On paper, Candy Crush Saga sounds incredibly dumb: switch a set of candies around in a box to match three of a kind.
It’s Bejeweled, but with candy, right?
But Candy Crush Saga is currently HUGE in the mobile gaming world. It’s No.3 in the Apple App Store and is the top game on Facebook, with 44 million monthly active users, according to AppData.
Candy Crush Saga is played more than 600 million times a day and is reportedly bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to King, the creators of Candy Crush Saga.
The game only appears to be incredibly simple. In fact, it’s ingeniously constructed to keep you playing against your better judgment by engaging you in a “compulsion loop.” It combines ease of access, random rewards, enforced withdrawal, and constant progress in an almost never-ending stack of levels.
Here’s how it’s constructed.
First, the game is easy-access. No special gaming skills are required: It's a pick-up-and-play game. You can play it for a couple of minutes or for several hours. The basic idea is to match at least three candies together.
Once you've started playing, Candy Crush never leaves you alone: It's cross-platform, so you can play it on your computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. and always pick up right where you left off.
Second, you are randomly rewarded by the game. There are four different game modes to keep you on your toes. In the Moves round, you have to reach a certain score in X amount of moves. It gets increasingly harder to achieve as you progress.
Third, Candy Crush starts off easy to lull you into a false sense of mastery. It's not always possible to clear all the jelly before you run out of moves.
Fourth, the game always picks up where you left off, so you always progress. You never have to go back to the beginning, as in Dots or with certain versions of Bejeweled. Luckily, boosters like the lollipop candy smasher can help ...
Here's the Ingredients round (on iPhone). The goal is to bring all the ingredients down to the bottom.
I didn't do so well on that round. You start the game with five lives. If you fail a level, you lose a life. But that life will come back after 30 minutes.
Fifth, it's designed to give you periods of withdrawal symptoms: You have to wait a little while before playing again if you're completely out of lives. But you could always buy more lives or ask your Facebook friends to help out.
What makes the game so inherently addictive is this combination of ease of access, random rewards, enforced withdrawal, and constant progress: And there are more than 385 levels of play.
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