Top 10 Dangerously Addictive Games

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Life can be a boring routine for some of us. The job, the kids, the school system, the mundane realities of everyday existence can force the individual to look for excitement in other places. For some, this excitement is found in a relationship with a man or woman. For some, the rush comes from drugs or booze. Others shoplift from the mall or spray-paint their names on the walls; while others get a buzz from working out at the gym or on the basketball court. Those who still retain a recognizable dose of human competitive instinct but don’t want to exert too much energy become addicted to one or more of the following games.

10. Chess


Should you laugh when someone tells you that they are the President of the Chess Club? Probably not to their face. The truth is that the obsession with chess, as with many other games, is not always a bad thing. Chess has been linked in several studies to improve mental health and sharpness in individuals who play it and learn it on a healthy and active level.

Contrary to stereotypes, tons of attractive and successful people play chess. Check out egotvonline.com‘s list of sexy female chess players to see what you are missing out on by not following that high-school interest in the fabled black-and-white board.

9. Pogs


It was Easter in the early 90s and the White House was, as usual, hosting their annual Easter Egg Roll. The theme that year (the idea that the nation’s marketing experts assumed could turn the largest profit) was Pogs. Pogs are small, cardboard discs, which probably cost nothing to make. Children across the nation have become enamored by the game, which involves stacking the discs an inch high and smashing the stack with a larger Pog (made of plastic, more expensive) which will then cause the stack of cardboard Pogs to flip. Depending on how the Pogs flip, one person will win and the other will lose. The winner will take the Pogs on, say, heads, and the loser will take the Pogs on tails.

I personally wasted probably $50 of my parents’ hard-earned money on this game at that aforementioned Easter event. Fortunately for me, the obsession did not take hold. I was out of the game before the noose tightened up and cut me off from all that I was worth. Others, mainly a long-lost childhood friend, were not so lucky.

8. Beer Pong


We have seen the tables in the hallways of frat houses nationwide. We have seen the beer-stained floors and the smashed Dixie cups. We have heard the urban legends about oral herpes and AIDS being spread from cracked lips or cut fingers pulling ping pong balls out of cups of beer. The game of beer pong is a somewhat underground symbol of the lifestyle of college students, the freedom to enjoy their selves in a garage or behind closed doors; beer pong is a monument to the young person’s ability to maintain athletic prowess even amidst the heavy consumption of alcohol.

The obsession with beer pong, for some, is quite literally a debilitating condition. Speaking from experience, I knew one young man who set a household record for playing 9 hours straight with only two breaks to eat and frequent trips to the bathroom. He estimates that in his 9 hours at the table he consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 beers, although this number cannot be verified in any way and I suspect it was lower but he has insisted for many years that it is not.

Beer pong tables are the center of a party. Lines form around them and people cheer and sometimes decide their fates based on a game. Relationships are formed and broken with a dirty ping-pong ball. It is a monotonous waste of resources. It is… time to stop.

7. Texas Hold ‘Em


If you’re between the ages of 11 and 110, odds are you’ve heard of, or participated in, a game of poker. Odds are that the game was 5-Card Draw or 7-Card Stud. However, if you’ve played at a contemporary poker table in the US within the past 15 years, the chances that you’ve participated in a game of Texas hold ‘em are also extremely high.

Texas hold ‘em was first played in Robstown, Texas at some point in the early 1900s, although no one is sure who invented it, how, why, or on what exact date. The game involves many rounds of betting, lending to its popularity among avid card players who enjoy high-risk, high-variable, “bluff-able” games.

Childhood interest in the game can often lead to a late-teens online Texas hold ‘em addiction which, for the majority of players, ends in the loss of $50 or $1,000 and the perpetually recounted excuses: “I got a bad beat” or “I lost a hand cause the other guy didn’t know what he was doing and bet on something stupid.”

For some young people, however, the Texas hold ‘em addiction has resulted in high-profile fame, fortune, and unimaginable success. These stories only stoke the flames beneath those inept players who, despite their love for the game, do not have the skill necessary to compete at a professional level but have (or don’t have) the money to lose to players who do know.

