“Addiction.”, A new OUYA game. An explaination

I have recently set aside my main project to work on a much smaller, much more personal game. It’s called Addiction., and it strives to represent my feelings when dealing with addiction an compulsions in general, using abstract gameplay mechanics. In this post, I’ll try to describe the ideas that I wanted to convey, as well as the mechanics I used to do so. The game is freely available at the OUYA store and will be coming soon to Google Play, but here’s a screenshot of what the gameplay looks like:

I know the graphics aren't the best. But it's the mechanics that matter.

I know the graphics aren’t the best. But it’s the mechanics that matter.

Main Idea: Addiction is bad

This is an obvious statement. For me, addiction is very, very bad, and thus getting into the “addiction zone” (the green and black zones) is bad. The longer the player (the blue square) stays in any of these areas, a force pulling him towards the right side of the screen gets stronger. In addition to that, the longer the player stays in either zone, the bigger the zones get, making it even harder to escape forom the pull of the addiction.

Secondary Idea: “Good” and “Bad” addiction

The “addiction zone” is subdivided into 2 different zones:

– The green zone represents the “good” addiction, the casual smoke or the “social drinking”. It represents an activity that is very pleasurable (increasing the score while the player says inside it), but that is nonetheless not good on the long run (represented the overall increase of “addiction zone” size and player pull).

– The black zone represents the “bad” addiction, the point where an addict doesn’t want to take that drink or that smoke, but he needs it. This real-life situation is detrimental to the quality of the addict’s life, which is represented by a decrease in the score (faster than the increase in the green zone) of the player.

Another Secondary Idea: Once you try it, there isn’t even life without drugs…*

At the beginning of the game, no force is pulling from the player, and the blue square is allowed to move freely. However, when it enters the green zone for the first time, the aforementioned force starts pulling at it, drawing it towards the black zone.

This force becomes bigger with every frame that the player stays in either “addiction zone”, so it will make staying out of the black zone gradually more difficult. This is meant to represent that, the more a person indulges on an addiction, the more it consumes that person. This increasing force makes the player work harder and harder to stay out of the black zone, just as an addict has to strive if he wants to get released from addiction.

The end:

As you have probably guessed, the game has absolutely no way to be beaten.

The game finishes when the player just can’t fight it anymore, and just falls into the black zone and loses all the score.

When the score reaches 0, the title screen appears.

You just felt how I felt about some things I lived.

Epilogue:

I hope you liked this small game, which is deeply personal experience, that I wanted to share the best way I know how.

Best Regards,

Borja

* This is a more or less direct quote from a book called “Go Ask Alice”. It’s really worth reading, although it fell really heavy on my heart.

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5 thoughts on ““Addiction.”, A new OUYA game. An explaination

  1. Bob Lafresh says:

    Dude this is so profound its unbelievable! As soon as i figured out what i was supposed to do i got the significance of what it meant instantly I have been an addict since about 16 and for the entirety of my adult life ive only been clean for more than a year so not only did this bring up strong emotions it also gave me a way to represent they way I feel to others that I have had a hard time explaining the mechanics of addiction to. Ive never thought about it like this before well of course ive thought about the idea of the green zone and black zone but i’ve never thought about representing it like that and its brillant I think this small game has potential to make non-addicts and soon to be addicts realize what they’re getting themselves or others into.Thanks for making this Im having trouble finding words to describe the impression this program left with me but its great I have avoided downloading it for a couple days and finally did and im so glad I didnt pass it up.

    • kerithdev says:

      Wow. I really didn’t expect this response.

      Well, first of all, thank you for downloading and playing the game. As an amateur designer, this means a lot to me.

      Secondly, and most importantly, I am really glad you undesrtood the meaning of the game. That’s something I was really worried about.
      I don’t have words to explain the joy of finding that another person has felt the same way I have, and the ability to connect with those common feelings thorugh games is really beyond insipiring.

      I’m just happy to know that the game touched you (because that means that I made something right :).

      And, lastly, thank you for taking the time to comment on it.

      Best regards,

      Borja

  2. […] “Addiction.”, A new OUYA game. An explaination (newouyadev.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Chris Savage says:

    Let me start by saying I usually don’t comment on boards… anywhere. I make it a point not to. I felt compelled to here. I played this game from the perspective of a software developer. I also played this game from the perspective of a former addict.

    I only needed to play the game once after reading your description, but I played it about 10 times through anyway, trying to get better. I couldn’t. How true to life, huh?

    This game brought back some painful memories. It also brought me a sense of miraculous accomplishment and strength, though, knowing that, after the title screen rolled, I crawled out of that black hole and went on to lead a successful life…

    In my opinion, you hit the nail on the head. It literally brought tears after I’d finished and thought about all I’d been through… Thanks for that. Never thought I’d get that from a video game…

    • kerithdev says:

      Hi, Chris.
      Thank you for playing the game, and for talking the time and effort to write such an inspiring comment.
      When making this game, I just wanted to express some of the things I lived, and it makes me really happy to know that somebody else also felt identified… And even more happy to know you got through it. Things like these really keep me going (I am 18, so I expect I can make mdore things in the future).

      My point is, thank you. I am really glad you liked it.

      Best regards,
      Borja

      P.S.: From a developers perspective, the code is an ABSOLUTE MESS. I am not proud of it, but I had the idea and I wanted to develop it as fast as possible, so that the idea wouldn’t be corrupted. As a consequence, the game is a big ball of code hacks barely holding together. I need to improve that for future projects.

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