Monday, January 31, 2011

Addictions

The thing about being addicted to food — it's an easy addiction to admit to. Other people have the same love/hate relationship with chocolate. There's a camaraderie in the enslavement. It's the less common addictions that I find more embarrassing to admit to. I don't have any habits on the same level as sleeping with a blow-dryer turned on, but I do have my share of unflattering addictions. For one thing, I'm addicted to blogs. I do a lot of blog hopping. In the early days, before I had any idea what an RSS feed was or how to set up a reader, I would mindlessly click through my blog list a ridiculous number of times throughout the day — because there was always the possibility that someone had posted something. It was a red-cheeked day when I learned that all of those little clicks could be tracked and identified by the blog owner. Someone's site meter was very happy. I still click through blogs. A lot.

More recently, I have become addicted to Bejeweled Blitz.

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It started when I was up in the middle of the night feeding the baby. I needed something to look forward to; something to make getting up at 3:30 seem somewhat appealing. So, I kept a stash of Oreo's at the computer (only to be eaten while taking care of the baby at night), and tried out a slew of Facebook games. In the end, I settled on Bejeweled. The 1 minute game was a perfect fit. It was just the right balance of simple yet mentally challenging. I used it to occupy those many moments that required me to be at least somewhat coherent. And, I could be done with it at a moment's notice if needed. (Wow, just realizing how apropos a game like this would have been during my five year stint in a cubicle!)

These days, I play simply because I'm addicted, and because I can't let my friends beat me. (Yes, Jin and Tina, I'm looking at you!!) Some people pace the room when deep in thought. Others may drum their fingers. Bejeweled can't be much worse than those I-need-to-think practices, I say. And it's probably better that, of the two, I gave up the Oreo's instead of the game.

Still — looking at my stats and seeing just how many minutes I've spent playing this game? For shame, Katie. For shame. We're talking thousands of games here.

Do you have addictions that you're not exactly proud of, but not willing to forsake?

It would be a downright tragedy not to have learned something from the hours I've spent on this habit. It would be an even greater shame not to pass that information on to other aspiring Bejeweled addicts who might be searching the internet for guidance.

Fear not, searchers of the internet who have come for tutorial. This is for you.


Seven Habits of Highly Effective Bejeweled Blitz Players


1. Turn the sound off. You can do so by selecting that little gear symbol on the bottom left there.

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No multi-tasking the brain. There may be those out there who prefer to play with the sound on, but I think you all must be nuts. I still love you, even though you're crazy for willingly listening to those sound effects.

Besides; there's possibly some science behind my theory. I heard somewhere (very reliable source, no?) that the brain acts similar to muscles in that there's a "re-load" period. So, for example, if you drive your car while carrying on a conversation, your reaction time may be slowed because your brain, already in use, needs to take a millisecond or two to process new information. If this theory that someone somewhere told me is true, then you may be slowing your reaction time down for Bejeweled, too.

But mostly I think the announcer voice is comically low and enthusiastic, and I can't concentrate because I'm laughing.

2. Go before it says "go." The gems can be moved as soon as they appear.

3. Don't look where you're at. I was guilty of this when I started playing. I'd line my gems up, watch them disappear, then mentally say "oooh, shiny!" as the gem pile shifted. The trick is to look at a different quadrant of the board while you finish dragging your gem into place. This way, you're scanning a section of the board that won't shift on you. If you look only where you're already at, you have to wait till the pile settles before finding your next move. Instead, look for what's next while the gem pile is still falling into place.

4. Throw the gems. Along with looking away from what you're doing and scanning a stable part of the board, move the gem you've clicked on as fast as you can. This way you can get the cursor over to where you're scanning as quickly as possible.

5. Good games come in clusters; use boosts then. I don't know why this happens, but the good games seem to come in groups. I generally don't waste my boosts until I've had a couple of good games in a row.

6. Know what boosts to use. The three I use are the mystery gem, the +5 seconds, and the free multiplier.

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I only use them when I have enough coins to use all three together. I don't like the detonator because your special gems will detonate at the end of the game anyway. And I avoid the scrambler because using it is the equivalent of mixing up the cards in the middle of a game of Memory. Not good; not good at all.

And for heaven's sake, don't ever buy coins!! No wasting good money on this. It's not allowed. If you do so, you'll get a thousand evil side-eyes from everyone you know on Facebook.

7. The hint button is your friend. I still use the hint button from time to time. Theoretically, there will always be a playable option on the board (I've only had two games, ever, when there was no possible move). There's no use wasting valuable seconds when the hint button is right there. Also? If you can't see a playable option, chances are the gem to be moved is next to something flashy, or along the edge of the board. Those two areas seem to throw off the visual recognition pattern that playing this game depends on.

