Hi, My Name is Melissa and I am an Addict…

… A game addict, that is.

This is a tale of a girl (whose real name you now finally know), and her phone, and a little game called Jewels Star, aka “crack” in the vernacular of our communications room in which anything which may be addicting — including a cheese-pesto-log-thing that one of our dispatchers makes and which for us has no other name but is similar to this — is called crack.

Jewels Star is a nifty little matching game made for Android phones by ITreeGamer and downloaded from Google Play. It’s sort of Bejeweled meets Jewel Quest. You not only have to match 3 jewels in a row, you have to do it multiple times to make the background change from colored to transparent. After the background is all transparent, the Jewels Star appears at the top of the board, and you have to keep matching jewels to move it down to the bottom of the board. Each level is a different design to clear, and you can’t move to the next level until you’ve completed (cleared) the current level (earning you at least 1 star). Then there are nifty little challenges like chained jewels and clouded jewels, which each have a different method of clearing them, before you can start making their background change from colored to transparent. Other jewels have powers like extra time and lightning bolts. Oh! And you have to do all that before the timer runs out and the jewels jump off the board and into your face!

The graphics are amazing. Here’s a sample board directly from the Google Play description of the game:

Screenshot_2014-01-30-23-36-45

You may remember I mentioned my new obsession, and said things would get back to normal after I had completed all of the levels of the game: 3 worlds, 99 levels per world, 3 stars each. Done.

Except I didn’t get back to normal. Oh, no. I decided I had to get even higher scores in each level. So level by level I set out to achieve 110,000 points in each. A random number that seemed lofty but achievable.

I was in the middle of that task, when I discovered… Jewels Legend. Cue dramatic background music (in your own head of course):

Same game developer. Same game, except hexagons instead of squares. Only 2 worlds, 99 levels each. Oh, but Jewels Legend is more difficult. Much, much more difficult. In Jewels Star, 3 stars are awarded when you score 100,000 points. In Jewels Legend, you only need 50,000 points. I got stuck  in levels 64, 70 and 71 for weeks, trying to get 3 stars before moving on. I only allow myself to have 3 levels in play at a time, and I must have 3 stars before I move on to the next level. Yes, I know, I’m pathetic. Here’s a sample board of Jewels Legend:

Here is just how bad it got: on a recent Tuesday — which is really my Saturday — I played the game for 13 hours. Yes, folks, 13 hours. For weeks now I’ve been playing the game just before I fall asleep (instead of reading) and after I’ve woken up but before I’ve gotten out of bed (instead of everything else). That particular Tuesday, I awoke as usual around 3:00 in the afternoon, grabbed my phone from the nightstand, and started playing the game.

When Prince Charming got home from work around 5:00, I was still propped up in bed, playing the game. He left to go play basketball and when he returned around 7:00, yep I was still propped up in bed playing the game. He went downstairs to eat and do some household chores. He came back upstairs a couple of hours later, and I was still propped up in bed playing the game. He laid down to watch the SF Giants’ game. I continued to play the game. He even said, “Which will happen first, I will fall asleep or you will get up?” I said, “No, no, I’m getting up now…” and continued to play the game. He fell asleep with his head on my lap, while I was still playing the game. When he twitched into REM sleep, I did finally get up and go downstairs. I made his lunch for the following day (a rare instance, don’t get any ideas), and had a slice of cheese. I sat down to watch television… and instead continued to play the game.

Nope, I’m not done. At 1:00 AM I was scheduled to sign on to a webinar (weight loss if you must know), and I did. Twenty minutes into it when the feed kept freezing, I abandoned the webinar — they weren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know anyway — and went back to playing the game. Around 3:00 AM (yep, 12 hours after I woke up that afternoon), I slipped back into bed… AND CONTINUED TO PLAY THE GAME.

Around 5:00 AM a coworker sent out a page for a sick call at work for a shift that started at 11:00 AM, a mere six hours later. I texted her back that I would take the shift, SO IT WOULD FORCE ME TO SLEEP FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE I WENT TO WORK… yet I still played the game for a while before I did finally fall asleep.

So, wait, I guess that means I played the game for nearly 14 hours… allowing for the walking downstairs and up, the 20 minutes of the webinar and the 10 minutes it took me to make Prince Charming’s lunch. NOTICE THAT I NEVER ATE anything other than that slice of cheese. Didn’t take my vitamins. Didn’t get dressed. Never took a shower. Didn’t even walk out to the mailbox. (On the plus side — no pun intended from this plus-size blogger — I did keep my glass of water with me throughout the day so at least I was hydrated.)

Is this a typical day? Nope, it is an extreme example, but it did actually happen. On a “normal” day, I play this %@!! game for at least two to three hours. So, I think that still qualifies as a problem, don’t you? Join me?