For all their convenience, mobile video games have the ability to contribute to something problematic: addiction.
Just when people seem to be weening off the latest smartphone gaming fad, another app inevitably comes along to distract the masses for a few weeks. These games sometimes become more than fads, and wind up becoming cultural phenomenons.
Here are some of the biggest mobile gaming fads that cost us way too much time that probably could have been better spent.
As is often the case with massive gaming crazes, “FarmVille” was a terrible game. We give Zynga, the game’s developer, credit for taking advantage of Facebook’s massive popularity in the late 2000s, but it did so while providing a truly monotonous experience.
After “FarmVille” launched in 2009, it felt like, for more than two years, there were hourly updates about friends growing digital crops and raising digital livestock. The game still exists, and even spawned a sequel, but thankfully it’s faded into obscurity.
Yes, “Pokemon Go” is still being played, but not nearly as much as it was in the summer of 2016. After generating roughly 500 million downloads less than two months after its launched, the game has been downloaded only 150 million times since, according to Polygon.
The premise of the game is cool enough: use augmented reality to give gamers the illusion they’re capturing Pokemon in their backyards. But the zombie-like behavior of “Pokemon Go” players quickly became both awkward and dangerous.
“Candy Crush Saga”
As the most downloaded mobile game of all time on both IOS and Android devices, “Candy Crush Saga” belongs on this list. There have been a variety of sequels, spin-offs and expansions, but the original game reached unparalleled popularity.
The candy won’t stop crushing anytime soon, as the game is set get its own TV game show, according to Kotaku.
“The Angry Birds Movie” breathed some life back into this one-time phenomenon, but there’s little doubt the game’s best days are in the past. Arguably the most fun game on this list, “Angry Birds” presents a variety of puzzles that gamers navigate using different birds with different abilities.
The results were pretty great, and Walmart toy aisles haven’t been the same since.
It might not have quite the success of “Candy Crush Saga,” but “Fruit Ninja” is no slouch, as it’s also among the most downloaded games of all time. While the game’s use of touch-screen controls might have initially seemed like a gimmick, the controls have proven timeless.
Ranking with “FarmVille” among the most terrible games ever made and blatantly ripping off “Super Mario World” graphics, “Flappy Bird” provided an offensively low amount of depth.
Despite its generic gameplay, the game rose to the top of the charts in early 2014. It remained there roughly a month, until its creator pulled it from app stores over concerns the game was bad for society.
This game also has many spinoffs and expansions, and all of them are seriously addicting. The title of the game pretty much sums up the premise: run away from a monkey-infested temple.
There are plenty of reasons why this game is among the most downloaded apps ever, but perhaps the biggest reason is its incredibly fast and simple gameplay.
“Words With Friends”
This game was great, until you started losing. Essentially a mobile version of “Scrabble,” “Words With Friends” was a massive hit for the better part of a decade after it launched in 2009.
Unfortunately, it started to become obvious when players were cheating, which drastically limited the game’s appeal.