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What’s the most addictive game?

Written by Expy - Published on February 3, 2009

It was Super Bowl week-end and 2 things jumped out at me:

  1. I felt like playing the Madden video game.
  2. I felt like I shouldn’t play the Madden video game for the sake of my relationship.

Madden made 5.3% of my life disappear in 2003-2004.  I’m not kidding.  I did the math.  And that’s counting sleeping hours so it’s more like 7% of my waking hours. It was great for my relationship with my roommate, but not for the one with my girlfriend.  Anyhow…

What’s the most addictive game you’ve ever played?

It doesn’t have to be a console or computer game, anything from RPGs to Spin the Bottle to Hide and Seek.  As long as it was – or still is! – endangering your social life.

Leave a comment! (And, no, this doesn’t have anything to do with D&D, really.  But Mr. Gnome wrote a great article about the Top 10 D&D Computer RPGs.)

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56 Responses to “What’s the most addictive game?”
  1. Thasmodious says:

    Without a doubt, World of Warcraft. Especially after I discovered that there was such a thing as quality role-playing in an MMO.

  2. Viriatha says:

    Simcity 3000; only game I could ever sit down for more than an hour without feeling like I had things I should be doing. Didn’t get up again for 2 days the first time I played it.

  3. gnome says:

    I would have to say Starcraft, though I simply can’t be sure. I also vividly remember a collective obsession over the Lord of the Rings board game.

  4. Nicholas says:

    Everquest, I discovered it when I was about 13 years old and it had a very negative effect on my grades and social life. I don’t blame games though, it is up to the person to find balance in his or her own life. Eventually I did that. I still play MMOs although I do it with my friends and/or my girlfriend now. It is just like any other leisure activity, not some all consuming maw.

  5. Chaddernaut says:

    For me it is a few games. Talisman, Pente, Munchkin, and the old favorite D&D, Arkham Horror ( original) is a close one as well.

  6. David says:

    Civilization II through high school and college, Galactic Civilizations more recently.

  7. AlphaDean says:

    From way back when I’d have to say it was Pool of Radiance. I was in the military when it came out and I played it on a mono-chromatic screen…everything was shades of green and black. I played before PT in the morning after PT in the morning…before Breakfast and after Breakfast and for hours after work each day. I tried every class in the game over and over again.

    Yet the game that sucked my sould was City of Heroes. This game alsmost cost me my marriage, a house and all things that make us adults. Now I’m waiting on Champions Online

  8. ki4rex says:

    World of Warcraft, City of Heroes/VIllians, even StarWars Galaxies, no wait NEverwinternights, oh heck I’ll admit it, just about any game can be addictive to me.

  9. PurpleLemur says:

    Thankfully, I was never so fully addicted to a game that it ate into my real life, but Tetris came close. I still have dreams with that freakin’ music in the background.


    I will say that MUDs back in college came close to sucking me in, and because of them I stayed away from MMOs. I can see their evil from over here, thank you. ;)

  10. Bartoneus says:

    Definitely World of Warcraft, but thankfully I stopped playing that over a year ago and haven’t been sucked back in (yet)!

  11. Johnn Four says:

    In order of estimated time spent:

    * D&D
    * Rolemaster
    * Bards’ Tale
    * Ultima IV
    * Badminton
    * Floor hockey
    * Settlers of Catan
    * Choose Your Own Adventure books + Fighting Fantasy books

  12. Lee says:

    World of Warcraft for me as well. I quit playing it specifically because it was so addicting.

  13. Saragon says:

    MUDs. Free MMOs with roleplaying as well as questing? Text-based crack. For a while there I literally dreamed in scrolling 16-color text. (I’ve gone cold turkey since.)

  14. inidkllr says:

    Assassin H2O, a real life water gun assassin game ran for 3 weeks and kept me inside my house most of the time. Paranoia set in after a few days. Peeking out the blinds, scrambling to my car if I had to go anywhere. Always watching my back when I was out and eyeing anyone that looked suspicious. I ended up getting 2nd place out of about 50 people in a downtown showdown.

    Call of Duty1 and 2 might have helped end my marriage.
    In 1994, my first modern pc, SimCity2000 11 hrs no food, no bathroom, day = GONE
    It only took me 9 months to put the WoW needle away, though the thirst for it still lingers.

  15. turbran says:

    I would have to say any game in the civilization series and DDO

  16. Olam says:

    Civilization II, III, IV
    Galactic Civilizations II
    Neverwinter Nights I and II

    I have to turn on the clock in Civ IV just to stay in sync with the world around me.

  17. Ariannos says:

    GOD OF WAR 1 and 2
    I won both games in like 4 days of straight play! That was awesome! My room mate thought i was going cu cu pants.

