Games from My Childhood Library: Candy Land Adventure
By: Katelyn Vause
Games from My Childhood Library is a series where editor Katelyn reminisces on the games that populated the family computer throughout her youth. Join her on this week’s nostalgia trip as she looks back on the electronic version of the popular board game Candy Land.
There’s a very high chance you never knew there was a video game version, but the board game likely populated your shelf at some point. Gameplay is simple: draw cards and move to the corresponding area or square on the board. It doesn’t require strategy and is designed with small children in mind. I’m pretty sure my family owned a copy, as I have vague memories of playing the board game.
The video game version is, in my opinion, an improvement over the board game version, but I have to admit that isn’t entirely fair to the board game. Also, the video game has plenty of quirks, and, similar to the board game, it’s hard to stay interested in it if you’re over the age of eight.
The premise of the game is that Mr. Pop’s candy shop is out of candy due to trouble in Candy Land. King Candy has been kidnapped by the evil Lord Licorice, and it’s up to you to free him. However, Lord Licorice’s castle is guarded by the greedy Gloppy, who will only let you pass if you feed him six unique candies, which can be gathered from the various areas around the kingdom.
You set off with the assistant character, a gingerbread child by the name of Candy Kid, to find a way to gather all these candies before it’s too late. There are six unique locations that surround the castle, and you’re free to choose what order you visit them in, which I think is a nice touch. Every time you choose a location, though, Lord Licorice will appear and cause chaos right before you get there, so you must always help the resident character with their problem in order to be rewarded with one of their candies. I was always fond of the Peppermint Forest, where you help Mr. Mint find his missing animals by clicking on shadows that randomly appear in the forest.
Something interesting about this game is that certain sections of it are secretly educational. When you arrive at the Gum Drop Mountains, you find the character Jolly buried in a pile of rock candy, each piece labeled with a different letter. The only way to free him is to put the candies in alphabetical order. Then, once you free him, you have to play a matching game where you pair capital and lowercase letters together so he can find his gum drop supply (looking back, I realize this makes no sense).
I now wonder if the developers had intended for this to be an educational game but then had to change it, or if this area design was just a matter of coming up with a unique puzzle. What’s strange about it is that though other areas technically teach you about shapes or sizes, the Gum Drop Mountains is the only location where you’re asked to do obviously educational stuff.
There’s a coloring page section called the Ice Cream Sea, which, if you’ve read my Crayola Vehicle Voyagers article, you know I was not a fan of on principle. There’s only one page to color, so that reduces the replay value. I will admit I appreciated the unique element of being able to add sprinkles and other candy details on top of the ice cream scenery.
There are cute elements that will animate if you click around, which I’m always a fan of. For example, there’s a crocodile in the fudge moat that surrounds the castle, and when you click on him, he opens his jaws to reveal rows of teeth stuck together by stretchy fudge.
Freeing King Candy is…interesting. You operate a candy machine that is inexplicably in the dungeon, using it to shoot away the Smarties candy-look alike walls of the prison. You just click until enough of them are gone; it requires basically no skill or sense of timing. However, it was always extremely satisfying to see the candy shop fill up with candy again at the end-a kid’s dream come true.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the music. It’s very twinkly and happy, and could honestly be used as a killer clown movie motif if slightly adjusted and used with the right setting. Also, the sound effect for the cart that carries the Candy Kid sounds like a mix between a whistle and a cat screeching. It’s more funny than irritating, though. And it pairs well with the sometimes garishly bright color scheme.
Overall, I think Candy Land Adventures fits into the category of “okay” games I owned as a child. This is largely due to limited replayability and age appeal. I remember enjoying the game, but it was likely one of the first ones I set aside for good once I got a bit older.
Now, excuse me while I go find some gummy bears to snack on.
Did you play the board or video game version of Candy Land? Tell us about it in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org!