Well, anyone who has ever been addicted to FarmVille or Mafia Wars on Facebook would prefer to measure life by the number of hours before they can harvest their crops or get their precious daily energy pack.

Social games can be so addictive that a blogger who goes through the moniker HarryJerry wrote: “Once you start playing with them, stop worrying about your girlfriend, college chores, or kidney failure. These games come in You like oxygen. ”

Video Games Affect Social Skills

Some behavioral experts would tremble at describing such, ah, he, extreme attachment to these games to the use of the word “addiction.” However, obsessive players insist that the condition is real. If you sneak a peek into Facebook while you are at work picking up virtual goldlords for St. Patrick’s Day or raising the alarm and waking up at 2am to harvest your harvests so they don’t spoil or when you have your lunch straight eating in front of your PC so you can attack other Mafia Wars players between bites, what else do you call that?

And the number of players is staggering. In fact, Farmville, currently the most popular game app on Facebook with 83 million active users, is even larger than Twitter, which has just over 80 million members (RJ Metrics).

Fortunately, not everyone is vulnerable to the charm of online games. According to Jay Parker, a chemical addiction advisor and co-founder of Internet / Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, Washington, there are certain types of people who are likely to become addicted to social gaming, and they are the isolated, the lonely, the bored and those who have little interest in sex (“I don’t care if I haven’t been invited to Megan’s stupid debut or my boyfriend has stopped talking to me. See, I’m already 1,500 in Mafia Wars and I win every fight, I’m coming to. Bleh. “)

Positive Effects Of Video Games

Can you imagine if everyone was excited about these games? Fewer babies would be conceived (experts should start studying the potential of online gaming as a deterrent against population explosion), bars would go bankrupt, Sasha Baron Cohen could be elected to the highest office in the country, the global economy could reach an all-time low, and the people would not give a hoot as long as they have an internet connection at home and can play around the clock.

People all over the world are no longer divided by the color of their skin, but by whether they are Mughal, Fearless, or Maniac (character types in Mafia Wars, Maniac is the best way to get up really quickly). If you made the mistake of choosing mogul or fearless types when you start playing, don’t worry. You can simply buy points to change your character type and be a proud maniac.

They’re smart people who use well-planned psychological tricks to make these game apps irresistible to young and old and keep them playing until the wee hours of the morning (damn. It’s 3am and you haven’t had a bath , since you woke up 20 hours ago because you were stuck to your computer (that’s okay, your online friends can’t smell you anyway).

The attraction starts innocently enough: you’ll be pitted against your friends in a friendly competition and you can be ahead of them by playing more often. Then collect achievements or earn rewards as you climb the ladder of success from Farmville or Mafia Wars. You can play at normal speed to level up and make virtual money OR you can spend real money and buy points so you can get through the game at a much faster rate. And the more time you invest in planting eggplants and blueberries or attacking other players, the more likely you are to spend real money to get game control, said Jesse Schell, author and game design professor at Carnegie Mellon University during a speech at DICE 2010 in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

“Oh, it has to be worth it. Why? Because I spent time on it. And so it should be worth kicking $ 20, because look at the time that I havespent with it. And now that I’ve kicked $ 20, it must be valuable because only an idiot would pocket $ 20 if it weren’t! So there is a lot of psychological cleverness going on with these things, “Schell told the audience.

At some point you might be able to stop the game.