Every well-crafted video game has the potential to inspire a short-lived addiction in its players.
Some games, however, are more addictive than others, games designed in such a way that they seem to encourage obsessive behaviour. The following is a list of 10 of the most addictive games ever.
This series of infamously difficult games has inspired deep devotion among those few who have the patience to learn its secrets and overcome its challenges. The thrill of overcoming its extremely challenging battles is so addictive for some that they will place restrictions on the equipment they allow themselves, just to make it even harder.
The third entry in this classic action/role-playing series continued its tradition for extremely addictive game mechanics. Players find themselves in an endless loop of equipping powerful new items, going out to test them in battle, and having their defeated foes drop even better items.
Candy Crush Saga
When a free game is earning almost a million dollars a day, you know it must have some deeply addictive gameplay. In the case of Candy Crush, one of the most popular mobile phone games in the world at the moment, one trick is that it gives players limited turns: when they run out, they either have to wait half an hour, or pay to play again immediately.
Words With Friends
Another addictive mobile game, Words With Friends encourages players to challenge their friends and family to join in its not-quite-Scrabble gameplay. A dedicated player can have dozens of games running at once, and spend hours a day keeping up with them, and every time a game ends it is all too easy to click the button to start a new one.
The Elder Scrolls
The sprawling fantasy worlds of the Elder Scrolls series, seen most recently in its fifth entry Skyrim, are famous for their endless distractions. While a player may intend to walk straight to a nearby city and not get sidetracked, it is almost impossible to ignore the random battles, enticing caves, bandit camps, and other things that appear along the way.
Perhaps the most addictive thing about the indie smash hit Minecraft is that it never ends: this is a game in which players literally make their own world to play in. Every game is unique, and players can mine minerals and harvest forests in order to build almost any structure they can imagine.
World of Tanks
Like many free-to-play titles, World of Tanks keeps players interested (and earns a lot of money) by giving out a slow drip feed of rewards. Obtaining the best tanks in the game requires many hundreds of hours of dedicated play, though the wait can be sped up considerably by spending a bit of real-world money. It is also a lot of fun to play, which makes it even more addictive.
League of Legends
Another ostensibly free game, League of Legends has become notorious for obsessive players losing huge amounts of real-world money buying in-game items to boost their performance. One self-described addict anonymously shared his story with us last year, confessing to spending thousands of dollars that he kept secret from his fiancee.
This one is particularly dangerous for the easily addicted, because it is completely free and can be played in a web browser. The concept is very simple: slide numbered tiles, with identical tiles joining together and adding up to a higher number. 1, 2, 4, and 8 add up ultimately to 2048, but getting there is extremely challenging. Many players will play over and over again for hours, determined not to give up until they hit that mythical number.
The original was released in 1991, and for more than two decades this series has been keeping players up many hours past their bedtime, vowing that they would stop after "just one more turn". Now up to its fifth iteration, it is still as sleep-destroying as it has ever been. Growing from a Stone Age tribe to a modern international superpower is a compelling experience, and it is awfully hard to put it down.
DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez