Monday, July 22, 2013

A Pox on Candy Crush

by Kate Collins

I love the game Candy Crush Saga. No, wait. I hate it. I hate that it sucks holes in my day, that it clamps onto my brain and will not let go, that it drains the battery on my iPhone in the blink of an eye. I hate that I love it. I hate that the inventors know how to draw you in, like drug dealers.

At first they make it easy to score a hit. It feels so good that you want to score another hit, and you do. They sweet-talk you along the way, too. "Sweet" the honey-toned voice coos to you. "Divine," he says when you hit a vein of four candies of the same color. "Candy crush!" he shouts gleefully when you hit pay dirt.

And then you're hooked. You can't stop. You have to play just one more game, score just one more win to move to the next level. Slowly, insidiously, the levels become more challenging, the wins harder to achieve. But you press on because you know what a rush it is to reach a new high.

So you keep playing, determined to feel that rush again. And then they pull the rug out from under you, lccking you out, forbidden to play more until you gain more lives.  It might be half an hour, it might be twenty minutes. Whatever it is, it's a blessing in disguise. It releases you from your addiction. It forces you to look around, realize an hour has gone by and you haven't moved.

The worst part is when you've completed a level and are forced to either pay 99 cents to unlock the next level or coerce friends on Facebook to help out. It's the one aspect of the game that really irks me.

When I began to see the Candy Crush screen on my eyelids when I lay down to sleep at night, I knew I was in trouble. When the print on my emails began to blur, I knew I was ruining my eyesight. So I've limited myself to two rounds per day, and I'm now going through withdrawal.

But yesterday, a friendly librarian told me about a new game called Tiny Towers. I'm going to check it out. Maybe it won't be so addicting or so frustrating.

Are you addicted to any games? What's your poison of choice?