6. Curling


Curling did not become widely popular until recent decades. While it is not typical of the games on this list, it has made the countdown on the basis of its absurdly arranged rule system and abnormal appearance. Players in half-slick-half-sticky shoes converge on an ice rink to push giant metallic discs toward a two-dimensional bulls eye painted at the far end of the ice.

Curlers are like golfers in the respect that much of their game time involves standing around staring at a motionless arrangement of variables and discussing what should be done. This discussion time, and the limitless number of variables, is the reason for the widespread curling addiction, which has swept the globe in recent years. Few other Olympic sports offer the home viewer such frequent opportunities to voice his expert opinion on how a shot should be made. Hockey is too fast-paced. Figure-skating is impossible to critique unless you have done it for a decade. No one can say anything about professional skiers. And distance ski jumping is over too quickly. Curling gives the sports fan time to formulate complex sentences like, “Yeah, oh yeah, I think he ought to push that thing right there” while standing up with a beer in one hand and making an arcing motion with his free arm.

The curling obsession is still in its early phase. We must wait to see the aftermath of this sport’s introduction into our world.

5. Magic, The Gathering


It’s Friday night and just down the street at the local gamer store a crew of men and women (mostly men) between the ages of 12 and 65 are assembled at ping pong tables which have been covered by animated playing cards depicting fantastic fictional characters and beasts. The men slap the cards on the table, talk, jeer, laugh, and occasionally raise their voices at one another.

Why aren’t these guys out chasing women? Why aren’t they at home with their wives? Why aren’t they writing their Congressman? What brings them back to this same place night after night, month after month, and year after year? The answer: Magic.

Online articles like Jason Alam’s I Won’t Lose My Second Wife: Quitting Magic quickly illuminate this game’s addictive and utterly destructive impact on the human mind. I would suggest reading it to fully understand the scope of this game’s addiction. And trust me, the list only gets worse from here.

4. World of Warcraft


The World of Warcraft series, aptly named because of its capability to totally immerse gamers into an alternative reality, has shot down countless young men who would have otherwise been experiencing the thrilling heights of their late-teens and early-20s sexual prime.

A strategic war game based in a fantasy landscape equipped with all sorts of outlandish weapons, monsters, heroic characters, and animals is just the beginning. The game eventually takes over the life of the individual- so much so that it becomes a part of the brain. Warcraft players will be cutting the lawn and thinking to themselves, what would I do if an army invaded over that sidewalk? Or, how many soldiers could I fit—if they were real, life-sized entities—into a kingdom the size of Lincoln, Nebraska (where I am pointlessly living out my pale and shattered existence in my brother’s spare bedroom while “getting my degree” from the local computer technology institute).

3. Starcraft


Starcraft is the bane of the online strategy gaming world. It is strikingly similar to Warcraft. The setting of the Starcraft strategy game is composed of an unrealistic intergalactic array of atmospheres and space stations set up specifically for unique battle strategy implementation. Players war against one another online by building armies in real time, massing attacking, and choosing a “race” of species that best fits their fighting style and personality.

There are two generations of Starcraft player: The Original Disc Junkies and The Brood War Edition Psychopaths. These two divisions are based on different releases of the game, neither of which has pulled away from the other in terms of popularity amongst online gamers.

Starcraft is a smashing success. When it comes to how many people actively play the game, which was originally released 12 years ago by Blizzard Entertainment, the numbers are astronomical. (Yes, 12 years ago means 1998… and yes, the original version is still being gobbled up with mind-numbing frequency.)

A group for Starcraft addicts exists on Facebook, and if you look around online there are plenty of stories (bogus or real, who knows) of Starcraft addicts committing various insane or illogical acts in the real world “as a result of playing too much.” Obsession with the Starcraft videogame is likened to alcoholism, drug abuse, or power addiction. It is impossible to overcome without a true life altering experience or change in mental perspective.

