Addictive, Mindless Fun

Minesweeper, originally uploaded to Flickr by diwong.I was just speaking with someone about how she had an addiction to Tetris and had to wean herself off it. This reminded me of the partner I used to work with who, in the midst of a long discussion, would turn his back to the other people in the room and start playing Minesweeper. Which reminded me of my addiction, in law school, to the game “Spider Solitaire.” (I got really good at it, and somehow did ok in my classes even though I played it obsessively during class.) (Pictured: Minesweeper, originally uploaded to Flickr by diwong.)

So I thought it might be interesting to have an open thread about this — do you view these games as harmless fun? When do you know you need to pull back and stop playing the game? (Does anyone still play games that used to be mindless fun, or have you had to give them up entirely, like I have?) And — I hesitate to ask this! — does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for fun, mindless games?


For my own $.02 — I just discovered the game Drawsome and am having a lot of fun with it, but I limit myself to playing with friends I know in real life, so it stops me from wasting too much time! Right now I limit myself to playing games on my iPad or phone — for some reason games I play on the computer are far more addictive. (I totally avoid games on Facebook.) The last game I got truly addicted to was Wedding Dash (when I was planning my wedding) — once I reached the highest level I had to delete the entire game off my computer to be truly done with it!  I can have fun with some games, but when I start to get pathological about a game and feel an absolute need to play it, even when I know I shouldn’t — or when one “quick” game regularly turns into an hour and a half boondoggle — then I have to stop it entirely.


  1. Me!Me!

    Seriously, I have an addiction to all of my iphone games and the random online games you can download for an hour without paying, especially the ones which don’t require any skill. Like Diner Dash etc. Basically they are soothing and mind numbing which I need because anxiety = unquiet mind.

    Had to stop because it was basically eating up hours of my day.

  2. sweeping the mines :

    oh my god I love minesweeper. I have been addicted to minesweeper ever since I was 14 years old. I have it on my phone and I play the internet version of it at work. I try to really limit how much I play unless I’m on the phone – then I play constantly.

    • I am happy/sad that none of my computers have Minesweeper. And I won’t let myself download it.

    • In grad school I used to play minesweeper so much I would be playing in my sleep. I think when I achieved 68 seconds to clear the expert level and was not able to reduce the time I lost interest. Still, I do not play on my home computer.
      For a while it was Mah Jong, then that got boring. Now it’s spider solitaire.
      I know I’m really stressed when I play computer games.

      • OMG, a 68 for expert? I don’t think I can right-click fast enough. My fastest is 125 and I (thought) I lost interest for the same reason…

        • The trick is to not mark all the mines! I play almost entirely without marking mines but I’m sure there’s some balance of mine-marking that minimizes clicks/time spent clicking. I, ummm, don’t have time to figure out what that is.

    • I also am addicted to Minesweeper.

      There’s a Minesweeper ipad app, and I can’t keep my hands off it.

  3. Monopoly for iphone/ipad. Ahhhhh. I also really like Bookworm. Any game where speed isn’t an issue.
    Also, I put Pinterest, Corporette, and Cap Hill Style in my obsessive-always-looking-at-it-when-I-should-be-working category.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only Monopoly addict out there! I have also been known to spend way too much time playing Bejeweled.

    • Bookworm, yes!

      And Bejeweled. I recently upgraded my iPhone OS and had to re-download Bejeweled… the newer version with “Diamond Mine” and “Butterflies.” soooooo addicting. I think everyone else has had that version for a year, but I didn’t know what I was missing.

      I love both of these after I had a long day at work and don’t feel like thinking enough to read my book on the Metro on my way home.

  4. Worn Out from Working :

    Wordflick, Sudoku and Bejeweled (though I would argue that the first two actually keep my mind sharp). I play them on my iPod to zone out from this complicated life – I probably play more when I’m busy because they are an easy, quick escape, and they take up far less time than a log into facebook or any other internet activity would. I’m sure a nap would be better for my health, but we don’t all have that luxury.

  5. Can we talk about the evil that is the computer game Snood? I once became addicted to that during high school that I had to delete it off my computer. My husband was addicted to any and all games on during law school and it’s amazing he got decent grades.

    • *so addicted

    • phillygirlruns :

      oh, snood. i played a whole lot of snood in college.

      my favorite timesuck will always be tetris, though i became pretty damn good at spider solitaire during law school.

      • just Karen :

        I knew it was bad when the guy sitting behind me in Property came up to me after class to congratulate me on the awesome game of spider I had played… law school really made me a pro. More recently I had to quit Farm (on the King website) cold turkey.

