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I’ve a new addiction. It crept in quietly, relaxed my mind; now it’s got me by the throat. And: Yes, I never thought it could/would happen to me. It’s a ‘match three’ game like (but not) ‘Candy Crush Saga’ accessed on my iPhone.

Attachment-1.gif-67 My main game is ‘Fruits Mania’ but sometimes I also play ‘Lollipop’ or ‘Honey Bee’ as a back up or when ‘Fruits’ becomes too difficult or frustrating. With my index finger (right hand) I ‘swap’ one ‘fruit’ (orange sections, lemons, limes) for another. I must get three of the same (color, type) fruits in a contiguous line. When done, they vanish from the board giving me credit/s toward winning or ending that game with a rush of noise and fireworks. Sometimes a swap causes a chain reaction, removing many ‘fruits’ from the board. There seems to be a million variants/mutations of  ‘Mania’ as I painstakingly move into higher more complex levels of skill with alterations. Oh: All this is accompanied by irritating repetitive music, the kind of sounds one hears in a penny arcade (bells, whistles, sirens) or with ‘Angry Birds’ which (thankfully) hasn’t hooked me. I’ve missed other incarnations of this ‘match three’ format with names like ‘Bejeweled,’ ‘Shariki,’ ‘Jewel Quest,’  ‘Chuzzle,’ ‘Sariki,’ ‘ZooKeeper,’ ‘Big Kahuna Reef’ and more. Just as well. 

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Though prone toward various addictions in my life (cigarettes, nail biting, etc.), I’ve read that this particular addiction (when analyzed by professionals in the mental health field) is likened to a gambling addiction … something I’ve never had the slightest inclination toward. Following, a list of symptoms from an addiction expert:

Significant interference with work, school or relationships.

Often avoiding other commitments in order to keep playing

Frequently turning down social invitations in favor of gaming

Using most or all of one’s free time for gaming

Regularly playing late into the night and which results in poor sleep habits

Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Regular gaming “binges” of 8 hours or more nonstop

OMG! This same expert lists those most at risk:

Males

Children and teens

Individuals with long periods of unstructured time

Those with high levels of neurotocism

Children who are more impulsive and have weaker social skills

 

Oh no! What now? Who’d have thunk it?

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‘Is there another life?

Shall I awake and find all this a dream?

There must be, we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.’

 – John Keats, 1820 (from letter to Charles Brown) –

 

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