Then I spent $40 on a pledge for this Star Citizen, which I suspect I'll spend a lot of time playing over these next few years.
Just read up on Star Citizen and I've become interested as well. Have you ever played or heard about Escape Velocity Nova? It sounds somewhat similar to Star Citizen, though EV Nova is single-player only.
I found EV Nova to be highly engrossing and fun; it's a free roaming space trader / space combat game with RPG elements. It's shareware, so you can download the full game and play about the first 50% of it for free, with the option to $30 for a license that unlocks the full game, with all the special missions and spaceship outfits and what-not. And you can use the same license for the universal binary mac version (the game was released in 2001, and there's an x86 mac version! bless those devs hearts :P), or the windows version, or both. You can also get free plugins for EV Nova to play the two earlier games in the EV series, again on either mac or pc. Hands-down the best shareware game I ever bought. Oh, there are also a ton of user-made mods and total conversions out there, even though it's always been a bit of a niche game.
I used to go on 12-hour binges with games like Battlefield 2 and Diablo 1/2, but I always found that EV Nova never inspired me to push myself and play more than an hour or two a day. Maybe it's because a lot of the story is described in text terminals and requires some degree of imagination to "come alive", I'm not quite sure. Since it offered me such a good deal of fun for so little addictive potential, I thought I'd share it with you; it's a good game for someone who likes space trader / combat games but also has a life to attend to.