Lately, I’ve been reminded of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that probably first aired 25 years ago, but I’ve never forgotten. In this episode (can’t remember what it’s called), an alien race gave the crew of the Enterprise a gift of a virtual reality game. The game consisted of a headset, which created a heads-up display of sorts for the wearer, of a field of balls that the player mentally directed toward a funnel. Over and over. That’s all there was to it, sort of like the falling blocks in Tetris. Absurdly simple, yet the game caught on like crazy, and before long, nearly every person aboard the Enterprise was sporting one of the game headsets.
Only this “gift” turned out to be more of a Trojan horse. In actuality, as the players grew more addicted, they could be controlled through the game. It was a plot to enslave the entire population of the Enterprise through a bloodless coup. All that saved the ship was the fact that a few weren’t into the game, one of whom was Captain Piccard.
Ever since I first saw that episode, it’s fascinated me – could such a thing happen in reality? I think the answer is yes – and it’s closer than we think. For example, talk at the lunch table has taken a shift in recent weeks. After everyone’s done eating, talk no longer stays focused on the usual topics of sex, having babies, healthy (or not-so-healthy) eating, working out, or Young Diva’s fitness modeling competition. Instead, everyone whips out their cell phones and conversation dwindles to something like this:
“What level are you on?”
“I’m stuck on Level 65. You?”
“I’m on Level 189.”
“I can’t get anyone to give me more lives.”
“You need to disconnect from Facebook, so you can play quests.”
“Yeah, but you can only do one of those a day.”
“I change the date on my tablet, then I change it back.”
“UGH! This stupid chocolate is taking over the whole field!”
…and so on.
If you’ve been sucked in, you know I’m talking about Candy Crush Saga! It even makes women (and men) hate chocolate, as in Candy Crush, chocolate is an obstacle. Probably the most popular casual game going right now, you can play it on Facebook, or on Android and Apple mobile devices. It could certainly take over the world, IMO. Out of the six Lunch Divas (one of whom is actually a Diva-dude), only Manager Diva hasn’t yet been sucked in. Fortunately, there is a saving grace, and she doesn’t need to play Captain Piccard: once you get past a dozen or so levels, they get difficult enough that it’s hard to finish one without dying several times. And there are only three ways to get more lives:
- Pay (not sure how much, as I don’t do this)
- Bug your friends on Facebook (I don’t do this, either)
- Wait (anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or more per life)
- 2000 words on new ms – Yes! Got 2500!
- 4 workouts – Yes!
This week, my daughter leaves for college. So it’s time to raise the bar a bit, and add a couple things I’ve been neglecting:
- 3000 words on new ms
- 4 workouts
- One chapter in estate planning book
- Spend 15 minutes decluttering something, anything!
What about you – do you play Candy Crush? If not, have you noticed odd silences among your friends and coworkers who are even more attached than before to their phones and tablets? Have you seen that episode of Star Trek TNG I’m talking about? Do you think Candy Crush could take over the world? Any tips on beating Level 65? And whether or not you’ve managed to avoid it so far, how are you doing on any goals you might have, ROW80 or otherwise? Please share – I’d love to hear from you!