Simple addiction: why it’s so luring

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Are you addicted to games like Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds? Sure, you might not be shooting at the enemy, slaying a huge dragon, or rescuing a trapped princess, but simple games like these can be incredibly addictive. In a recent article by Alex Walker, he talks about Gazillionaire Deluxe, an addictive game that he played endlessly in the 1990s. This was a simple trading game that gave you a ship, a large loan, a string of artificial intelligence opponents that will float around and trade off. There are upgrades, taxes, surprising encounters and simple supply and demand scenarios which make it simple, yet to him, it was incredibly addictive. He spent hours upon hours playing it with his brother, sometimes until 3 AM. It wasn’t the fanciest game on the market, but there were things about it that made it appealing and difficult to turn off. (1) 

Games like these have rules that are fairly straightforward and it doesn’t require a lot of creativity or use of brain power. It’s exciting enough to keep things interesting and there usually isn’t a time limit set on the game. So, the longer the players sit and play it, the more likely they are to become addicted. The games can excite and challenge the player enough and then if there is a reward added into the mix, the player will experience a dopamine rush that will further bolster the player’s interest in the game. It might give players a temporary rush of excitement, but the games will not provide players any long-lasting feelings of worth. 

Have you experienced addiction to a simple puzzle game or pattern-matching game? If you see patterns when you close your eyes or if you continually think about the game long after you turn it off, you may need to reconsider how you’re using the game and if you’re abusing it. Ask yourself if you’re neglecting other parts of your life to play the game. Internet, video game addiction, and technology addiction is very real and can be detrimental to your social life and family life, as well as physically and emotionally. Read more at



  1. Walker, Alex. “Gazillionaire Deluxe, The Art of The Simple Addiction.” Kotaku. November 26, 2015. Accessed online May 16, 2016.