Some say that fear is the mind-killer, but these people have never experienced boredom.

We’re not talking about the blissful time where you decide to do nothing and enjoy it. It’s about the times when you want to do something, but nothing seems cool. A dreadful slog making minutes of your free time feel like hours as you try to find something exciting to tide you over to the next batch of duties or a more adequate time to go to sleep.

When boredom strikes, finding a good video game can be a great shield. Only video games offer “having something to do”, “having something to watch”, and “having something to think about” mixed in different proportions so that you can get the concoctions matching the mental state boredom induces in you.

To help you along this path, we’ve compiled a list of games which can be used as an improvised weapon against boredom at any time. We mostly focused on titles which work well both in short bursts and longer sessions, so you won’t find slow-burn games, or finite, linear experience. All the games on the list are long-lasting and offer awesome replayability.

Ten long-lasting games which can dispel your boredom

GameReleaseGenreDeveloperSale
Hotline Miami 2 Wrong Number Digital Special Edition 2015-03-10 Adventure Dennaton Games 78%
Hotline Miami 2012-10-23 Adventure Dennaton Games 45%
Enter The Gungeon 2016-04-05 Adventure Dodge Roll 62%
Papers Please 2013-08-08 Adventure 3909
Celeste 2018-01-25 Adventure Matt Makes Games Inc. 69%
Control Ultimate Edition 2019-08-27 Action Remedy Entertainment 70%
Cuphead 2017-09-29 Indie StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc. 26%
Doom Eternal 2020-03-20 Action id Software 85%
Ftl Faster Than Light 2012-09-14 Adventure Subset Games 60%
Minecraft Java Edition Minecraft Key Global 2013-11-19 Action Mojang 32%
Deep Rock Galactic 2018-02-28 First-Person Ghost Ship Games 58%
Grand Theft Auto V 2015-04-14 Adventure Rockstar North 62%
Rimworld 2016-07-15 Indie Ludeon Studios 4%
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Special Edition 2016-10-27 Adventure Bethesda Game Studios 75%
Vampire Survivors 2021-12-17 Luca Galante
Mortal Kombat 1 2023-09-19 Fighting NetherRealm Studios 49%

FTL: Faster Than Light

Release date:2012-09-14
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Subset Games

FTL: Faster Than Light is an extremely compelling game you could spend any amount of time with, at any moment, and drop it as fast as you can pick it up.

It’s a powerful mix, and an excellent first choice if you are feeling a bit bored and want to get the brain juices flowing, because it is far from an easy game, but each playthrough is different and presents different possibilities.

FTL: Faster Than Light

In FTL you’re a captain of a spaceship carrying a crucial message across the galaxy. You’re in charge of assigning crew to workstations, responding to crises, commanding the ship during battles, and representing the crew in narrative events. In other words: it’s a bit like running your own Star Trek ship, with pixel-art graphics, procedural star map, and complex mechanics to engage with.

Key features
  • Simple graphics, complex gameplay
  • Ridiculously absorbing, once you get into the swing of things
  • You can start a new run quickly, and quit just as fast once your boredom is over
  • Become a captain of a ship carrying data which can save the Federation from its enemies

Minecraft

Release date:2013-11-19
Genre:Action
Developer:Mojang

Minecraft is the kind of game that can offer you many different experiences, and it’s up to you what you want to do.

You could go absolutely bananas in the Creative mode, building structures and reshaping the land like a god struck with artistic purpose. Or you could go into Survival mode and eke out a living by fighting tooth-and-nail over every scrap of security and self-sufficiency.

Minecraft

Despite the game’s simple, cube-based aesthetic, the systems go both broad and deep, but engaging with the full complexity is entirely optional. Even if you don’t build weird Redstone contraptions, you can still have a functioning carrot farm, establish trade relations with a nearby village, or create enchanted gear to raid deep caves and hellish dimensions.

