I’m sure everybody has played Tetris at some point in their lives. Originally invented in 1984, Tetris is now so ubiquitous that you can have a quick game anywhere and on any device: from cellphones to calculators, iPods and portable gaming systems like the PSP and Nintendo DS. The reason that Tetris is recognised by Guinness World Record as the most ported (both officially and unofficially) video game is due to its addictiveness.
With many different game modes throughout the years, Tetris has managed to remain fresh, even in the face of newer, prettier games. The basic game play hasn’t changed, and this has lead to millions of people all experiencing the desperation of needing a long piece, never to have it arrive.
Plants vs. Zombies (Ed. +1)
If you haven’t experienced the addiction of PopCap’s cute, zombie-themed tower defence, you are missing out on a great gaming experience. Zombies are attacking and it is only through the strategic planting of seeds that you will survive with your brain intact. The sheer variety of plants available, the humour in the game, the vast number of mini-games included, the variety of zombies and the collection aspects all combine to make Plants vs. Zombies a game that will not quickly be put down.
Peggle (and Peggle Nights)
A simple concept: shoot a ball at various angles to hit certain pegs, and ultimately eliminate enough of these “certain pegs” to finish the stage. When you add in 10 (11 in Peggle Nights, the expansion pack with more levels) unique special powers, multiple level layouts, moving parts, difficult challenges and a strangely compelling urge to get every peg in every stage, it’s easy to see why Peggle is addictive. Players can now indulge their addiction on a variety of platforms, much like Tetris mentioned above, including the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iPhone, Nintendo DS, older iPods and even within World of Warcraft.
While not addictive in the sense of “I can’t stop playing it”, my experience with Final Fantasy games is an intense desire to see the conclusion of the story. The epic adventure must have some conclusion, and in this sense Final Fantasy is hard to put down. Whether it’s Cloud trying to defeat Sepiroth, Zidane on a quest to stop Kuja, or Lightning doing something similar in Final Fantasy XIII, most gamers will agree that once started, a Final Fantasy is hard to put down.
The ultimate casual game; and included with every copy of Windows since 1992, Minesweeper is the ultimate pick up and play game. The pattern recognition needed to get good at Minesweeper, combined with the Best Times local leaderboard ensure that players will always have a reason to keep playing. Minesweeper so easily turns from “Just one game…” to “Oh damn, that’s the time??” As testament to its addictive nature, it’s the most run program on my PC, and my times are 4, 23 and 63 seconds for Beginner, Intermediate and Expert respectively.
World of Warcraft
The exact number of local players is hard to gauge, especially when we consider the number of people playing on local private servers. We know for sure that there are less than 40,000, as that is the number of players that Blizzard needs to start an official local server. Worldwide though, World of Warcraft remains the most played and most subscribed MMORPG, and holds an estimated 62% share of the MMORPG market. Six years, two expansions, one additional expansion planned and over 11-million subscribers later, World of Warcraft is still going strong.
If you’ve been bitten by the Guitar Hero bug, you’ll never be able to go long without having a weird craving to pick up a plastic instrument and rock out to some of your favourite songs. The competitive nature of the game and the desire to improve your ability means your instruments won’t be gathering dust for too long before they get dragged back in service.
The first Pokémon games, (Red and Blue), on the Gameboy was a huge success, and has the world record for the best selling RPG of all time. Introducing a mythical world where monsters could be trained and battled against each other, the game set players off on a journey to … well … “catch ‘em all!” The original games featured 151 Pokémon to collect, which was a fine, achievable amount; enough to motivate you to keep playing. Some may feel the same about the current 493 species, and to those people, Pokémon continues to be an addictive way to pass the time.
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