Mostly everyone plays at least one game on their phone or tablet. Some of the most well known mobile games include clash of clans, fruit ninja, 2048, doddle jump and stop. You can take out your phone and play a game practically anytime and anywhere. But what attracts people to mobile games? What makes mobile games unique in the gaming world?
These mobile games are designed to be addictive! Have you ever noticed that when you get a perfect 3 star on a difficult level or even if you just beat it for the first time or something like it, you feel a rush of happiness? Your brain is releasing dopamine, which in turn makes you happy or gives you the feeling of satisfaction. Games get boring when you’re dopamine receptors desensitize or are removed because your brain gets used to all that dopamine. This is similar to how people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, the have to drink more because they have less dopamine receptors to get the same affect.
Game developers design the game so your dopamine receptors don’t desensitize. You blow through the starting levels of the game and then the levels get more difficult. You don’t know when you’re going to win the next level but when you do, you feel more satisfied, like you deserved to win. Levels are designed so you lose just the right amount of times so once you finally win, you’ll continue to play their game. Similar to the chances on a slot machine, which are designed so you win in just the right amount of turns so you’ll keep playing in the hopes to get more money.
Often when playing mobile games there’s a timer. This is so they can limit the amount of time in a play session. It stops you when you’re determined to beat the level or just finished so it can keep you coming back for more. It stops you from staying in the zone when you’re practically swimming in dopamine so your dopamine receptors don’t desensitize. The only way to keep playing and stay in the high dopamine state is by paying for it.
Quiz games are a little different. It’s quizzing you on your knowledge of a subject. Games like quiz up, stop, and trivia crack are great examples. You play against your friend or some randomly in the world. Certain games match you with higher level people so after you lose you’ll want to try again or if you win, you’ll feel like you’re better than that person.
So what other things could draw us to taking out our phones and playing a mobile game?
They are fairly simple, they have for the most part one goal, take out the enemy or advance to higher levels. The games are quick, PC games like FallOut, CS:GO, MOBA games, take longer play sessions to get that same rush of dopamine you can get from a 5 minute or less mobile game.