There’s this app game. It has a deceptively sweet name. Candy Crush Saga.
What is Candy Crush?
It’s a puzzle game in the mold of Bejeweled. There are five or six different types of candy shapes. You can move these shapes around to make a vertical or horizontal line of 3 alike shapes to make them disappear and earn yourself point. Get four in a row, and you get a fancy striped candy. Do a five piece L shaped alignment and you get a candy bomb. Do five alike candies in a row and you get the mother of all candy, the ‘disco ball’ (as my son likes to call it).
Puzzle games are addictive (at least, good ones are). That doesn’t make them bad. The evil inside of Candy Crush is their in-app purchases options. Think you only need five more moves to get that last jelly? Pony up 99 cents and go for it. Want to crush a candy piece in your way, spend $1.99 for three lollipop hammers.
That alone probably would draw plenty of purchases. Make levels hard enough, and many casual gamers will become frustrated enough to pluck out a buck or two in order to get to the next level.
The delirious evil inside of Candy Crush is that they limit your plays each day. A player is given five free lives per day. You run out, you can wait to recharge your lives at the rate of one per 30 minutes.
This noose around the number of plays adds to the pressure of beating levels. It has the effect of greasing the wheels of desperation so that you’ll pluck out a few bucks for in-app assistance.
Don’t fall for the bright happy world. It is a land of tears and heartbreak.
There are ways to “game” the system. You can adjust the clock on your tablet or phone to trick the game into giving you more lives. But who wants to do that? If you sign in to your Facebook account with the app, you can have free moves and free lives sent to you by your friends.
And just when I thought I had conquered the game, beating all 500+ levels, they go and release a ‘night time’ world series of levels that are even more frustrating (I’ve grown to despise owls). Because I’m an addict, I’m making my way through these night levels.
So my Christmas wish this year is to come up with a frustrating, evil way of making millions of dollars. It only takes one idea. Come on, anybody? Anyone???