I was reading a terrifically smart and funny NYT article about the "stupid" casual games that we play on our phones and tablets that end up sucking up hours of our lives, and the writer mentioned Drop 7 as one that he was addicted to.
Beiong the inquisitive and curious reader that I am, I decided to download it. Damn him.
I've never been an Angry Birds fan. Cute, but doesn't hold my interest. And Words with Friends is not really a game to me, it's a social activity that I enjoy with some friends, and it has a leisurely pace over the course of several days. Yes, I'm playing against seven people right now, but that's not so bad - I could play up to 20.
But with Drop 7 I've finally tasted true addiction. This game is pure mind-crack. I tell myself I'll play just a quick game, and an hour and a half later, I stagger away from the phone, my mind filled with dots and lines and exploding numbers. It's a very simple game with a strategy that grows in complexity as you begin to see patterns and combinations. It's sort of a cross between Tetris, Sudoku and that kid's game, Four in a Line. No need for cheesy graphics or cartoony subplots here. Just. the. dots.
I play it standing by the stove, forgetting what I'm cooking. I play it "just a few minutes" before going to sleep, reluctantly stopping a lost hour later. I've been captured by the depth of that world of that simple 7x7 grid that I crave during the workday at my desk, sneaking glances at the forbidden phone.
As quoted in the article, the designer of the game, Frank Lantz, says "Drop7 occupies a 'hinge in the universe' that is at once mathematical (it allows you to play between the ordinal and cardinal meanings of a number) and spiritual: it holds you in a place between conscious problem-solving and pure intoxication."
Yeah. Whatever. The only way I can see to break the addiction is to delete the app from my phone, and I'm going to do that. Any time now. I'm just going to play a couple more games after I post this, but if it really gets out of control, I can delete it any time. I will. Meanwhile, I invite you to try it*. Just once. Go ahead - what do you have to lose?
*also available on iTunes