Key features
  • Two core game modes: freeform Creative and Survival being exactly what the name suggests
  • Much more complex than the aesthetic would suggest
  • Complex crafting system powered by tons of different resources and tools
  • Massive procedurally generated worlds with diverse biomes and points of interest

Deep Rock Galactic

Release date:2018-02-28
Genre:First-Person
Developer:Ghost Ship Games

Unlike FTL or Minecraft, playing Deep Rock Galactic doesn’t come bundled with potential commitment.

First of all, it’s mission-based, so you’re already given an easy-to-manage structure. Second, the missions themselves come in many types, and often they offer optional objectives you could ignore or pursue at your leisure depending on what mood strikes you.

Deep Rock Galactic

On the other hand, commitment can be rewarding. The space dwarves you play as come in four classes with their own gear progression, there are weapon mods, and universal perks to unlock. But in the end, it’s a game about going into alien, procedurally generated caves in a massive asteroid and using the tool at your disposal to mine all the resources you can get for fun and profit.

Key features
  • Many different missions types, from simple mining to asset recovery operations
  • Four distinct classes with very specific niches to fill
  • A good, non-invasive sense of humor
  • Lots and lots of cosmetic and mechanical unlocks

Grand Theft Auto V

Release date:2015-04-14
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Rockstar North

While Skyrim further down the list is in a similar bag of broad experiences, Grand Theft Auto 5 is a better choice if you prefer a setting more realistic than high fantasy with dragons.

GTA5 is an excellent third-person open-world action game featuring three criminals who need to reconcile their differences, because the mess they got themselves into is too big for any of them working alone.

Grand Theft Auto V

The fictional city of Los Santos is a pointed mockery of Los Angeles, and you’ll see the full vertical slice of it, from the glitz and glamour to the seedy slums. A fantastic feature of the game is that you can smoothly switch between the three protagonists, and cause mayhem (or enjoy side stories and minigames) in their shoes. Hard to be bored when you get the police on a five-star alert chasing you.

Key features
  • Large open world with a sprawling city and the surrounding area
  • Tons of activities you could spend time with the outside of the plot
  • Three distinct protagonists you can switch between
  • An Online segment if you somehow run out of things to do in singleplayer

RimWorld

Release date:2016-07-15
Genre:Indie
Developer:Ludeon Studios

RimWorld is a wonder. A spiritual descendant of Dwarf Fortress, it has its magnificent ancestor’s propensity for generating incredible anecdotes you’ll be amused by for a long time.

See, you’re running a developing colony on an alien planet, and the colonists you have to work with are a mix of good and bad traits, which can often result in highly entertaining, and rather disrupting chaos.

RimWorld

A RimWorld playthrough run as long as your colony survives, which might vary greatly depending on your performance and the AI Director managing your experience. The cartoonish aesthetic and a top-down view provide just enough abstraction to make losing a colony less painful than realistic graphics would be, and it certainly makes things easier to manage and oversee.

Key features
  • Inexhaustible anecdote generator
  • Several AI directors to choose from, all with different ideas on what makes a fun playthrough
  • Complex systems
  • Easy to pick up at a moment’s notice

Rocket League

Release date:2015-07-07
Genre:Race
Developer:Psyonix, Inc.

Rocket League is distilled fun, it can’t be described in any other way.

A single match takes just a few minutes at most, but once you experience the ridiculousness of playing soccer with jet-powered acrobatic cars you’ll want to stay for two, three, eight more matches. It’s a silly premise, sure, you it’s fun if you’re only starting out, and it’s fun if you’ve already mastered the controls and tactics.

Rocket League

You could play 1v1 all the way to 4v4, and car soccer isn’t the only option. There are modes inspired by ice hockey, and basketball too, as well as a way to customize the experience with alternative ball shapes, gravity changes, and more. Rocket League is video games at their purest, and any sense of boredom is guaranteed to evaporate the moment you put a hat on your car.

Key features
  • Have you ever played small-team soccer with a jet-powered car?
  • Cars can be customized with attachments, different jet streams, and more
  • Several game modes
  • Very quick, intense matches with a low entry threshold and very high skill ceiling

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Release date:2016-10-27
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Bethesda Game Studios

Skyrim is, in some ways, similar to Minecraft, in the sense that it is happy to let you be self-motivated and do something you find fun in the moment.

