When does a video game cease being fun, and start being tedious? The answer for me is usually long before I actually realize the game isn’t fun anymore and I pump hours into a game when I should really be learning how to farm.

My brain chemistry is drawn to games with strategy, games with quick wins and losses, which allow me to try things out, fail quickly, and hone my skills. My brother-in-law and I have played countless hours of Carcassonne. I’ve probably played over one thousand games of Yahtzee solitaire against the optimizer. And most recently (until not twenty minutes ago, in fact) the game was Pokemon TCG on my iPad.

I started playing to learn the rules to play with my daughters. I kept playing because it was fun. I kept kept playing so I could earn enough “coins” for one more “pack”. It was fun trying out different decks and all that, but I realized I was just going through the motions as the strategy gets fairly repetitive. I realized I wasn’t having fun anymore, so I deleted it.

The other games my brain are drawn to are the high dopamine, just-one-more-turn type of game. These are the Civilizations, the World of Warcrafts, even grinding levels in a Final Fantasy. These games are RED ALERT, DO NOT TOUCH games that will suck weeks of my life from me in one go, like The Machine from The Princess Bride. I can’t play those games for just an hour, I can only play them in time measured by geologists.

So now I’ve got a text editor, and a blog to publish to… and Super Mario Run. Crap. I’ll talk to you after I finish getting all the black coins in World 3.