Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Candy Crush Epidemic

I just heard on the news that a game called Candy Crush, offered by the firm, King, is about to enter the stock market, valued at $5 billion. Addiction is no laughing matter, but about Candy Crush, I sometimes giggle.

Why are baby boomers and not just Generations X,Y, and Z playing this game? Why am I playing it anytime I have a moment to spare? I feel ashamed thinking about how I am outing myself, hoping that this confession doesn’t ruin my career or prompt people to judge me harshly.

Candy Crush is a free, mobile phone game although you can pay money for hints. I am proud to say that I have never paid one cent to the game.

The researcher, B.F. Skinner, once marveled at how erratic or intermittent reinforcement kept rats coming back for more rewards far more often than did consistent reinforcement. This happens in CC. At times very frustrated, I have screamed at my phone when I have gotten stuck. But, then when I succeed, I feel so skillful, talented and generally good about myself. Is this an illusion? If so, no wonder we “addicts” keep coming back for more.
Candy Crush is highly entertaining while we wait in our worlds: in grocery lines, at airports, and in doctors’ offices. I make deals with myself, much like bargaining with God, that if I work hard for a few hours, I can play Candy Crush.

I have never sat still for very long at a time, but now that I play Candy Crush, I can sit very still until the game itself times me out. I listen to the news or music while playing. This game is like a powerful drug and its sounds are also exciting.

When our daughter came home from college recently, she didn’t understand why her mother was sitting on the couch in the evenings, eyes glued to the phone, at times praising herself and at other times, yelling. I feared she might set up an intervention. I am not proud of my once enticing her to play the game but she didn’t follow my compulsive pattern, thank goodness.

Candy Crush is handy any time you want to have fun and you don’t even have to be in a boring meeting to enjoy it. You can play on mute so no one ever knows if you are taking notes on your phone, or just looking at Facebook or email, unless your murmurings of glee slip out when moving to the next level.

Candy Crush is not for everyone. So, unless you are retired, or are between jobs, or have a lot of time on your hands, beware. You too could get clutched by the claws of Candy Crush and you could lose your family, your career and all that is important to you. Maybe investing in CC is a far better activity.

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