Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Sweet Addiction

I cannot explain the addiction to Tetris. It's a simple game with roughly 86,395 variations (using things like candy, exploding bombs, bubbles and so on). It's probably the best thing to come out of Russia since underage mailorder brides (and slightly more legal). It seems like something so easy should not be so appealing, but then again that is the appeal.

The game, which has been studied in its effects in helping with soldiers combat PTSD, keeps you thinking. It never lets up. It gets faster and faster, forcing you to become faster and faster, and when you think you've done all you can, you go back for one more round. No game is the same, and every new shape gives you a whole new realm of possibilities. It's a game loved by people who don't love video games. In other words, it's got mass appeal.

I know of a few people who don't like the game. They don't like to be challenged that way, and that's fine. I like to think it keeps the brain sharp. And unlike various brick breaking games (which I also enjoy), this one keeps you in control. I tend to think that the people who don't like it played it a few times and never got any better, so they pushed it aside and blamed the game.

I felt the same way with Spy Hunter, though I still enjoy it.

Games can be an addiction, and Tetris is the crack of gaming. Go without it for a few days, and you find yourself jonesing for it. Stop cold turkey and go back a year later and see what happens. Yep. Four hours later you're still trying to beat your high score.

Thirty years from now the Grand Theft Auto franchise will be named in books detailing video game history. Tetris will still be played. It will be on all sorts of delivery systems, and it will have kept its main premise (and all its variations). It won't need perfecting or updating because at its core, it's a perfect game. And if you don't believe me, ask your mom. She's played it ... and probably still is.

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