Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beware the Candy

I'm here today to talk about the horrors of addiction. Not to drugs or alcohol or even Nutella--that would be far too serious for this blog. No, I'm talking about the soul-crushing, life-ruining horror that is Candy Crush.

If you've never played Candy Crush--and if you haven't, for the love of God don't start now--it's a member of the Bejeweled family of Horribly Addictive Games where you swap pairs of pieces to create matches of at least three in a row to eliminate those pieces from the board. Four or five in a row will create one-up pieces that explode larger portions of your board. In Candy Crush, the pieces are shaped like--you guessed it--candy. As you progress, the game presents new challenges like weird bottlenecks, portal squares, bits of chocolate that creep across the board like some kind of brown gelatinous ooze, and licorice strings that introduce your bits of candy to the joys of bondage. Cut scenes feature frightening little girls, whales, bunnies, and other creatures that appear to be constructed of cut paper fastened together with brass brads. I don't even want to know what kind of post-apocalyptic world this is, where everything has transformed to permutations of sugar.

I don't know why this type of game is so damn addictive. I went through a thankfully short but intense relationship with Bejeweled a few years ago that I was able to end fairly gracefully after spending hours swapping jewels while watching original series Star Trek. But Candy Crush? Man, I wish I could quit you. Instead I fritter away hours swapping bits of candy that look like Chiclets and Good n Plentys and smacking myself on the head when I accidentally waste one of those cupcake things with the sprinkles. If you do play--and PLEASE don't, I beg you--you'll know you've hit rock bottom when you're up at midnight paging through the app store looking for a game that's similar to Candy Crush that you can play while you're waiting for your allotment of lives to replenish. My not-Candy-Crush game of choice is Jewel Mania.

I've done my time in addiction and recovery with Farmville, Words With Friends, and even Angry Birds. I've justified time spent with these games because often I work out plot tangles while I'm feeding my bunnies or crushing pigs under complex architectural constructions. But Candy Crush is well on its way to becoming my undoing. I can't warn you strongly enough to stay away from it. And if you succumb to the allure of the bright candies--well, that's between you and your god.