    • Oh god Snood. College….snood….college…snood. They cannot be separated. I had to delete it from my computer during finals and while I was writing my thesis because I would have failed otherwise.

    • In high school, I had a “forget life, play Snood” bumper sticker on my car.

    • It’s amazing I got through law school given my Snood addiction. I beat Angry Birds and Angry Birds Rio so thank goodness those pigs are out of my life (or were until Angry Birds Space came out)

      • Snood was ridiculous. College = snood + napster.

        Don’t worry about Angry Birds Space. There’s only like 15 levels. My boyfriend beat it the first weekend.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I once stayed up all night, neglecting a philosophy paper, in college playing Snood. I heart Snood a million, trillion times over.

    • I majored in Snood in business school, and minored in Finance…

    • I have snood on my iphone! There is an app!

      • Why would you share this information???? I don’t know that Snood and a career are compatible.

        At a party in college I beat the host’s top score (yeah, that’s right, I was playing Snood at a party) and he almost cried.

    • OMG YES. I still haven’t found a good Android version, thankfully. Do NOT want that timesink again.

      • Not sure if there is a proper snood version, but I have one on my phone that is just about the same. I beat the entire game (over a long period). (I’m not telling you the name so you don’t get addicted!)

        Now I want to find Snood for Android and yet am worried how addictive it’ll be. I played snood in middle school (I think it was… I hope it wasn’t elementary) ALL the time. I’m pretty sure our computer class was just playing snood.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I was also addicted to Snood in college and had to delete it. Bejeweled, too. I have no self control when it comes to these games. Thank goodness it’s not possible to install Angry birds on my blackberry or work computer.

    • Oh my god, I have been addicted to Snood since 2000….

  6. Are you trying to suggest that I spend less time on this website?

    But seriously, Tetris is my jam. Also I just got into Draw Something, its soooo addictive, don’t start if you ever want to stop.

  7. TETRIS! I play it when I am on the phone with friends/family.

  8. TJ already: what does the hive think about faux diamonds? Good ones, the almost real ones, set in gold/silver — not total costumer jewelry, but pretty good fakes?

    On another board I frequent, the chain store carat dot com came up, and their stuff looks interesting but there are no stores in the US. Is there any place similar that I can actually view/try on first?

    • I think it is perfectly acceptable to wear good quality fake diamonds. They should be an appropriate size (not so huge that people will think they MUST be fake). I am actually in the market for good quality fake studs. I have real diamond studs that are 1 ct each that I love, but I don’t often wear them casually or take them on vacations, because I am afraid I will lose them.

      • a passion for fashion :

        I agree re the foux diamonds — totally ok. BUT, if you have real diamonds, wear them. thats what they are there for. And you said they are studs (as opposed to something that should only be fancy) so they cna be worn everyday. I have 1ct studs that i wear all the time. If you are really worried about losing them, get them insured (its not that expensive to have them added to a home or renters insurance), but you really should start wearing them!

        • FYI- your comment made me smile. Thanks for the encouragement. My diamond earrings are sentimental to me, so it’s not just a fear of losing the money. But I wear them when I want to feel fabulous, and it would be nice to have that feeling more often!

          • I wear my diamond studs all-the-time; basically haven’t taken them out for 3 years, since I first got them. Mine, too, have a sentimental story behind them, which is why I love wearing them.

            Do you have screw posts? If not, I would suggest getting them re-posted with screws, so then you will feel like you won’t loose them.

      • So, I have always wanted diamond studs but am too cheap to pay for the real thing. Are there any good brands of fake diamonds? And what’s the price range? I’m thinking of maybe half carat each studs set in a white metal.

    • I don’t actually really know much about real diamonds (not particularly a fan for various reasons), but I have bought 2 sets of fake diamond earrings on overstock. One set was awful & looked like it came from clares and one set was really pretty and exactly what I was looking for ( Either way each set was like $20ish so I wasn’t losing out on much.
      I say for jewelry that you are getting for fun & aren’t going to pass down to your daughter, go for it.
      For engagement rings, unfortunately, the “oooh pretty” voice is louder than my “diamonds are unethical” voice. But, I think as long as you didn’t get a gigantic fake diamond, I doubt many people would notice or care.

      • At the risk of invoking the not-as-pretty side of the hive: my engagement ring isn’t a real diamond.

        For ethical reasons, and because we were super broke law students, my now-husband and I agreed that it wouldn’t be practical to get a diamond engagement ring. I tried on other stones, and due to an obsessive need to have it “go” with everything, didn’t like colored ones.

