As I’ve grown up, I learned that the reason my mom was so against me playing video games was because she herself was an avid video game player.  When I started taking the train alone, she would warn me immensely to be careful to get off at my stop.  I always thought she was crazy for being so concerned about me making this mistake, since the conductor announces the stop about 5 times before I would get to my town, I’ve never come close to not getting off the train.  However, since my mom commutes to New York City everyday on the LIRR, I finally found out how she made such a terrible mistake to end up 45 minutes away from home.  It was her addiction to her game boy that caused this.

I guess we could call it “back in the day” that Tetris was her favorite game to play on her game boy.  However, to this day, Tetris is arguably one of the most addicting games ever created.  This tile matching puzzle video game was most popularly used for the game boy itself and is recognized by many as the greatest game of all time.

When I got to college, I would often play this game on my computer in class since I do not own a game boy.  When you start playing it, it is really quite fun since it is easy.  For me, this is a game aspect that I love since I am generally very bad at games.  However, as you get to higher levels in the game, the “tetrominoes” come down much faster which makes it very difficult to place them correctly.  This often results in losing (especially for me since I have never actually beat the game) and thus makes one play a million more times to try and beat it.  Hence, I believe the addiction comes the initial belief that you are good at the game, to the sudden speed that makes you lose.  Therefore, you feel the need to keep trying.

I personally can’t even play Tetris anymore because it frustrated me so much.  However, some people thrive off of frustration and it makes them more competitive than ever.ImageImage

  1. Tetris is undoubtedly a classic when it comes to video games. I agree that its simple game mechanics and easy controls makes it enjoyable for everyone, while the continuous gameplay with increasing difficulty makes it an addicting challenge. But I also think that the feeling of accomplishment from clearing a row of blocks has also contributed to the games success. The game plays a “ta-da” like noise with a quick eye catching blink to signal the disapperance of the cleared row(s). It gives the gamer a sense of achievement, but then jumps right back into the continuous onslaught of “tetriminoes”. The gamer must quickly get over that accomplishment and move on to the next one. This is what I think fosters the addiction. Clearing a row feels rewarding, but that feeling lasts for less than a second and it is then on to the challenge of clearing yet another row. The point never comes when you’ve cleared the last row, it just continues, so the player keeps going while striving to attain that split second of achievement.

  2. allangolden said:

    I know what you mean when you say this game is frustrating. When I used to play it, I would often give up after misplacing even a single piece, not to mention when I would lose. My mom also used to love playing this game, I remember watching her play on that tiny gameboy screen, totally amazed at how many points she would get. I’m not sure there is a way to “beat” tetris, I thought that you would just go for the high score, which I think is one of the reasons my mom enjoyed playing it so much, she really enjoyed trying to top her previous scores.

  3. khausoul said:

    Tetris definitely follows simple enough game mechanics and pairs it with an addictive style of gameplay. Any age group can catch on to the genre of matching shapes into certain spaces. Therefore, it reaches a large audience. In addition, people like to see progress being made. Tetris does a good job of showing what you did and how it affects further gameplay. The row will disappear and you see your score increase. This gives a sense of accomplishment and makes the player strive to do it better. I know it has an effect on me if I play a game like Bejeweled. I strive to get 5 similar tiles in a row due to the chain reaction that follows. I think that showing mid-game recognition of achievement is a vital aspect of making a game addicting.

  4. Asia Bond said:

    I have to agree with you, Tetris is one of the most addicting games. I began playing in high school during class because it was somewhat of an escape from the class I was in and to keep my mind occupied from falling asleep. I think what really keeps me coming back to the game is the simplicity of the game. I find that many of the players of Tetris usually play it during stressful times. I found many of my peers would play during class because it was something they would much rather not have to think about. At times I would really have to reevaluate the affect of Tetris and stop playing because it was affecting my grades, however, it does feel good to come back and play for a while. Just to have a little escape.

  5. spenway said:

    I definitely agree with several of the comments made above about the addictive-ness of Tetris. The game itself has some serious lasting power and it is interesting to read about all the reasons this may be the case. I would argue that it is the simplicity of the game play combined with the high’s and low’s noted earlier that keep people coming back. People are drawn to puzzle games and have an overwhelming desire to complete them. In tetris, there is something gratifying in clearing a level that propels you further into the game. After clearing just one, how can you walk away? You are encouraged to continue through the sounds, the bonuses achieved, and the satisfaction you get from beating a game that everyone is familiar with. Like pac-man and even tic-tac-toe, tetris is a game that doesn’t seem to lose its touch!

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