Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga:  It's unlikely, barring your being a Luddite, that you don't already know what Candy Crush Saga is.  Which is not to say that you necessarily have played it, but at the very least you've been spammed by your friends and acquaintances who have been sucked in.

Hi, I'm Mr. B-Grades and I played Candy Crush. [1]

But it's important to notice the tense in the that previous sentence. [2]

I actually still like the game, but the owners/creators of it have beaten whatever joy there was to be had out of me.

Just in case, you actually are a Luddite [3] or by some other way have managed to avoid the game, here's a brief description.  Any time there are three or more identical pieces of candy on the game board they are removed (or crushed).  And new candy falls in from the top of the screen  You attempt to facilitate that removal by swapping pieces that are next to each.  Along the way the different layouts on each level and other obstacles make successive levels harder and more challenging.

Currently there are something like sixteen magillion levels [4]

The problem with the game is directly related to why the game exists.  And as any first year Econ student can tell you, all businesses exist for one reason and one reason only.

To make money.

And Candy Crush is made by a business [5] and thus is ultimately there to make them money. [6]

How do they make money?  By getting you to spend your real life dollars for their in-game bonuses.

Run out of lives?  Spend a buck and get your lives refilled.  Want to have the ability to create special candies that explode and in other ways assist your efforts?  Cash can do that for you too.

But wait, you say.  Isn't candy crush free to play?  Sure, but the people over there at King Games also want your money, so they have to balance making the game free and fun with making it hard so you want to spend money for extra perks.  If they make it too easy to play and win, nobody will spring for the bonuses.  If they make it too hard, you won't ever get hooked.

Which brings us to level 165.

Technically, there are several levels akin to 165 you will encounter first, but 165 was the straw that broke this camel's back.

The different layouts and obstacles do require you to use strategy to get past a level and on every level there is some amount of luck, but with good skill and a mere modicum of luck you can get past most levels in just a few tries.  But for some reason every so often you run into a level where it is essentially 100% luck.  Your skill doesn't matter.  Unless the game gods arbitrarily decide to give you the right pattern of falling candies, you are not going to win.

I suffered through several of these.  Some of which took me a few days to win. [7]  Then came 165.  A board in which your decisions mean little.  Where unless the game decides to make every other candy a blue one, you aren't going to win.

King games is hoping this will get you to shell out for bonuses to get past the level.

King games is wrong.

Candy Crush: C+  (Good concepts.  Fun levels.  Decent strategy.  All of which is ruined by a few rotten apples. [8])

[1] - The first step towards getting better is admitting you have a problem.
[2] - In case grammar isn't your forte, it was past tense, meaning done in the past, but not necessarily now.
[3] - Of course if you are a Luddite how/why are you reading this now?
[4] - All numbers are approximate.
[5] - King Games
[6] - For the record, I'm not a business and as such get no remuneration for these efforts.  Not that I would turn such things down.
[7] - Or more accurately to be given the win.
[8] - Whether those apples are the levels, the people who run the game, or something else, I'll let you decide.

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