Candy Crush ad­dicts get new out­let as game comes to TV

TV adap­ta­tion su­per­sizes vi­su­als and ac­tion

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Candy Crush ad­dicts, and you know who you are, put down your mo­bile de­vice im­me­di­ately. Then you can watch "Candy Crush," the TV game show. Ex­pect breezy, en­er­getic fun from the CBS se­ries de­but­ing 9 pm EDT Sun­day with host Mario Lopez, said ex­ec­u­tive producer Matt Ku­nitz, whose cred­its in­clude "Wipe­out" and "Fear Fac­tor." Nearly 200 bil­lion game rounds were played in the Candy Crush Saga last year, ac­cord­ing to its maker, King. To en­tice peo­ple to watch it on TV, "Candy Crush" su­per­sizes the vi­su­als and the ac­tion.

Two spe­cially de­signed video walls, each made up of 55 mon­i­tors and measuring more than 20-by-25 feet, re­quire con­tes­tants to phys­i­cally scram­ble as they com­pete for the weekly $100,000 prize. One wall is placed hor­i­zon­tally on the stage floor, the other is per­pen­dic­u­lar to it, and play­ers in safety har­nesses scoot across and up and down the screens. They make candy matches by, swip­ing squares a la the mo­bile game.

The stunt team that han­dled Lady Gaga's rig dur­ing her air­borne en­trance to this year's Su­per Bowl half­time show did the same for "Candy Crush," with the same in­jury-free suc­cess, Ku­nitz and CBS said. Tap­ing is com­pleted. When the show was pitched to the net­work, Ku­nitz said, they asked CBS ex­ec­u­tives to imag­ine "if you were play­ing on your phone and got sucked through and were in a Candy Crush arena." The video walls were key, he said.

Their sur­faces needed to with­stand run­ning, jump­ing and slid­ing and re­spond only to the swipe of con­tes­tants' hands. Pro­duc­ers ended up go­ing with a com­pany, Mul­tiTac­tion, that had cre­ated a 44-mon­i­tor wall for the Aus­tralia's Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy. That was the world's big­gest, Ku­nitz said, un­til "Candy Crush" came along - and he points to a Guin­ness World Records ci­ta­tion at­test­ing to that.

Translating the game's sim­plic­ity

Each mon­i­tor has 32 cam­eras to record the flurry of hand swipes. Many video games have been trans­lated to the movie screen, from "Su­per Mario Broth­ers" to "Tomb Raider" to "The Angry Birds Movie," but it's rare, if not un­prece­dented, for a game to come to tele­vi­sion, said Se­bas­tian Knutsson, a King ex­ec­u­tive who helped de­velop Candy Crush. The game's sim­plic­ity "ac­tu­ally trans­lates very well" to TV, he said, and the au­di­ence's per­spec­tive al­lows them to see op­por­tu­ni­ties more read­ily than the con­tes­tants who are so close to the over­sized boards.

How pro­tec­tive did he feel of his baby dur­ing its TV adap­ta­tion? "It's been very im­por­tant to us that this stay true to the core of how you play the game, and that it wouldn't break what we think of as the core rules of Candy Crush," Knutsson said from Stock­holm. That doesn't mean the TV show had carte blanche.

King shared a Candy Crush style guide with de­tails on the color and size of each candy char­ac­ter, Ku­nitz said. It was so pre­cise that it dic­tated the di­men­sion of the line around each char­ac­ter and their size in re­la­tion to each other. It was un­der­stood that some things might change slightly on TV, Ku­nitz said, and, in turn, he ap­pre­ci­ated what was at stake.

"There's a huge ex­pec­ta­tion from the au­di­ence of what this show should be, be­cause hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple play the game," he said. "I wanted to make it big­ger and more spec­tac­u­lar and prime-time. That's a fine bal­ance. You don't want to mess up the brand. And it is a brand, a mas­sive brand."

Nearly two-dozen dif­fer­ent chal­lenges for play­ers help make each episode feel unique, he said. While great ef­fort went into the pro­duc­tion, Ku­nitz said he hopes that view­ers will be un­aware of all the work and sim­ply en­joy the show. "It's just fun. That's all it is," he said. "We're not gross­ing any­one out, no one's wip­ing out, no one's 300 feet in the air hang­ing from a he­li­copter. It's just pure sum­mer fun."

LOS AN­GE­LES: This im­age re­leased by CBS shows Paul Abra­hamian, a con­tes­tant on "Big Brother 18" and com­pet­ing in the new game show, "Candy Crush”. — AP

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