With so many new games popping up and next-generation consoles delivering incredible gaming experiences directly to your TV, it’s surprising that the more old-fashioned activities like puzzles and board games are still quite popular in many circles. Regardless of the number of entertainment options we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, you can still count on a good mystery or puzzle to get the wheels spinning. What is it about an interesting puzzle that stands the test of time? For starters, here are a few theories that attempt to explain why puzzle games remain popular, even in this day and age.
1. Everyone Loves a Good Challenge
There’s always some sort of mystery for us to enjoy on our favorite TV series, but most of us rarely get to participate in an interactive experience that carries the same level of suspense. Thus, when you do encounter a puzzle or mystery that peaks your interest it’s easy to quickly become enamored with it. A company called Breakout Games has been making headlines using this concept to drive the trending popularity of their 250+ escape rooms throughout the U.S. For example, in Texas, they have the Arlington, Plano, and Dallas escape room venues, each of which provide unique timed escape challenges for thrill-seeking groups.
2. The Opportunity to Collaborate and Compete
Puzzles that allow multiple players to participate – like the abovementioned escape room challenges – also have an extra social factor that makes them an irresistible form of fun for friends and family. An intense puzzle or mystery solved in unison with a group of close friends fulfills a primal urge to build and solve problems socially. Additionally, our desire to see a puzzle through to completion may stem from our natural instinct to create meaning and purpose out of the world we see.
3. A Sense of Fulfillment
We can all admit that failing is never that much fun, so a good challenge is only truly enjoyed when it is concluded by an equally impressive solution. Although there is “fun in the journey,” if you fail to solve the puzzle, you definitely won’t be as satisfied as if you had successfully figured it out. Still, even committing to the challenge and attempting to finish it provides a sense of fulfillment that you’ve done something meaningful with your time instead of just watching other people solve mysteries in a show or movie.
Fun for the Whole Family and All Cultures
Finally, most puzzles are family-friendly activities, so that’s another reason why they remain commonly played around the world. While online puzzles have brought a new dimension to the genre, real-life puzzles and mysteries seem to be more entertaining in the right settings because the interaction isn’t virtual. Getting together with family members and solving puzzles is also a good way to teach and practice teamwork, patience, work ethics, and other important principles, so there’s also a bonding element that allows puzzles to retain their spot as one of the leading traditional pastimes.