Game Eaters

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I'm an addict

I have to confess it. I'm an addict. I can't stop playing LUMINES. I steal Matt's PSP whenever I have the chance and play. Yesterday I could not care less about eating, or anything else, I just had to play. I got to level 86 in single skin mode. And my biceps was sore when I finished. Then I realized I'm just completely addicted to the game.

Puzzle games tend to hook me up really badly. Before this, I had a serious Mr Driller gaming stint, and before that Puzzle Bobble 4, for which I specifically bought a second hand DC. But Lumines is more addictive that those two together.

How can yet another variation on Tetris have players so hooked up? It probably has to do with the variations on the model. There are only two colours, and you have to make squares with them. Sounds simple enough. The key is that the squares do not automatically vanish as you put them together, but you have to wait until a line sweeps them out. Still, the mechanics are very easy to get. The strategy is another kettle of fish, and that's key to get you playing anything for hours--easy to pick up, so easy that it can't be so difficult to really kick ass at it. And then you forget about eating.

The second factor of addiction has to be with entrainment. I'm borrowing this term from Brian Moriarty (of Loom fame) who in an amazing lecture(you should have seen it delivered to fully get the point) explained how games create patterns for the player to follow, this results in a rhythm that makes you flow with them. Lumines does this to perfection--combining catchy music with an addictive puzzle is lethal, even moreso if every move you make in the game also produces music. You become one with the puzzle and the music, you go with the flow and forget about the rest of the world...

Hopefully my addiction will subdue soon. I have Dai Gaissou Band Brothers coming. That's a true rhythm game, so I'll just change one entrainments for another.


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