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I Think Candy Crush is Giving Me Low Self-Esteem

I have now hit the moment where I have spent just as much time thinking about Candy Crush as I have playing it.  It’s sort of like attending summer camp.  It looks like fun and games, but I’ve learned a lot of valuable, after school special-type lessons about myself by lining up images of candy on my cell phone screen.  It’s brought out my self-loathing as well as made me understand the joy of playing with others.  And that’s one to grow on.

Poor Lori has already listened to all of this so she gets a pass on this post.  Actually, what am I saying?  You can all take a pass on this post if you wish.  I mean, it’s not as if part of the Candy Crush TOS is that your friends all need to listen to you philosophize about how a game has destroyed your self-worth.

Actually, has anyone read the TOS?  Is that in there?


Sometimes, at night, I dream about combining doughnuts with striped candies.

I dream about boards of candies exploding in orgasmic jelly-blasting shudders.

I’ve never been a gamer unless you count Infocom, and on that count, I’ve never played a game that other people have been playing at the same time.  I am usually so far behind the curve that I only start playing a game once everyone else has already finished the game, or I’m playing a game that no one else has chosen to play.

This is my first time playing a game while others are playing the game, and I have dozens of people around me who are bemoaning the difficulty of the same boards.  I finally get why people like to play things together.  Or, at the very least, adjacent to.  It’s the number one reason why I don’t want to give up the game.  Because I get that giving up the game would be the simple solution.  But I would then miss out on the social part: the texting with friends about that damn multiplying chocolate.

Playing this game is like hanging out with friends while crushing candies with the zeitgeist.

And that zeitgeist is sort of like that roly poly guy everyone had in their dormitory at college who never seemed to go to class but was so much fun to hang around that you helped him out with his term papers because you didn’t want him to be kicked out of university since then he wouldn’t be around anymore to come up with all of those great bat-shit insane ideas.

Didn’t we all have a happy stoner like my Tommy-D* (to distinguish him from some other guy who was a lot less fun but also named Tom)?

Anyway, at the same time, playing the game at the same time as everyone else is making me feel like shit about myself because I seem to get stuck on levels much longer than other people.  I tell you that I’m stuck on Level 70, and then you tell me that you’re stuck on Level 86.  But when I come back and tell you that I’m stuck on Level 86, you tell me you’re stuck on Level 320.  See, I only advanced 16 levels, but you advanced… well… a lot.  And perhaps the fact that I can’t quickly do the math in my head to tell you how much more points to the fact that I’m really not a smart person.

I always thought of myself as decently smart.  Like middle-of-the-road smart.  But Candy Crush is making me think that I’m really really terrible at strategy-based games.  And everyone else is great at strategy-based games.  I feel like I’m failing a basic test of intelligence.

Either that or I’m playing a lot less than everyone else.

On good days, I think that I must be playing less than everyone else.  My friend told me that to boost my self-esteem.  “Mel, you just play it less than everyone else.”  Do I?  Once she told me that I’m playing it less than everyone else, I considered playing it more.  I mean, however much I’m playing, increase it… ten-fold. (Yes, I chose to make the jump a multiple of ten so the math would be easy to do in my head.)  If I’m playing it a half hour every day… I need to increase that to 300 minutes or… crap… there’s that math again… 60 minutes in an hour… so that’s 5 hours.  5 hours.  I need to essentially get a job playing Candy Crush if I’m going to keep up at all since it takes me so much longer than the average human being to pass a level.

I’m only somewhat being tongue-in-cheek about this.

On bad days, I think that I must be playing it the same amount, except I am stupid.

Today is July 4th, a day of freedom (at least here in America).  I’m going to spend it relaxing.  Which means reading books and going to the park with the kids and maybe… just maybe… beating Level 92.  Because by fuck I am stuck on Level 92 and I really really really can’t figure out how to solve this one — if you have any ideas, please tell me.  Just don’t tell me that you’ve jumped to Level 920**.

* I just Googled Tommy-D, whose name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, and he looks like a really successful, smart guy now.  Not like an embodiment of the zeitgeist at all.  I think it’s because he’s shaved off his straggly, pot-leaf-studded beard.

** Please also don’t tell me that Candy Crush only goes up to 300-something levels.  It was just so much easier, mathematically, to stick a zero on the end of 92 and make your hypothetical level 10 times mine.  Take pity on my feeble mind.


1 Tracie { 07.04.13 at 8:00 am }

I have finally hit the level that is worse than the worst level ever. I have thought, and played, and thought, and I really can not figure it out at all. (It is 162, if you are wondering.) If it weren’t for the social aspects of the game, I think I would have given up yesterday. Well, that, and it makes for great blogging material.

