How to Make Addictive Game

How to make great and addictive game? Is there some magic formula?

Yes, there is a secret magic formula for making addictive games !!!

Just add sugar, spice and everything nice... just kidding... that is the formula for Powerpuff Girls. But there are some rules which can help developers to create addictive games for Android.

It's quite interesting how much some games can be addictive. Big companies like Boing and Coca-Cola had to ban Solitary from company's computers because employees play a Solitary, instead working. Even threat of getting fired weren't enough to force employees to stop playing this game.

Let's define some extremely addictive games first. I think that everyone agree that on this list should be Tetris, Bejeweled and Solitary. There are 5 tricks which are common to these games.

So, let's see these tricks... Actually, the tricks for making great and addictive games are quite simple and reasonable.

1. Small learning curve

If player doesn't need to read tutorials and can immediately start playing a game this is a great advantage for any game. This will achieve that First-time Players don't give up from the game at the start. Gamers want to play, not to learn... so give them what they wont. Of course, latter on, a game can became more complicated, with some interesting things to discover and learn, but start MUST be as simple as possible.

Tetris, Bejeweled and Solitary don't require a lot of learning. Interface is standard, simple and intuitive. Gamer can immediately start with playing a game.

2. Mental effortless

A lot of players want to relax their brain from everyday tasks. To much thinking is hard and something what MUST be avoided in game. Of course, don't make stupid games. Make a games which require just a basic cognitive efforts. Make a games which can be play even when player is tired and not much concentrated.

3. Rewarding

We all likes flattering. This can be done with some nice words, which popups on the screen from time to time, like "excellent" or "brilliant". Of course, some fancy virtual badges and trophies would do the trick also, especially if can be shown to the other people.

4. Competing

Allow gamer to publish their results on-line. This will motivate other gamers to compete, and of course, to play the game even more.

5. No time consuming

Of course, every game is a time consuming, but if a some challenge can be finished within 5-10 minutes, this will help a gamer to trick himself. Gamer than can lie himself that he will loose just a couple of minutes to have some fun. Bejeweled is a great example of this strategy.


Some great games, like Tetris, has it's own trick for making a game more addictive. In Tetris player can see the mess he cause with bad decisions, because he sees unsorted blocks all the time, which reminds him on his imperfection. This forcing him to hide this mess and clear the stage.

StarCraft is a great example of creative/destructive games. Anthropology teach us that creative/destructive process is a very exciting and fun activity. Idea is to have to create something which will be used for destroying something and vice versa, to destroy something which will be used to create something. For example, to destroy an enemy building, You need a troop. To build a troop You need a Barrack and Supply Buildings. To create these buildings You need to destroy and use some Minerals. In this way, player circles through creative/destructive process. This is the reason why gamers LOVE strategy games.

The same process goes for games like Diablo. To destroy enemies, player needs to create a stronger Hero Character. Player adds new weapons, armors, spells and skills.

Of course, there are a lot of other tricks which can exploit gamers needs... but these are some of the basic. But don't forget this is the key just for creating an addictive game. Game quality doesn't guarantee game success. Game development is just a small proportion of making great games. It's all about a game promotion and good marketing, but this is a topic for some other article ...