In a new video released today to coincide with the 30th birthday of one of the most popular and successful computer games ever, Tetris, BPS Associate Fellow Dr Tom Stafford explains the psychology behind its enduring appeal.
Dr Stafford, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, says the chain of partial-solutions and new unsolved tasks can have the same kind of satisfaction as scratching an itch.
In the video Dr Stafford reveals how the game takes advantage of the mind’s basic pleasure in tidying up by feeding it with a “world of perpetual uncompleted tasks”.
He also explains how Tetris is so moreish that one writer once described it as a ‘pharmatronic’ – an electronic with all the mind-altering properties of a drug – with the Tetris Effect leaving players seeing falling shapes in their mind’s eye even after they’ve finished playing.
Dr Stafford said: “Tetris is the granddaddy of puzzle games like Candy Crush saga – the things that keep us puzzling away for hours, days and weeks. Tetris is pure game: there is no benefit to it, nothing to learn, no social or physical consequence. It is almost completely pointless, but keeps us coming back for more.”
To watch the video click here. :
Read a 2007 Psychologist article by Dr Stafford on a common accusation levelled at psychology 'Isn't it all obvious?' here.
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