Dark Souls is certainly going to be a difficult juggernaut to defeat in this category.

Dark Souls is certainly going to be a difficult juggernaut to defeat in this category.

Other Screen Play award articles:

2013 was a solid year for new game releases, but there are still some games released in previous years that we have not been able to stop playing, or which have such persistently positive word of mouth that they keep being discovered by new players. We present...

The Van Halen Award for the Older Game That We're Still Playing

Okay, obviously the winner is going to be Dark Souls - I do read your comments, you know - but let me talk for a moment about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Skyrim may hold the record for being the game that has devoured more hours of my time than any other. My count on Steam is around 400 hours now, and amazingly I still have never finished it - this is one game where the joy of exploration and discovery is better than the mediocre story.

I recently made the very foolish mistake of booting it up again and finding that my save game had been corrupted, so I started a new character. I also installed a pile of user-created mods that greatly enhance the Skyrim experience, improving the visuals, enhancing combat, expanding the armour, weapon, and spell selection, and much more.

Another game that's been kept alive in 2013, and coincidentally another one with a great sandbox world that was far more enjoyable than its official story, is Just Cause 2. There is a little mod with a boring name - JC2-MP - that is revolutionising what was already an amazingly fun game.

JC2-MP, which has been in limited beta for over a year, has just officially launched, bringing multiplayer chaos to Just Cause 2, a game that had previously been exclusively single-player. If you have Just Cause 2 on PC, should really should check out this remarkable mod.

Then there's our inevitable winner, Dark Souls. First released in 2011, a sequel of sorts to the PS3 exclusive Demon's Souls, this is a game that is unrelentingly brutal, unforgiving of mistakes, and adored for it. I put off playing it for a long time, as I tend not to enjoy really difficult games (I like to have fun, not feel like I'm working) but I made a start on it early this year and enjoyed it. It is one of many games I plan to catch up on during the post-Christmas lull.

So, how about it readers? Does Dark Souls win, or are you still banging away at some other older game? Nominate your favourites in the comments below.

The 2013 Screen Play awards are based primarily on user-suggested categories. On Friday 20 December, all winners will be announced.

 - James "DexX" Dominguez

twitter Screen Play is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez