There’s been a flood of Flappy Bird clones in the weeks after Nguyen pulled the game, ranging from straight-up clones like satta king Flappy Wings and Splashy Fish to more, hmm, experimental titles like Tappy Bieber and Flappy Doge. The audience clearly cannot get enough of games that are both basic and extremely difficult. Still, Nguyen’s brainchild and its ilk have a long way to go before they can compete with this lot’s pure addictiveness.
Donkey Kong is number ten.
It began as a popular arcade game in which players were challenged to escape fiery barrels while assisting a tiny Italian caricature in rescuing a princess from a colossal gorilla. But after Nintendo’s innovation, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, was modified for Game & Watches, the strange portable devices that were the forerunner to PSPs and created Nintendo a gaming behemoth…oh, then it was on. The game not only gave rise to the company’s main cash cow — the Super Mario franchise — but it would also prove to be as original (it was one of the first platform games) as it was difficult to beat. There aren’t many people who can complete the game to this day, but it hasn’t stopped millions from trying.
Sokoban is the ninth game.
The principle behind this transport problem and its many versions (including Box World, the scourge of office productivity in the late 1990s) is conceptually straightforward, as it is with most of the other games on this list: You’re a small dude who needs to move boxes but can only do so from behind. Solving all but the easiest levels, on the other hand, demands a great deal of forethought and spatial visualization; also, if you make a mistake, your only alternative is to restart from the beginning. The square-one caveat irritates me greatly. Naturally, this simply serves to increase the game’s addictiveness.
This famous PC game, based on the Japanese game Puzzle Bobble, asks players to throw a creature known as a “snood” into a field of seven different colored snoods (along with various “special snoods”). If your snood collides with another of the same color, both of them vanish, and others materialize to take their place. Does this ring a bell? The concept is simple, the gameplay is simple at first (though levels range from “Child” to “Evil”), and this entertaining little timekiller has the potential to make grown men and women into full-time gamers.
Tetris is number seven.
It’s the most famous game on this list, and one that you’ll never win – the blocks keep falling faster and faster, until you’re left with no choice but to shunt them from side to side in the hope of holding out just a little longer. This means the challenge is never finished; all you have to do is try again to beat your own high score, or the high score of a friend, or the high score of some random individual on the Internet. Tetris, which was created by a Soviet engineer in the 1980s, has been jokingly accused of being a Cold War secret weapon of mass distraction. Let’s just say it’s a convincing theory, given the game’s addictive nature.
Minecraft is number six.
The intriguing aspect of this open-world game is that, unlike the majority of the other entries on our list, which have goals that are simple to comprehend but difficult to fulfill, Minecraft has no mandatory goals other than survival. You can play all the way to the game’s final boss (the “Ender Dragon”), but the gameplay experience is entirely up to you. The upshot is something akin to a generation’s worth of socially acceptable Lego: you can spend hours making whatever you want. Then it’s 4 a.m., and you have to work the next day. Crap.
Candy Crush Saga is the fifth game in the Candy Crush Saga series.
Also known as: The game that dead-eyed train riders play every day. This Bejeweled-like game that has become a pop hit has many layers of insidiousness: New levels are constantly being added, so you’re never far from “winning” the game; a social element makes it ridiculously easy to play against friends no matter where you are; if you use up all of your lives, you must wait 30 minutes before starting another game, making it temporarily unattainable unless you pay to get back in. (In other news, this game is currently earning $677,000 every day for its designers.) It’s no surprise that it’s become the commuter equivalent of crack.
Angry Birds 4
The origins of this Apple App Store best-seller can be traced back to other artillery games like Scorched Earth, but the developer’s brilliance was in replacing tanks and guns with cartoon pigs and birds. Pigs, for example, have stolen the eggs of the birds. The birds, now outraged, put themselves in slingshots and, with your help, launch themselves into badly constructed buildings, forts, and other structures in an attempt to kill the pigs. The mix of basic gameplay, engaging graphics (such as the pigs snorting at you if you fail a level), and the stars-per-level system, which increased replayability tenfold, made this a worldwide phenomenon.
3. The game StarCraft
Is this real-time strategy game, which combines sci-fi geekiness with old-school arcade gaming thrills, really that addictive? It has caused people to miss work and school days. Gamers have been forced to take antidepressants to combat the game’s “Internet Game Addiction.” After playing StarCraft for 50 hours straight in 2005, a South Korean guy passed out and died. Is it necessary to continue?
World of Warcraft is number two.
The addictive nature of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) has been well documented, with World of Warcraft being the most well-known of the bunch. (Also check out EverQuest, RuneScape, and MapleStory.) Subscribers to this immersive fantasy game may control avatars in a sword-and-sorcery world, creating an online second life that, in many cases, has begun to overwhelm players’ real lives. Everyone wishes to take up a sword, slay a monster, and save the world. However, if you start ignoring your real family and basic needs like food and sleep, it might be time to disconnect for a while.
Civilization No. 1
Sid Meier’s empire-building games lack the frantic need-to-replay-now anxiety of Tetris and the immersiveness of MMORPGS. The addictiveness of these destroy-ancient-civilizations computer games is more subtle: it may be time for bed, but you convince yourself you’ll simply find the right spot to start your second city, or give Montezuma a well-deserved thrashing. Then you should probably look for a decent copper source and determine whether or not to assault Bismarck ahead of time, and… The light comes up, and you’re bent over your computer, propping yourself up with one elbow, repeating to yourself, “Just..one..more..turn.”