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  • Writer's pictureQuite Frankly

Candy Crush- Translating Affordances

Candy Crush is one of those popular games that everyone couldn't stop talking about when it came out. It was incredibly addicting and entertaining for anyone who played it. But what made it so great? Was it the colors, music, competition, colors? Or did everyone just love candy? There were so many intriguing parts of this game and it seemed to be the best choice when weighing my options.

While thinking of what digital interface I would like to create, I first thought about social media platforms like Instagram, twitter, email inboxes, games etc. I decided that I would like to do a game instead. The choices were between Tetris and Candy Crush. I started to sketch out Tetris first because I thought it would be was interesting to see what the layout might look like. Although the sketch may have been translated well in the physical form, I thought Candy Crush could be much more exciting.

There were many parts to think about. Candy Crush was basically a puzzle if you really thought about it so I had to make that affordance obvious when looking at it. How can I have pieces moved around and keep the essence without loosing the integrity of the game? I began to sketch out multiple ways to create the game. First, I sketched a sheet with multiple dots in a grid-like form which would represent the candy pieces. I drew this a couple different times to get the right visual I was looking for.

I knew it didn't have to look exactly like the game but it was important for me that the pieces be arranged appropriately. Now was the time to think about the materials I would use and how the affordances could be represented through each of them. I definitely wanted to use real candy as I thought that would be an obvious giveaway to what the game is but what stumped me for a while is how I would be able to move the candy around. I thought about glue and tape but glue didn't allow for any mobility and tape lost its adhesive after a while. I was beginning to overthink this part so I went ahead and built out the base of the game in hopes that an idea would come to me in the process. I found an old box, lowered the sides of it to a reasonable height, layered the inside of it with bubble wrap and added brown paper for the background. The bubble wrap was use to lift up the brown paper and elevate the candy pieces that would be added to it. I didn't want the height of the box too low but also didn't want the game to be too deep in the box. At this point, I went to find some candy that could be well represented in this interface. I have many different types that weren't very popular, but they we good enough. I had Starbursts, Kopiko, Lemon-Honey cough drops, Werther's original, and one other that actually wasn't in english.

At this point, it was time to figure out how the candy would be placed in the box and what I would use to represent the swiping motion in the actual game. I took out my phone, opened the app and started to play for a few minutes until it clicked.

Maybe I can use something that is stackable like possibly creating interconnecting blocks out of cardboard but that proved to be to bulky. i thought about attaching the candy to clay and molding them together when the game was played but that didn't quite do what I needed it to, visually. So I began thinking about children's toys because a lot of toys made for children can be stacked. This is when I got the idea for Legos. I wrote this down on my sketch as an idea and It was actually perfect. My brother had some small legos that he would use to build Star Wars models and they were just the right size. I used the large pieces to build a board and attached smaller pieces to the candy. The legos allowed the candy to be moved freely across the board and preserved the function of the game.

After attaching the lego pieces, I arranged the candy accordingly and add some extra characteristics. These characteristics included the post-its for keeping score, the ribbon stars to keep track of how many turns you have and some extra candy along the top of the board to be place in the position of the other candies that would be removed during the game. Although the mobility of the pieces won't be quite as easy as in the actual game, it definitely does the job. Some drawbacks are that the game will not have an endless amount of candy unless it is being recycled back to the top of the board during each turn. Also the levels of the game won't get any harder or change in any way due to the constraint of the box. These are all limitations but it does not hinder being able to play.

Creating this physical interface was actually quite interesting. I enjoyed thinking about all of the different aspects of this game and how to represent them through a physical form. It allowed me to think about other games that possibly went though this process before actually becoming a digital game.

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