We Want Candy!
By Nahid Thaeri
Stand on a crowded commuter train in Prince George, New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, or Berlin and you will see a multitude of people, goldfish-mouthed, eyes glazed, deeply breathing, fixated on one thing only: getting rows of red jelly beans and orange lozenges to disappear. Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle game which was released for Facebook at first and then for smartphones by the King game company in 2012. Candy Crush Saga has overtaken Angry Birds to be the world’s most popular game, hitting the top spot on Facebook, iOS, and the Android Play store. According to developer King, there are more than 66 million players worldwide, with more than 15 million of those playing Candy Crush Saga on Facebook on a daily basis. Since the game launched, Candy Crush Saga players have spent the equivalent of 103,000 years playing the game. Over 1 trillion candies have been crushed, which is more than the stars in the Milky Way. The game has been installed more than 500 million times across Facebook, iOS, and Android. It’s so popular that, according to the studio, one out of every 23 Facebook users is a fan of the game. King has taken advantage of a change in the way people play video games. There was a time when a particular demographic was overrepresented among gamers – young men at home, using consoles. The advent of smartphones and tablets has changed gaming – so much so that the typical Candy Crush Saga player is a woman aged 25-45. Some people’s devotion to the game leads to them changing their smartphone’s internal clock so that they get more lives, an all-important (and scarce) commodity doled out at regular intervals. One gamer, a UNBC student, claims that he sometimes stays awake until 4am to finish more levels.
There have been plenty of games that follow the same basic format as King’s creation; however the function of the game, and the way it rations lives, has been carefully crafted by King to provide maximum enjoyment, and to keep people coming back for more. Players regularly check the countdown until their next life is released and they can play on. It is precision-engineered addiction, and it has resonated with the public. Because it is so user friendly to access, and due to it’s colourful graphics, the game makes users calm and happy. This is an addictive game; we want more candies, and we want to crush them.