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The Addiction

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He had found the website by chance. All it seemed like was a little flash game someone had made for the public to enjoy. The boy, whose name was Alex, was getting bored, so he Google searched "free online game". The first suggestion was the website mentioned above, though that made no sense since the website wasn't very closely related to the search in its title, URL, or otherwise. However, Alex being young, just clicked on the first link.

What popped up was a simple game. You had to blow up some constantly falling blocks to get points. When the blocks hit the bottom of the screen, they disappeared and the player would lose some points. There were some impressive scores on the leaderboard, and since the game never ended, they just kept going up. There were upgrades that the player could buy, like a heat seeking bomb upgrade that curved toward nearby blocks, or a turret that would automatically shoot a block every few seconds. There wasn't too much depth to the game, just some raw gameplay that seemed really fun. Alex played for a few minutes, then got called to go to bed. He slept soundly that night, dreaming of playing the game more. He hadn't even got any upgrades yet...

The next day, the boy woke up earlier than usual. He got out of bed, got on his computer, and began playing this online game again. He played for a full hour this time, until his mother yelled at him for not getting ready when he was supposed to. Reluctantly, Alex turned off the game to get ready for school. As soon as he got home, he jumped right on his computer and started playing again. His score was becoming impressive, but nowhere near the leader's scores. The boy kept playing and playing, even skipping dinner to keep playing. Finally his mother slapped him on the hand, as he was ignoring her yelling at him. Alex refused to get off his computer, until his mother unplugged it from the wall and carried the screaming child to his room, locking him in so he wouldn't just leave and start playing again.

The next day, Alex's mother went to retrieve Alex from his room, only to find his window open and the family laptop missing. Alex had run away to go play the game without being interrupted. Alex's parents contacted the police, and they went out searching for the boy. They found him at an internet cafe a few miles from his house. He had reached the top 1,000 players, but he was desperately trying to maintain that position as the other players attempted to surpass his score. When the police confiscated his laptop and took him back to his parents, he was bawling and doing his best to harm the police officer carrying him. His parents were worried for their child's well being.

The next day, Alex did not go to school. He instead visited a psychologist specializing in addiction. Though he usually worked with people who abused substances, he took on this boy's case for the sake of the child's well being.

Four days later, the boy seemed much improved. He asked the doctor if he had ever heard of the game, and the doctor replied with "No, but from what you describe it as, I think I may enjoy it." The boy had made it sound as appealing as possible without seeming suspicious over the past few sessions, he had been planning it from the start. "How about you give it a try? You could give it five minutes, and tell me if I'm insane for playing it so much." The doctor agreed, and began playing. When Alex's parents returned to pick up their son from his session, the boy and the doctor were gone, run off to play this game without interruption.

This "game" was part of an experiment developed by the United States Military. The idea was that they could spread a game to millions of people in a country they were currently at war with, completely consume their lives with it, and force the enemy to surrender, or else their entire population would be consumed with their new addiction. What they hadn't realized, was that people might spread the word. Now that I'm done telling you about this experiment, I'll just go back to getting on top of the leaderboard.

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