Level 92 was hard. I remember it well. I think the secret was to try to herd the drop down ingredients to one row where you have broken the licorice tie.

2 Bleu { 07.04.13 at 8:19 am }

I stopped playing at level 131 I think, it just stopped being fun AT. ALL. No I am on Papa Pear Saga, and at least it makes me smile. I have a rule that if games are not fun we all do not play them, this was begun when Bliss would play certain games and not enjoy them but get hooked, so now we all follow the rule and life is much happier.

3 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 07.04.13 at 8:47 am }

Here’s what I find with Candy Crush: I breeze through a couple of boards and then I get stuck on one. For days. Eons. Billions of years. And the stars align and I FINALLY break free!!! And then I do the same thing.

I don’t blame myself for getting stuck on boards. I blame the game. Because seriously, you want me to collect 65 of THAT color and swap the speckled ones in 15 moves? That is just stupid. And impossible.

Seriously, it’s not you. It’s the game. But I am probably 50 lives away from quitting altogether and getting my freedom back, so I might not be the most objective person out there…


4 Jennette { 07.04.13 at 9:05 am }

Haha!!! I have purposely avoided the Candy Crush craze, and your post reinforces that decision!! Having had a Bejeweled addiction, I feel I should avoid Candy Crush at all costs. Do you invite your friends to play? People keep hounding me to join them in the madness (I do feel like I’m missing out a little). 🙂

5 Emily McCormick { 07.04.13 at 10:42 am }


I am a long time lurker (long story), and I have been wanting to respond about these Candy Crush posts because I feel like I could have written them!

I was on level 139, then I bought a new phone and when I got the app redownloaded, I had to restart at level 1. I thought I was going to cry! I thought I was going to have to get all the tickets again so I almost quit, but luckily when I got to the first ticket it magically whisked me over it. At which point, I almost cried again because I was so happy. Now I am stuck on level 65. I remember I spent almost all of April doing level 65. So everytime I go to play I feel like I will never beat it until August. I agree that the game let’s you win at some point and so every once in a while I scream at my phone for Mercy, because if I have to spend my entire summer break doing level 65 over I might just die! Good Luck with 92!

6 Jo { 07.04.13 at 10:43 am }

You are not slow, or stupid. I am one who has (unintentionally) made you feel bad, and I apologize. I play a ridiculous amount of Candy Crush, magnified by the fact that it is summer vacation and I have no life. Seriously, I fast-forward the time on my ipad to get more lives. It’s a sickness.

Also, you are still fairly “late” to the game. I’ve been playing for months to get where I am. When I add up the hours of my life I have wasted on this stupid game, it almost makes me want to quit.


7 a { 07.04.13 at 11:10 am }

There is very little strategy involved in Candy Crush. It is similar to Euchre – you’ve probably never played that since it’s definitely a midwest kind of thing. You get dealt a hand, and you use some strategy in how you use that hand, but if you get dealt nothing, there’s no way for you to strategize yourself into winning. It’s the luck of the draw as much as anything else.

My husband was telling me that his online friend (who is my FB friend because my husband is not on FB) was laughing at how far ahead of me on Candy Crush he is. I said, “that’s because he plays on his phone all day, and I only play a few games a day.”

8 JustHeather { 07.04.13 at 11:35 am }

You’re not alone, Mel! I have literally been stuck on level 125 for more than a week, I play at least one set of 5 lives a day, and it is so frustrating!

When I was younger and first played Tetris, I would see people, cars and everyday shapes as Tetris shapes while awake and asleep. I love(d) that game!

9 Sierra { 07.04.13 at 12:35 pm }

Oh, my god. I’ve been stuck on Level 30 for literally a month. A MONTH. I just can’t make myself delete this app, though. I don’t know how anyone ever got past this. I think you’re all lying. You’re all on 30.

10 Trisha { 07.04.13 at 12:57 pm }

92 was awful. It was one of those that I swore if I couldn’t beat by the end of day 5 I’d quit playing. Of course I beat it on day 5 and the vicious cycle starts all over. But yes, try to get all the ingredients in one row where the tie is broken. Or at least get them all out of the rows with the empty space, that is what screws you.

11 Tiara { 07.04.13 at 1:10 pm }

I just want to thank you for these Candy Crush posts…I am sorry the game is causing you so much stress…but because of you, I have resisited starting. So though your self esteem may be in the ditch, take some small comfort in knowing you have saved at least one person from the very same fate 🙂 Thank you

12 St. Elsewhere { 07.05.13 at 12:47 am }

Well, I am just amused at the number of posts you are dedicating to Candy Crush. I never thought you could be sucked in it – hook, line and sinker!