2. Call of Duty


Call of Duty, is a first-person “shooter” (a game in which the gun and the hands are the only visible parts of your character) Xbox game depicting the lives (and deaths) of American and British special forces soldiers as they combat a worldwide network of terrorist regimes who threaten to overthrow the United States of America and its allies.

The game itself lasts a mere 10 hours of playing time (give or take, depending on skill), but the real addiction begins when players register the game online. According to some less experienced players it is “impossible to stay alive against some of these [Call of Duty] internet gamers. They play for five or ten hours a day—and I’m not kidding.”

Rumors of addiction to Call of Duty include the story of a young man who, after winning the lottery for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100k, holed up in a beach house near San Diego with a crew of his friends and pissed winnings away on candy, soda, the occasional stripper, customized Xbox consoles, and an unbelievable flat-screen TV network which would allow the team of the gamers to play in unison. It is because of this story, told to me by a firsthand witness, that the Call of Duty gaming addiction ranks so highly on this list.

1. Halo


Obsession with this galactic first-person shooter is a serious condition amongst the young people of the United States. While at first the game brought people together in groups to play against one another, it has ultimately forged a society of predominately young males (along with games like Medal of Honor or Call of Duty) who live behind a flat screen television and communicate to other gamers via a headset.

While this communication is a positive thing for some people (those with disabilities who cannot leave the home, etc.) it is a dangerous addition to the already broad array of technological inventions which have severed person-to-person societal bonds by connecting human beings through virtual interaction instead of face-to-face communication.

And the addiction does not stop with playing the game. Check out geekswithblogs.net, where individuals spend extra “non-gaming” hours recounting the highlights (most of the time quite dry) of their daily adventures in cyberspace. This link also doubles as an “I’m addicted to Halo” blog. It’s like sitting through an AA meeting with a bunch of 14-year-old kids that you can laugh at or feel sorry for… your choice.

Let’s take a look at what one of them has to share:

“We were playing “1 Flag CTF” where there is one flag and each team takes turns as defenders and attackers. The map was Zanzibar. Zanzibar is an incredible map. Very fun and very fast passed. It particularly takes pretty good team work if you want to pull of a smooth win. The game was four-on-four and we finally came together and played like a team. My job was to open the gate in the energy plant…”

Disturbing and frantically scrawled lines like “My job was to open the gate in the energy plant” are beyond sad. This young man has truly stepped into a dangerous alternative universe that has the potential to dramatically shift his perceptions of himself and the world around him.  As we peer further into the mind of this particular blogger we find this shocking confession:

“I’m entirely hooked on it now [Halo]. When a game goes that well, it’s eerily like a potent line of crack cocaine (not that I would actually know if this is a valid comparison mind you).”

Fortunately, crack cocaine is typically smoked in a pipe and not snorted in a line, meaning that this young man is probably not experimenting with hard drugs (or he’s a cover-up genius). Regardless, many of these Halo fiends are headed down a sad path straight to hell. If anyone can argue this thing out of slot #1, be my guest.

by Jesse Stretch
Please visit
JesseStretch.com to find out more about this talented author and his publications.


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40 Comments

      • He's probably Canadian! 🙂 Does Second Life count as a game? I've heard it's pretty addictive. I'm a recovered Magic – The Gathering addict so there is hope for any afflicted readers out there… I have my cat to remind me, since I named him after one of the cards (Hypnotic Spectre – 2/2 Flying). I also still have all of my cards (saving them to teach my kids how to play one day)…

        • Hi there,

          My BF is a Magic addict, and you say you were, yet youre waiting to teach it to your children?!!!
          IM confused, why would you teach them something you had to recover from?!!!
          Not trying to be confrontational just feel like im losing my BF to something i dont understand so trying to understand it better 🙂

  1. I don't play WoW but I thought/should be number 1, people have their own lives in WoW and forget about their real one. Another addicting game since you put poker is slot machines, people pass hours, days on those things ! But overall good top ten, thanks for the read,

    • nocturnesthesia on

      WOW players seem to smell horribly. I'm not saying there aren't normal/decent/casual WOW players, I'm just saying there is definitely a correlation.

