I feel fortunate that I don’t really have an addictive personality. For the most part, I can try a thing, see why people like that thing, then put down that thing with no ill effects.

This is not the case for many, many people. My dad was a chain smoker pretty much up until the year before he died, and even then he had just switched to a pen instead. A friend of mine in high school got super into Guild Wars but it never drew me in beyond an initial couple of sessions. World of Warcraft, gambling, even binge watching TV shows have never really sucked me in.

And yet. This past week I picked up a free 3-month trial of Nintendo Switch Online (thanks Kinja Deals!) and downloaded a little phenomenon known as Tetris 99. It just might be the thing that sucks me in.

I’ve never played PUBG or Apex Legends or Fortnite Battle Royale or any of those. I understand the appeal; I lived with a couple guys who were hardcore Xbox fanboys right around the time PUBG was at its peak and I’d watch them do they could to get to that frantic, final few firefights. They’d play long into the night, wake up early, and play until they absolutely had to leave the house to do something else, like eat or go to their job. But that bug never bit me in the same way.

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Tetris 99 just might change all that. My first round or two I got knocked out pretty early; my Tetris skills were rusty at best. But after I tuned back into the swing of things, I landed in 12th place.

This is not amazing, and probably a pretty common occurrence. But this was probably within half an hour of firing up the game and so my immediate thought was, “wow, I must be pretty damn good at this to get 12th place so soon! Next stop, FIRST PLACE”. Imagine my disappointment when I wouldn’t get down to that low for days, and even then, never surpass it.

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The bloodlust is rising. Some foe named WeedMaster beat me and I’m incensed by it. I hear the music when I’m walking around doing other things, and sometimes when I close my eyes I see spinning tetrominoes... I had heard of the Tetris effect (and also Tetris Effect) but never actually experienced it myself.

It’s unlikely for me to get a first place win in Tetris 99. My level is so much lower than everyone else’s, indicating how much more people have played. But I’m hungry for it now.

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I don’t have an addictive personality. But I do have a competitive side that apparently needed a few brightly colored blocks from Russia with love to activate.