Computer game addiction has been a reality for years, and Candy Crush has all the ingredients to provoke that kind of dependence. There are several symptoms that let you know if you need to start worrying.

For example, the fact that we invite a friend on Facebook to play the game allows us, for example, to move up a level, another of the master tactics of the King developers to make this game even more viral. “Corrupting your friends to play for that reward may not be the best reason for them to enjoy the gameā€¦ and for them to become potential addicts to it in the future, just like you.

Tommy Palm, whom we’ve already mentioned, explained the scope of that measure: “In Hong Kong, the game is extremely popular. We’ve heard stories of people who start talking to others in the subway to ask them to be their friends on Facebook, so they can get lives. Tremendous, don’t you think?

Another unmistakable symptom that problems start is if you start paying for the elements of the game. Of course, it’s reasonable to spend some money at certain times, or just as a reward to the creators of the game, but that justification doesn’t work if the payment ends up being continued.

The thing becomes even more worrying if, for example, you start dreaming about candy — the Tetris Effect that made people dream about solving this game in their dreams would come back — which is a form of hypnotic hallucination.

The definition of gambling addiction is somewhat elusive at the moment, and in fact there is no general acceptance of this condition, but there are authors like Jerald Block who in The American Journal of Psychiatry outline various criteria that define gambling addiction.

In many cases the so-called compulsive loops come into play, a habitual behavior that a human being repeats to achieve a petrochemical gratification: the sensation of pleasure, or the sensation of not feeling a certain pain. Not doing so causes discomfort.

They explained it for example in The Next Web, where they talked about other types of games -the FPSs and the MMORPGs, above all- in which precisely that search for the prize -whatever it is- makes users not stop playing those games.

It seems that this addiction to Candy Crush is especially noticeable among 22- and 55-year-old women, as revealed by the game developer’s own data. The Daily Mail recently recounted the cases of several British women who confessed their addiction — one of them, for example, plays eight hours a day — and that special circumstance was commented on by Professor Mark Griffith, who works at the University of Nottingham Trent.

“Candy Crush is one of those gender-neutral games that has a ‘tastier’ characteristic that can fit flexibly into a woman’s life. And since you can concentrate on it 100%, this academic explained, “it means that you can forget about everything for the next few minutes, which is very attractive to many women.

Comparisons with Farmville

Of course, it is inevitable to think of Farmville’s success and compare it to that of Candy Crush Saga. Zynga’s title was quite a trigger for social networking video games, and in the recent interview with Jan Wedekind we also asked him if what happened to Farmville could happen to his game.

The manager’s response was somewhat elusive, and although he admitted that “there’s an X factor that no one can program” he didn’t seem to deny that it’s possible that the disinterest that ended up affecting Farmville would also make Candy Crush another title with a relatively short run.

In fact, Zynga is trying to offer a different experience in his latest creations, but the truth is that perhaps he tried to get too much out of his range of xxx Vile games. The players had already taken full advantage of Farmville, and their successors, too similar in their background, were far from the success of the original title. We’ll see what Candy Crush does to avoid having a similar evolution.