It started in New York City.
Sitting on the subway heading to the Upper West Side.
Being a newbie to NYC, I was looking around, taking it all in.
Everyone, and I mean everyone was on their phones…looking at the small screens, taking no notice of anything going on around them.
What were they doing?
I lean over and take a covert look at the screen of the girl sitting near me…oh it’s a game.
I look over at the guy sitting in the row in front…the same game.
As I walk down the aisle, my covert “secret mission eyes” scanning screens…yep the same damn game.
What is it?
I have to know…I can’t miss out!
I finally give in and ask my fellow passenger…what were they playing?
The answer doesn’t mean much…Candy Crush.
When we got back to the hotel, the first thing I did was get on to the App store and download this little treasure.
And so begins a story spanning three years, and going strong.
I now have Jelly Crush, Farm House Saga, Words with Friends just to name a few.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Candy Crush, it’s a primarily a mobile game which is highly addictive. There have been stories where children have not been picked up from school because their parents have been so intent on reaching the next level.
By December 2015, the game has been played over 151 billion times and reported that 1 in 23 Facebook users played it.
With the advent of the smartphone and gaming, along with social media, the world has obviously changed.
Getting three candies in a row, or four, or five and even six can make or break your day.
All in all, it adds up to some seriously distracted people.
In 2015, a survey polled 1000 players, it found that 32% of the players ignored their family and friends to play, 28% played during work and alarmingly, 30% said they were ‘addicted’.
I have asked around my friends and acquaintances…how often and how long do you play your favourite game?
A few: Never
A lot: As often as I can, it relaxes me, whenever I find myself sitting around…it’s either a game or Facebook.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love to play as well, and when used in the right way and time, an on-line game can be a good thing.
HOW IT WORKS
The candies randomly align on the screen.
In the early levels, you get given quick demonstrations on how to play, and then it is up to you.
You swipe and swipe again.
You use your chances wisely, working out how to get the damn candies to line up…in a line, up and down, in a square, in a half square and more.
If you’re lucky you get five in a row and boom…you have a freckle to blow other candies to bits.
You have to be careful though, you only have five lives before you are locked out for a period of time and can’t play.
It Taps Into Your Inner Child
I can remember as a small child, taking my 50 cents up to the local store and gazing intently through the glass cabinet at all the lollies.
What to choose? So many pretty and exciting lollies in white containers behind the glass.
Once I handed over my money, I was given a small white bag with my treasure.
This is exactly the experience King, the developers of Candy Crush are looking for, a positive experience, with bright candy scattered across the screen. What to choose? How to get the candies to align so that you achieve Candy Crush.
A bit like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Social games, those that can be played on social media, and specifically Facebook have taken off in a big way. It provides a connection with your social friends, where you can compete, send lives and connect.
Escape From Reality
Research in the phenomenon of gaming is that it allows players to distract themselves from their surroundings and escape. Put on some great music, and you have a perfect stress reliever.
The downside to this is of course, that distraction is not good for productivity and getting your work done.
WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM PLAYING GAMES
As Leela Cosgrove often says…the way you do games, is the way you do life.
Let’s take a brief look at the players.
There are a couple of different types of players.
Those who want to win no matter what the cost, and don’t care about the consequences.
Those who take a smart risk, calculate the way the candies will fall and play a measured game.
Those who are super conservative and can’t see past their next move.
It is a free game, and you don’t have to pay…but you can if you want to!