Tom Stafford, from the University of Sheffield, has explained why the popular Candy Crush Saga is so adictive, linking the game with the Zeigarnik effect, but what is this? This is an effect based on the fact that we cannot easily forget something (an action) we have left incomplete.
Bliuma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychologist, observed that waiters have the ability to remember orders, but only until they had completed them. They barely remember the things they had already served; they forget about them once they have finished with them. In 1927, Zeigarnik published a study of this phenomen. She concluded that people tend to think about things that are left unfinished.
Stafford, relates this psycological theory, called the Zeigarnik effect, to the addiction Candy Crush Saga generates: This game creates incomplete tasks. The person playing feels the urge to solve the level he is stucked in, he cannot leave a level unresolved, and once he has finished one, there is another one (there are more then 400 levels).
The journalist Daniel Pardo has studied more deeply how other factors cause addiction to this game. Apart form the Zeigarnik effect, Candy Crush Saga is designed to create withdrawal symptoms. Candy Crush gives the player five lifes, and if he runs out of lifes, he must wait 30 minutes for another one, 30 minutes where the game is not finished and you cannot help but thinking of it, explains Pardo.
Moreover, Candy Crush Saga is on Facebook, the biggest social network, and it is also on Android and on Apple, so you can play whenever and wherever you want. You can see the progress your friends of Facebook make, and can compare them to yours, and Pardo says this kind of ‘competition’ also encourages to keep playing.
There is no prize; the only thing the game provides us is the satisfaction of knowing that you are better than your Facebook friends at mixing and combining coloured candies. June Thomas, cultural critic in Slate.
To remark the addiction caused by this impossible-to-finish-game Daniel Pardo shows one of the various jokes around the net: