Psychological Dark Patterns

These dark patterns are psychological tricks that are used to get you to make bad decisions.

Games can use many psychological tricks to persuade you to keep playing, even when the game ceases to be fun. One way they do this is by making you feel like you have invested in the game, which makes the game feel more valuable to you. If your copy of the game has more powerful items unlocked or is otherwise customized for you, then it is hard to throw that away.

Another technique that games use it go give artificial goals for you to accomplish. This may be badges to earn or things to collect. People are more likely to remember a partially completed goal than a complete goal, so they are more likely to return to the game to make progress on the goal that was arbitrarily set for them.

Games manipulate our subconscious by giving us the illusion of control over the game environment. The game may cheat or make us feel like we are more skilled than we actually are. If we feel more empowered (even if we aren't) we are more likely to play. Games often give us variable rewards for achievements in the game. These unpredictable and random payouts trigger our brains to keep playing for a chance at a big reward.

Some games use aesthetic manipulations to trick us into accidentally doing something that we normally wouldn't have done. They can also use our brain's bias towards recent and memorable events to make us think that the odds of winning are higher than they actually are.
Citations and SourcesWikipedia :: List of cognitive biases


Invested / Endowed Value
Having already spent time and money to improve your status in the game, it's difficult to throw it away.
Badges / Endowed Progress
Reluctancy to abandon a partially completed goal, even one forced upon the player.
Complete the Collection
The urge to collect all the items, achievements or secrets in a game.
Illusion of Control
The game cheats or hides information to make you think you're better than you actually are.
Variable Rewards
Unpredictable or random rewards are more addictive than a predictable schedule.
Aesthetic Manipulations
Trick questions or toying with emotions or our subconscious desires.
Optimism and Frequency Biases
Overestimating the frequency of something because we’ve seen it recently or memorably.