Playing Merge Mansion has ruined my life

Playing Merge Mansion has ruined my life

Gaming is getting more and more popular, but it's mobile games that are enjoying their moment of glory. Thanks to the boom in video games facilitated by the pandemic and the widespread spread of smartphones, more and more people are playing on their phones. For a few weeks now I have joined the millions of mobile players thanks to Merge Mansion.

If you spend some time online, it is possible that you have already heard of Merge Mansion and stumbled upon a some bizarre advertisements for the game. By itself, Merge Mansion is a little less bustling than the commercials suggest. The game begins with Maddie's grandmother - the main character - who gives her the set of keys that opens the gate of a villa. Maddie had no idea that her grandmother owned a mansion. The property is in a state of neglect and to save it from ruin Maddie has to get to work cleaning and repairing everything.

This is where the dynamics of the game begin, which is based on a simple "fusion" mechanic, similar to that of Candy Crush. The player must combine existing objects to create new ones and with these clean up the different areas of the mansion and the surrounding earth. As new areas unlock, the story unfolds and Maddie's grandmother reappears to unravel new mysteries. While it's possible that it was the bizarre and gripping mystery behind Merge Mansion that drew me in, but it's the familiar fusion dynamic of the game that kept me hooked and pushed me to keep playing. To be honest, it's a little embarrassing.

I have played Merge Mansion relentlessly, at least as far as possible without having to pay to unlock features more quickly. I play with it as soon as I get up in the morning (it's my new Wordle), I consume all my "energy" (the means that allows me to generate new objects), I put it aside until the evening and I continue without stopping after having put my child to bed. I also happened to play with it consuming all the energy accumulated while dining.

Honestly, I can't say why it's so mortifying. Mobile games are designed to keep you from turning them off. There is something incredibly relaxing about cleaning the dilapidated areas of the villa. Plus, the dopamine rush that comes when I finally get the item I've been looking for for days is real. Being completely at the mercy of the creators of the game isn't a great feeling, but it's great at the same time. Added to this is the guilt factor (am I still a "real" gamer if I have been dedicating myself exclusively to smartphone video games lately?)

Instead of feeling embarrassed, I decided to embrace shame. Not only did I get hooked on a bizarre Instagram ad, but I got hooked on a game designed to scrape me real money. Does it matter anything that hasn't invested money in it yet? Not really. If I play long enough, the chances are I'll end up doing it. The shame I will feel when it happens will be tangible, but underneath it, it will also be satisfying.

That's the point. I'd rather play Rise of the Tomb Raider on my PlayStation, but the fact is, I don't have the time - or the luxury - to disengage from my daily life to do so. Even if the kind of game I've become addicted to isn't exactly my thing or what I really want to play, for now it satisfies me and offers me a comfortable escape when I need it most.

What is the problem, then? Am I not the first to inveigh against those who try to denigrate and discredit smartphone games? I am a gamer, a real gamer, even when I play with Merge Mansion, just like when I play compulsively from the console. I shouldn't feel embarrassed by the type of game I have chosen, and if I ever do (feelings are not controlled), I will accept this emotion, instead of hiding behind it. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a mansion to fix.

This article originally appeared on US.

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