Games don’t get much more addictive than block-dropping classic Tetris.
If it weren’t for the oddly satisfying act of fitting odd shapes into odd holes, it would be realising, hours after putting down your Gameboy to watch Kenan and Kel, that you’d still be humming that infuriatingly catchy theme tune (Korobeiniki to be exact). But little did we know how it also has the power to stop addictions, as well as start them.
A new study has revealed that playing the classic puzzle game for as little as three minutes at a time can weaken cravings for drugs, food and sex by around one fifth.
Carried out by physiologists from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology, the test saw a range of people from various backgrounds battling various vices asked to play the game during their normal day-to-day lives. The researchers found that the sessions helped encumber the participants' urges for everything from hard drugs, soft drugs, tobacco, coffee and even sleep.
Professor Jackie Andrade, from the School of Psychology and the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University, said of the find: “Playing Tetris decreased craving strength for drugs, food, and activities from 70 percent to 56 percent.” Twenty one percent of these were for substances categorised as drugs, including legal drugs such as booze, while 16 percent were for miscellaneous activities such as sleeping, socialising with friends, sexual intercourse and playing video games – the irony.
With the journal of Addictive Behaviors set to publish the study, Andrade added that Tetris could be a real help on the frontline of battling addiction: “As a support tool, Tetris could help people manage their cravings in their daily lives and over extended time periods."
And if that doesn’t cure them – they can always play Dr Mario.
[Via The Mirror]