Free game turns into an addiction for students

Natella Muradyan, Magazine Editor

The free game called Ballz has currently taken over many lives just like Pokémon GO previously did. The point of the game is to use a ball to hit the bricks before it reaches down, with each brick showing a number of times it needs to be hit before it can break though each tile. The creator of this captivating game is the company Ketchapp Games, which has a history of producing other various games, including the very popular puzzle game 2048 (which holds some controversy because it was said to be a copy of a game that was created by someone else; however, it turned out to be a lot more successful than its original creation).

This new creation of theirs has been moving up the charts and is currently number one, according to the number of downloads. The game has already passed over one million downloads on Google Play, according to an article by Dave Ramos, a writer at Many feel annoyed because of the ads that are included in the game, but they can be excluded if one pays $1.99 to unlock this feature.

This game too led many to discuss on social media whether it is a copy of a game that has been already created. Ballz is no means an original game, but the origin of the game cannot be pinpointed.

However, there is one point on which many can agree: This game is addicting. After opening the app, it becomes too difficult to put down the phone. Once one starts playing the game, it becomes the goal to beat their own high score. This is a cycle seen in many who play the game. That continuous cycle may lead a person to be staring at their phone screens for hours without that realization. Not only does it lead to many people wasting time and isolating themselves from others, but it also makes many procrastinate.

While attending classes, I notice that many students use their phones in order to play that game. Lunch has also become a time where many students spend time advancing through the levels of the game instead of communicating with their peers.

In an article published by Dave Smith in Business Insider, Smith states that he and his fiancée played the game together for over one hour during a particular evening. This comment demonstrates the idea of real communication versus living and communicating in a virtual world. What they did here was live in the virtual world, neglecting the real life moment, which is far more important. The game is to blame for this.

In a recent survey completed at Clark Magnet High School, of 25 students who play the game, most of them said they spend at least one to two hours on the app daily, proving the point that this game is very addictive.

However, the game also catches many people’s’ attention because it is not just about staring at the balls breaking through the bricks, but it also requires players to use different techniques to advance through each level. It incorporates simple physics concepts and the use of different angles to get the balls to hit the bricks. The shots have to be angled in certain ways so that the balls do not bounce in the same spot back and forth without reaching the bricks. In the case of this, it causes the bricks to move a layer down, which means being closer to losing the game and the progress made.

Still, the negative aspects outweigh the positives when it comes to this currently popular game. Compared to the very addicting game Pokémon GO, which was about going out and leading a healthy lifestyle through exercise, this game is about sitting in the same spot for continuous hours neglecting one’s own surroundings. Regardless of the physics principles one may learn, the obsession and addiction to this game will definitely not lead to anything good.