I've been playing Candy Crush. Obsessively. Which, from what I've gathered, is the only way to play it. You either don't play at all or you obsess. And I've gone through the stages with it as well. First was the, "oh this is fun!" stage. Where the matches are easy, the boards clear quickly and always with 3 stars. Let's call this "the first taste is free" stage...
Then it got challenging. Now there are easier ways to play than I am. You can buy extra lives or buy power-ups or link to your Facebook account so people can send you things. I've chosen to do it all without extras. Partly because I know that I tend to obsess about games and could easily drop more cash than I really should (let's not talk about how much I spent on fake cheese to catch virtual mice a few years ago). And partly to limit the time playing. If I linked to Facebook people could send me lives and unlock new areas quicker and I would just play more. This way I'm limited. Lives only refresh every 30 minutes. So I can only play that much. Oh, and when I kibitz on Brent's game when he is playing.
Okay, so back to the stages of play. In the challenging stage when you clear a level you feel like you've done something! Ta da! I'm a pattern recognizing GENIUS! I am pretty sure I must be the smartest candy crusher in the world! You are in "pure candy"; until that level hits that breaks you...
The junkie level. You are past the "first taste is free" past the soaring highs of "pure candy" and now you have to, HAVE to beat this level. And so you play. And you play. And you play. You post about it on Facebook only to have people tell you that they are HUNDREDS of levels beyond where you are. HUNDREDS. So you play more thinking, well if they did it surely I can. And then you do beat it. And instead of the Ta Da! moment of "pure candy" you get...well...more of a meh. You've been broken.
Know how I know I'm broken? Because that level came almost 40 levels ago. And I'm still playing. I clear a level now and I get no thrill. No rush. And yet I still play. The voice in my head urging me on to play just to see how far I can go without the power-ups and help. All the while Candy Crush pushes updates and now there are over 400 levels! Four hundred?? What the hell? And each time I clear the three quests that lead me in to a new area (because I refuse to link to Facebook where I could just ask someone to unlock the next level for me) I am introduced to a new challenge. Chocolates that block moves and regenerate constantly. Which you would totally think a never ending supply of chocolate would be a good thing right? It's not. Super whipped cream blockers that need to be cleared 3-4 times depending on if there is jelly under them. Candy bombs that have to be cleared in a certain number of moves or you lose. And yet I keep playing because well... I am firmly in to "grudge match" play.
Which gives me pause.
I spend a few minutes here and there through my entire day playing this game. This game that the only satisfaction I am getting out of it is that it's not beating me. I'm slogging along playing. Making the matches. Clearing the levels. Playing the game. But not really enjoying it. Or am I? I mean I must be or I wouldn't do it right? And I do love pattern games. I always have. I love matching games, I own three different versions of Bejeweled for goodness sake. But what flash of joy am I getting now? And I'm not getting an answer.
So I'm stopping. Really. I am. I mean it. No more obsessing about clearing that one more level, even though everyone else made it so much farther than I did and if I could just get the first fall of candy to go right I would totally have this board cleared and be on to the next and I'm only two levels away from the next area and...
And it's not just because I'm on Level 123 and well...you know me and numbers.