BBC – Future – Health – The psychology of Tetris

Shapes fall from the sky, all you have to do is to control how they fall and fit within each other. A simple premise, but add an annoyingly addictive electronica soundtrack (based on a Russian folk tune called Korobeiniki, apparently) and you have a revolution in entertainment.

Since Tetris was launched on the world in 1986, millions of hours have been lost through playing this simple game. Since then, we’ve seen games consoles grow in power, and with it the appearance of everything from Call of Duty to World of Warcraft. Yet block and puzzle games like Tetris still have a special place in our hearts. Why are they are so compelling?

The writer Jeffrey Goldsmith was so obsessed with Tetris that he wrote a famous article asking if the game’s creator Alexey Pajitnov had invented “a pharmatronic?” – a video game with the potency of an addictive drug. Some people say that after playing the game for hours they see falling blocks in their dreams or buildings move together in the street – a phenomenon known as the Tetris Effect. Such is its mental pull, there’s even been the suggestion that the game might be able to prevent flashbacks in people with PTSD.

via BBC – Future – Health – The psychology of Tetris.


2 thoughts on “BBC – Future – Health – The psychology of Tetris

  1. I have to say I have had this exact same thing happen to myself. I have had it not only happen with puzzles games such as tetris, but aso with first person shooters. It makes me wonder what kind of physiological and phycological things happen to cause this? It also makes me wonder if people who play hours of games will eventually start blurring reality with a virtual world? I think that people may start even suffering from mental problems due to this misconception and blurred identity of reality and the virtual. AlsoI wonder what qualities in a game make certain games so much more addicting then others?

  2. I feel the exact same way. I had an phone game that i couldn’t put down for hours. Right when i put it down to stop playing, lights would flash in front of me as they were doing in the game. It is crazy to think that this happens only after a few hours of gameplay. Its crazy to think what could happen if i played the game more and more. It wasn’t something i could control, so could the multiple hours cause me to see these lights permanently? I don’t think i will ever give my chance to find out but is interesting nonetheless.

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