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A Candy Crush Morality


Elna has a Hons in Sociology and Philosophy, and writes on a variety of topics.

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga

A Candy Crush Philosophy

The Candy Crush game has been around since 2012 but I had no interest in playing it until our Covid-19 lockdown from March 26, 2020. It is very addictive - probably because you are under the illusion that you are actually achieving goals.

In the times between waiting for the Candy Crush lives to be revived, and my own life to be restored to half-normal, I kept part of my brain alive by deriving a few Candy Crush Life Lessons from the game.

For some reason (maybe the translucent sweets of various colours) the game made me think of the famous book by the German writer Hermann Hesse - The Glass Bead Game. When I was a teenager, I found his books profound and reread several of them more than once. I never really understood The Glass Bead Game though.

The Glass Bead Game is set in the future: an educational order for the elite, who plays the elusive Glass Bead Game. The rules of the game are never explained in any detail. It is said that the game plays around with themes in philosophy, music, mathematics and other themes. Ultimately it should show that all is in harmony. Since the main character of the book, Joseph Knecht turns his back on the elite order to make a difference in the "real" world one could suggest that the game is actually a waste of time? Another similarity with Candy Crush.

The Building Blocks

I assume most people reading this article will know the basics of the Candy Crush game. Candy Crush Saga (the first game and the one I am still busy with) was expanded over the years by adding new Games. In total there would be few thousand levels. I will focus on what I know of the game so far.

The building blocks of the CC Life Lessons are:

  1. The journey
  2. Space and Time
  3. The level goal
  4. The raw materials
  5. The products (sweets)
  6. The weapons, tools and obstacles
  7. Resources for the elite
  8. Skill, strategy, tactics

The Journey is More Important Than the Destination

We always say the journey is more important than the destination.

In Candy Crush that is the truth, since there is no destination.One frame leads to the next and if you do finish the one Saga, there is always a new one to start.

The destination is an illusion. The trick of the game is to keep you on the journey. Each frame of the game has a goal and your receive rewards to keep you motivated. There are also tricks to keep you at it - medium term rewards linked to episodes, challenges and cumulative rewards.

This is almost like believing in eternal reincarnation. At some point you actually stop learning anything new. Now and then a new element is introduced. After wasting some time on the game, you have to concede that there is no point to it

Only the journey -  no destination

Only the journey - no destination

Space and Time

Space and time has been two of the cornerstone concepts of philosophy.

Do they exist as things in themselves, or are they dependent on change (time) and objects (space). Does time flow or can one confirm time only through observing change? Is there such a thing as empty space?

In Candy Crush the anwer is very simple. Space is the frame layout and it can never be empty, but is defined but the objects in it. Time in Candy Crush is your lives that you can lose, that will reappear after some time; or that you can buy or win.

Is Space an Object?

Concept of space in physics

Concept of space in physics

Everything is Relative

Each frame or level has a specific goal and that is what your strategy is focused on. Goals include collecting jellies, specific sweets, and raw materials. There are different frames with different layouts, but even if there are quite a few types of layout, there are limits to how new or interesting it can become.

The levels show no progression in difficulty, except at the start when the game slowly introduces new elements as part of the learning process. This again illustrates the futileness of the game since you not reaching any higher level skills.

The raw materials are cherries and coconuts that you have to manoeuvre to an exit. These are passive elements, falling in all the wrong places. They can't explode or become something else.

The layout of the specific level, plus the goal, changes the relevance of all other game elements. What is important in one level, might actually be a handicap in another level. The value of each element is relative - no absolutes.

There are various levels of sweets. Basic ones: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue Purple have basically the same characteristics. These basic candies change into special candies under certain circumstances, giving them powers of great explosions. In some layouts these explosions can be a handicap.

The Context Provides Situational Values


The Glass Bead Game aka Candy Crush Life Lessons

These are some moral lessons derived from the game:

  • When you have few resources, you have to be more strategic
  • Ordinary stuff, when combined in a different way, can result in something amazing, like special candies
  • Something that is very valuable in one context, can be an obstacle in another context
  • It helps to understand where things come from - open the way
  • When you are really stuck - there is always a lucky moment, just keep on trying
  • It does not help hoarding your valuable resources for too long, but at least use them in a strategic way
  • The most simple tool /approach can be the most valuable. In my opinion the simple lollipop hammer is the most useful most of the times, and it does not create explosions and visuals - just does the job
  • Sometimes things look very complicated, but often that is just to confuse you - the solution is already there, in the chaos
  • Not often, but sometimes, there is only one way to do it - or one tool that can do it
  • You can't control all your resources - or where they select to go, like the jellyfish. You have to create a context where they will be most useful
  • The very process that creates what you need, can be the one creating the most obstacles. After you have what you want, you have to destroy the process (like the magic candy mixer). Maybe that is what we have to do with committees, once they have achieved what they should?
  • If you through real money after this game, you might never stop playing. At least when your lives and resources are depleted, you have to go back to the real world.
  • Easy=boring
The value of each element is relative to the context (goal and layout)

The value of each element is relative to the context (goal and layout)

What Life Lessons Did You Derive From This Game?

Please provide your own ideas in the comments.

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