We’ve all been there. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re still trying to defeat the boss level. Or you’re desperately searching for the final key that unlocks the portal. Or maybe you’re just restarting the same Candy Crush level for the 57th time. There’s no doubt about it, video games are addictive. They lure us into their world and keep us hooked. How do they do it, and what makes them so addicting? We looked into the psychology behind the best games to find out more.
Immersion & Role Playing – Video games give us the chance to explore incredible new worlds. They transcend our own imagination and reach the limits of our realism. Much like a good book or engaging film, we suspend our disbelief and get lost in something different. Video games provide an escape from the real world which is often a much-needed exercise! RPGs and expansive world games are the best for this type of escapism. Often, it’s the games with no set end that are the most addictive.
Leveling up and beating the game – As humans, we have a psychological need to progress! In life, learning, and in games, we are obsessed with leveling up. Our entire human nature is based on the idea of improving ourselves. Developing and reaching the next level is ingrained in our DNA. That’s what makes completing new video game levels so addictive. Once we finally complete a level, we’re drawn in by the new magical worlds of the next.
High scores – There are few better ways to draw out the human spirit of competition than setting a high score. The inherent competition involved in gaming compels us to keep playing. We want to beat the high scores and come top of the leaderboard! The face of gaming is changing and exploding on mobile platforms; these apps use leaderboards to create addiction. It’s a simple and well-tested method of keeping players interested.
Discovery – The element of discovery leads on from the immersion. We’re obsessed with finding new worlds. We all know there is another level behind the locked door. There is always something new to discover. It’s the simple ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ trick. We can’t help but keep pushing until we find out what’s next.
Learning curve – The best video games have a brilliantly crafted learning curve. They teach you just enough to get started and you slowly learn more by doing. The finest games always make a level just out of reach. You know you that with a little more practice you could complete it!
Community – Modern gaming has become all about community, friendship and cooperation. Even the simplest games like Minecraft can now be played using multiplayer Minecraft servers. On the largest scales, there are gaming tournaments where fans and players interact with thousands of others. Whether it’s through headsets, forums or chat boxes, gaming is one of the most sociable hobbies out there.
So, that’s why you’re still wide-eyed at four in the morning! Let us know the most addictive game you’ve ever played in the comments below.