is a powerfully enticing website, rewarding simple tasks–like hitting 3 bubbles in a row of the same color or making it to the end of a maze–with either showing a colorful explosion or making items such as blocks or bubbles disappear.

The site fosters procrastination in a way that facebook and 4chan don’t; facebook and 4chan are social sites filled with boards and threads, but addictinggames gives procrastinators the reward they are looking for.

How It Works

Procrastinators avoid large, important tasks because they feel anxiety over them [The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt- Free Play, Fiore]. Thus, they are heavily drawn to much smaller, effortless tasks that reward them with a feeling of accomplishment.

Addictinggames is perfect for the procrastinator’s situation, because the games reward the player for very little effort by making something disappear (like crossing an item off a to-do list) or showing a pretty graphic. Thus, the player can spend hours on this website without realizing it because he/she is getting rewarded for every small task, as opposed to working on a larger, important task that requires much more effort before the feeling of reward comes.

Fighting the Urge to Play Addictinggames

  • Sometimes if a procrastinator cannot stop playing a certain game, changing the game being played will help to break the mesmerizing pull of the particular game, and can ease the person back into his/her original task. But this does not always work and can backfire.
  • Changing the environment in which a person works can help him/her to approach his/her work differently. Moving a laptop to a different, cleaner room or a table as opposed to a desk can have an effect on the anxiety of the person.
  • Talking to other people about one’s procrastination struggles can make one not feel so alone.
  • Breaking down a task into bite-sized pieces isn’t enough for procrastinators; one must reward oneself for each bite-sized piece like the games on addictinggames reward the player for tiny accomplishments. If one is computer savvy, one might create a small flash that goes off for every finished paragraph or set of calculations. Or, one could set up a movie and watch one minute of that movie for every small accomplishment.

Procrastinators are drawn to because of its simplicity and easy rewards. To fight against this pull, a procrastinator should experiment with tactics on what works for him/her and be sure to give himself/herself lots of rewards for doing what he/she should be doing.

In August, 2005, a 28-year-old man colapsed in an internet cafe in South Korea and later died.

According to reports at the time, he’d been playing Starcraft for 50 hours with few breaks. Local police figured he died from heart-failure brought on by exhaustion.

While it’s rare to hear about gamers actually dying from their addictions, the problem clearly exists. This why the Smith & Jones Wild Horses Centre in Amsterdam has a new program for compulsive gamers.

The Need for the Program

According to the centre’s website, the need for the program became apparent when staff interviewed clients who’d come in for drug or alcohol addictions and found a small number were also addicted to video games.

The site goes on to explain that many of the symptoms described by the game addicts were similar those experienced by junkies and alcoholics: obsessive thinking, health problems, long-term damage to personal relationships and career problems.

In fact, the 28-year-old Korean man had been fired for missing work to play video games short before he died.

Increasing Popularity

Many experts point to the increasing popularity of online multi-player games like MMORPGs(massive multiplayer online role playing games) as a reason why the problem seems to be getting worse.

These games provide an entire virtual world to be explored while allowing players to interact with others all over the world. They can join guilds to team up, collect money to buy bigger and better iteams and gain experience to become stronger.

The desire to become stronger and gain more is what leads to the compulsive play. This can be seen by a glance at eBay these days, where virtual property in these online worlds is up for auction, some of it going for insane prices. Players are actually willing to part with real money to gain more in the games.

Fighting Compulsive Gaming

To combat compulsive gaming, the Smith & Jones program offers not only detox and therapy but also takes patients out to the wilderness for “high-adrenaline” activities so they can find thrills in the “real world.”

The centre’s website acknowledges that 80 per cent of gamers are fine but aim’s to help the ones with real and serious problems.