Hoof Prints: The Candy Crush phenomenon — Popular game raises trademark questions

(Submitted art)
(Submitted art)


EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is provided by Hoof Prints, a partnership between The Gazette and the Pony Express, Stillwater Area High School’s student newspaper.

Sweet! Delicious! Great combo! All of these words are used in the game play to describe the addictive game called Candy Crush.

Candy Crush came out April 12, 2012. This game is a variation of match-three games such as Bejeweled. Each level has a game board filled with differently colored candies and might contain obstacles. These different colors include red jellybeans, orange lozenges, yellow lemon drops, green Chiclets, blue lollipop heads, and purple clusters. The basic move of this game is horizontally or vertically swapping the positions of two adjacent candies to create sets of three (or more) candies of the same color.

With being one of the most popular games in the online app (application) store, people are worried if the game is too addictive.

According to Joshua Topolsky, editor-in-chief of the online technology publication The Verge, there are four elements: slow and steady gameplay, simplicity, freemium (which means that the game is offered for free but to gain more there is a payment involved) and finally the level of difficulty.

“Unlike a lot of mobile games that you play, it moves at a very slow pace, and it’s very casual,” Topolsky said. “The game also rewards novice players, makes them feel like they’re achieving something so they can keep going. They get better, the game gets more difficult.”

Candy Crush has become one of the games that has increased in popularity from nothing to fame overnight. With about 500 million players, it is hard to deny the game’s popularity. With the popularity has come some negative effects. Not everyone likes the constant ads on Facebook to come play it, the television ads saying how fun it is or all of the Facebook friends sending notifications about the game.

According to Stuart Heritage of The Guardian, the game is “all about constant positive reinforcement.”

“There is even a man who shouts ‘Great!’ whenever you do anything, for crying out loud,” Heritage wrote in an online article published Feb. 2. “‘Hey, he thinks I’m great,’ you think to yourself 10 seconds in.”

The addicting thing about this is that we as humans love to get praised, and what better way than through a game on the phone.

In January King, the company that owns Candy Crush, successfully trademarked the word “Candy” in the U.S. In February King abandoned that trademark. But the situation brings up a question: Is it right to trademark a word that is so well used?

Even though we analyze this game under a microscope, it is honestly just a game of simplicity. Which brings up a question … Can I have an extra life?