Why is candy crush so addictive?
I speak as tragic Candy Crusher. I have completed the last available level (level 665 as it stands at the moment, though they release new levels on a fairly regular basis) and I can honestly say I am torn between being proud and ashamed of this fact.
So what is it that keeps us going back to this often frustrating, deeply repetitive, basic little game?
You can talk about the advertising, the bright colours, the association with all things sweet and nice, but I think the answer is really quite simple. It’s challenging enough to keep us interested, but simple enough that we know that we are going to be able to achieve it.
Some levels are easy, we do them and then move on without giving it much thought.
Some levels are dastardly. They leave us near tears with how near, yet how far we are from achieving the goal. Just one more cherry to drop, just two more jellies to clear….we are so close, we know we’ll get it next time….and so we go back. Next time you may get close, or you may not, but you have seen it is possible.
If you just get a lucky drop then next time you’ll get it…next time you’ll win.
The you clear a frustrating level and you get a little high. It’s a buzz. You feel pleased with yourself for winning. The fact that you don’t win anything is irrelevant – you’ve solved the puzzle – you’ve beaten it -and you’re ready for the next challenge that it’s going to throw at you so that you can beat it again.
Oh, and it gives you a little gift each day. There’s a wheel that you spin that gives you a bonus candy. If you don’t go and visit it every day, then you miss out on your free bonus…so you go back. The fact that you are not getting anything of actual value is, again, irrelevant – you don’t want to miss out.
In my humble opinion, all of this is fine. No one gets hurt, it’s a fun way to waste some time and you do actively use your brain and feel reward.
However it can have a darker side.
There are ways to increase your chances of completing a level by purchasing bonus candies – actually purchasing them, with real money. They disguise this fact but making you buy the candies with ‘gold bars’ which is just game money, but you can only get gold bars by giving them cash. For some people desperate to get that ‘winning rush’ they will spend more money than they can afford to complete the level.
This is not fine.
This is where the rehab bit comes into play
It’s great to feel the ‘winning rush’ – that’s why gambling is addictive, but there are many ways to find it. Look for ways in and out of games. Make sure you are achieving things in the outernet as well as on the internet. Set yourself challenges and achieve them, but make sure they are realistic. One of the candy crush secrets are the easy wins, the ways we can feel good with minimum effort, so set your goals accordingly. If you want to be able to run a marathon, that should not be your first goal. Depending on your level of fitness, your first goal might be as simple as getting your trainers on and going for a walk.
When we achieve one thing, it drives us forward to achieve something else.
So this week, set yourself a few goals. Start small and build up slowly.
Good luck – maybe I’ll see you in rehab 🙂