Do you have a person in your life who’s just a little bit…off? You know, the uncle who is convinced that there really are aliens living among us? The neighbor who is stockpiling food, just in case? Or the guy at work who will, if you let him, explain how there is a massive conspiracy, spearheaded by a shadowy underground network, to demoralize and ultimately destroy the very fabric of our society? And that they are doing it through such a simple and innocent vehicle, that we’ll never notice until it’s too late?
I always laughed at that one. First of all, who are ‘They’ exactly? How on earth could they possibly get to so many people at the same time? And what could ‘They’ do that would be so demoralizing?
Yeah, I always thought that guy was particularly crazy. But then, I downloaded a seemingly innocent game called Candy Crush Saga, and I’m beginning to think, after a few weeks of playing, that maybe, just maybe…that guy is right.
Candy Crush Saga first came to my attention because some of my Facebook friends were playing and were posting their results. They also asked if I wanted to play with them. Listen to me now, people – these requests are NOT from your friends. No friend would seek to ensnare you in such an evil time-suck. They are trying to recruit you, yes, so please – heed my warning.
Step away from the screen.
It looks so innocent. Pretty colors, bright animation, a sweet little cartoon girl to guide you along. And at first, you think, hey – why not? After all, it’s free. And it doesn’t look hard. The game is just a simple grid, filled with colored ‘candies’. It’s just like playing tic-tac-toe. You move the candies to get three in a row, those three vanish, and you find three more. So easy, right? And when you’ve completed a level, you see a banner come across the screen that says, ‘Wonderful!’
And really, don’t we all want to be wonderful?
But – what happens when you DON’T complete the level? Well, then you get a different banner.
You did not complete the goal.
Wait – I failed? That’s not what I’m about. I succeed. And what’s this crap about not completing the goal? I ALWAYS reach my goals. That’s what being an American is all about, reaching higher and farther, and achieving whatever we want. What’s this little animated girl, crying for pity’s sake, telling me I FAILED????
So, you try again. Of course you do. And maybe this time, you complete the level. Or not. So you try again. And again. And here is where it gets tricky. Yes, of course playing the game is free. But – want a little Booster? Something to help you along? Or, do you want a few extra tries, even after time has run out? Well, that sort of thing you can buy. And here’s another twist – you’re only allowed so many tries in a certain period of time. If you’ve used up all your tries, you have to wait. 30 Minutes. There’s even a cute little clock that show the time for you. Unless, you want to buy another ‘Life” then and there.
See what I’m getting at? This could cost you a bundle.
And here’s the thing – as you’re trying to race against the clock, or complete the level in only so-many moves, you think, ‘This is impossible’. But it’s not, and you know it, because suddenly you’ve done it, you’ve moved on to the next thing, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself until…’This is impossible’.
Only now, you know the cold, hard truth. It’s not ‘impossible’.
You just can’t do it.
You keep trying. You stare at the screen and try to maximized your every move. If you get four in a row, you get a striped candy with extra power. Five in a row equals a round chocolate ball covered in sprinkles. If you combine two of these together, you get a super-candy. So – how can I get this from all the way over here, and combine it with this one…
Did I mention this is a real time-suck?
And then, you get to the levels where the chocolate squares actually spread, COVERING up your choices, making it that much harder!
Last month, I had two projects due. I finished another romantic comedy, which was sent off to an editor’s desk. I also finished my YA project that I’ll be launching in June. So, although I felt bad about not being able to post to this site in March, I had a few pretty reasons. I was busy. I was working.
I was also playing Candy Crush Saga.
I’m so sorry. Really. But how could I find time to read a book to review, or compare the screen/book versions of Silver Linings Playbook, when Level 35 was taunting me, calling out in the middle of the night, daring me to spend $.99 on an extra try?
I’m up to Level 65 now.
I’ve made it this far without buying any boosters or extra lives.
I’ve given up walking the dog and raking the yard so I can find time to work on those pesky edits.
So far, I’m failing. It’s impossible.
No, it’s not impossible. That’s the thing – I know that it’s me. I’m not good enough… no matter what I do… no matter how hard I try…
…’they’ are starting to wear me down.