Games, and "One more"

“Alright one more” is a phrase I’m sure we’ve all uttered to ourselves, before sitting down and burning another hour doing significantly more than just ‘one more’.

“one more run” “one more match” etc, I’m sure we’ve all uttered them, so my question is, what kind of game makes you go “One more” most frequently?

For me, its fighting games. I intended to go to bed, but here I am posting at 4 am because I spent the last 4 hours playing smash with a friend in what was supposed to be ‘a few matches’ we said ‘one more’ an hour ago.

Also why is this mentality so common I’ve seen? That lie to ourselves that its just ‘one more’? Its a phrase I hear heard all around regardless of it being multiplayer, singleplayer, co op, or competitive, board game or video.

The most common for me is ‘playing friendlies’ in a fighting game, but run based games also ellicit this like hades did, and other games. What about you?

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Call of Duty has done this for me do varying degrees over the years. Even the lesser Call of Duty’s are fined-tuned to shoot dopamine straight into my brain with everyone of those “thwip” sounds.

I’ve lost a lot of nights to another round of basic old team deathmatch. I don’t really care about winning or KD/r I just get caught in the loop of all that audio-visual feedback.


At the moment, it’s Magic the Gathering: Arena, but I think I’ve done this with any game (or any other activity) which I’m sufficiently “in to” at the time. I don’t think it’s a thing specific to “gaming” - people bingeing a favourite TV show will watch “just one more episode”, people will have “just one more slice of cake” and so on - you lie to yourself to minimise the “social implication” of continuing to do a thing you really shouldn’t be. (Just One More is always an allowable “exception”; 10 more is obviously being silly.)
It’s sort of the negative version of the similar technique you use to motivate yourself to keep going doing a thing which is “good for you” but hurts: “just one more lap”, “just one more rep”, “just 5 more minutes study”, “just one more page”. Breaking stuff down into multiple smaller units means you pass “easier willpower challenges” than the willpower needed to commit to the entire thing in one go.


Civilization (or any turn based 4X game really) alway manages to trigger that “one more turn” part of my brain and keep me up late at night playing far more than I should.

More recently, weirdly enough Pokemon Lets Go Pikachu did this for me when trying to hunt for Shiny pokemon. You can reset pokemon in the area by leaving the area then returning to it so I kept telling myself “just one more time” and redoing it trying to get a shiny growlithe.

I never did get that growlithe :frowning:


XCOM probably does this the worst for me. I think its battles hit that sweet spot of length where they’re both short enough that I can internally justify doing another one and long enough that the “one more” at midnight will still definitely have a noticeable affect on whatever it is I need to do afterwards—bed, work, etc. And the gameplay loop maybe encourages that a bit—there’s always something you need, and the base/resource-management stuff depends on the fights and vice versa, so there’s a constant cycle of needs being satisfied and then opened up again with each fight and management section.


Me playing any open-world game, A Drama

I should probably quit for the night.

{I scoot to the edge of my couch, getting ready to stand up}

I’ll just finish up this side quest first so I don’t forget what I’m doing next time I start up.

Hmm. That’s done, but there are only two quests left in this region. I don’t want to have to do them first thing next time, I should just knock them out now.

Well, got those, let me take a quick look at the map, then quit out. Wait, how far away is that collectible? Only 100m? I’ll just grab that. Oh, there’s another one. 150m? That’s fine. That other one is in a different region, but it’s only 75m away. Ok, got it.

Hold up, a whole bunch of side quests just popped for this new region. I should see what kind of stuff we’re dealing with here.

{Title card: 90 minutes later. I am still half-sitting at the edge of my couch, about to stand up}

I’ll just finish up this side quest first so I don’t forget what I’m doing next time I start up.

{Audience laughs knowingly}


Playing Civilization 1 and 2 as a teen was the pinnacle of one-more-turn-ism for me. One summer in the early 90s a friend and I hot seated Civ 1 for literal days on end stopping only to grab food we could eat in front of the computer. I remember getting home in the middle of the night after a high school party and playing “just one turn” of Civ 2 until the sun came up.

I’ve developed slightly better self discipline as an adult so that when I promise myself one more I tend to stick to it. The games that get me now are ones where the length or frequency of the “one” are highly variable.

A thing I’ve learned about myself is that, in competitive games, it doesn’t matter much how I did overall as long as I end on a good round; a win or a very close loss where I feel like I really made them work for it. And so I end up playing Overwatch an hour after I planned to be relaxing and getting ready to sleep because I promised myself I could play “until a good stopping place”.