November 4, 2019
Did you know 9.2 million people play Candy Crush Saga for three or more hours a day?1 And this is just 3.4% of those who have downloaded the loveable (and frustrating!) puzzle-matching game. Discover King, the developer, shows there are currently more than 270 million players across the series. In 2018 alone, the Candy Crush series made over $1.5 billion in revenue. Compare this to Pokémon Go which brought in $800 million or Fortnite’s $455 million on iOS, and you see that the game is highly addictive.2
Both Kaitlyn and I consider ourselves avid Candy Crush players; and some days, we might even be part of those 9.2 million (some of you consider this an “addiction,” but we’ll call it a devotion to something we love). For those of you who have played, you can certainly share with us the ups and downs of trying to complete many levels one right after another. From the (sugar) rush you experience when finishing a level to the utter frustration of running out of lives, playing Candy Crush takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. We are happy to admit that even at our lowest points, neither of us have dropped a dime on the app. Although, we can’t say it hasn’t crossed our minds to spend our life savings just to add another booster to the bunch (just one more color bomb, please!).
We are here to share the benefits of Candy Crush, if played within moderation. Just like anything in your life, the time spent should be balanced and not interfere with your priorities (your spiritual health, family, relationship, academics, job, etc.). So, assuming we’re all playing at a non-addictive level, what mental and social benefits come from swiping a few colored candies each day?
We believe games often have the misconception of being a waste of time, as well as something that rots a person’s brain. Candy Crush is not immune to this stereotype. However, Candy Crush has been said to increase your dopamine levels, which is the neurotransmitter that plays a part in our happiness levels. Dopamine is instrumental to our learning and helps develop both bad and good behavioral responses because it begins to retrain our brain behavior. 3 Women’s Health states that your dopamine levels are raised when you win a level of a game because you are craving the success, and then you hunger to beat more levels. 4 The same article goes on to say that when you are playing the game, the “bright colors activate your brain’s reward system”. 4
Candy Crush is also beneficial in increasing cognitive behavior, including memorization. Woman’s Health states, “Thirty daily minutes of mobile gaming can exercise the brain regions responsible for problem-solving, memory, and spatial recognition.” 4 People sometimes think that apps like Luminosity or Elevate could develop brain training more than handheld games like Candy Crush. However, The Sun found that those apps are not any better at stimulating your brain than Candy Crush is. 5 Another article concluded that active video games that were played for just 12 hours increased the reading levels of players that had dyslexia in the same time as one year of reading development classes. 6 Video games have also been known to improve the attention spans of participants, which could then increase their attention span during classes, church, or many other activities.
Discover King’s mission statement states, “Our mission is to provide highly engaging games to our audience to match their mobile lifestyles.”7 The goal for this company is not for the average consumer to get addicted to this game, rather for it to “match their mobile lifestyles”. There are a few questions to ask yourself to decide if a game is becoming an addiction for you. First, am I spending money on this addiction? Second, am I playing this game during everyday routine tasks or conversations? Third, is this game interfering with my life on any level?3 Handheld games, such as Candy Crush, can be a help in “escaping the stress of today”, which is conveniently the games’ slogan, however it can also become unhealthy really quick. Limiting your time on games or even on your phone can lead to more intentional relationships. Understanding that things are good in moderation is a good way to go about playing video games because it still gives you the freedom to enjoy games without the addiction to them.
If the facts are true, then is playing games on your handheld device as bad as people make them out to be? We believe Candy Crush has many benefits as long as it is enjoyed in moderation and paired with other passions, priorities, and plans. Candy Crush not only helps increase dopamine levels, but it also helps increase cognitive behavior at the same time. We love Candy Crush and the thrill of beating a level, and we hope that someday you might give it a try too!
Written by: Steph Ward & Kaitlyn Skarstein
Steph is the Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Visual Communication Arts: Graphic Design and a M.S. in Management. Steph oversees the overall calendar and vision of the Student Activities Department from promotion to execution and analysis. She also leads the Student Activities staff, comprised of 20+ full time and student worker employees.
Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.