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The 5 Most Addicting Games and How They Affect Your Mental Health

Here are the top five most addicting games and why they are so addictive. Learn how these addicting video games can impact your mental health on HealthyPlace.

Gaming disorder often arises from addicting games. It’s possible to become addicted to playing online games; usually, it’s a specific game that hooks someone and draws him or her in until the game gradually overtakes his or her life. These addicting games interfere in almost all aspects of someone’s life, and the consequences can be dire. Here’s a look at the five most addicting games, why they’re addicting, and how these video games affect your mental health.

The 5 Most Addicting Games

Some video games are much more addictive than others. In general, online role-playing games are the most addicting of all video games. Specifically, role-playing games that are designated as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs or MMOs) are highly addicting.

Among the many such video games, five stand out as the most addicting games:

  1. Fortnite. This is a fight not for a grand noble cause but for survival. It’s a battle to the death in which only one out of 100 players survives.
  2. World of Warcraft.  A fully immersive game in which players create a life online that easily surpasses their life outside the game.
  3. Call of Duty. Games in the Call of Duty series require players to fight for an ideal by using strategy and combat tactics.
  4. League of Legends. This competitive, quick-moving fantasy game is about strategy and teamwork, collaborating with a team to battle and destroy an enemy.
  5. Candy Crush Saga. This addicting game isn’t an MMORPG, but it’s highly addictive nonetheless.  Rolling Stone calls it, “the commuter-game equivalent of crack.”

Why Addicting Games are so Addictive: The Psychological Aspect

Few, if any, people begin gaming with the intent to become addicted, their lives negatively affected and their real-world replaced by an online one. Gaming addiction often occurs because gaming fulfills a psychological need:

  • Escape. Sometimes, people turn to gaming as a way to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, or negative situations. Some games are particularly addicting because they allow people not just to escape but to pull away from one world, their real one, and fully immerse themselves in another world, the game world.
  • Connection. Connection to others is a fundamental human need. The most addicting games are those that allow people to connect with others, collaborating and cooperating to reach a common goal. When games have online forums that extend the bond between players, the risk of addiction increases.
  • Power and Control. Certain video games satisfy the need for power and control. Those video games that allow people to shape their virtual world, as well as their own powers and abilities, can be very appealing—and addicting.

Why Addicting Games are so Addictive: The Nature of the Games

The five most addicting games and others like them have certain characteristics that grab people and keep them hooked:

  • Ongoing. Addicting games have no set end point—players constantly evolve and must meet new challenges, so stopping is irrelevant.
  • Gradual Leveling Up. In the most addicting games, players gradually work their way up to bigger and better things like more power and capabilities. The promise of improvement and achievement keep people hooked.
  • Variable Rewards. The most addicting types of rewards are variable ratio (or variable interval) rewards. Used in both gambling and gaming, variable interval rewards don’t come predictably. In addicting video games, the rewards come just enough in response to player actions to keep players attached because they know they’ll achieve a reward at some point.
  • Full immersion. Games that cause addiction are all-consuming. Setting and action suck people in, but perhaps the strongest experience is emotion. Many games evoke the full range of human emotions as players involve themselves in wars, fights, betrayals, friendships, romance, loss, victory, and more.

See Why Are Video Games Addicting? Video Gaming Effects on the Brain

Addicting Video Games and Mental Health

Initially, even the most addicting games can have a positive effect on mental health. The escape these online games provide is stress-relieving, a break from frustrations; thus, they can be a healthy form of self-care. Additionally, connecting with others from around the globe with a similar interest in a particular game fosters belonging and a sense of community.

When gaming becomes an addiction, though, mental health can take a turn for the worse. When someone is trapped in their gaming world, they can become isolated from real-world friends and family. The game consumes an increasing amount of time so that they miss school or work, grades and performance drop, activities and pastimes once enjoyed become neglected. The game world becomes the real world for the addicted gamer (Am I Addicted to Video Games, Gaming?).

Gaming addiction is often linked to depression and anxiety (including social phobia). Loneliness and relationship problems are common. With gaming disorder and addicting games, mental health suffers. Even with the five most addicting video games, however, treatment is possible and people can and do reclaim their lives.

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Next: How Many Hours of Video Games is Too Much?
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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, July 17). The 5 Most Addicting Games and How They Affect Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/gaming-disorder/the-5-most-addicting-games-and-how-they-affect-your-mental-health

Last Updated: April 24, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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