I Just Spent $236 On Candy Crush, Send Help

I Just Spent $236 On Candy Crush, Send Help
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I don’t understand. It’s just Bejeweled. With candy. What’s the big deal? Innocent words from a better time. A better place. Before I’d ever made that deplorable journey to the App Store and downloaded… it. Candy Crush Saga. Now, about a month later, I’ve lost a little over $US230, hours of battery life, and any remaining semblance of dignity. Hello, my name is Ashley Feinberg, and I have a Candy Crush problem.

And as it so happens, it turns out that I’m not even the first. For those blessed few who have yet to play the game, Candy Crush is, for all intents and purposes, free. It costs nothing to download and, in theory, costs nothing to play. In theory. But you know what else seemed harmless in theory? Communism. The reality is far more complex.

In Candy Crush, you’re given five lives that, once lost, each takes 30 minutes to refill. So if you lose all five in quick succession, it’s another two and a half hours before you’re fully replenished. But absentmindedly hit Try Again, and you’re prompted to pay a small fee for an entire set of fresh, new lives. It’s just 99 cents, you tell yourself. You could easily lose that money in loose change doing laundry. What’s the harm? What’s one time? I’m just so close.

But you see, anonymous internet confidant, that one time is all it takes. I had made it through weeks without ever spending a cent on an extra life. Not one cent on Striped & Wrapped candies, extra moves, the precious, venerated Colour Bomb. Nothing. But then one day it happened. I was so close to moving on to the next set of levels; I’d been on Level 66 for nearly a week. I was so. close. And then I caved. I decided to buy the five extra moves offered every time you lose a round. That’s when everything started going downhill.

I became a slave to the unstoppable force of Candy Crushing micropayments. It was so easy. It didn’t even feel like I was spending money. Most of it was spent on new lives when I would get in the zone and couldn’t accept the defeat. But occasionally, like when I found myself audibly cursing the heavens on a crowded subway car over level 79, it was to buy those five more moves. Just five more and I swear I can beat it. Why, I’m pretty sure I hit that “Play On” button and bought those five more lives (the first two times for $US1… then for $US2) about four times before I got to my destination and had to put my phone away. And all for naught — I hadn’t even beaten the level.

Because like a Colour Bomb surrounded by a sea of candy both striped and wrapped, I always thought victory a mere swipe away. And the scariest part is that it didn’t even take up that much time. Just in commuting both to and from work, I would have a good total hour in which I was free to crush candies, totally uninhibited by outside commitments and totally free to drop a good $10 easy. EASY. I was on top of the world. But oh did it ever add up.

Last night, I decided that it was probably a good idea to assess the damage, considering that I’d been playing for nearly a month now and had begun dreaming in bright, virtual candy poison. I hadn’t realised it until right then, but I was actually in a very dark place.

Holy Shit I Just Spent $US236 on Candy Crush, Help

And then the shame hit. I didn’t want to add it up; I wanted to pretend I’d never opened that accursed iTunes account history. But I did. And it totalled about $236. You’re goddamn right I’d like to report a problem.

But no more. That was — I hope — my wakeup call. I’m not one for things like “patience” or “temperance” or “knowing when it’s a good idea to stop ever,” but this has gone too far. I can only hope my public admission is enough to call on my conscience and shame me from ever hitting that seductive, misleading “Play On” button ever again. And if you have yet to touch Candy Crush, please, for your own sake, don’t. Let this be a cautionary tale, and continue living your life, unencumbered by the beckoning call of oh-so-satisfying exploding candy. It’s not worth it.

Thank you for listening to my pathetically sad tale. And please, friends, stay tough — don’t Crush.


  • That’s what I always say to my wife, it’s not the big purchases you need to worry about.. it’s the little ones that add up. The big ones, like buying a new bed or new fridge or whatever.. you plan for, you do your research, you make sure you can afford it etc.. but the little ones that are all less than $50 or $100 are the ones that get away from you very quickly.

    I’ve spent some money, over the years, on IAP but never more than the initial “first time bonus” investment and only on thing that make a difference in more than one way. Buying a specific item or singular use thing as compared to buying, for example, FarmBucks or Gold (in World of Tanks) that can be spent on different things over a longer period of time. Once that first-time bonus has worn out, I just get back to playing the game in shorter periods and taking more breaks from the game.

    Candy Crush is an enjoyable game.. but it’s not meant, by design, to be played non-stop.. you’re supposed to play in short bursts and then come back a few hours later and play a little more..

    • Actually from the above it appears that it is specifically designed for you to want to play for longer and to make micro transactions in order to do so

  • My son knew our iTunes password. An accidental $650 later…

    Fortunately for us, Apple gave it back.

