#1 Posted by BigSocrates (584 posts) -

I realize this is kind of a weird request, but I'm looking for the best games to play while doing other stuff at the same time. I'm in a situation this summer where I'm involved in an activity that requires much of, but not all of, my attention (Think a series of conference calls where you need to know what's going on and sometimes respond, but don't need to focus on every word and can sort of half pay attention for longish stretches.)

I'm looking for games to play during these periods that will not be too difficult, absorbing, or distracting, basically something to do with my hands and a little bit of my attention. I also can't play multiplayer stuff because there will be periods where I need to pause and give my full attention.

It can't be something like an RPG with a deep and involving story, or anything too intense because I will completely zone out the audio and focus on the game. I'm looking for mildly involving, pleasant experiences.

Here's what I have so far:


NCAA 2012: Perfect, Extremely repetitive and nothing unexpected or super involving ever happens. Unfortunately I've gotten pretty sick of it.

Banjo-Kazooie, first 2/3ds: The laid back exploration elements of this game were great, but some of the later levels involve platforming or puzzles that require a bit too much attention

Prince of Persia HD Collection: The platforming here is pretty good and the lowish difficulty + time rewind is nice, but the games are a little TOO good in general and I've found myself sucked in at times.

Lego Star Wars: Nice and pleasant and not too challenging or anything.

Not so good:

Xbox Minecraft: I find myself getting too involved with creating interesting spaces or figuring stuff out. This is also why I probably don't want to go with something like Tropico that would otherwise seem almost ideal

Skyrim: This would seem almost ideal, especially doing something like working on smithing or whatever, but the intensity of dragon attacks and interesting quests appearing make it problematic for this purpose

Borderlands DLC: Once again too much intensity. I get drawn in to some of the more frenzied firefights and stop paying attention.

This is not the first time I've used games like this, but it seems like the current generation offers fewer experiences you can just sort of half play while focusing on other things. There's too much voice acting or too many peaks in the action. I'm just looking for something nice and relaxing to help pass the time while I'm doing other stuff.

#2 Edited by Rebel_Scum (979 posts) -

CoD because who cares about kill/death ratio

#3 Posted by NeoGamer (158 posts) -

Racing games in general, from Gran Turismo to Burnout. I always play them while listening to podcasts, it's perfect, you can really focus on the race but still get 100% of the talk.

#4 Posted by CannonGoose (394 posts) -


#5 Posted by DoctorDanger99 (745 posts) -

i usually boot up my vita. just yesterday while watching E3 i was half playing DISSIDIA and DRACULA X. good times.

i cant really half play a console game. but i was playing resident evil 2 the other day my N64 while talking to my girlfriend. then again, i know that game like the back of my hand.

#6 Posted by Superkenon (1590 posts) -


#7 Posted by Grissefar (2905 posts) -

Pretty much any game after the first hour. You're going to miss stuff, but you can always replay your thing a couple of times. I always do that with bombcasts. Good games for this include MW3, Dark Souls, Ninja Gaiden 1 and Kingdoms of Amalur. Just skip or skim dialogue, or pause your thing if you really, really want to. I wouldn't recommend Yakuza 4 though, as the story there is good and there's a ton of it.

#8 Posted by Metzo_Paino (351 posts) -

Diablo III on the easiest difficulty, if you get into trouble when you need to pay attention to something else dying has very little detriment. You could go through with the different characters, and the ones that interest you you could play on the harder difficulties in your spare time.

#9 Posted by believer258 (13374 posts) -

CoD multiplayer


Easy/simple racing games

Kingdoms of Amalur sidequests

Early Crash Bandicoot titles



Anything you've already played and beaten. Darksiders has become my podcast go-to game because once you've beaten it you don't need to hear it.

#10 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

Minecraft on peaceful and civ v

#11 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

I was doing what the OP described with the livestreams yesterday while playing Diablo 3. Works fine as long as you're not in a party.

#12 Posted by TobbRobb (5406 posts) -

Yeah I think hack and slash loot games like Diablo/Torchlight/Titan Quest are the best for this kind of thing. Torchlight is extra good, since it's balanced for solo play and isn't very hard for most of the game. Diablo has more replayability though, if this is something you need to spend a LOT of hours with.