  2. Wow, there are many facts that are just plain wrong in this list once he starts talking about the video games. Seems like the author's general disdain for games got in the way of actual research or knowing what he is talking about.

  3. I laughed repeatedly at this list, but not because it was intentionally funny.

    Like Tom said, the lack of factual data referring to the video games on this list is absurd! I doubt Jesse has ever played a video game in his life.

    I'm not disagreeing with them being on the list. I'm laughing because they're written like someone who's been living in the wild for 20 years finally came back to civilization & watched a video clip or two before trying to describe what they experienced.

    • I agree about them belonging, I might disagree on the order though. Any of them above World of Warcraft is not quite right in my opinion.

  4. At first I thought this list was a gamer poking fun at ourselves, but then I went to your website & saw posts you wrote about how immoral and unethical our society is. So I have to take this list as you being truthful & showing your real feelings.

    You start the list with an underhanded bash at all gamers who don't want to participate in athletic sports. OK, fine, we can't all be jocks like you apparently. Then you laugh at people on the chess club. So you're my bully from middle school all over again. Great, just what I need.

    Curling, of which has already been pointed out, are rocks, not metal. A tiny little bit of research would do you good. Especially from a "professional author". Then it just runs downhill fast.

    "Warcraft players will be cutting the lawn and thinking to themselves, what would I do if an army invaded over that sidewalk?" I'm sorry, but What The Frack!?! You're just plain making stuff up now, absolutely nothing to do with the game in question. If you had said, "Warcraft players will be cutting the lawn and thinking to themselves, what talents can I switch and pull some extra DPS in Tuesday's raid?" Then you'd come across as educated. As it is, you come across as a pompous lazy writer who can't even be bothered to do 5 minutes of research on the internet to sound half-way intelligent about the games your bashing.

    "Disturbing and frantically scrawled lines," what kind of flowery mumbo-jumbo writing is that? Disturbing is you again insulting the poster, a gamer. "Frantically scrawled" is marvelously hilarious. He's describing teamwork tactics they used in a multi-player game to be victorious. I didn't see anything frantic in the post, or anything written illegibly for that matter. You do realize the US Military uses video games to help train teamwork and tactics, right?

    And then you get just plain mean, "pointlessly living out my pale and shattered existence in my brother’s spare bedroom." And Halo players are "a bunch of 14-year-old kids that you can laugh at or feel sorry for," and, "are headed down a sad path straight to hell." I'm going out on a limb here & guessing you're a Christian. As a Christian myself, I was taught to accept people that are different from myself, not to insult and belittle them. If you need to spread the word, you do it with knowledge, compassion and truth, not with lies and insults as you've done here.

    I'm a Christian and a gamer, and I've been obsessed by certain games before, sometimes they can take over your life, just like anything else in excess. I actually think this is a great subject to have as a list, and it could have been used to enlighten people. I think the video games you list should be on here, along with others like Everquest, Bejeweled, Farmville, Legend of Mir 3, etc. The list should have simply stuck to the facts and not pushed your personal beliefs and insults on others.

    I only have qualms with the way this list is written, "facts" about many games are just made up (and you call yourself a talented professional writer?), and you're spewing your moral/religious supremacist hatred down on those different from you. Shame on you.

    • I just have to say, Thank you. I'm glad to see that you are a christian and can also tell how unintelligent this post is (it seems to be a rare combination on the internet). I'm a gamer and I could be considered addicted (can't wait for Reach). But I make sure to go out and have fun with friends. I also try to stay active and not let myself get completely sucked in to the online world.

      I don't believe in Hell so that part just made me laugh, but thanks again for your intelligent rebuttal of this article 🙂

  5. hands down Second Life should've been on this list!

    (Second Life if a RPG game similar to the Sims, but's way more vast, better gfx and superior global connectivity. they have their own REAL currency, that has caused endless bankruptcies, broken homes, sexual addictions, deaths even!

