How to Take Over the World (and Make Women Hate Chocolate!)

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.

Taking over the world is so much easier than The Brain ever thought!

Taking over the world is so much easier than The Brain ever thought!

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.

Looks so innocent, doesn't it?

Looks so innocent, doesn’t it?

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:

  1. Pay (not sure how much, as I don’t do this)
  2. Bug your friends on Facebook (I don’t do this, either)
  3. Wait (anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or more per life)

ROW80Logo175I choose #3, so this keeps me from wasting my writing time blowing up candy. That’s a good thing, as I did well on my ROW80 goals this week:

  • 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!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

16 Responses to \

  1. No, I didn’t see that episode (or don’t remember it). It’s amazing to me how many people are addicted to electronic games. Guess I’m more like Piccard.

    But, I’m afraid it doesn’t take a game to get ‘mind control’ on most folks these days. I cannot tell you a time that I have had an extended conversation where no one pulls out an electronic device (usually a cell phone) to check voicemail, email, the internet — something rather than continue with eye contact and conversation. *shame face* Yes, even I fall victim to that once in a while. But I shall remain steadfast against playing games . . . oh, well there is bejeweled, and popit and word whomp . . . LOL Okay already. I’m addicted too, just not to the Candy Crush – yet.

  2. Yes, I remember that Star Trek TNG episiode! I think my kids are that way about video games, but I rarely play games on computers/phones/etc. I used to do Words with Friends, but you just made your play and then had to wait for the other person–so it didn’t take much time.

    Great job with your goals! Hope all goes well with your daughter heading off to college. Have a lovely week!

  3. ROFLMAO… 1) I remember that episode. 2) No, I have not fallen to the evil Candy Crush. I don’t play the games on Facebook and only rarely on my phone, which is mostly to say BOOYAH! against the wee beasties’ scores, LOL.

    Way to go on the goals this week. Hope you have a fabulous upcoming week 🙂

  4. Lynette, be careful! Bejeweled is the gateway drug! Candy Crush is similar – only better LOL!

    Julie, it was a good episode, wasn’t it? My daughter and her friends get into games on her Nintendo like that, too. I’m just glad CC has a built-in mechanism to force me to stop playing – and thanks for the good wishes!

    Raelyn, thanks! And LOL about beating the kids’ scores – my DH does that with our daughter playing Fruit Ninja. 😀

  5. I remember that episode…one of the few where Laforge wasn’t the only one with odd headgear. I’m glad to say, I don’t play any of these games–no Candy Crush, no Fruit Ninja, no Angry Birds. Perhaps us management types just have more to do, or less tolerance for burning time on things with no real benefit. *shrug*

    Anyway, you did awesome this week and great goals for the coming one. I’m sending one back to college this week as well, which always inspires me to push harder. Have a fantastic week, Jennette. 🙂

  6. 1) No, I don’t remember that episode. I never watched much TNG because I didn’t like the synchronization. 2) I stopped playing computer games long ago, about the time adventure games (you know, the ones that had actual plots) died out.

    Congrats on your goals!

  7. Congrats on the writing goal. I bet you end up getting more writing done – since the house will probably be a lot quieter this week! 🙂

    I remember that episode on Star Trek. I don’t play games on Facebook or my phone (I don’t even own a smart phone). It’s better I don’t even start. Does that make me Captain Picard? Hee hee.

    My goal this week is to go through my WIP and figure out which scenes need to be cut/revised. It’s hard cutting a character – and yes, I decided to cut Maddie. It’ll certainly reduce my word count! Have a good week!

  8. Hah! I know that episode and I, too, had fallen into the Candy Crush hole, but I’ve climbed out of it. I got up to the 200s as far as levels, and honestly? Once you get high enough the make the levels virtually impossible to beat unless you spend money on boosts and extra moves.

    It was fun while it lasted, but I’m glad not to be so addicted to it anymore! I also got addicted to Pet Rescue Saga (by the same people who did Candy Crush) and I looved it…but I completed all the levels available so yea. LOL

  9. Gene, I watch very little TV, and I’d like to say that’s when I write, but it’s also time for playing games. 🙂 Good on you for not getting sucked in – at least CC has built-in limits!

    Ruth, I used to love games like Legend of Zelda, Magi Nation, and Golden Sun – and could wipe out a whole weekend on one! That’s why I quit playing them and moved to casual games; you can play a level in a few minutes, then stop. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. 🙂

    Stacy, I hope that’s how it works with the quieter house! Although, my daughter’s pretty quiet to begin with, and also cooks and grocery shops. Totally with you on “It’s better that I don’t start” – that’s why I don’t play WoW or similar – I know my writing would suffer, big time! Good luck on your revisions!

    Alice – LOL, I have a feeling that is what will happen with me – I’ll play until it gets difficult enough that I get frustrated and stop… then move on to something else. 😀

  10. I’m a #3 on candy crush too. I just wait. At times I like my choice because it gets me out of the game and other times it feels like getting grounded, lol.
    Great job on the goals! She’s off to college, wow. How exciting. 🙂 Cheers to another great week.

  11. I remember that ep for one thing alone: The first time I ever saw Ashley Judd.

    I blocked that app with the first request I got on Facebook. You Don’t Know Jack was addictive enough.

    Now you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Tetris.

  12. SJ – “getting grounded” – LOL, you’re right, it does feel that way sometimes! I’m currently “grounded” until about 3:30 tomorrow, LOL! (Quest time!)

    Jim – I blocked it on Facebook, too, along with all the other games! I go on FB to see what friends are up to in real life, but don’t want to hang there much besides that. I play CC on the phone while DH is on FB playing poker. :facepalm:

  13. I don’t play candy crush but I have a crush on candy. Does that count? I’m so not an electronics person – at all. I have a cell phone but I usually only use it to call someone or send a small, and I mean small, text. Occasionally I’ll check my e-mails and I have even, a time or two, used the Bing feature to find something, usually a phone number or an address.

    Electronic games? No thank you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  14. I haven’t played Candy Crush Saga, but… I’ve had my time with various Facebook games. My favorite (it was something like a Tomogachi) was Pet Society, but they ended that. Now, in our house it is Minecraft. And I have my old favorites here on the computer: Age of Empires, Might and Magic III, and Neverwinter Nights (Ruth might like that one). But I never watched that ST:TNG episode…. I’ve got a lot of that series to catch up on.

    (I disagree with Gene about it being a management thing–my hubby deplores the idea of being a manager, even over himself, but he never gets caught in games, unless he’s trying to design one.)

    Choice #3 though… Yeah, when I played Facebook games, I chose choice #3 too. I hate bugging my friends to play games that they aren’t signing up for anyway. If they’re playing it… that’s cool.

    And choice #3 gives you back some control over your life. Hooray for the writing success. Keep at it. Sounds like the perfect time to increase that target.

  15. I’ve been told I would like Candy Crush. I think I’m afraid to start… Last week a woman looking at her phone bumped into me as we passed each other and she said, “Sorry! I’m playing Candy Crush.” lol Good luck with the college send off–we’re doing that tomorrow (sniff).

  16. Patricia – LOL a crush on candy? I think you’re safe! I’ll leave it to you and Gene to save us!

    Eden, I play CC as a break – and the lives limit thing keeps the breaks from getting too long, so I think it works!

    Coleen, the trick is to play it at home – not when you’re out somewhere walking around, LOL! The move-in went well, hope yours does, too! (And wow, does the house feel empty… 🙁 )