I guess you aren't interested in games like Monster Hunter or Dynasty Warriors right? Because those fit the bill fairly well too.

#13 Posted by Marcsman (3430 posts) -

For me it's Disgaea 4

#14 Edited by jakkblades (422 posts) -

Every game. I don't give a fuck about dumb low-rent sci fi stories any more. Every game not made by Ken Levine or Rockstar gets firmly and permanently muted.

Edit: Also strategy games are off the list of good podcast games. It seems like a good idea but there's far too much thinking that has to occur which is impossible while being seduced by radiolab's audioengineering or by the dulcet tones of your favorite Bombcast personalities.

#15 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8020 posts) -

Yeah racing games, especially those events that take like an hour to complete, once you have to course down you can just go through the motions and stop paying close attention.

#16 Posted by Joey_Connell (61 posts) -

Rune factory or Harvest moon games can be played while paying very little attention to them.Also a turn based game ala valkiria chronicles will allow you to turn away from the game when necessary. It's easy to return to because battles take place in smaller areas then most turn based games and never get to hectic

#17 Edited by TheSquarePear (280 posts) -
#18 Posted by Kidavenger (3992 posts) -

WoW is pretty much the best game for doing other things while playing, I never had a backlog of movies to watch or podcasts to listen to until I quit playing WoW.

#19 Posted by RedRavN (418 posts) -

Diablo 3 is pretty great for this, at least on normal and nightmare.

#20 Posted by Hunter5024 (6542 posts) -

Castlevania SotN

#21 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8734 posts) -

MMO's or stuff like Diablo/Torchlight.

#22 Posted by Irvandus (3138 posts) -

WoW, Minecraft, Diablo early on, any multiplayer shooter (Unless you competitive), TOR. MMO's are great for it, in fact I can't play MMO's anymore without having something playing in the background.

#23 Posted by Giantstalker (1976 posts) -

Two posts in a row where I plug EVE online, what are the chances.

Just mining or doing missions though, half attention in low/null PvP and you'll go boom (unless you're in a Drake).

#24 Posted by bananaz (269 posts) -

Dawn of Discovery, Anno games more generally. Civ games and anything similar.

#25 Edited by Slurpelve (685 posts) -

Most sports games

Torchlight for me


#26 Posted by DrColeslaw (34 posts) -

I play Madden and NCAA Football with the sound turned down and listen to the Stern show all the time. Play by play for those games is awful.

#27 Posted by Galiant (2224 posts) -

@BigSocrates: Anything turn-based, like Civ V. I suppose Diablo III would make for a great alternative if you're not interested in how the story plays out.

#28 Posted by Svenzon (848 posts) -

@TheSquarePear said:


It's half racing game, half chat room with music!

So seconding this! For a racing game, it's really relaxing. Also, dubstep!

#29 Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious (1679 posts) -

League of Legends. That's why you have a team.

#30 Posted by joshthebear (2704 posts) -

Any of the Skate games. Riding around the city to find good lines is extremely satisfying and requires very little attention.

#31 Posted by Pink_o_mat (221 posts) -

Civ, Disgaea, Red Faction

#32 Posted by mshaw006 (581 posts) -

I think games like Super Meat Boy and Trials Evolution would be best. Those are what I play when listening to bombcasts, and I can always keep track of both pretty well.

#33 Edited by Canteu (2968 posts) -

Pokemanz and almost all turn based tactics games.

#34 Posted by Raciend (68 posts) -

MMO's. WoW, SWOTOR, LoTRO (free to play on steam btw). Civ 5, Total War games (if you don't care about the combat part, like me). JRPG's are also for the most part good for this, just grind levels while watching TV!

#35 Edited by Anund (1063 posts) -

World of Tanks! Perfect to play in a window so you can surf a little on the side, keeps you from getting bored while hiding in a bush somewhere.

#36 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

I do that with every game i play. My brain just turns off for some reason and i have to consciously think about shit, when I'm not playing games i can't stop thinking. Which is why games are the best.