Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crushing It

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm addicted to Candy Crush. Go ahead and laugh at me, I deserve it. But I know I'm not alone...

If you have a smart phone or a FaceBook account, you've probably heard of this game. If you've been able to avoid getting sucked in, I admire you. I discovered it when an ad for it popped up while I was playing Words With Friends. I hadn't heard of it before but I enjoy iPhone games and I love candy, (plus it was free!) so I downloaded it. I was immediately drawn in by the bright colors and carnival style music. The music got old real fast so I turned it off, but the game has kept me hooked.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining the game because a) You already play it b) You're going to start playing it as soon as you finish reading this post or c) You don't need to know so you can continue being blissfully unaware.

What I'd like to talk about is the way my life is affected by Candy Crush. I started playing a little over a year ago and my addiction is cyclical. What I mean by that is I play frantically until I get to a level I can't beat. Sometimes I'll try the same level over and over for weeks before I finally give up. I'll stop playing, always vowing never to start again. Once, I almost deleted the game! But then time will pass, a few weeks or even a month or two, and I forget how frustrated I was and I decide to give it a try again. Usually I'm able to go back to that baffling level and complete it on one of the first few tries. I have no idea why that happens. And then I'm hooked again.I  don't want to be hooked, but man when you're doing well and beating levels it's so fun! And you really do have to think smart, look ahead to plan your moves. I'm not trying to justify it, okay yes maybe I am but it's not totally mindless.

I've read all sorts of articles about why the game is "addictive" for so many people. I don't know if any of it's true. I heard one news story that reported the game makes $650,000 a day from people who pay for the various tricks and tools that are offered. I'd like to say I've never contributed to that number but I'd be lying. I'm sure this happens to the best of us: you're waiting in line some where killing the time by playing Candy Crush when you run out of lives. I'll admit I've paid to avoid waiting the 20 minutes for more lives. Waiting 20 minutes? That would be so boring.

I started playing again when I was sick in November, after not playing since the summer and I have noticed one major thing: my quality of life is much better when I'm not in the throes of playing Candy Crush. Sometimes I have to physically hand my phone over to my boyfriend and say "Don't let me
have this or I won't be able to get to sleep." It's true, if I look at my phone or laptop laptop for any reason in the 30-60min before I go to bed, I'll lie there restless and not able to get sleepy. There have even been nights when I've closed my eyes and I can still see those shiny candies sliding around. That's bad. Once I was standing in line at the post office playing and the lady behind me started giving me tips. My friends play it and their kids play it. Everyone gets hooked!

I didn't intend for this post to promote the game but to look at how my life can be affected by one little device. I've written before about the joys of iPhone ownership and I still stand behind that, as it can be a great tool, but it's interesting to me how often it straddles the line between helpful and destructive/distracting. One of the New Year's Resolutions I made is to be less connected to my phone. It's usually beside me at all times but for the past week I've left it in a different room when I'm going to watch TV or eat a meal with my boyfriend. It's difficult but gosh, it's been nice. I have a tendency to multitask when I watch TV, either to play on my phone or look at a magazine or crochet. This year I'm making an effort to be present in each activity I engage in. If I'm going to watch a movie, then I want to give it my full attention. So far I've only broken this once while watching football and I was a little disappointed in myself but I hardly ever watch network TV and man, there are so many commercials.

I probably won't delete Candy Crush any time soon but I'm taking a little break again. This time it wasn't forced by a difficult level but by my desire to be more present and engaged with the world around me and sadly I'm quite proud of myself!

1 comment:

  1. I do love Candy Crush, but I mostly play it in down time, and I only play until I run out of lives. There are times when I'm a little more addicted than others, but there are so many other things to be addicted to. The other games I play are Words With Friends and cribbage.