  18. Wampus says:

    Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Still play it every chance I get. Considering the game’s been around for 10 years, the number of hours played have to be in the 5-digit range.

  19. Jimmy says:

    Super Smash Bros. Melee!!

    Brawl’s good too, just nobody to play it with…

  20. TMan says:

    Fallout – all three releases. I’m constantly looking at a clock and thinking, “Just another 15 minutes….”

  21. wickedmurph says:

    We used to call Heroes of Might and Magic 2 “The Bad Thing”, and we would delete it from our computers while drunkenly proclaiming “Never Again”. And then we would re-install it. Civ 1 pretty much cost me my starting spot on the basketball team in grade 11. I literally played it all Christmas vacation.

  22. Yax says:

    Reading all these comments makes me want to quit my job so I can play more! Kinda like that Supersize Me movie gave me crave McDonalds

  23. Walter Moore says:

    Without a doubt the answer is Dungeons and Dragons On-Line

    I’ve been addicted to other games over the years – Doom, old cmdline MUDs, Civ, Populace, Half-Life.. but DDO has them all beat for long-standing addiction.

  24. Walter Moore says:

    I meant Populous above.. :)

  25. NinthParadox says:

    if it weren’t for the fact that D&D is in fact a social gathering, I’d have to say it was a three way tie.
    But fortunately D&D gets me out of the house so I’d have to say Lineage 2 and Civilizations IV.

  26. cpanthersfan says:

    Magic: the Gathering CCG!!!

  27. Matthew says:

    Hands down this one for me would be Super Mario Kart on the SNES.

  28. Frank says:

    Without a doubt Pokemon Red. It endangered my grades when I was 8, and it’s re-endangering my grades now.

  29. The Mente says:

    I have to quote Saragon.
    Muds, imho, are the most addictive games: especially text-based ones.
    The true sensation that game never ends as the scroll flows and you read what’s happening to your character, interacting with other people in a kind of roleplay that’s really difficult to find playing D&D on a table.
    The atmosphere is vivid, maybe because it’s limited in the client window.

  30. Martin Goodman says:

    Masters of Magic. It almost ruined my military career.

  31. Nicholas says:

    @Yax: Don’t ever read Frankenstein.

  32. kaeosdad says:

    Heroes of Might and Magic 3. I was on winter break when it first came out and my cousin and I played that game for three days straight without seeing the sun (we live in Hawaii). It was pretty bad… We were big into the first two in the series but the third one was unreal.

  33. Jeffrey says:

    Most recently Dwarf Fortress. The little guys need my help.

  34. Frostmge says:

    I’d say I’m addicted to my computer period. I’m currently on disability and I spend about 5 to 6 hours a night either playing video games, surfing the net, or on facebook. It’s probably gonna cost me my marriage.

  35. Lethos says:

    Reenacting…. Between Civil War, Revolution, Ren Faire and Medieval events, my life is pretty much being eaten by the past :P Not that I mind though, no one where I live really has much of a life.

    Before reenacting it was a combination of D&D and Tae-Kwon-Do, and back in middle school it was the Legend of the Dragoon, I think I beat the final boss before school one day .

  36. Sektor says:

    This probably doesn’t count, but for me it’s Divinity 2: Ego Draconis. It’s a game still in development by Larian Studios, and I’m one of the gameplay software developers.

    Okay, so it puts food on the table, but it’s still stealing a lot of quality family-time. Working in the video game industry is *exactly* what they say it is: a lot of fun but a hell of a lot of hard work.

  37. Chando says:

    in cronological order
    Civilization II (always missed my classes in high school)
    Civ II
    Neverwinter Nights I(with expansion) – to the point I prefered play when I could be with my girlfriend!
    REALLY adicting!

  38. Chando says:

    Wait, forgot to mention Bauldur’s Gate II and ToB.
    how could I ?

  39. MageMirin says:

    Why do people keep omitting Civ 1? I mean, holy crap man, I think I put in at least 8 hours a day throughout most of high school… well, that and X-wing… It’s still available for purchase via “Civilization Chronicles” a boxed set with civ 1 through civ 4 for a very reasonable price depending where you get it… although I can’t play it on my computer because of my 64bit processor… I SO need to get an emulator or something….

  40. Mike The Merciless says:

    Arguably, the Civilization games should be regulated by the DEA as a narcotic. So many times I’ve thought I’ll just play a quick little game of Civ, only to look at the watch and see two hours gone from my life. The only other game that did that to me was StarCraft, but I haven’t played that in a long time. Civilization is a classic that will endure for centuries.

    What’s more, anyone can play it. It has mass appeal. I got my own mother to play Civilization IV, and she doesn’t ordinarily play video games. Every now and then I’ll find her building up the Mongolian Empire conquering her friends on GameSpy. How cool is that?

