We all know someone with a video game addiction — whether it’s your little brother with his MMORPG’s, or Grandma with solitaire — game addiction’s catchier than the clap.
And for good reason: Some of these games are just too awesome to stop. Or they’re too good at making you not want to stop. Either way, the end result is the same: You keep on keeping on. You’re not sleeping, you’re not eating, you’re not bathing. But you’re definitely not stopping playing.
When it comes to addictive video games, Tetris is truly the granddaddy of them all — people have been playing it nonstop since the ‘80s. Tetris’ addictiveness lies in its simplicity. It’s quick to learn, but long to master. This formula leads to obsession. You’ve just got to get to 100 lines, or just have to set a new high score, and then you’ll stop only by then the sun’s coming up. I’m not sure if the cheap Russian techno music adds to the addictiveness of the game but I’m sure my mentioning it has you Tetris-aficionados humming along.
Probably the first game that got people talking about video game addiction, or at least mocking it. And while Pac-Man was mostly in arcades and pizza joints and dive bars which had closing times putting a limit on the hours you spent playing, the hours you did play you spent paying. And people pumped many, many quarters into Pac-Man machines around the world. It started with one, innocent quarter, but the next thing you knew you were changing a dollar bill, the next day it’s a five, and by next week you’re dropping $20 a day on Pac-Man! Pac-Man made millionaires out of Arcade owners and petty thieves out of it devotees.
A game called “Civilization” was never likely to be a quick play, Rome wasn’t built in day after all, but you could really get lost in the process.
It turns out building your own civilization from scratch does two things: Takes a long time, and makes you truly invested in the outcome. How addictive is Civilization? It has its own support groups to help users kick the habit. The main factor to Civilization’s addictive nature is the “one more turn” factor — you’re always a turn or two away from something new happening, and when you reach that goal something new is on the horizon again. Bang! Three days have gone by.
FarmVille is a cutesy-looking, point-and-click flash board game that somehow got its hooks into 60 million users/people, and redefined what Facebook could be about.
I’m guessing it’s the on-staff behavioral psychologist.
FarmVille is a game designed with long-term play and high profit in mind, letting you play for free for as long as you want and gently hinting you might want to buy an upgrade until on day you agree, and they’ve got you. FarmVille also was encourages players to recruit and exploit their friends, and to keep said friends from quitting should they want to. And with a higher level of commitment required than ever seen before, FarmVille haunts the minds of players who worry about their crops and livestock when they aren’t playing. It isn’t real, but it feels real.
Better get back before they wither away.
5. World of Warcraft
They don’t call it “War Crack” for nothing. “World of Warcraft” is often cited as the leader in video game addition, with sessions lasting days at a time, players have been known to ignore basic needs like food and sleep and some have even dropped dead from exhaustion while playing. The thing that makes WoW so addictive is that it never ends. There’s no final level, no last boss, no beating the game at all. There is always something more to do, someone to fight, something to look for, and adventure or quest to go on, and on, and on, and on.
Plus there’s the whole social element of it, your comrades in arms need you out there supporting them in battle you can’t abandon them just because you have to work or you have a child to feed.