By Atina Dimitrova
Interested in swiping the screen to match grids of coloured candies to score points? And willing to pay for extra bonuses to complete the level? It’s as simple as that to enter the Candy Crush Kingdom. Online games don’t require special skills for immediate fulfillment. With a predatory smile crossing our faces, we can’t resist opening the app and gazing at the sweets dropping in. But is it Candy Crush’s simplicity which makes it so addictive?
The game became the top downloaded free mobile app of 2013, the BBC reports. It is estimated that the British firm which created it, King.com, had a revenue of about $570m (£457m) in 2013 alone, The Guardian shows.
Perhaps the simple rules make the game so popular. All we have to do is lining up at least three of the same candies in a row. Bingo! Many cute messages congratulating us start popping up on our screens. “Tasty! Delicious! Sweet!” We could master the art of playing Candy Crush everywhere while holding our phone with just one hand and still talking to our friends. “It doesn’t prevent us from multitasking. And the colourful graphics make the game more tempting,” says Martin Georgiev, a computer science student at Sofia University, Bulgaria.
While we’re enjoying the vibrant hues and passing the levels rapidly, our bodies start releasing more of the pleasurable chemical dopamine. “The game creates very quickly feelings of reward in our brains. We never feel annoyed when we don’t win. The more complicated it gets with each level, the greater motivation we find to play it,” says Desislava Docheva, a molecular biology student at Sofia University, Bulgaria.
But all the problems which could prevent us from winning are also very easy to overcome. It’s true that we get just five chances to line up the candies. If we run out of lives, we have to wait 30 minutes before continuing. Yet, if we want to skip the waiting period, we can simply pay for extra moves and power-ups. For less than £1, we could get a full set of lives.
Candy Crush’s also an easy way of connecting people. Maybe the virtual reality will never supersede a pleasurable Sunday walk in Hyde Park with a friend. But even through the digital devices we could feel connected. “It actually helps me interact a lot with my friends in other countries. We talk via social media while playing the game together, we compete with each other and we all invest money simultaneously in the app,” says Shtiliyan Milaylov, a game lover from Middlesex University.
And the other privilege of having Candy Crush lovers around us is that we can request for free lives and tickets needed to continue playing. But whatever strategy we apply to avoid purchasing, the game seems successful in its attempts to use our unwillingness to stop playing once we lose five times. Unsurprisingly, the firm earns £660,000 every day from its users, The Sun reports.
Having over 500 levels, the video game holds us spellbound with bright colours and a harmonic soundtrack. Candy Crush is played over a billion times a day, The Telegraph reports. It’s simple to play it and combine it with other activities. Overcoming all the limitations is straightforward too… we can always purchase additional boosts.
Addictive in its simplicity, the game is a sweet excuse to have a five-minute break... which suddenly lasts two hours. Nevermind, perhaps, it is high time we went back to reality… once we buy the last set of 20 levels for just 69p! Sweet!
Author of two novels published in Bulgarian. Photography lover. Journalism student at City University London