Psychologists say it’s the so-called “happy chemicals” that are released in your brain when you score. Those chemicals give you a rush, similar to drugs.
Some people can spend hours playing Slither, racking up thousands of points. It seems the more points people score the longer they keep playing.
“The interesting thing about our brain is it cannot distinguish between real life accomplishments and virtual accomplishments. When it comes to cognitive rewards,” said psychologist Joe Martino
Martino said he’s familiar with Slither. It’s a game his kids played. The object is to move the worm around the screen to eat as many colored dots as you can while trying to kill the other worms to make yourself bigger.
“So when you accomplish, when you become the bigger snake…Your brain actually gives you a cognitive award for solving that problem, if you will,” explained Martino.
Gaining points releases a rush of happy feelings in your brain, but there can be negative effects from playing the game.
“The most common thing, we would want to look for, is it impeding your normal life,” said Martino.
If the game is preventing you from getting work done, going to school or keeping you from eating and/or sleeping you have a problem. Like most things in life, Martino says the key is balance.
“I would be a little concerned for people who if this is their only, or even major accomplishment,” said Martino. “That’s probably an okay short term strategy but what’s going on in the rest of your life?”