I’m nothing if not a multi-tasker. And so it was that while indulging in two of my favorite pastimes — each of which would seem to reside on the opposite end of the intellectual spectrum — that I had something of an epiphany.
About, of all things, Candy Crush Saga.
I’m fairly certain that one doesn’t expect to hear the word “epiphany” used in conjunction with the wildly addictive game in which one… well, crushes candy, but hear me out.
At the time, I was playing Candy Crush while watching MSNBC’s THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW — the aforementioned polar opposite activities — when the mind-blowing realization struck and I had what I’d have to call a Maddow Moment.
For those unacquainted with the political pundit’s nightly show, her opening segments often take almost Byzantine paths to the evening’s top story. For example, she recently managed to tie Myspace and the band Commander to senator Rand Paul in three easy steps.
While listening to Maddow discuss the news of the day, I found myself reflecting on how much politics and Candy Crush have in common.
I can hear your skepticism from here, so allow me to elaborate:
- In both, money is the fast-track to success. Want to run for office? You’re gonna need a couple million bucks in the bank. In the land of exploding licorice, any seemingly unbeatable level can be conquered by forking over a little cash to either purchase a “booster” or advance to the next level.
- The political world is all about special interests, generally in the form of lobbyists. In CCS, the special interests take the form of striped candies… not to mention the all-powerful sprinkle-covered chocolate ball.
- When running for office, politicians will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. Likewise, in an effort to keep you coming back, everyone’s favorite game will occasionally whisper sweet nothings like “delicious!” or “tasty” in your ear. How many times has the vaguely creepy Candy Crush dude told you a move was “divine”… just before the sad “wah wah” indicated you had failed, yet again, to clear a level?
- Want to continue playing in either milieu? You’d better have friends who don’t mind you constantly calling them up and asking for money, extra moves or lives!
- Any observer of the House and the Senate will tell you that within these esteemed bodies exists a constant struggle by each party to keep the other from advancing. Don’t want your rival to pass a law? Declare that instead of a simple majority, it requires a supermajority! Likewise, each time a candy crusher masters one challenge, a new one is put into their path. Figure out how to dissolve the jellies? Here come the replicating chocolates! Manage to vanquish those tasty treats? Just try and get through the licorice swirls!
There are, of course, differences. For example, the candies tend to be a lot better looking than the majority of politicos, and the only thing the game ever tries to steal out from under you is time as opposed to the occasional constitutionally-guaranteed right. But at the end of the day, Candy Crush is a game some of us take way too seriously while politics is an endeavor that far too often is treated by the players like a game.