  • Then again, if I had to pay $1 each time I died in Demon’s Souls, I’d probably have a $2,000 credit card debt by now. 😀

    • Especially all the times I killed myself to dupe stuff 🙂 No way I was going to play through the game that many times just to get trophies.

  • The only freemium game that I ever really played was The Simpson’s Tapped Out, I however stay away from them now, after having wasted in excess of $300.

  • I simply don’t get how people enjoy playing this crap, not with all the good games out there…

  • Last night I caved and downloaded CANDY CRUSH onto my Asus Tablet.

    I sat there for an hour in bed. I thought ‘There’s got to be something to this. It’s got to be addictive right???’ and prepared to delve into something half potentially interesting?

    An hour later I deleted it. What a waste of goddamn time. I’ve played a hundred goddamn games like this P.O.S before that played far better, the only difference is this has a candy theme?

    I just don’t get it??? At all???

    • I know a bunch of people who play it and they all enjoy competing against each other, seeing who can get to the highest level. They all of course insist they have never spent a cent on it…

    • I think it’s more about the competitive social side of the game than the actual game itself.. trying to one-up your friends who are n levels above you.. chatting about how darn difficult and frustrating such and such level was etc.. The game itself is pretty rudimentary, I agree.. and I don’t play it that much… but my wife plays it a lot and she plays no other games.. doesn’t like games in general.. but all her university friends play or played it…

    • I’ve never been one for games like this. Mostly becuase I would get frustrated waiting for my sister to stop playing Columns on the Mega Drive so I could get into some more Sonic! Grr….
      About two months ago I downloaded this and haven’t looked back. The candy combinations and simplicity of the game are what have hooked me. I only play whilst commuting to and from work so this helps kill time after all my social media viewing. I think the FB aspect of it is what drives the masses to this game.
      Does that help at all?

      • Its horses for courses. Others like it, I cant see it, but good on them. I wont mock them honestly for it if they enjoy it. Not when a favorite game of mine involves rolling a giant ball around and rolling up the world…

        • Mind you, I’m not very good at the game so will probably be giving up soon as there is noooo way i’m paying for any extra lives or help.

  • iPad, laptop (through Facebook), iPhone. 15 lives, and by the time you’ve made it through them it’s definitely time to do some work. (Or get another game that can tide you over – I’ve been playing the mobile Injustice game.) Level 260 and I haven’t spent a cent.

    (Incidentally, this is why I don’t have my card hooked up to my iTunes account.)

  • Um, you know you can just put the time forward on the device your playing it on, go back into Candy Crush & the extra lives are added.

  • Your approach is honourable. When I got stuck, the first thing I did was Google for “Candy Crush Hack”. There are even cheats available through the App store, typically sell for $1.99.
    A review and comparison of those cheats, compared to your $236 purchase, would be highly educational.

  • Couldn’t you just make multiple Facebook accounts and give yourself free lives and whatnot?
    Not that I…er… sanction multiple Facebook accounts…ahem…

  • dear ashley, this is just candy crush. wait till you play puzzle and dragons you might realised $236 really isn’t that much at all…..

  • you do realise that if you use up your lives on your phone if you play through facebook on your pc you get another 5 lives? I’d assume from that, that you get 5 lives per device. Also, if you’re getting that frustrated and only at level 66, I’ve got news for you buddy: continue with the same attitude and you spend another $500 to get to level 150-200 and beyond as the levels don’t get easier. I’ve been stuck on level 208 for about a week, but I know exactly what the game is to pry my money from my card and I haven’t give in. You have tough times (and levels) ahead of you so either get some self control or find out how to delete an app.

    Then again, it’s your money, people spend money on hats in TF2, whatever makes you happy. Spending this money DID make you happy right?

    • There’s a very simple way to get unlimited lives. I found out about it around level 320 and I’m on 350 now (having probably gone through at least 500 lives in that time as well.)

      If you really want to know:

      Just set the date on your device (computer/phone) forward 1 day and reopen the game. When you want to reset the date to the correct time, make sure you have five lives.

  • Protip: The amount of lives you have don’t sync across devices (or they didn’t when I last played…) so if you have multiple devices (PC/Laptop/Tablet/Phone) you’ve potentially got 20 lives before needing to recharge, or, god forbid, buy lives.

  • No need to spend money on this game. Just stop playing for a week, login, and you’ll have like 500 special candies to use from friends!

  • I feel for you man, I deleted Candy Crush off my iphone. Sure, I was lucky and had only wasted about 5-10 bucks on it, but it’s a waste of money.

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