8. (I know; I said seven. But this is more of an afterthought, anyway.) Every once in a while, get up and leave in the middle of a game. Don't push pause. Simply walk away, just to prove that when all is said and done, the game does not own you. You are in charge of your fate. You CAN answer the phone, or even the door. There's a world outside, and it's got some great things to offer.

Plus, you probably need a re-fill on your beverage.

17 comments:

Emily said...

I am addicted to this game, too! My best score was something over 500K. I can't remember exactly. I've spent many hours and lots of time on this game as well. *sigh* I guess there are worse things to be addicted to! :)

FireMom said...

I can't see moves on the top row. I'm blind to it.

Also, turning off the sound (on my iPhone) means that I play faster. When my sound is on, I wait for the sound of the disappearing gems to finish before I make another move. Not so with the sound off, so I get my speed boost much faster.

I use the same boosts.

And? I can't play on my computer. I have to play on my iPhone. I'm SO much faster with my fingers. SO much faster.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I used to be addicted but then I made myself stop playing because I started seeing it when I closed my eyes at night!

Kameron said...

I will agree with all but number 6. :o) I think the detonator one is valuable because it explodes the multipliers too and if I find I have 2 of them just sitting there, having them explode at the end of the game won't help my score. That being said, I think you can safely say that I should also join Bejeweled Anonymous with you! Ha!

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

Oh bejeweled took my rescue squad by storm. When we had shift reports we talked about who had the highest score. Ridiculous, no? I haven't played in a while... but it is a perfect, suddenly distracting game to work out your mind. I'm impressed how in depth your tips are, too. haha.

And my addiction? I don't have anything that currently pulls at me to do constantly and you know... I miss that. I'm so overwhelmed with school that I rarely dedicate time to anything else. :/

demlowtm said...

I've given up on ever scoring higher than you. Other than that, I'm usually the highest on my board and have spent way much time sometimes to be sure that happens. Although one time another friend did score over 800K! I usually only start using boosts if I'm still low on my board after a few days. Then my order of preference are 2x, special gem and sometimes scrambler. I think it's faster than hint and sometimes really causes a lot of matches. I never seem to score much in the extra 5 secs. I won the 1 million coin jackpot a while ago so I don't need to worry much about using coins. My newest addiction is Zuma Blitz so I haven't been spending nearly as much time on Bejeweled. I too sometimes see the boards when I'm trying to fall asleep.

Kristianna said...

Pattern/building/collapsing games like that get me, too. I have even had my moments 'helping' my middle child get more coins for Webkinz, haha. :) (Cash cow can be a nice way to spend 5 min breaks while cooking dinner, what can I say?)

Cristina said...

My addictions? I can not even discuss in a public forum.

Our Crazy Crew said...

My kiddos drag me into Webkinz mania and I get hooked on Cash Cow and Alantile (my new fav). They love me for getting addicted. I can easily rack up 1000 Kinzcash in a night. Unfortunately, I would rather do that than dishes or laundry. I like those days that hubby goes to work and I take a day "off". No guilt... :}

DanielleCorrelle said...

I looooove Bejeweled! :o)

And food and blogs too, haha.

brian said...

Here, this should get your mind off of the game!

http://www.thedamageisdone.net/

(formerly Switch 2 Plan B)

Trina said...

Hi - my name is Trina and I am an addict - I have been clean from Bejeweled for 6 months. But now Zuma and her evil frog have tempted me. It got me through the combination of the blizzard and 2 puking girls last night.

PSST - Don't tell my FF, he'll simply have an evil smirk with that "I told you so" look on his face. No good!

Kathryn said...

Oh man, my husband is a bejeweled addict!! drives me crazy

Renee Ann said...

I love this post because my name's Renee and I was once a Farmville addict. A friend got me into it, and then I just spent my days trying to best her score. (Which I did!) When I found myself setting an alarm so I'd remember to harvest, I knew I needed to change. I haven't played in 200+ days :)

Fire Wife Katie said...

DanielleCorelle, looks like I've got some fabulous game-food-blog-addicted company!

Kristianna and Our Crazy Crew, I'll have to look into Webkinz. Not that we need any more addicting computer games around here, but I bet the kids would love it!

Emily and Tina, The high score on my board right now is over 800,000. I may have to give up on this week.

Fire Mom, I can imagine how much easier this would be to play via iPhone. Hopefully I'll get to play that way soon. :)

Jen,Trina, Kathryn, Cristina and Megan - you know you want to play. Give in to the addiction!

And Brian, there you are! Glad to see you didn't disappear.

Renee Ann, lol! An alarm -- that's pretty smart!

Kameron, I can see the benefit of the detonator, but I can't give up my extra 5 minutes for it. :)

sim only contracts said...

hey, my brother is a bejeweled addict!! drives me crazy

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