    I know 'citizens' of that game that spend upwards of 15 hours a day 7 days a week in-world.

    There seems to be 2 breeds of SL citizens.

    1. Casual users or noobs, that come on 1-3 times a week, for maybe an hour or so jst to "check in" , shop,chat w/ friends, have sex, or just travel around.

    OR,

    2. The Hardcores , who spend most of their free time in-world. They have already given the RL a big 'eff you' avec middle finger, and are unable to come back from the fantasy, abandoning their kids, their spouses and friends for their online persona. Most of these peeps work inworld. or simply work basic RL jobs to mantain their cyber fantasy. most hardcore users play for around +4-15 hours a day,

    Just like WoW it has broken homes, alienated individuals, and caused many many ridiculous suicides…what makes it more dangerous is that compared Wow or other RPG's it is emotionally and psychologically a GRADE A MINDFU&K due to it's utter lack of point or lack of mission.

    Sure you can meet a girl on WoW ( rare) and hit it off (even more rare) and commence a online in-world gamer relationship with relative success ( ummm..) but the chances of doing that in Second Life are multiplied to the N'th degree!

    Because of the lack of purpose or point to Second Life, people are just as aimless and lost as they are in real life, but without having to go through the trouble of showering or physically encountering other people thru anything but a keyboard or occasional microphone

    I personally played Second Life for about 6 months, and had an almost impossible time separating my SL(second life) from my RL ( real life). And for the record i didn't get laid for that whole 6 months in RL,, but was carpetbombing the grid daily in-world.

    There are hot chicks in SL surprisingly ( and a lot of desperate housewives) always observe Rule 34, 35 and 36

    obvs when u join SL, i personally believe, your life couldn't be all that good, lots of ppl are on SL because they are bored, stuck in loveless relationships, depressed, shy, or disabled to some extent.

    You can make anything of your SL, but just like RL, people just…well…. most people use their perfect avatar bodies to succumb to sexual addiction and perversions, or stand around doing nada all.

    It's for this reason i know Second Life should easily be in the top 5 of this top 10 list.

    eitherway fun read!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flkgNn50k14
    funny clip of if SL was RL

  6. First 2 places are a freaking joke, really. I think that author dont have a bigger idea what he was writing about or he is simply a fan-boy of fps. Regardless, this whole list shud be filled with only mmos (perhaps with few slots for CS, collectible card games and poker) as these are most addictiving, time and money consuming, dangerous for normal, social life and mainly – having biggest users count. And dont worry, Im a WoW player myself (also got a lot of experience in other mmos wich i wont mention here – theyre far away behind WoW), i know this environment and all those peoples so I think I know what Im talking about. neverthless WoWs got nearly 12kk (yes, millions) regulary payed accounts. Show me any game in history that wud bet this zombie army.

    • [quote] Show me any game in history that wud bet this zombie army.

      Reply [/quote]

      Actually Farmville has currently 70 million regular player (was 78 million last month). Besides Farmville there's 17 other games on Facebook with over 10 million regular players engaged.

      As far as i know even Halo has a bigger following than WoW.

    • Chess, Pogs & Curling are all jokes. I agree with everyone else, no real research was done for this.

      Dangerous games could have been a great list, just this writer was terrible. Keep him off TopTenz, you've got much better writers. Most lists are well done.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with Rylee T.'s statements. The problem is not so much with the list but the condescending, unenlightened tone of the author, who clearly has done very little research past face value into the subjects he writes about.

  8. Poor list. Curling??? Pogs??? Chess??? C'mon dude, are you seriously going to sit there, straight-faced, and tell me that these are dangerously addictive games? Name 10 people that you know who have a serious addiction to any of those games.

    The part about Call of Duty is way off.

    • I vote for Tetris! I remember having Tetris-brain, where I would just be walking down the street and then my brain would start trying to fit different shapes in the cityscape together… kind of scary…

  9. "Disturbing and frantically scrawled lines like “My job was to open the gate in the energy plant” are beyond sad."

