lifestyle

The game that's more addictive than crack. Are you playing it?

By NICKY CHAMP

I confess: I’m a junkie.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill substance problem, no, no, no; this is an iPhone game addiction of epic proportions.

I just want to preface my next admission by saying I’m not the type of person that usually dabbles in iPhone gaming. Apart from brief flirtations with Words With Friends and Draw Something, I’ve never understood the fascination of games like Fruit Ninja… that is, until now.

Hi, my name is Nicky, I’m 34 and I’m addicted to Candy Crush Saga.

Go ahead and judge, I don’t even know who I am anymore.

If you haven’t played it (do NOT download it, I repeat do NOT go there) think of it as a cross between Tetris and the board game Candyland with the pulling power of crack cocaine.

It’s the most popular app on Facebook (with more than 35 million likes) and the highest-grossing app in the Apple and Google app stores. It had over ten million downloads in December 2012 alone.

The basic premise of the game is to match up the delicious sweet, sweet candy and break up frozen jelly encasings along with other various obstacles in order to move on to the next level…to… um… do it some more…  I know, I know, I’m aware of how this sounds, but trust me it’s really fun.

That is until you realise you’ve haven’t stopped playing for three days and glorious freckly candy bombs haunt your dreams. But still you want more.

The addictive nature of the game comes from the ingenious time-out system, which is designed so that you only get one new life every 30 minutes.

If you fail to meet the objective of the level or the minimum score, a life is deducted (the bastards) forcing you to wait before you can feed your addiction again. This will be the longest 30 minutes of your life.

There are a few ways you can score get around this; you can ask your friends on Facebook for more lives (if you want to look really pathetic), I’m not quite there yet because I’m still stuck on level 29 but I’m not delusional, I know this is in my future.

Or you can pay for lives – although it’s looked down upon in the gaming community – and that’s when I knew I was really in trouble; I paid $0.99 for extra lives not once but four times in order to get past level 29. Go on, ask me if I managed to pass level 29, I dare you.

In my desperation I turned to Google and discovered you can cheat more lives by turning back the clock on your iPhone by two hours, which is problematic for two reasons; it stuffs up your imessages and if you forget to reset it before going to bed you can look forward to the mindfuck of waking up and thinking it’s 8PM in the FUTURE.

ADVERTISEMENT

Also, it cottons on after you do it too many times and punishes you by making you wait 1359:00 minutes which will be fine because at this point you don’t even want to live anymore.

A clear cry for help.

My rock bottom was to come a swift day later when I took a screenshot of the Candy Crush Saga alert on my phone that said “You now have full lives” with the caption, “Well, there goes my night #addicted #FMylife” on Instagram in what was a clear cry for help.

Fellow addicts posted their encouragement in the comments, one said, “You are going to punish level 29! ;)”.  I work with her, I know she’s on level 117; it’s too late for her, she’s beyond help.

People think they can control this thing if they just use their partner’s/sister’s phone to play the game but recreational users? I’ve got a wake up call for you. Don’t fool yourselves, that behaviour has a name and it’s called stage one of addiction; denial.

It’s not long before your relationships begin to suffer, you ignore phone calls and text messages and no doubt really important Snapchats to keep on playing.

Your loved ones will inquire about your well-being but you’ll curse the distraction, “What the hell do they want? Don’t they know I have important work to do?” The only relationship you want to maintain now is with your index finger and protecting it from gamers RSI.

Your only salvation lies in getting a rare Coloured Candy Bomb and smashing it against a striped jelly bean because then all your wildest dreams will come true and you can move on with your life. Well, that’s what I’ve heard from other cult members but I wouldn’t know because I STILL CANNOT GET PAST LEVEL 29.

Oh and did I mention Candy Crush Saga has 425 levels? There’s a rumour that the end of Candy Crush Saga is an image of Tiffi (short for Toffette) the main character of the game holding a lollipop saying “To Be Continued”.

To be continued? That’s it? There’s no nirvana? Not even a fucking congratulations?

Look, I’d really like hang around and extrapolate on what this says about our society that more than 45.6 million users a month are wasting our lives playing a game that essentially has no meaning or satisfying end point but I have to go; my 29 minutes are up, I now have full lives.

Are you playing it? What level are you up to? And Nicky will confess her undying love for you if you can tell her how to crack level 29.

00:00 / ???