Candy Crush: The 633K A Day Addiction

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    In the last 10 days, I’ve spent $21, repeatedly drained my phone battery, and blown a deadline for the first time in years—all so I could play a game for which I have absolutely no aptitude. I’ve been tapping away at Candy Crush Saga on the subway (like half of New York), in front of the television, and, yes, in the bathroom for countless hours, and despite all that expense and devotion, I’m stuck at Level 38. There are more than 350 levels. My Slate colleague Rachael Larimore, a mother of three and the most sensible person I know, has reached Level 125. I’m 10 times more irresponsible than Rachael, but about three times less successful at a dumb phone game. That’s just not right.

    I’m not alone in my addiction. About 45 million people play Candy Crush on Facebook each month, making it the most popular game on the site. It’s the most downloaded mobile game on both Android and Apple devices, and it’s the top-grossing mobile app. Think Gaming estimates that Candy Crush brings in around $633,000 a day—more than $230 million a year—for King, its British creator.

    Candy Crush is simultaneously simple and satanic. Faced with a grid full of brightly colored “candies,” players must move around the pieces to line up three of the same type in a row; once aligned, the candies—crushed—disappear, and those above them take their place. It’s Bejeweled meets Tetris, a veritable speedball of a puzzle game. There are a few complications involving fruits, nuts, and jelly. (After a handful of easy rounds, the bonbons start to become encased in the stuff.) But that’s pretty much all there is to it. All those hundreds of levels represent different challenges—points targets, number of moves permitted—but the game play itself remains the same: Line up at least three candies of the same color, click, and repeat until you’re weeping from frustration. It’s that straightforwardness that makes it so addictive. Continue To Capital Bay…

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