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Friday, January 10, 2014

How Candy Crush Saga Imitates addiction

                                               

We've got a good friend staying with us at the moment.  At one point, the conversation turned to discussing Candy Crush Saga.  

Anybody who is an avid (or even not so avid) Facebook user, or in fact around a group of Facebook users, will know what Candy Crush is.  For you, I need not elaborate further.  However, I am aware of a couple of people who are oblivious (they shall remain nameless but I can assure you they do exist) to the seductive charms of Candy Crush.  

Candy Crush Saga (TM) is an online Facebook (and smartphone) game that in March of 2013 was the most popular game on FB.  It is a varient of the old 'match 3 in a row' kind of game, with a series of levels and various challenges.  Suffice to say - it's a 'tiddly' bit addictive. 

During our discussion, we remarked on how this particular game, despite all of us having said at one point or another that 'we would never play it', have now succumbed to its seductive charms and are quite hooked.  Furthermore, all of us had experienced a discussion on said game in places like staff rooms and in general social settings, with questions like 'what level are you on?', 'how did you get past that challenge?'.  It is at this point, we concluded that Candy Crush, in many ways, mirrors addiction. 

Here's why: 


1.  You find yourself saying 'I can quit anytime I want', and what's more, you believe it.

2.  It's a compulsion - something that you feel you have to just 'pop into' and have a go.  

3.  It's a craving that's hard to ignore.  You play, hoping you can get the elusive striped candy/colour bomb/wrapped Candy combos - and you get a thrill when it happens!  You crave that 'rush' you get from completing a level, or blowing up the various candies - and if you happen to get two colour bombs - well thats Candy Crush nirvana!  My personal favourite is the colour bomb/striped candy combo.  

4. You continue to play despite adverse consequences - in other words, you know you should go start dinner or you will be hungry, or get to your appointment on time, but you say to yourself 'just one more go...'.   I have even heard of people saying they have played at work!  (Please note - I've only heard this, I have no evidence it is true, and I by no means advocate such behavior - hopefully this is a terrible rumour). 

5. Loss of appetite - see above - the possibility of completing the level lures you in...food becomes secondary. 

6. You find you have a Loss of interest in social activities, preferring to stay in and play.

7. There may be Financial implications/temptations!   I have heard of some people who have succumbed and bought power ups to assist them to overcome a particularly difficult level.  This is not something I would advocate.  Succumbing to the lure of paying for power ups to complete levels could lead you down a slippery slope of Candy Crush dependence that ultimately hits you hard in your pocket!  

8. Some people may go in for Secretive behaviour as they attempt to hide how many times they have attempted a tricky level, or you may find them taking their smartphone with them to the bathroom to continue to play.  This is also behaviour I would not advocate - mostly because of hygienic reasons. 

9. You may experience Personality changes, in particular frustration .  This is usually bought on by the reoccurring chocolate (described by our friend as a nasty virus you can't escape from), and the ticking time bombs.  Sometimes this frustration will mean you will leave the game for a few days - but like a beautiful siren of the seas, Candy Crush calls you back in.  You find yourself saying, just one more try and I will get it.  

10.  There may be periods of great Highs from passing a level and/or depressing lows from a challenging level, when playing Candy Crush.  

11. You may experience Paranoia, and start to believe the game is challenging you on purpose.  

12.  You may have Trouble sleeping (and the health issues that arise from lack of sleep) as you are either playing it when you should sleep, or worrying about how to complete a level, with the images of wrapped candies, colour bombs and striped candy teasing you with their images. 

Does this sound like you?  


Are you ready to make a change, realising that you don't need Candy Crush in your life?  Are you ready to take responsibility for a future free of Candy Crush?

Then there is a solution.

Delete the App and turn off your computer and or device.

As for me, I will be right behind you, as soon as I finish that next level.  Promise.



Disclaimer:  this is a satirical, tongue in cheek post, and by no means is it intended to cause distress or belittle the harm and seriousness of addiction.  On a serious note, there have been reports that some people are heavily addicted to CC and are spending huge amounts of money on the game.  If addiction is a concern for you please contact an appropriate addiction support service in your area. 

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