Candy Crushed

Candy Crush Saga

Sorry, friends—no more Candy Crush Saga for me. Yes, I’ve had a good time. And yes, I love the way it links Facebook friends. Yes, it’s a masterful design.

It’s also a Pavlovian nightmare.

Researchers have shown that the best way to encourage repeat behavior is not to reward it continuously, but to do so sporadically. So every time I hit a new level and fail, and try again and fail, and try again and fail, and then—because the candies fall in a more favorable setup—succeed at last, I’m conditioned (nay, compelled) to play some more.

That, or pay a paltry sum to add a few turns (“I’m soooo close!”), or to buy special candies (“Another bomb could make all the difference”).

I certainly believe in voting with my wallet, which is why I’ve spent the 99 cents to unlock each new section, rather than asking a Facebook friend for a favor. But those other in-game purchase options are just insidiously evil. (See Business Insider‘s “In The Last Week I’ve Spent $127 Playing Candy Crush Saga.”) And the levels never end! I’m on 109, and there are reportedly at least 500. At this rate, it will be years before I finish, during which time I’m sure they’ll add more.

And at the end of the day, as they say, I simply have other things to be doing with the end of my day: books to publish, games to design, poems to write, family to love.

Not that I look down on anyone else for continuing to play. But you’ll understand why no more bonuses are sent and received in this little corner of the Internet.

Best of luck!

—Les

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