        We finally settled on moissanite. I have the equivalent of a .75ct center stones in a pave set band. At its size, the double refraction of moissanite doesn’t really show through, and there’s no green cast like I was worried about. I’ve never had anyone ask if it’s real, but I also wouldn’t lie if someone asked. I’ve told my friends who’ve commented that it’s pretty/something they’d like, mostly because, in these economic times, I wanted to be helpful if I could, and it felt weird not to say anything.

        So, just my perspective.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes! My engagement ring is a 2ct equivalent moissanite and I love it to distraciton. Have never had anybody question whether it is real, and the fact that it is not super blue-white doesn’t bother me because it sparkles like nobody’s business and is just gorgeous. Plus no guilt, it didn’t cost as much as a Toyota, and I get all the psychic benefits of a big ol’ rock. I love it so much I got .75 ct. equivalent earrings, which I also love.

          • Exactly! I’m considering getting a slightly larger one in a few years to wear as a right-hand ring, or moissanite earrings, due mostly to the fact that I love love love my ring. Plus, I’m less worried about something happening to it, and wear it while digging in files, carrying big folders/boxes at work, etc. One of the other female attorneys that I work with has seen some serious damage to her diamond doing these tasks, so I’m glad I we didn’t spend the cost of a new car on a ring that may end up with some wear and tear.

            Glad someone else on here also loves her super sparkly ring!

        • Where did you guys go to find the ring?
          Why did you decide on moissanite rather than a different type of gem?
          90% of me wants a fake diamond ring because of the cost/ethical implications.
          5% of me doesn’t want to even support everyone’s crazy obsessions with expensive diamonds by looking like I have one w/ a fake diamond.
          5% of me is really jealous whenever I see my friend’s family heirloom engagement ring with a gigantic diamond & wants to be be able to give my ring to my future granddaughter/grandson.
          1st world problems. ;-p

          • I got mine from moissaniteco dot com. Well, I didn’t get it, my husband did. :) I just asked him if he had any service issues, and he said no, that it was just like buying off Amazon.

            I decided to go with moissanite mostly because I wanted a colorless stone that was still strong like a diamond. Moissanite is very similar in hardness and durability to diamonds, unlike other colorless stones, such as white sapphires.

            I chose moissanite over say, CZ, etc because I thought its refraction was more dazzling/looked less flat than the other colorless alternatives. It can be a little more expensive than CZ or some of the other alternatives (I think there’s something called Asha?) but for my purposes I thought it was the best fit.

            And for reference: my .75ct equivalent stone in an eternity setting was around $650.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I live in Los Angeles and was able to find a moissanite dealer in the downtown jewelry district, via My 2ct-plus-a-little-bit stone (I already had the setting) was about $800, which is much much more than CZ but I don’t really think there’s any comparison in terms of sparkle and durability. This was back in 2000 or so. I got my earrings on eBay.

        • lucy stone :

          I have a moissanite too, it’s just over a 1 ct. equivalent and I love it. I’ll tell anyone who asks because I think diamonds are a racket.

    • lucy stone :

      My engagement ring is a moissanite, as are the earrings I wear almost every day. I love them and don’t now that I’d ever go to diamonds.

  9. Bejeweled, Angry Birds, and Words with Friends are all good ones. I mostly play computer games, though, and they can get pretty addictive – I am pretty careful about managing. My husband is way worse though, and gets super addicted.

    I think games become too addicted when you play them during social interactions without the people you are with – like, if you step away from your conversation with your friends to go play World of Warcraft or ignore your friends in favor of playing Facebook games on your laptop or phone, that’s too much. I have seriously stopped talking to people over this.

  10. I’m obsessed with the website Sporcle. They have quizzes on every topic known to man. My favorite subjects are world geography and top 100/200/etc. baby names of [insert year/decade].

  11. My Facebook addiction was so bad I gave it up for Lent. I just needed a break! Too bad I have filled the time I used to spend on FB by reading this blog, Cap Hill Style, and Gawker! And Suri’s Burn Book!

    • OMG, I love Suri’s Burn Book. Its hilarious, but I feel bad about myself every time I read it!

      • Should there be a separate category for tumblr addictions?

        My new one is whatshouldwecallme dot tumblr dot com. Hilars.

        • Can someone explain in like, four sentences, tumblr to me. I am confused by it. How do you find the different tumblr sites? I only find them when people link to them. Plus, I don’t understand the “comments” that aren’t comments but really seem more like re-tweets or something.

          Help me obi-wan-corporetti…i’m don’t understand.

