Top 8 Most Addicting Video Games of the Past & Present

  • By Aaron Mills
  • 07 Dec, 2017

Video game addiction is real, and a real threat to teenagers and adults everywhere. 

We compiled a list of the most addicting video games of the recent past. Just because they’re addicting, doesn’t make them terrible and something that should be avoided. Don’t forget, it’s not the game’s fault...there is no addicting substances in video games that make people addicted. If you find yourself or someone you love is addicted to video games, seek treatment at an addiction recovery center that offers treatment for video game addiction.

World of Warcraft

An MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that, at its peak, had over 12 million players. At the time of writing, it still has over 5 million active players, and puts out new expansions every other year, which bring many players back to the game even if they hadn’t played in awhile. It’s frequently referred to as “WarCrack” due to its widely perceived addictive nature.

Games like WOW, as its players call it, allow people to live a fantasy life inside of a digital video game reality. An unhealthy sense of importance is then placed on participation in that reality, instead of the one we all inhabit. 


Everquest is sometimes referred to as NeverRest, and is the first wildly popular MMORPG, about five or six years before World of Warcraft came out. It’s not as popular now, but still has a following. Today there are more MMORPG’s than you can shake a stick at, with much better graphics and far more advanced gameplay features, so not as many people are playing Everquest. Anyone who still does is either addicted, or just has a penchant for nostalgia (which is perfectly reasonable, and the game does hold up as still fun).


The fifth Halo just came out, and it’s the flagship game of the Xbox consoles, but the most popular and addicting version was Halo 3. During the heydays of Halo 2 and 3, there were a lot of tournaments. Montage and other gameplay videos were becoming popular on the internet with the growth of YouTube, and there were even some small-scale celebrities in the gaming world who were excellent Halo players. This encouraged a lot of people to play more Halo, with aspirations of becoming good enough to be known around the world, and win tournaments.

Call of Duty (COD)

Any of the recent Call of Duty games (commonly abbreviated as COD, but not the fish), since they quit making World War II games, have been wildly successful in online gaming and are great because of the casual Team Deathmatch Mode (TDM). TDM is quick and easy to hop into when you only have 20 minutes to play, so it appeals a lot to casual gamers who don’t have a whole lot of time to play video games. This seems like the kind of thing that would make a game not addicting, but just like any other addiction, it starts in small doses. First you play a match while waiting for water to boil, the next thing you know, you’re up all night playing match after match, because you just won 5 in a row and want to keep your streak going.


Farmville was a casual browser-based game that existed in Facebook’s game platform. It was created by Zynga, a notoriously money-hungry company. In Farmville, you plant your crops and then wait, in real time, for your plants to be ready to harvest. For example, one plant would take 30 minutes to be ready for harvesting after planting. You could set up all your plants and then come back to harvest them before they get old and die, or you could pay real money for items that would instantaneously grow your crops and allow them to be harvested. This game was wildly popular amongst adults, especially women in their 30s to 70s, and made millions of dollars off of people being addicted and too impatient to wait for their crops. They’d spend real money to get their crops ready, and then plant more and spend more real money to harvest.


Tetris may have been the first game people became addicted to. It was a hit in the arcades even though it first came out on consoles (where people sunk even more hours into it). Its biggest success was on the Nintendo Game Boy, which came out in 1989 and allowed people to play Tetris on the go, anywhere, without having to drop quarters into a machine. There are even documentaries about Tetris that discuss how popular and addicting the game was in the late '80’s and early '90’s.

Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird was another casual game, but for smartphones. The game was removed from both the iOS and Android app markets because the creator felt like people were “too addicted” to the game. At its peak, Flappy Bird was making more than $50,000 daily from ad revenue. There were no sneaky sales tactics, just an advertisement presented every time you lost. The game had a quick turnaround because it was extremely difficult, but when you got better, it became more and more fun. The more you played, the better you got, and the more fun you were having. The creator received many angry tweets and emails, even threatening his death, because people were frustrated by the difficulty of the game. After removing the game from the online stores, he received even more and hasn’t really been heard from since. (Nothing happened to him; he just got sick of the vitriol and left social media for a little while.)


Skyrim is the fifth in the Elder Scrolls series of single-player role-playing games, but the size of this one is pretty massive. There are hundreds of quests and miles upon miles of land, cities, and dungeons to explore. When it came out, it was common for some people to disappear for days or weeks doing nothing but playing this game. The depth of gameplay, coupled with the storyline, were engaging and addicting. Every time you did something that got you experience points, you were closer to a level. When you got a level, you got to put points into skills to make your character stronger. It takes tens of hours, if not hundreds of hours, to get your character to the strongest it can be. Why would you want to stop before reaching that point?

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By Jenny Hunt 22 Jan, 2018
So often I talk about the big blessings of sobriety – great job, great life, great friends, great relationship with my family, and that feeling of inner peace and contentment. Sometimes I forget about the little things. Little things that were so out of my reach in addiction, I didn’t even believe they were possible. So here are some of those things, in no particular order:
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By Jodi MacNeal 20 Jan, 2018
Two days after the 1986 NBA draft, No. 2 pick Len Bias was dead of cardiac arrest after of a cocaine overdose.

