Bite-Sized Fun

Lauren Knight

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Video games have been around for ages. From the 1950s to now, we’ve upgraded from 2-bit ping pong to 3D games with virtual reality that aims to put you into the game itself. 

Games have come a long way, but like with any good thing, they follow the trends of those who play them. While sales for immersive hardcore games continue to skyrocket, a strange appeal for the mundane time-filling ones still lingers. And the reason for this might be simpler than you think.

Wordle is a game that took the world by storm in late 2021 and into late 2022. The player would guess a random word based on hints from their previous letter combination guesses. Even though it has a simple premise, Wordle became wildly popular among teens and adults.

Computer sciences teacher Deanna Soukup used Wordle in its prime. Not only could she play and compete with her husband, but Soukup said, “When it was big, it was also fun to talk to students about their starter words and similarities.” 

Soukup enjoyed connecting with her students over something they all could share. As to why she and the students continued to play, Soukup said, “Winning gives you a little dopamine hit and makes you want to play again, and losing also makes you want to play again to chase that dopamine hit.”

Like many trends among teenagers and adults alike, much of the appeal comes from getting validation for doing the correct thing and chasing that validation despite failure. Though it keeps the players hooked for a while, the desire for that rush can get old very quickly. Without that factor, there isn’t much to keep players entertained. 

For Wordle, The issue arose late into its popularity. As the appeal for the game died out, Soukup and her husband also lost their love for the game. She said, “Once my husband stopped playing too, it wasn’t as fun.”

Despite moving on from Wordle, Soukup still busies herself with a different online game: chess. Even though it’s not as competitive with her husband as Wordle, Soukup makes time to play the game whenever she can. 

With Wordle, Sudoku has become popular among students looking to pass the time. Sophomore Rielle Coley said, “It’s good to play when listening to music or watching something in the background. It keeps my brain from getting bored.”

Coley said that he started playing Sudoku because it made him think logically. “Something about it keeps me grounded,” Coley said. 

While playing individual games can be a great way to settle down after a big day, many games that have become popular involve multiplayer teamwork and collaboration.

Snapchat offers many games that users can play with their friends. One such game, Farmland, revolves around your farm and the profits you can build from it. Senior Addison Foote said, “I unassumingly clicked on it and have been hooked ever since.” 

Farmland, like chess and Wordle, gives the player a dopamine rush with every correct option by often offering them generous rewards. Foote said, “It’s low risk, high reward, which is very addicting.” 

In Farmland, players can invite others into their farm to harvest for them. Foote said that she discovered the game when her sister sent it to her, and she’s been unable to stop. Now, she sends her farm out to others in hopes to do the same for them.

Video games have come a long way from how they were before. We’ve seen improvements in games all over the world, and these improvements will keep getting better. For now, though, teenagers and adults are content with the simpler things to keep them busy.

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