I don't think either of us are what you would call "gamers." And yet at some point about in the late '80s my mother could not get enough Tetris. Day in, day out, until her eyes glazed over. And then she'd play some more. She became a fixture at the computer — her back to the room, silent, motionless, furiously clicking, oblivious as hours passed.
I developed a similar problem with Tetris, which I had a on Gameboy for a spell. I'd play a game, the board would fill up, and the prompt would ask, "Play Again?" The answer was almost always yes. It was hypnotic, mesmerizing, and impossible to put down.
Many years later my mother got a Motorola phone with a game called Bubbles in it. My family was on a Christmas vacation in Florida, sharing a hotel room and there was a moment when my sister and I realized my mom had been in the bathroom a really long time. When questioned, Mom admitted she was in there playing Bubbles. On Christmas! While hogging the bathroom!
Wednesday afternoon, I discovered a game called LineUp for my iPhone. it's similar to Tetris and Bejeweled. I played it once while waiting at the doctor's office; then again. And again. And again.
I played some more on the subway, and once I got home, I burned through a few more games. I got a pedicure, and played Line Up the whole time — then played a few more games while my toenails were drying.
I recognized the signs of addiction, so I did the only thing I could think of: I texted my mom, telling her to download LineUp.
I received no immediate response to my text.
Yesterday morning Mom called, half-laughing, half-crying. "I've been up all night," she wailed. Doing what? I asked, innocently. "PLAYING LINEUP," she shouted. Amused. And accusatory.
I saw my Mom last night, and she complained that her eyes were "gone," thanks to round after round of LineUp. I almost felt bad… Then she told me her high score, and I found myself itching to try and beat it.