13 Kimberly { 07.05.13 at 1:36 am }

I’m positive that this game was made to become highly addictive, cause great sources of competition with our friends and even question our other abilities when we do poorly in the game for a stretch. Random people will see me playing it and will get in long discussions with me about it (for instance, the dental assistant at my root canal yesterday). Also, I’ve been stuck on this same level since you first started posting about playing the game. So if all else fails, just know that you aren’t stuck as long as I am. My husband has threatened to remove the app if I don’t stop cursing like a sailor when I play, which is all the time. He’s sick of being a Candy Crush widower.

14 sharah { 07.05.13 at 12:53 pm }

My SIL and her boyfriend were playing CC at the dinner table the other night. Everyone else was talking and eating dessert, and they were buried in their phones. So yes, a lot of people spend a lot of time playing it – but I think you might be better off limiting your time to not-full-time-job level.

15 Melanie { 07.05.13 at 1:44 pm }

Other people are playing a lot more than you! And when you posted that you were on 70, I was stuck on 147, had been there for a week at least, I’m now on 154. 7 boards is all I’ve moved in that time. I think I was stuck on 147 for about a month. And I play a lot! As a previous commenter said I also set the date ahead on my iPhone to instantly refill my 5 lives. You can do this over and over and never have to stop to wait for more lives. If you want to know more about that, just ask. But I honestly think I was better off not knowing that and being forced to quit playing at some point! On the other hand, playing it straight through for an hour, when I have a free hour might be better than trying to sneak in a few games when I should really be doing something else!

In any case, I play at least 50 lives a day and have only advanced 7 boards to your 22 and I fancy myself a pretty good game player. I still haven’t found anyone that could beat me at Tetris on original Nintendo. 😉

16 Melanie { 07.05.13 at 2:32 pm }

Also with Tracie’s comment above about level 162, that i read earlier, I am now scared to get to that level. It’s not far from where I am now. So I want to beat each level but don’t really want to get to that one. Very mixed feelings as I play today. Haha.

I have a friend with a very active social calendar. She tried playing and got frustrated right around where you are and quit. I so admire her for being able to just walk away and valuing her time sanity enough to make that decision. I, on the other hand, just keep playing even though it frustrates me to no end! I just can’t let a board win. Must.Keep.Playing.

17 Heather O. { 07.07.13 at 12:35 pm }

I was stuck on level 38 for about 2 weeks. Talk about a self esteem crusher! I finally broke free of that one and have sailed along pretty smoothly, but I’m still way behind most of my friends. I think I’m level 46 now? It’s a very frustrating game, but somehow that hasn’t {yet} dissuaded me from playing.

18 Peg { 07.09.13 at 9:53 am }

These Candy Crush posts are cracking me up. I got a little crazy with both Where’s my Water and Cut the Rope on my nook. Whenever I got stuck, I could hand it to my 13 year old who could quickly figure out the logic…maddening, but go me to the next level 🙂

19 JustHeather { 07.09.13 at 3:20 pm }

Oh My Gosh! I JUST passed level 125! With the very last movement I had too. I was seriously stuck on that level for 2 weeks or so. Yay me!

20 deathstar { 07.15.13 at 8:33 pm }

I’m stuck on 33 so I must be really really slow. Help!

21 Patrick { 07.16.13 at 2:32 pm }

I was horrifically stuck on level 45, now I’m ridiculously stuck on 46. This is how it seems to go.

What’s really upsetting is when the game gives you a board or “hand” you simply can’t win, no matter how smart you are, no matter how many moves you can visualize in advance. This happens often, and that’s where the cursing comes in. And some levels are worse than others – like 46, you have an absurdly low number of moves, and you can just tell right off that there’s going to be nothing you can do. It’s something akin to sitting around pulling the lever on a slot machine. There should be some way for smart players to strategize their way around godawful hands from time to time, but there isn’t. With the relative lack of skill involved, maddening time restrictions and the like, this is not a “good” game. It’s a crappy game, really…let’s be frank about that. It sucks. But of course, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t addicting.

22 Scoot { 09.15.14 at 10:33 pm }

Don’t worry I’m a college educated electrical engineer that works for homeland security. My life is logic, how I can make things smaller, work faster, and above all better. I see, and do things that most would just say hu??? For whatever reason I also cannot pass level 92! I’ve been trying for alsmost a year now. Can’t do it lol I just keep on like one day I’ll get, or find the right combo. I told my girlfriend how difficult it was, and how long I’ve been trying. She’s on level like 600 something. She text me back, and said oh yeah it was difficult it took me five tries. Wtf!!?!?!!! 5 tries really I feel stupi!!

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