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Blackberry addiction makes the front page of the Wall Street Journal. But it isn’t what you think. As addicting as our little e-mail pushing devices are, there is something even more insidious that lurks within.
Yep it's BrickBreaker.
According to the WSJ report, that most basic of games has a hard core of addicts who will even play during high stakes Wall Street conference calls. (The article is available online for subscribers) Brickbreaker has become so addicting for some executives that they are forced to remove it from their Berries. Apparently, its easy access on the Blackberry makes it too tempting to ignore and endless hours are being lost to this simple game that comes standard on the BlackBerry. The fact that is also so handy is what makes it so addicting say some executives.
The game seems positively ancient, in effect it is Pong 2.0. Basically you move a paddle left to right with the track wheel to bounce a ball upwards which destroys bricks. After removing all the bricks you move up to another level. Each level is more difficult than the last. Sometimes special bricks fall from the top to give you extra points or extra skills.
Perhaps it is this simplicity and retro-ness that makes it so much fun. It has developed a cult following and there are now groups of people who exchange strategies and brag about high scores. In one case, an attorney from New York was on an expedition on Mount Everest and he e-mailed a co-worker with his high score from the mountain base camp. You can in fact register you high scores on RIM’s site. The current registered record-holder is Daniel Allen, a 34-year-old economist in Santa Monica, Calif., who has racked up 1,392,260 points.
RIM developed the game to test the earlier BlackBerries and then to showcase the new colour screens. They, according to the article, were as surprised as anyone at the way the game has taken off. Top players have reported a frustrating tendency for the game to crash when scores start getting up to record levels, and they have learned to photograph record breaking levels before the fatal crashes occur.