Dante asked me to download the app for the game Candy Crush so I could play with him. I declined for a long time. I am frequently left exhausted by my job. I knew that I did not have time to dedicate myself to playing a game regularly. Finally, I relented. I downloaded Candy Crush app to my phone and went through the set up process. “Link to Facebook?” Sure. “Post on your behalf” Absolutely not! What type of game needs to post to Facebook for me? Ok, finally I think that I can play the game. Nope, must complete tutorials. As I am going through the tutorials, I realize that this game is basically Bejeweled re-imagined. Now it is candy instead of little diamonds and emeralds. There is new graphics and sparkly effects. Dante had been watching me progress through the tutorials and was thoroughly impressed by this point. I explained to him that this is similar to a game that I had played before he was born but he refused to believe me.
I continued to play for several days. And down the rabbit hole I fell – in a terrible, terrible way. Turns out that you do not actually “play together” with other people. What Dante was really wanting was a person to send him lives, extra moves, etc. So was almost everyone else that I knew. Half of my Facebook friends also played Candy Crush. My Facebook feed was bogged down with Candy Crush requests. Co-workers would stop me in the hallways and ask that I answer their requests. Then it got crazier! If I did not check Candy Crush quick enough, friends began to text me to ask me to hurry up and approve their requests. I decided to put an end to that nonsense and I deleted the app. I removed it from Facebook and apologized to Dante. Sure, it was an enjoyable enough game to waste a few minutes. However, the mental stress that this game caused was ridiculous. It took a while for the hallway encounters and text messages to stop. Finally, people learned to leave me alone.
Out of curiosity, I did some research to see how Candy Crush and Bejeweled could exist in the same world. I learned that Bejeweled that was not the first game with the match three goal. It was actually based on a Russian computer game called Shariki. (Shariki, by the way, translates out to mean “the balls”.) Bejeweled, created by PopCap, was astoundingly more poplar than the original Russian game. It lead to various copycat games including Candy Crush. Before long, Candy Crush out ranked Bejeweled in popularity. I also learned that the original Bejeweled is still out there and is available as an app. There are also many versions of Bejeweled at this time including classic, stars, blitz, lightning, butterflies, and more.
Feeling nostalgic for the Bejeweled of the past, I downloaded the classic version. This time skipping the option to link with Facebook. The actual game itself was basically the same. However, there have been several additions made in the obvious attempt to keep up with Candy Crush. There are now achievements (including one for linking the game to one’s Facebook account). There are lives like in Candy Crush. You are guided through the game by a black cat named Felix. There is chicken that lays eggs to give you ingredients to make special moves. It even incorporates themes from its other games, throwing in an occasional butterfly or other oddity. Even though it is advertised as Classic there is way more going on than I remember. In the end, I deleted this app as well.
As a small twist of irony, before I deleted the app, Dante saw me playing Bejeweled on my phone. He stopped to ask me if it was a new level of Candy Crush. Knowing that I would lose the discussion if I tried to explain, I simply answered yes.
So in conclusion, pop culture loses this round. This is includes both Candy Crush and the new, weird, revamped Bejeweled. Gone are the days of one player connect three puzzle games. Both of the new versions contains extra nonsense, annoying features, and force you to beg for assistance from friends to play the games to the full extent. Blah! Not for me!