Len Bias: Best player Maryland had ever seen (maybe the best Maryland player ever, depending on how you feel about Juan Dixon). The future of the Celtics. About to sign an endorsement deal with Reebok. Life was perfect.

Cocaine killed that. He was 22.

Bias hadn’t left home to play college ball; he was a home-grown talent who came up just outside D.C. and played ball in Maryland so he wouldn’t have to leave his family. He had a future as wide-open and promising as any kid, ever. Already a star, a freak of athletic power and poise, he might have changed the world of professional basketball. He’d fueled the dreams of a thousand city kids who wanted to play like him, be him. He swaggered, Len Bias did. His opponents couldn’t fathom him: “He’d jump and his knees would be in my teeth.” He dunked on guys, whether he needed to or not, just because he could. Len Bias could fly.

And then cocaine ended him.

Here’s how it went down: Bias and three buddies were snorting coke in a dorm room, suite 1103 in Washington Hall. Bias did a line, tried to get up, fell back on the bad and lapsed into seizure. One guy held his legs. Another one put the handle of a pair of scissors in Bias’s mouth, to keep him from biting his own tongue. The third somehow called 911 and mumbled, over and over, that his friend was in trouble. Kept saying his friend’s name, even when the emergency operator told him it didn’t matter. “This is Len Bias. You have to get him back to life. There’s no way he can die.”

But drugs don’t differentiate. Substance use, abuse and addiction have attacked athletes across the spectrum of sport.

By Emily Johanson 18 Jan, 2018
If a stranger in a gas station parking lot asks this question, it’s easy to assume what’s going on.

“Nope. I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

“Yep, thanks.”

After working a full day, then sitting through a 4-hour class, the last thing I was in the mood for was to be pestered by a drug dealer at 11 p.m. All I wanted was to get my Marlboro Smooths and go home.

As I got into my car, annoyed by the fact that I had to start it with pliers (broken car keys aren’t worth the $200 replacement), something told me to stop.

I reversed, and rolled down my window next to the mysterious black Toyota.

“What are you selling?”

He told me that he had whatever I needed: Weed, percs, Xanax, heroin, flakka, oxies, you name it.

Addiction was too close to home to keep from speaking up.

“Do you realize what you’re doing? Do you realize what you’re selling?”

He was silent for a minute, staring at me. After what felt like eternity looking into this man’s eyes, I decided that I had the freedom to continue. What else do I say? I began to tell some of my story. I served him my heart on a silver platter.

“You don’t have to do this. There are other ways to make money.”

He looked down in shame. I encouraged him to take a few of my Desert Rose company cards in case he knew someone who needed help. He got out of his car, took the cards from my hand and stood there, shaking his head. With tears in his eyes, he said, “They’re for me.”

I sat there with this guy for 45 minutes while he poured out his heart and story.

Gary told me he’s 49 years old, works on classic cars by day, and sells drugs by night for extra money. He has a beautiful son who he loves with all of his heart. When he removed his hat and pulled his shirt collar aside, his bald head and IV port revealed his personal nightmare: Gary was also fighting stage four colon cancer. He made it clear that his cancer was not an excuse for his behavior, or for his personal drug use.

I was caught off guard when Gary squeezed my hands and began to pray. He prayed against forces of the enemy. He prayed for blessing over my life. He prayed protection and favor over his son. For himself, he prayed for wisdom and strength to do the next right thing.

As he walked back to his car, he turned around and said, “It’s time for me to go home and kiss my son good night. Thank you for reminding me of what’s important.”

Every day, we pass people by, like they’re just part of the scenery. We have absolutely no clue what kind of story, beauty, and pain lie beneath the surface.

If you're in pain, please know we understand and we're ready to help. Call us today at (844) 338-5587. 
By Jodi MacNeal 18 Jan, 2018
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How do you carry your recovery into the world? Do you pin it on daily, like a badge of honor? Do you bring it out just for special occasions, or do you keep it well and truly hidden?

Last month, a longtime acquaintance told me (in slightly hushed tones) that he’s in recovery. 

I was glad that I didn't hear any traces of shame or guilt in his voice. His long-ago drinking and drug use? It’s just the life he was living at the time. He’s not afraid of being judged, or of any stigma attached to substance abuse and recovery.

It’s just that he’s moved on. He’s private about being in recovery and it’s not particularly relevant to the life he's achieved – husband, father, business owner, artist, athlete. He sponsors people, even quietly mentions that he’s a former addict when he thinks it might help somebody. He probably won’t bring it up with his kids unless they ask him point-blank, once they’re old enough to understand. It’s a crazy-healthy way to be.

For some people, declaring their recovery to the world is a part of staying clean. It gives them a sense of identity and a tribe – their own #MeToo community. They’re vocal, active, engaged. These are the folks going into the prisons, leading the meetings, talking to groups of high school students and their parents. Walking though recovery means talking about recovery. They have no secrets.

Then there are others who’ve closed and locked the door. The subject is not open for discussion, and if you happen to touch upon it, everybody’s going to feel a little uncomfortable for a while. This happened to me not long ago, with a pastor friend. Trying to find a way to refuse a glass of prosecco I offered, he made a joke about being an overachiever in everything – including, at one time, drinking. He made his point in a way that made it clear that was all he was planning to say on the matter. His right, and I respect that.

It seems to me that there are a million ways to navigate long-term recovery. What’s your way?
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