I've played a lot of Monster Hunter Tri. Like, A LOT. Probably more than every other game this year (and possibly last year) put together. It seriously seems unhealthy to me. It's pretty much the only game I play now, since the lure is so strong (and my DS is out for repaaaairs). But does that mean it's a good game? Or just a psychologically masterful one?
The thing is, I can SEE the stick and the string that the carrot is suspended from. But I STILL keep coming back for more, even though I am philosophically opposed to 'grinding'. It's not really grinding, I tell myself. After all, it's a heart-pounding action game! Not a boring RPG! And then I farm Advanced Armor Spheres for two hours. The last game I was this hooked on was Animal Crossing, but that was only for 20 minutes a day.
I need help. An intervention. Or do I? Is there anything wrong with giving in to the addiction, IYO? Do you mind the grind? Would you rather have never started World of Warcraft?
I've always stayed away from those types of games (and even stuff like cigarettes), not because I think they're stupid (except for stuff like cigarettes), but because I don't WANT to become hooked on anything. No habits. Unfortunately, Capcom tricked me with their white-knuckled intensity. I came for the boss fights, but I stayed for the grind.
Things become *too addictive* once they interfere with your personal life/well-being. That's my opinion. If you can afford to do something (anything) for an hour or two every day and you still get other things done (like responsible stuff) then you're cool.
I am definitely wary of the "carrot and stick" thing and I try to resist it. Or at least I try to resist the "bad kind" of carrot-and-stick schtick. In AlphaBounce, for instance, the gameplay is tedious and just too simplistic to be rewarding, you're just beating level after level because you want to get some new item that will make the game even easier. It's terrible. And even when you realize the game's shit and you're not enjoying yourself, there's still the very real risk that you'll get addicted to collecting more crap in the game, perhaps because of some misguided idea that since you bought the damn game, you might as well finish/complete it.
But as long as you're actually enjoying yourself, I don't think there's anything wrong with playing games of that type. It's only a grind if you're not enjoying it.
The only game (series) I was ever addicted to was Age of Empires (Aoe2, AoM, and AoE3). I would play online for hours day and night, and it wasn't a carrot and stick thing, it was purely competition-driven. I never regretted spending so much time with the game, it was a ton of fun and a chapter of my gaming life that I'll remember fondly, though I severely neglected the Gamecube at times. By now, I've made up for it, though.
I was actually thinking of bumping it after you got addicted to MH3. No one is safe.
Haha, I was thinking of appending this to that thread, and taking it in a darker direction. The evil side of Monster Hunter Tri...
@Pandareus Yeah, as shown in that thread, I feel the same. As long as you are still enjoying the grind, it's fine. The thing is, it's hard to remove yourself from the situation and determine how much of your addiction is due to the carrot and how much is due to the gameplay. I think that Tri is my favorite game of the year, but it's genuinely difficult for me to tell if it's the most enjoyable game or just the most addictive. Then there are arcade games, which are built on addictive gameplay, but in a really different context. Now the quarter-munching aspect is gone, but the high-score core remains, for those who want that experience.
Tri is actually balanced pretty well (as long as you don't jump online with a bunch of Level-10,000 sherpas). Every boss I've faced so far is a pain in the ass Fucking Rathalos!!, but a beatable one (especially with a bit of planning and preparation). It's impressive.