The Big Crush


At Olderhood we generally steer clear of product recommendations and reviews in favour of offering lifestyle suggestions. The following are a few observations regarding a hot new online game entitled Candy Crush which I trust will be applicable to a lot of situations.

I first read about Candy Crush in an article that was sent to me by my father because the company had just completed a multi-million dollar round of investor financing. I was intrigued by this because my understanding was that this was a free online game that somehow had developed a revenue model, and even more so because the article stated that adults were finding it completely addictive.

I admit that I have occasionally played free online games when I was unable to sleep but I have never encountered one I became so addicted to that I would be willing to pay anything to play it – so I decided to take a look …

Candy Crush downloaded for free onto my Ipad from the IStore in less than two minutes and initially reminded me of a board game called CandyLand that I had played as a little girl, with cartoon figures and bright neon colors. It looked more like something for a grandchild than an adult and the first five levels moved rather slowly and were accompanied by annoying music that I had not yet figured how to turn off.

I saw nothing to hook me whatsoever – frankly I was perplexed. Then slowly things began to pick up a little steam …

It turns out that you have five chances to complete a level and if you fail to do this, you can sit through a 10 minute time out penalty or … you can pay 99 cents to continue playing immediately (seriously). Not only that, but there are bonus tools that you can purchase for somewhere between 99 cents and $3.99 to help you complete a level faster (isn’t that sort of like cheating?)

Unmoved by all of this I waited the ten minutes and tried again … only to find out that if you fail to complete the level on this second occasion, you have to sit through a 30 minute time out or pay that 99 cents.

Do people seriously fall for this? Apparently they do.

Eventually I arrived at level 20 and the game announced that I needed a “ticket” to pass to the next stage of the game. I discovered that I could complete three “quests” and move forward for free or I could purchase a ticket and continue on immediately.

I opted for the quests.

What you are not told however, is that you can only complete one quest per day. However you can still purchase a ticket if you would like to move forward immediately … (are you getting the picture?).

At the moment I am at level 65 and I have yet to pay anything for the experience. I assume at some point the game will get hard enough that I won’t be able to proceed any further, or I will just lose interest and wander on to something else (sorry Candy Crush).

What all of this has reminded me though is how important it is to wade in carefully when you are trying new things, and that patience and persistence still are a winning strategy in this “gotta have it all now world”.

It also is a reminder of how important it is to ask questions before paying for anything, especially if it is a product or service that you are unfamiliar with, and to above all keep track of your expenditures. A few pennies here or there might not seem significant but they can add up to a nasty surprise on your credit card statement very quickly, especially if the grandkids get hold of your IPad!

Would I try this game again now that I understand what the real game is? Yes I think I would, but this is definitely a “let the buyer beware” situation if ever I saw one.




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