My name is Amelia and I am a Candy Crush Saga addict. After months of getting invitations to play on Facebook, I finally succumbed to curiosity. Dear God, WHY. I haven’t been this addicted to a game since I entered rehab for my joint Mine Sweeper and Pipe Dream addictions over a decade ago! I close my eyes and I see the Candy Crush playing field. Candy Crush combos infiltrate my dream life. If you guys ever learn that I’ve actually paid for lives or boosters, I hereby give you permission to confiscate my credit card, iPhone and laptop. But luckily this addiction to Candy Crush has not been without its rewards — I have learned a number of vital life lessons simply by playing this game for hours on end. I hope that by sharing them with you, I have made the emotional suffering Candy Crush has caused somehow worthwhile.
1. Just because something is a match, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better one out there. The most basic way to score points in Candy Crush is to match three candies of the same color in a row. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. Look at the board! There are often tons of potential three-way combos, and when those candies are removed the other candies fall into new potential combinations. With each combination eliminated, more or less combinations remain. Not to mention the fact that you earn even more points and create special candies when you combine four or five candies in a row, rather than three. Just as in life, there are good combinations and better combinations. Think of the candies as attractive qualities in a mate. Don’t let the guy with three awesome qualities (say, a sense of humor, a big penis, and a good job) distract you from noticing the dude with four or five positive attributes (for example, the dude who also has a face like Ryan Gosling and a generous spirit) who is better for you.
2. Make sure every move counts. Most levels of Candy Crush do not have a time limit, but do have a limited number of turns, so you don’t want to waste them. Think ahead about which moves will put you in a better position to take out even more combinations, especially when your goal is to bring the fruit to the bottom or clear all the jelly. All combos make some sort of impact on the board, but those that matter are the ones that get you closer to achieving the level’s goal.
Likewise, before making any decisions that could have a lasting impact on your personal or professional life, consider what your end goal is. Will the step you’re planning to take really get you closer to what you want or is there a risk of straying off course? And if it’s the latter, take the time to consider whether there are other, better options. For example, say you’re unhappy in your current job and you’re offered a new gig in another field. While your instinct may be to seize the new opportunity, doing so may take you much further away from your dream job. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
3. But if time is of the essence, trust your gut and don’t look back. Some levels of Candy Crush are timed and you’re tasked with getting a certain amount of points in under, say, 60 seconds. There’s no time to waste! Make every combination you see! Don’t look back! Your hands can’t move fast enough! Missed a five candy combo and the opportunity for a highly desired Color Bomb booster candy? Who fucking cares! Steve Sanders asks you to give him a lap dance? Don’t even hesitate! See a guy you crushed on in college on the subway? Get his attention before he gets off at the next stop! Carpe diem!
4. Don’t forget your secret weapons — but only use them when you have to. As you make your way through the Candy Crush levels, you earn different “boosters.” For example, the Jelly Fish booster, when combined with at least two other candies of the same color, creates three jelly fish which then eat three random candies on the board and turn them into special candies. But my favorite booster has to be the Lollipop Hammer, which lets you eliminate one pesky candy that’s standing in the way of winning the level. The crazy thing is, I sometimes get so caught up in playing Candy Crush that I forget I even have any Lollipop Hammers — last night, I discovered I had been hoarding 14 of them! Still, despite discovering this bounty of awesome secret weapons, I was still judicious about when I used them. If I can conquer the competition without any special help, I feel especially victorious, but I also am not afraid to use a Lollipop Hammer when necessary. Likewise, in other competitive life scenarios — workplace ladder climbing, online dating, dealing with jealous friends — there comes a time to break out the big guns, er, Lollipop Hammers. Use those tricks too often, though, and they no longer have as much impact.
5. Sometimes, you have to play games to get ahead. The most annoying thing about Candy Crush, besides the fact that it is likely ruining your life, is that you get five lives to start and each lost life takes 30 minutes to regenerate. So when you blow through your five lives in one sitting — so very common — you’re left watching the clock tick until you get just one measly life back. But when you’re playing the game on Facebook, the makers of Candy Crush often offer you a full set of five lives if you play one of their other games up to a certain level. Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is how I’ve sunk more than a few hours into playing less enjoyable and challenging games like Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Hands in order to get five more precious Candy Crush lives. In real life, I don’t consider myself much of a game player; one of the things I hate about dating is that there seems to be some level of game-playing involved with just about everyone I meet, instead of just doing what comes naturally. Ask him out or wait for him to ask me? Wait three days to call or just call whenever the hell I feel like it? Sex on the first date or no? Fuck, I don’t know! Unfortunately, playing a game I’d rather not — be it “hard to get” or Papa Pear Saga — seems necessary in order to get ahead. Them’s the breaks.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Out of lives or need access to the next level of play? Candy Crush lets you ask your friends for help! Friends who also play Candy Crush can give you additional lives and help get you access to the next set of levels — if you can put aside your pride and ask for it. At first this made me uncomfortable, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I generally don’t like asking others for assistance and prefer to figure things out on my own. Having an issue with code on a Frisky post? I troubleshoot it myself. Need to put together a piece of Ikea furniture? I don’t care that the directions say it’s a two -person job! I’m doing it by my lonesome! Having a really rough day? No, I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to cry in a corner by myself, thanks. But seriously, sometimes in life, you need a shoulder to cry on, a tidbit of advice, an extra set of hands, or a spare Candy Crush life from that Facebook friend you haven’t seen or spoken to in 10 years. Don’t be afraid to ask for any of these things when you need them.
7. You can cheat time, but you cannot cheat death. Speaking of going to great lengths to get a full set of lives, one of the more commonly known “cheats” in Candy Crush is that you can instantly get all five lives back by fucking with your device’s time and date settings. Oh, if only such a thing was possible in real life! If only I could, say, jump ahead three years and confirm that the love of my life and I end up together! But as awesome as this Candy Crush cheat is, it does not prevent the inevitable. You will lose those five lives, and the next five you tricked your clock into giving you, and the five after that. Just like in life, death is almost certainly a sure thing. Who knew Candy Crush was so dark, huh?