can spend weeks nurturing your chosen nation, but a part of the charm is how quickly the sting of defeat fades into motivation. You’ll always want to try again with the conviction that you will do better this time.

Courtesy of EA

Playing GodThe Sims 4

Truly a game without end, The Sims series is unlike anything else. Engage in some digital DIY, mold characters in your image, and sit loftily like a Greek god on Olympus, occasionally poking and prodding at your subjects to see how they react. Whether you want to nurture them and build happy families with fulfilling careers in idyllic neighborhoods or provoke a little drama and indulge in some weirder fantasies, the power is in your hands. 

The series has lost some charm, growing sanitized and commercialized with curbs on your darker impulses and endless expansion packs, but you can still get lost playing it for days on end. The modding scene adds to the considerable replay value, and it is refreshing and relaxing to play at your own pace. 

Ludeon Studios via Simon Hill

Space ColonyRimworld

Even after sinking 700 hours into Rimworld, I feel like I’m still learning. There is always more to discover and fresh strategies to test. Building a successful colony can be tough when you’re tending to a ragtag band of shipwrecked survivors on a hostile alien planet. Space pirates, giant insects, and wild weather test your endurance. Play as intended, with permadeath on, and your hard-won victories will feel all the sweeter for the people you sacrificed along the way. Simple 2D, top-down graphics don’t impede the complex stories that often pack a real emotional punch. The Royalty, Ideology, and Biotech downloadable content allows for new directions, and there is a lively modding scene, but you can play the vanilla game for years.

Rimworld was partly inspired by Firefly and Dwarf Fortress ($30).