I could have made this week's Community Review about a big release or a quirky new Indie game, but let's be real here for a second. Last week we were all playing Candy Box, 'the effin' Candy game', Candies or whatever everyone was calling it. Let's talk about our experiences!
Candy Box is a difficult game to place a value judgement on. Are we getting any real pleasure from playing Candy Box or is it just a really well designed Skinner box? Is it a game that sort of alerts you to the fact that most modern day video games are like really well designed Skinner boxes? Is this whole thing just a strange parody?
For me Candy Box is a game that reminds us of what really defines memorable video game experiences: a sense of exploration, of meted out progress. Modern games tend to dole out new equipment, new areas, new spaces like (ironically) candy. But Candy Box forces you to wait. You have to wait to buy the next upgrade, you have to wait until you're strong enough to beat the Dragon, you have to think about the best way to use the scrolls you've accumulated. If you're dumb enough to continue throwing candy on the ground — tough shit. You won't get them back. And you'll have to stare at a number — how many candies did you waste? That number exists as a constant reminder of your own stupidity.
But what I enjoyed most about Candy Box was the way in which we engaged with one another. It's a twitter game if there ever was one. There was a slow sense of discovery, of community. We shared things, we talked about our experiences. Candy Box was a true shared experience for me. I laughed at the jokes, asked for advice, doled out advice. I shared the game with friends and then lived vicariously through their sense of discovery.
That was Candy Box for me.
What about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!