The popular game Candy Crush Saga is scoring big points with players of all ages. The London-based puzzle game has people glued to their smart phones, tablets and desktop computers.
The music puts them in a trance.
"I hear the music and I automatically go to the person who is playing it," said Stacy Snerling.
"It's a very strong tune. You don't forget it. I mean, you can be anywhere and you'll remember the Candy Crush song," Amber Fachaud said.
Snerling and Fachaud are not what you would call serious gamers, but when it comes to the Candy Crush Saga – admittedly, they are hooked.
"It's addictive. It's very addictive. You have to see if you can get passed the next level," said Snerling.
Tiffany Sicard said it helped her relax during her pregnancy. More than a year later, she is still crushing.
"It kind of helps slow you down and helps you rest. That's how I rest at night," Sicard said.
Candy Crush Saga, launched last year by producer King.com, is a seemingly easy game to play. But amateurs soon learn it is a tricky puzzle that is actually a monster to master.
"It took one time for me to download the game and start on it and I was like, oh it's easy. It's not hard to play but as I progressed the levels got harder and harder," Snerling said.
Players must form chains of candy shaped like jelly beans, lemon drops and other sweets to earn points and sometimes beat the clock to advance.
But if you are not careful, it can get nasty.
"This is where the game just runs me crazy because you get stuck on this level, on 316. If the candies start falling on top of each other it locks the board," said Snerling.
Snerling is well past level 300.
Players can sweeten the board with a few extras, like a coconut wheel that helps you to win by creating a "sugar rush". But in some cases players have to purchase that extra help.
"I'll spend a few dollars to get past a level or I'll buy some of the boosters or the extra tricks they give you to make the level easier," Fachaud said.
"Last night I almost pulled out the credit card because I had just one last ingredient to bring down and it was right there, and I just had one more candy underneath it before it fell through and I was like, should I," Sicard said.
"I purchased the extra five lives when I was down to one candy. I just needed one, just one, that's all and I was like, okay I know I can get it. It took me four of those five," Snerling said.
Players said it can add up. Receipts share by Sicard show in the past year, she has spent $97.50 on extra moves, lives and special candies.
"I wouldn't be surprised if people had statements upwards of $100.00, $200.00 or more per month," said Bryan Gros, PhD.
Psychologist Dr. Bryan Gros said it is similar to using a credit card instead of cash.
"It's not like you're playing green at a cash register. You're clicking a button. You're not physically forking over the money," Gros said.
Candy Crush Saga is one of the top three most-downloaded smartphone apps.
More than 33 million people are fans on facebook.
After a few games in a row, players have to wait another 20 minutes to play again, unless they pay 99 cents for extra lives.
One way around that is to get friends on Facebook to give you free lives.
"I have posted on Facebook that if I'm giving out all these lives on facebook, and if I don't get one I'm not issuing another one until I see another life come to me," Snerling said.
Sicard admitted she has used multiple devices to keep playing.
"When I get through with the lives on the phone then I go to the Droid Thrive and play on that, and then I got to the desktop," Sicard said.
"They've hit a jackpot. It involves problem solving, and when you solve a problem you get noises. You get some lights, perhaps and sounds which is very reinforcing," Gros said.
Players who are stuck on a specific level can find help on Google by searching Candy Crush and the level they are on including videos and tips to help them through.
Dr. Gros said having those tools at ones fingertips makes it even easier for people to become addicted and, in this case, even have sugar withdrawals. But there is hope.
"Setting aside times of the day, one hour. This is my Candy Crush time," Gros suggested.
The ladies said, for them, it's just a harmless distraction.
"I have convinced myself that this game gives me good eye-hand coordination or something," Fachaud said.
"I'll continue playing until I get to the tool at the end," Snerling said.
"I want to succeed. I want to get through it," Sicard said.
Candy Crush players said they have gotten extra sweet treats just from playing the game on a desktop computer rather than smart phone or tablet. For example, Sicard said during the holidays the game offers a free "treat of the week" for players to use.
Gamers also warn, if someone sends you extra moves you must use them on a desktop computer. The extra moves are not accepted on any smart device. If you attempt to use them there, they will disappear.
Some players admitted they have gone into their smart phone settings and reset the time to trick the game into thinking it's time to reload the number of lives left in the game.
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