          • It is basically a blog. You can “like” or “reblog” other people’s posts. Real commenting is only possible if the blogger adds the Disqus add-on. My tumblr is linked (and woefully not updated.) I use mine for a photography blog. I think there are more “themed” blogs than just general here is what I’m thinking tumblrs. You can post links, pics, text, videos, etc.

          • this is how i feel about pinterest. what the f* is it? i don’t get it. i went and looked at a few “thinspo” pinterest pages after reading about them on jezebel, and i still don’t get it.

            and also, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to get it because i really don’t need another website that turns into a giant time suck.

          • Pinterest is just a scrapbook. But online. It’s each person’s collection of favorite pictures, organized by topic.

          • Still don’t get it. *blink blink*

        • OH…and d*mn you Herbie. That site is ADDICTIVE. Grarrr.

          • and hilarious, tcfkag. don’t forget hilarious. did i lose 2+ hours of my day to it yesterday? maybe.

    • I quit FB cold turkey when I realized how many billable hours I was losing to it. I also replaced it with this site.

  12. I recently had to delete Brickbreaker from my Blackberry. I got so addicted that it wasn’t even fun anymore. I didn’t *want* to play, I *had* to play. Ugh.

    I have a really addictive personality, so I avoid discovering new games, downloading anything, joining Pinterest, etc. I know that if I dip in my toe, I’ll be drowning in no time.

  13. Mah Jongg on MSN Games. The result clearly shows me how fresh/tired my brain is.
    Bejeweled on my phone.
    In terms of mindless and addictive that’s not games – icanhascheezburger and cute overload. Those are, sadly, not blocked at work.

  14. I love Bubbleshooter. I am so, so lucky I didn’t know about it in college, or I would have been seriously screwed.

  15. Sorry if this has come up before, but I wanted to ask about how much you typically budget and spend on travelling. I have time off in between 2 jobs (2nd job is lined up already) and am planning a big trip, but as I am adding up all the costs, I am worried that I am spending too much. For what its worth, I have money saved and will still have a significant emergency fund (6 months +) after going on this trip, but I still worry about spending so much in a matter of weeks! Has anyone gone on a trip like this and regretted it?

    • I spent serious $$$$$ on traveling to India for two weeks. Never regretted it. I think the key is spending it on what matters to you. A large part of my budget went to upgrading flights between India/US to business class and taking flights instead of trains once inside India to allow me to see more of the country than I could otherwise. To balance it out, I stayed in really inexpensive places.

      Also, time off like this is so hard to come by. Take advantage of it as much as you can.

      And finally, where are you going?! Tell us about your trip! I want to live vicariously through you.

      • Thanks – definitely a helpful point in terms of how much to spend on each piece!

        Still in the planning stages – but I am planning a South Pacific trip to include New Zealand, Australia and /or Indonesia. So excited, and if anyone has done a similar trip, please do share!

        • Jelly. So jelly.

        • I’ve been to New Zealand, on the south island for about two weeks. It is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it. Definitely go to Christchurch – I was there between major earthquakes (helloooo aftershocks), so it’s a bit different, but it was amazing. Also, take the Penguin Bus (there are penguins on top) to the Antarctic Center (some name like that). You can go into a simulated south pole ice storm, go on this really interesting and fun ride (it’s with cars out front, I forget the name – and am noticing a theme). Oh, and go to the botonical gardens in Christchurch. They are gorgeous and a nice way to spend a day or two. There are places to eat along there – one that offer canoe/kayak/etc rentals has great drinks, btw. I would actually suggest staying at the Christchurch Y (part of hostels international) – cheap, convenient location, nice people. Internet costs a lot there and breakfast was bad, so go somewhere else.

          If you like outdoors stuff, there is plenty – from hiking to skydiving. One thing I really think is worth the money is taking the helicopter/ski plane to the top of the glacier. I went to Fox Glacier and there is nothing like it. There are also some cool hot springs where they’ve built an outdoor park/lots of spa/hot tub like areas that is great.

          I do suggest going in their summer, if you can, but I’m sure it’d be amazing all year round. …I really loved NZ, if you can’t tell, and I want to go back!

    • I HAVE gone on this trip and have NEVER regretted it (even though it meant I started law school with really almost nothing in savings). It was worth every penny and I had a fabulous time. Sure do things to save money here and there (buy food from grocery stores — thats fun anyway — and you really don’t have to stay at the nicest places, etc.) But really, traveling is great. I still get great mileage out of stories from that trip (six weeks in Europe) and I can give travel advice on SO many places. :-)

      I love traveling though, a very large percentage of my discretionary spending is budgeted towards it.

