Hi, my name is Sara, and it’s been 14 hours since I played Plants vs. Zombies.

This is a gaming addiction I have “relatively” under control. However; in the beginning, this was not true. Let me start by saying, thank you PopCap games. Thank you for making cute, fun, interesting games that can be played on both PC and Mac – because I am a Mac girl, and when I find a game I like that I can’t play, it pisses me off. Now, let me follow this up with, curse you PopCap games. Curse you for making a game that is so damned adorable, and riddled with elements to aggravate my OCD that I can’t stop playing until every single element of your game has passed my thorough inspection.

I only started out as a casual computer gamer, playing TETRIS and the soul sucking Dr. Mario. Once I got those games out of my system, I moved onto bigger, MMORPG type games – which are soul sucking in a completely other manner (read – and -). When I was finally ready to put my gaming mouse aside and think like a real girl again, I saw it… the Walnut.

Walnut, you say? Who would get interested in a game because of a Walnut? Well. Me. But let me tell you why. This Walnut had eyes and a scowl on its face. It was also being eaten by a zombie with a traffic cone on its head. If you know me, you know I like cute and demented things. This ranked up there for both and I was intrigued. I clicked the link and saw what would be my demise in gaming for the next couple of hours.

I just lied. Days.

I lied again. Weeks. It was almost a full month.

The mechanics of PVZ is simple, you have a plot of land and different types of plants, each plant does something to help you fend off the plethora of zombies trying to get into your home to, you guessed it, eat your brains. There are four distinct levels, daytime, nighttime, pool (day & night) and on the roof. In each level you have to plant the appropriate zombie killing plants to save yourself from imminent doom. Simple, right? Unless your OCD. Each game layout is set up on a grid. A GRID. Making it super easy for, me, to get lost in constructing the most sound survival layout possible with my plants. I had to organize them, just so. Not just by cuteness either, by actual function.

It helps that the graphics are incredibly cute, and the game speed is very comfortable. There’s nothing worse than not having time when you plant a pea shooter in the wrong square, and a zombie with a bucket on his head is heading at you, and you have to dig it up because THAT IS NOT WHERE IT GOES. That being said, I finished the game in two days. The upshot being, the closing credits are the cutest things ever – and some of the zombies sing to you.

So, why did I play it non-stop for another 4 weeks? Because. Because I couldn’t just stop there. I had to hone my skill, I had to make the best use of the grid. I had to unlock ALL of the zombies and ALL of the plants and ALL of the mini-games and puzzles. I also had to unlock ALL of the planting grounds to make more money, to buy the items you don’t earn. See. There’s more to the game than meets the eyes, and once I learned that, I had to keep going. I’m a completionist and it would have frustrated me that I didn’t unlock the Yeti Zombie – don’t judge me!

So, I played and played and played. I played every single mini-game and completed every single puzzle level. And I grouped my grids accordingly and I strategized and I oohed and awed over each of the cute plants and the crazy zombies (there’s a zombie with a zombie duck water tube, guys, come on!). AAAANNNNDDD… after a month of playing, every day for about an hour a day, I had completed everything I could complete and went back to playing WoW.

And then, you know what happened?

PopCap – those rotten so and so’s – went ahead and released a second version of the game. Not a PVZ 2 (no, that’s coming out this year). A completely re-released game version with the ability to build your own zombie and create an avatar. A new version with achievements. ACHIEVEMENTS, guys. I can’t ignore achievements. So, yes, I bought it. I installed it. And I started all over. Which is why, it’s only been 14 hours since I last played Plants vs. Zombies.

I lied again. It’s been 1 hour.

I’d also like to take a minute to say, if this isn’t your cup of tea, you can play a very similar 4 part game within WoW. Because we gamers like to keep our in-game memes as geeky and meta as possible.

That is all.