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!