DROD: Eater of Time

So, this game is taking over my life.

Seriously, I’m going through the sterotypical alcoholic’s denial thing. I come home, I fire up DROD for a quick session. Then the session goes longer than I intended, but instead of stopping, I decide to just finish up the room I’m on. Once I finish it, I decide to have a look at the next room. And step by step it goes, until the next morning when I come to work late with no good excuse. It’s kind of alarming. Maybe there’s something to this “game addiction” concept after all. (People often call games “addictive” as a term of praise, but Everquest showed us years ago that addictive does not imply fun.)

I suppose I don’t have it too bad. For one thing, this isn’t something debilitating like heroin we’re talking about here, this is mental exercise of the sort that supposedly delays the onset of dementia in old age. Also, I did take a nine-day break from DROD in the middle, and didn’t really crave it during that time. So the “I can stop any time I want” argument has some weight. And, since the game is finite, and there’s not much point in solving puzzles twice, I will in fact have to stop playing at some point.

I think that’s going to happen soon. The last level I completed was called “Upper Lowest”, and the one I’m on now is called “Lowest Proper”, which really sounds like the end. Mind you, given the game’s sense of humor, there could easily be a level called “Below Lowest” or “Even Lowester” or something. But Lowest Proper has a major adversarial NPC running through all the rooms, out of reach, trying to control things to block my progress — which is a lot like the final level in King Dugan’s Dungeon. This is pretty definitely the climax, and anything that comes afterward will be denouement.

Which means all I have left to do now is solve the hardest, most time-consuming rooms in the entire game. And then hunt down all the secret rooms I missed and solve them in order to open the Master Wall and gain access to the bonus material. Which, for all I know, may have more puzzles in it. And then try out some of the downloadable fan-created holds…

2 Comments so far

  1. josh g. on 5 May 2007

    That’s not addiction, that’s entering a state of “flow” where you lose track of time.

    I was just at a game developers conference, and every time someone used the word ‘addictive’ as a positive quality, my brain itched. It’s so ingrained in the industry – and I probably say it myself when I’m not thinking about it – but it really doesn’t help us explain the experience clearly.

  2. Snacko on 5 Feb 2009

    Trust me, with the completion of the Witherwood Trilogy, fantastic holds like Terrakept Resonance and the popularization of scripting, you won’t need to stop any time soon.

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