    • I have never regretted money I spent on travel, even when I was broke! Especially if you’ve saved up money and have a good emergency fund, you should take advantage of this time off to do a big trip. You either have money to do these things or time but rarely both. It sounds like you have both so take advantage! What else are you going to spend it on??? Those memories will last a lifetime.

      • Thanks for your responses! I’m mostly really excited about going on a cool trip, but it is helpful to hear from other people that they were glad they did something like this. Helps me to shut up that little voice in my head that says “you are going to spend how much?!”

      • Second!
        I also second what Herbie said — I like to prioritize spending on getting to enjoy as much of my time abroad as possible. For overseas flights, I prefer buying a coach (but upgradeable) ticket and spending miles plus copay to upgrade to business class. That way you get all the redeemable miles back in your account (for the huge # of miles you are actually flying). Failing being able to do that, it is very much worth it (IMHO) to pay for the much smaller upgrade to those rows with extra legroom in coach. On United it’s called “Economy Plus” and I believe that Air New Zealand has something very similar that gets you a close-to-business-class experience.

        Once there — I like to save money (and experience more) by eating and sleeping local (B&Bs, pensions, hostels — some have private rooms) vs. big name hotels. It’s fun to do a few splurge nights somewhere, though. At least in Europe, eating your main meal in the middle of the day and/or making picnics from markets, small shops and grocery stores is the best bet. I’ve never been to Aus., NZ or Indonesia, though . . . it might be completely different.

        It sounds like you’re being smart about this, so let yourself enjoy it!

  16. Get thee to, procrastinators. :-)

    Lots of wonderful games, super-cute, very addictive, with charming music.

    My favorite is Snowrider.
    I love the tune to this one. I also laugh maniacally when the (growing) snowball hits a rock, sending the snowrider flying. Yes, I know we’re supposed to help him, but it’s too funny, in a cartoon-physics kind of way when you screw up.

  17. Stupid moderation.

    Google “orisinal” and “snowrider”

    Lots of wonderful games, super-cute, very addictive, with charming music.

    I love the tune to Snowrider. I also laugh maniacally when the (growing) snowball hits a rock, sending the snowrider flying. Yes, I know we’re supposed to help him, but it’s too funny, in a cartoon-physics kind of way when you screw up.

  18. DrawSome! Totes addicted.

  19. So how about mindless acquiescence to job-related requests? I just found out a colleague is flying to another city (about a 2h flight) to “run” a 2-hour webinar (I guess manage the tech aspects, which is definitely NOT what our job is) that can be run remotely, and the similar preceeding webinar is in fact being run remotely by another colleague. The traveling colleague also gave up 3 days of a planned international vacation to do this, resulting in her husband and child traveling ahead without her. There’s no reason the colleague remotely running the preceeding webinar couldn’t have just stayed on the line and run the second webinar.

    I am fast losing respect for many of my colleagues because they run around like they are so busy, but then I find out that they are busy because of stupid choices like this one. The webinar colleague also insists on running every email to an outside person, no matter how brief the email, past our boss, who likes to fuss over email to no great effect (I say this because I used to work as a writer, her fussing generally does not vastly improve the email). The most recent incident involved 2 days of back and forth over a 4-line email, the subject of which had already been written up as a session description for a meeting.

    I am so frustrated because I think my boss likes this doormat-y behavior, and I just won’t play. As some here may know, I’m a fed and so my progress is fairly lockstep. Sometimes people are jumped steps/grades, but I don’t think it’s all that common in our agency. It’s just frustrating to see that it may be more difficult for me to advance here because I don’t play the “look at me, I’m so busy!” game. Just venting, mostly. I think my best option is to keep my eyes open and look around for other job opportunities within my agency.

    • Man, there’s pretty much nothing in the world that irritates me more than this type of behavior. I have no suggestions, but plenty of sympathy.

    • Right there with you. I’m really impressed you’ve been able to not get caught up in the spin cycle – any tips?

      • Work long enough and you realize that in the long run, this type of behavior really doesn’t get you far? Enjoy your outside-of-work life enough not to let work interfere with it? Be satisfied with not being a “superstar” and just keep your head down, do your work, and refuse to play?

        I think I’ve also worked for enough people who did NOT behave this way and were quite successful, so I know there is another route. I guess I’ve also worked at enough different places to find out, usually after I’ve left, that the people I thought were so hard-working really didn’t get much more done than I did, they just made a bigger fuss about it. And I usually find that I’m the last one to see through the facade, their other colleagues figured out the act long ago and were not impressed, either.

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