    Really? Beyond sad? He's describing what he was doing in the game. It's like saying "I opened the Word document and created the letterhead" is disturbing! What kind of self-righteous person wrote this thing anyway? Also, Pogs?! Seriously? I haven't heard of those since fourth grade and they really weren't much fun then either. It sounds like someone wanted to rant and grabbed a few items to fill in the bottom rungs of the list.

  10. I can't believe Everquest is not on here, that game may not be number one but deserve to be on this way more then Halo. this is a top ten for yourself and not overall, WOW being #4 alone made this a fail list !!!

  11. Soccer should be on this, people literally kill each other in defense of their teams. Golf too, can be freaky addicitve. Also, I dunno if WoW players in the States are different from the ones here in Europe, but I know quite a few (myself included) who happily go days without even thinking of playing the game, never mind actually logging on. None of the dozen or so Warcrafters I know have ever thought about the game obsessively or allowed the game to interrupt work or social activities. In fact, in my experience, compared to people I know who play Xbox Live, WoW gamers aren't at all addicted. Xbox friends of ours however are renowned for blowing off parties and work for gaming.

  12. Seriously, WoW was number 3? I mean, I have college professors mentioning World of Warcraft, and these are people who left their professions and are teaching at University for their retirement. Also, where are the Zynga games (Farmville and the like) on Facebook. Farmville and World of Warcraft should have been numbers 1 and 2 respectively. And seriously? Curling?

  13. Anything which does not cause a physical addiction should NEVER be called “dangerously addictive”. When the addiction to something is based purely on the users inability to control themselves, rather than a true medical addiction, I consider it foolish to call it “addictive” on any level. Anything enjoyable can be just as addictive as anything else if you don’t know when to say when. This list starts out with rediculous examples (Curling? Really?) and then falls back on the classic videogame scapegoats, lavishing in basement-dwelling geek stereotypes. This writer is no more a “talented author” than I am a platypus.

  14. I think Starcraft must be number 1,
    just look at some tournament videos, and you’ll see that many people watching them.
    And it still has it’s place in WCG (World Cyber Games).

  15. Curling is interesting for two very different reasons from other sports.

    First, sportsmanship. There are officials and judges, but generally they don’t get involved in play unless a player touches a rock illegally, or if rocks have to be measured for scoring. The players police themselves, and good sportsmanship is almost mandatory.

    Second, strategy. Unlike other sports where you need to be secretive about what you’re doing, a skip on one team can tell his opposing skip his entire strategy for the game – what he plans to how, how he plans to place guards, etc. Knowing everything the other team plans to do doesn’t matter one whit if one team can’t make the shots. Execution is everything, and “luck” is a rarity.

    As for the actual curling, think of a baseball pitcher throwing a curve ball. He wants the ball to start outside, off the plate, then at the last second have the ball “bend” and cross the plate for a strike. That’s essentially what curlers are doing, but from much further away with much larger objects to throw.

  16. “Regardless, many of these Halo fiends are headed down a sad path straight to hell”

    so does that mean thousands and thousands of soldiers who die almost every day defending us are going to hell? because if you actually done some research then you would know that video games came out as number 1 in a test to see what helped soldiers in Afghanistan cope with the stress so it is you actually that is on a sad path straight to hell

  17. World of Warcraft should be number one! this is the only website i could find that WoW isnt the number one addicting game

  18. I believe World of Warcraft should be number one. It’s not only played by tons of people in the States, it’s also played by tons of people all over the world.

    You’ll find people spending money for expansion set, equipment, in-game money and more. Halo doesn’t sell as much as WoW.

    If you think of it, based on game addiction, WoW is on top because of the almost-limitless gameplay.

  19. weaselspleen on

    This should be called “Top Ten Games That Are In the Sole Opinion Of The Author A Waste Of Time” because that’s the only possible justification for including both World of Warcraft and Pog in the same list.

    You could read the label on a box of light bulbs a hundred times in a row, and you’d get more value than this article provides.

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