Week 4 Discussion: Why Is Candy Crush So Addictive?

March 29, 2016

Why is Candy Crush SO addictive? Please respond with a 3-4 paragraph reasoning of why this game is so popular and why people can't stop playing it. Use reasoning from your reading over this past month. This means your post should include mechanics, game theory, economics, and anything else you have learned this month. 

Also, provide a game that you, personally, have found addictive. You should provide an explanation of why the game is/was addictive to you and use the same rational for why Candy Crush is addictive.



Casual games or social games in general are a huge hit because of the simplicity of the objective or objectives. They are easily obtainable, easy to learn, easy to play, and quick to play. Most casual games are set up so that when the player logs on they collect a daily bonus cycle through their lives which usually numbers between three and five then they are done for a period of time while their lives replenish. This makes "Candy Crush" a highly appealing game because it can be picked up and learned in minutes and then played randomly through out the day when the user has a few minutes of downtime. What keeps players coming back is the Progressive nature of the game. Each round has a certain objective you have to complete before you can move on. I personally am stuck on level 101, and I have been on that level for a very long time, I gave up after blowing through over a months worth of lives and about $200 of my personal funds to buy upgrades to help me get past the level. The user especially ones who enjoy puzzle simulation games would find this an appealing attraction to keep them coming back as it provides a challenge that keeps setting the bar ever higher.

With that said "Candy Crush" is a matching game like "Bejeweled", "Farm Heroes", "Cookie Jam", and "Puzzle & Dragons"; wherein the objective is to match 3, 4, or 5 in a row to clear our matching elements. The effect of what happens is determined by element matched, the number of elements matched, and the what is adjacent to the matched line either vertical or horizontal. This means that different effects made the clearing of the board easier or more difficult because it was all random where it would land or lie. This is achieved through the obtainment of uncommon, epic, and legendary candies that the user can earn through getting higher chains. There is also micro-transactions that allows the user to purchase different tools to achieve a greater score, and to clear the board thus clearing the objective(s). This is not an automatic guarantee that the user will clear the board as every time the round is attempted the board is random where the pieces will lie and whether or not they will be set up in anything other than a simple free clear of three pieces. The bigger the chain the better the cascade will be and thus the higher the score will end up. The emergent nature of the game comes into play when a player runs out of lives, or finds that the set number of lives or moves are not in alignment with success so the game offers micro-transactions to purchase extra moves, extra lives, and helpful clearing tools. Because of the games style and the feeling of self assurance the purchases will help in the long run, micro-transactions have turned this free to play puzzle game into a billion plus dollar game, making King the leading social game studio in revenue history. (Boyd, 2015)

"Candy Crush" features a gift that is also a curse, and it is their cross to bear is the complete random generator it uses to create the boards and keep them fed until the end of the moves, or the users ability to complete the objective(s). This makes it so that there is no way for a dominant strategy to be discernible and by doing this it can frustrate casual gamers to the point of quitting and this will cause King to lose clients, and revenue. The more hardy gamer will stick around and be enthralled and enticed by the challenge of the objective but even then if they don't pass it in a timely manner then the player will tire of the failure rate quickly and leave also, much like my own situation. With just under 2300 (2290) levels ("Levels", 2016) to play most casual players will stall out between 100 and 300, while most hardcore gamers will push on to around  500-800. Considering the sheer number of daily players at over 16 millions daily players, few have reached the very end as it stands now, which brings to question: can King go to far or have they barely scratched the surface? It seems despite the complexity and difficult of the levels their revenue and their active users hasn't really been affected much.

A game that is similar in nature that I grew up with that was addicting for me was "D℞  Mario" on Nintendo NES. "D℞ . Mario" is an arcade style puzzle game released in 1990 designed by Gunpei Yokoi and produced by Takahiro Harada. It has a "Tetris" meets "Candy Crush" feel to it and it is progressive in nature. The player is charged with clearing virus in a bottle by throwing different colored prescriptions at it and matching them up via color code. The end result is either the player runs out of space, or they clear the bottle of virus'. The game advances in difficulty the higher the player gets bringing a fun time for anyone, no matter their skill level. You can play a working game here: http://www.playr.org/play/dr._mario/157 (Hint to flip the pill hit "D" until its lined up the way you want.)

Boyd, I. (2015). Unit 4: Candy crush makes $1.33 Billion in 2014. Emergent Media '15. Retrieved 24 March 2016, from https://ianpboyd.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/unit-4-candy-crush-makes-1-33-billion-in-2014/
Levels. (2016). Candy Crush Saga Wiki. Retrieved 24 March 2016, from http://candycrush.wikia.com/wiki/Levels
Play Dr. Mario online at playR!. (2016). Playr.org. Retrieved 24 March 2016, from http://www.playr.org/play/dr._mario/157
Dr. Mario. (2016). Dr. Mario. Retrieved 24 March 2016, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Mario



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