You can launch it, decide “today I’m going to make magic potions” and base your entire playtime around it. Next day, when you get bored of alchemy you can decide that you’re going to be a thief and rob people blind.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Of course, there are also dragons to fight, a Civil War to take a side in, guild quests, and dungeons, but they all play into this wonderful ability to just go do something that sounds fun in the moment. This freedom makes Skyrim an experience that can not only fight a general boredom, but also stave off being bored with the game itself, just because there is so much you could be doing.

Key features
  • Skills improve organically based on what you’re doing
  • You could pursue crafts, become a mage, build and decorate a house, and more
  • Great expansions adding new regions and new mechanics
  • Skill-based progression: no fixed classes locking you to a single playstyle

Vampire Survivors

Release date:2021-12-17
Genre:Indie
Developer:Luca Galante

Vampires Survivors is probably the most hand-off game on the list.

It’s perfect for the deepest pits of boredom where you can barely scrounge up the motivation to do much thinking or planning. In VS you’ll spend most of a “run” simply moving your character around. Characters attack on their own, so your job mostly boils down to avoiding direct contact with monsters and picking upgrades.

Vampire Survivors

It’s not a complicated game, all things considered, but as it often happens, complexity and skill are there under the surface for those who seek them. Finding a winning combination of weapons and items can be a challenge of its own, and gearing up to deal with the run-ending boss is something that requires knowing the game quite well. But you can just ignore all that.

Key features
  • Pixel-art aesthetic inspired by classic Castlevanias and top-down perspectives
  • Dozens of characters to play as, each with a different progression and starting gear
  • Meaningful persistent progression
  • Very simple moment-to-moment gameplay perfect for low brain-battery moments

Mortal Kombat (series)

Release date:2023-09-19
Genre:Fighting
Developer:NetherRealm

There is some beautiful simplicity to launching a fighting game like Mortal Kombat and crushing a few skulls to feel boredom skulk away fearfully.

The series’ roster of fighters includes the full weirdo-to-professional spectrum, and the highly technical, spectacular duels (or tag-teams, as the case might be) are sure to get your mind invested and your blood pumping even before you earn a Fatality.

Mortal Kombat (series)

The MK games have a bit of a convoluted story, but the upcoming (at the time of writing) Mortal Kombat 1 is a sequel/reboot, establishing a new timeline stemming from the ending of Mortal Kombat 11. If it sounds weird, it’s because it is, but you’re not going to be too lost if you hop into that new MK right away. Or, you know, you could start with MK9 and go from there.

Key features
  • A series of excellent, and brutal, fighting games
  • Interesting roster
  • Convoluted, but highly entertaining B-movie storyline
  • If extreme violence doesn’t interest you, give Street Fighter 6 a shot

Hades

Release date:2019-12-10
Genre:Indie
Developer:Supergiant Games

Coming back around to the genre we started with as the last entry on the list.

Hades is a ridiculously good roguelike action game about Hades’ son Zagreus trying to run away from his father’s domain for reasons you’ll discover quickly enough through conversations with the game’s many NPCs, including the Olympian gods lending their support to your escape attempts.

Hades

Your moveset is simple: move, dash, normal and special attack, plus a magic blast, but once your Olympian family starts granting you divine boons their basic functions expand significantly, providing basis for always spectacular, and potentially devastating builds. You also have six weapons, each with several unlockable variants, which will help you make it out of the Underworld.

Key features
  • Excellent, precise action game with an isometric camera
  • Massive build potential through persistent progression and per-run divine boons
  • Makes plenty of deep dives into the less known reaches of Greek mythology
  • Losing is still rewarding, as you get more chances to talk to NPCs

Boredom? More like boregone

So ends our list of games that don’t get boring anytime soon. You could always rely on them to have you back when you’re feeling bored and need something fun to do at a moment’s notice. From mission-based games to open-world sandboxes, from rogue-likes to action games, there something that could provide quick excitement to anyone and deliver a jolt of energy to tackles whatever else is left to do.

Hopefully, you’ve found something that matches your preferences to have on standby whenever a dull moment rears its ugly head during your day.