The first one is free.
Even though game developers would never admit that they try to make video games addictive, it's definitely good for the bottom line. Some games lure players in with a free download and then gouge them with micro-transactions while others have perfected the carrot-on-a-stick technique. Many addicted gamers have lost jobs, friends, and even significant others. A few have even lost their lives after extremely long gaming sessions. The following list contains what I consider to be 10 of the most addictive video games ever made.
World of Warcraft
My name is Jeb and I'm a recovering World of Warcrack addict. It's been 483 days since my last raid. I started playing the month the game was released, and I've fallen off the wagon four times. Every time this happens, my life becomes devoted to WoW and everything else falls by the wayside. Apparently, I'm not alone because World of Warcraft has been played by over 100 million people in 244 different countries and territories. As a result, it's the most profitable game ever made and it attracts both new and old players with every new expansion.
Grand Theft Auto V
It's not enough that Rockstar has managed to create a gigantic open world that's so full of detail that players want to explore every inch. It's not enough that they include three characters who are actually fun and interesting to play. It's not enough that the main missions and side missions are extremely fun and varied. No, the developers still managed to include a wide variety of completely optional activities like tennis, golfing, jet-ski racing, parachuting, arms trafficking, ATM robberies, yoga, stunt jumps, and much more! On top of that, players can spend endless hours just messing around, and then there are the mods…
Sporting one of the most ingenious marketing catch phrases ever made—“Gotta catch 'em all”—Pokémon is a worldwide sensation that knows no boundaries. What makes this average-looking game so addictive? It's the Pokémon themselves. With such a wide variety of cuddly and not-so-cuddly looking creatures to find and capture, it's no wonder that Pokémon attracts male and female gamers of all ages. As a matter of fact, I currently have several adult friends who are bravely venturing out into the real world to capture new creatures with the recently-released Pokémon Go.
Minecraft is one only a few video games that actually gives players an open sandbox and then rewards creativity. I was initially turned off by the blocky visuals, but they grew on me and then became irrelevant as soon as I started building structures. My friend's son aspires to be an architect, so it's no surprise that he plays this game night and day. Minecraft uses the tried and true “wash, rinse, repeat” design that makes people want to explore the countryside, mine materials to build new structures, and then mine even more materials to customize said structure.
Call of Duty
This gaming series as a whole is the most addictive FPS on the market. With millions of players worldwide who don't seem to mind how little each iteration changes, CoD isn't going anywhere. Some players don't even bother playing through the single-player adventure, as online multiplayer matchups are their only concern. Call of Duty keeps players coming back for short matchmaking times, intense fast-paced action, and plenty of rewards and unlockables. You may be surprised to learn that everyone from kids to soccer moms to celebrities love to hop online with their friends and riddle each other with virtual bullets for hours at a time.
What does it say about a game where players can invest hundreds of hours and still not do and see everything? Fallout 4 is a vast game with an intentionally slow pace that makes players get sidetracked, and they love every minute of it! Sure, players are constantly searching for food, water, clothing, and items to forge into weapons and gadgets, but it's also fun to get lost and meet other nutjob survivors and play a game of “who's the bigger nutjob?" Just the building aspect alone can suck up dozens of hours. Hell, this is the only game on the list where players can actually get addicted to alcohol or drugs in-game.
Let me begin by saying that Dota 2 is a difficult game to learn and no one is going to hold your hand at any point. However, the extreme challenge is part of the fun of this MOBA, which is why it's geared towards core gamers. With over 100 heroes to select from as well as daily rankings and an unusual structure that requires teamwork to win, Dota 2 will suck hours of time away from anyone who dares to play. Intense dedication can reward players with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment or leave them sad and alone in their mother's basement. Remember, your reaction is your choice.
I've always found it odd that The Sims is such a huge hit because I want to do things in games that I can't do in real life. However, The Sims is one of the first titles that lured in casual gamers before mobile games became so popular. My guess is that people use this game to be the kind of people they want to be without the negative consequences. It's also fun to set up scenarios, add in some crazy modifiers, and watch the random madness play out. Believe me, this is the perfect game for control freaks and anyone who loved playing the board game LIFE.
Candy Crush Saga
Go ahead and laugh all you want, but Candy Crush Saga is one of the most popular mobile games of all time. In fact, the micro-transactions bring in over $500K each day! Chances are high that everyone with a cell phone has played it at one time or another. In December of 2012, there were 10 million downloads, so I can't imagine how many times it has been downloaded overall. CCS is a basic match-3 game that reminds me of gambling machines in Vegas. Every level is full of bright colors, flashing lights, tasty pieces of candy, and pleasing tones. No wonder it's addicting.
Take it from someone who doesn't care about football in the slightest. Madden is so addictive that it's jokingly called “Maddenosis.” Some people transform into surrealistic super-fans during football season, and Madden lets players engage in this fanaticism all year long. Add in the ability to create your own fantasy team as well as deep online multiplayer modes to the gridiron mix, and the result is a recipe for addiction. I know people who count the days until every Madden release and then either plan a stay-cation or call in sick for a day or two just to binge-play.