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