EuroMillions lottery winner Neil Trotter has revealed that he’s squandered much of his £108 million lotto fortune on a veritable orgy of in-app purchases for freemium games.
Mr. Trotter has been forced to return to his former work as a car mechanic after developing his habit which at its height cost him a staggering £100,000 a day.
“I consider myself lucky to have anything left at all” said Trotter from his modest home in Coulsdon, Surrey, “I almost let it consume me.”
“I started out just getting a few plants off Plants vs. Zombies 2, just to relax really, with all the stress of suddenly being rich and famous,” Mr. Trotter explains.
But it wasn’t long until things started spiraling out of control into week-long binges on far more sinister in-app fixes.
“It was all sorts really, you name it – chests of Gems, Lollipop Hammers…wagons and wagons of Smurfberries. I couldn’t get enough. I didn’t want to wait for my heroes to regenerate.”
“In the back of my mind knew that it was costing me a small fortune for each Smurfy Wonder and each Town Hall upgrade I bought but I couldn’t stop, at the end I was playing for days without sleeping or eating.”
Neil also noticed that his friends were changing.
“I’d always told myself I’d never change after the lottery win. But slowly the people I loved seemed to disappear from my life and were being replaced by ‘friends’ sending me Blue Honor Stones and Candy Boosts over social media.”
“I didn’t realize it at the time but they weren’t my real friends at all, they were only enabling my addiction, sucking me back down into my own personal hell every time that I tried to escape.”
Neil is candid about the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride which was his life for the past year.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun and exhilarating – at least at first – the rush of reaching Level 800 and hearing “Sugar Crush!” or seeing my Clan atop the Leaderboard.”
“It’s better than any food, better than any orgasm! But that’s the problem, for every amazing high there is a terrible price to pay.”
“I remember waking up shattered, after three nights of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and remembering buying Princess Luna’s Royal Guard – again! And for what? It’s meaningless – a digital bat winged pony which has brought me nothing but misery, over and over again!”
“I guess I needed to hit rock bottom, and I did, buying a whole herd of Princess Luna’s Royal Guard ponies in a week before I decided to seek help.”
Every day is a new challenge for Neil, who still finds himself drawn to freemium gaming’s siren song from time to time.
“I don’t think that you’re ever really ‘cured’ from freemium games,” Neil admitted.
“Instead you learn how to see them for the poison that they are and avoid places where you might come into contact with them, like iTunes, or doing things which could lead to temptation like taking a smartphone into the toilet with you.”
Of course the allure of completing my Smurf Village with just one more Great Smurf Statue is always going to be there, but I know it’s never just one more Great Smurf Statue, and so for now I’m taking things one day at a time.”
Unfortunately for sufferers like Neil, at the time of publication it has recently been disclosed that Candy Crush Soda Saga, a new and far more potent form of Candy Crush Saga has just hit iTunes and Play Store.