    Not that Madden isn’t cool. I like Madden, but Madden hasn’t enthralled me like Civ.

  41. Roger Kernsmith says:

    Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – its like digital crack…..just 15 more minutes…

  42. Janna says:

    Superbowl weekend? Pfft. I was watching Georges St-Pierre totally own BJ Penn at UFC 94. :P As for addicting games, I’m a total crackhead for Age of Mythology: Titans, Civ 2, Diablo 2, and Neverwinter Nights.

  43. Janna says:

    …and my girly side likes Zoo Tycoon. You can cheat and get unicorns. Hee!

  44. Tidus says:

    I have an addictive personality so i have tons, lemme see alot of the Final Fantasys, kingdom hearts, arc the lad, elder scrols IV: oblivion, and most recently Mabinogi, an endless mmo is so awesome

  45. Georgiana says:

    I’ve never really had the problem with addictive games, probably because I have such a short attention span. I suppose the closest for me was World of Warcraft, but I always made sure to log off like an hour before I had to go to work, and I think I only played it during summer and winter breaks so it wouldn’t interfere with classes. I also only really played it with my boyfriend and his friends; I would get bored easily if i played it alone (I hate playing and grouping with people I don’t know, I just feel weird about it).

  46. IMACOMMY says:

    the most addictive games would ahve to be soulcalibur (any of them) and the samurai warriors games i have lost weeks to them at a time playing with friends a close second would be the DBZ tenkai games

  47. tony says:

    Well, I spent about 7 years playing Everquest, it grew from a game, to a hobby, to almost a job and then into a habit, before I finally stopped.

    However, I started playing D&D when I was 15, and I’m still playing it now …

  48. Fenix800 says:

    gotta be gears and gears two, after they came out i gave up everything, even halo 3, and would get up for 5 days after i started

  49. Preacher14 says:

    I would have to say Halo 2 and Halo 3. I wouldn’t count Halo 1 simply because of social gatherings to get the lan going. Recently, Dota at my local lan center ,8wirelan. my girlfriends hates when I spend my friday nights playing Dota. Too much money spent to play at the same place as everyone else.

  50. Yax says:


    If the girlfriend disapproves it means it’s a great game!!!

  51. aion gold says:

    aion looks nice!i like it ,a lot of people waiting it,i see sameone are ready for sell aion gold already.it likes call aion kina in game,or aion money,:P,it’s hard to boring aion gold in game ?i don’t like that ,i think it will greater than wow!it will be best.

  52. Nicholas says:

    I know that it’s spam, but I love the expression “I think it will greater than wow!”.

  53. Dire Hamster! says:

    I like games of all kinds…

    Video games:
    – Quake III was very addicting for several years, until all the servers became lame. After a while every server was just a noob and/or hacker suckfest!
    – Almost 10 years after it’s release, Diablo II continues to be one of the games I’m most addicted to. I can’t wait for Diablo III.
    – Deus Ex I & II were both awesome as well; the third episode was supposed to come out sometime in 2009.

    RPGs/Board games:
    – D&D v3.0/3.5 is great!!! (I had AD&D/v2.0 back in the day, but I was never really all that impressed with it and didn’t really get into it much. And v4.0 just plain SUCKS!).
    – Nyambe d20: African Adventures is pretty cool and very unique.
    – There used to be a card/dice game called Plague and Pestilence that was based on Black Death/medieval times. It was really fun and a bit silly in a morbid kind of way. It’s out of print now, unfortunately, and almost impossible to find. Chessex was supposed to be re-releasing it, but they keep delaying the release date indefinately, so who knows…
    – I also get a kick out of WotC’s d20 Modern/Future.
    – And, of course, nothing beats classics like Stratego, dominoes, or an old deck of cards!

  54. Kamahl says:

    Heh…Call Of Duty. And the Godfather. Spend around 15 hours a week on em. D&D comes in close second, around 10.

  55. jill says:

    It’s a bit late to add to this thread but since my obsession hasn’t been mentioned I’m going for it. 28 years ago Colossal Caves, the text only adventure. It nearly cost me my job. Was shown it on the IBM mainframe at work and for the next 3 weeks – 120 hours work time – I perhaps worked for 20 hours and the rest of the time + before work, after work, and all lunch hour I was in that twisty turning maze of little passages. I had my terminal set up to blank out with one key stroke if I saw my supervisor approaching. After 3 weeks I still played but (mostly) managed to restrict myself to before and after work and during lunch hour.

  56. UGH!I did a really long response to your post but my internet crapped out and I lost it all! Oh well, just wanted to tell you that it was a great article! Awesome!

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