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groveler

what makes a game addictive?

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a very vague topic, i know, but i was thinking about it the other day... there are so many games that i just cant stop playing once ive been hooked, the converse is also true... many i cant wait to uninstall cause they are so crap... so the question is, what is it about games that makes them addictive? it cant be the graphics, becuase if you go to http://www.harketh.com and sign up, you start playing a completely text based fantasy game and it is incredibly addictive. so its not the graphics, how about the competition? well, harketh is very competitive so that might be it. lets look at another game, warcraft! the game itself is incredibly competitive but the team RPG stages are also loads of fun... so is competitiion key? i dunno! what about difficulty? now that i think about it, this could be the deciding factor... something thats tough, tough enough for it to be a reward when its done, is good. toughness also comes into the competition thing... if the competition is there then the difficulty to be the best is also there isnt it? what you guys think? ----------------------------------------------------- What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic!

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First, this topic has been throughtly discussed before. A good search in the forums will give you want you want to know and more.

Second, as a concentrated idea, there are many factors, each one of them have different influences over different people, but generally people want to do what they can''t in real life.

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Except that Tetris has nothing to do with real life, or fantasy life, or any life. It''s purely a game, and its play is based upon mathematics, something that all games share in common, regardless of whether or not they use language or art or rad skateboards.

I wrote a bit more on this in my new blog....but, I''m waiting on handing out links to it; I want to let it run a bit longer and have more articles before I start any kind of serious advertising. So I''ll just leave the statement at that for the moment.

Anyhow, this is a topic that deserves continuous discussion, so I welcome the new thread.

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Simplicity - it still has to be complex to be fun of course, but taking the tetris example, its basically a very simple game gameplay wise. This means two things:
-Anyone can understand how to play, and even how to play well.
-The ''one more time'' factor; if a game is very simple, then often when a player loses, they''ll give it ''one more try'' due to the illusion that it wont take any effort and the embarrassment of being beaten by such a simple game.

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1)Reward. Usually quick reward. Gotta be able to pick up and play it. (See pac-man, doom, Quake Deathmatch, Serious Sam, tetris)
2)Consistency and Simplicity
3)A solid feel -- good code, good art/descriptions, regardless of the tech used.

or you could just do 4) and make a compelling and suspenseful game world (Deus Ex 1, System Shock 2, Thief

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quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
-The ''one more time'' factor; if a game is very simple, then often when a player loses, they''ll give it ''one more try'' due to the illusion that it wont take any effort and the embarrassment of being beaten by such a simple game.


I would say that this "one more time" factor is possibly the biggest aspect of a highly addictive game. I can spend hours playing Minesweeper on Expert level. Every time I lose, I think to myself "ok, just one more time, and then I''m done." but then that one more time becomes 2 more, then 3, 4, 5, and next thing I know it''s getting light outside...

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quote:
Original post by Al Gorithm
3)A solid feel -- good code, good art/descriptions, regardless of the tech used.



this is the thing that strikes itself as being the failure of many games!!! Look at a bad game and see if you can work out what went wrong.

take, for example, a game called "Ominous Horizons"
released in the height of 3d shooters (quake 1, duke nukem3d...), has a story, challenge, etc... but for the life of me i could never enjoy that game and i think it boiled down to inconsistent descriptions or something, i dunno. game felt "pieced" together and not solid...

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Addictive games != "Good" games

I don''t believe that addictive necesserely have to mean good. Take the game Dungeon Siege for example, which can be classified as "addictive". It has a very linear "story" (i wouldn''t even call it a story), and everything is about leveling up and getting better equipment. You don''t have to think, just keep pressing ''H'' and ''M'' every now and then to drink potions...

There are several games just like Dungeon Siege which I''ve played and "kind of" enjoyed while playing it, but when looking back at them, I realize how much they s*ck.


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Guest Anonymous Poster
In multiplayer games (massive ones especially), it''s all about "i''ve got to play alot so that my x is bigger than the other players x", x can be money, levels, gear, points, anything will keep the powergamers busy for long times. Of course if has to be at least a bit fun, but not much. Look at the mmorpgs, mindless leveling always beating the same monsters, it gets boring, but ppl will be glued to it, to be superior to others.

Well thats just my opinion after being addicted to a mmorpg for 3 years playing 8-10 hrs a day. Now to get my job back

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