‘I Love Hue’: A perfectionist’s confession of an undying love for ombré

January 26, 2018 — by Elicia Ye

Settling into our seats for sixth-period AP Statistics, my friend and fellow Lifestyles Editor senior Vivien Zhang started swiping right and left on her phone. Worried that she was illegally present on Tinder (the legal age is 18, but since when has that stopped anybody), I glanced at her screen and instead found a collection of jumbled, colorful tiles.

“It’s called ‘I Love Hue,’” she explained. “You should try it too!”

Named one of Google Play's Best Games of 2017 in the “Most Innovative” category, the new smartphone puzzle game’s popularity recently rose among students, encouraging them to adopt a new perception about color and increasing their knowledge about the transitional colors that go between hues such as light peach and neon pink.

As I launched the app after downloading, the misplaced army green and faded chartreuse tiles on the starting page taunted me, as if challenging my abilities to place the colors in order so that they transition smoothly between rows and columns. I could no longer resist the temptation. After tapping “start,” the tiles faded away and I officially began my week-long journey into a world of colors and patterns.

The first level in the “Beginner” category consisted of long rectangular stripes from golden yellow to scarlet, followed by nine more levels of large — mostly square — tiles of every shade between each color of the rainbow.

Before long, I had earned enough “hearts” to unlock the next category, “Apprentice.” Instead of omitting levels to skip ahead, I decided to finish the category I was currently in before moving onto the next degree of skill. With every level I completed, I took several seconds to appreciate the impeccable artistry of the masterpiece before an empty heart with glowing white borders faded into the puzzle, blessing me with a beacon of success.

The difference is that “I Love Hue” is related to the work I do on Illustrator, more aesthetically pleasing and has the soothing sound of a thumping heart each time a tile is placed. Additionally, I could sneak in a game or two when I am in the In-N-Out Drive-Thru line or before I fall asleep without much hassle or stress. If anything, “I Love Hue” has become a relaxation and stress relief, waiting in the back of my phone for me to collect daily 12-Prism packs.

Having won enough hearts to pass “Mystic,” “Prophet,” “Guru,” and unlock the final category, “Visionary,” I have learned to distinguish fuschia from magenta (arguably one of the least appealing shades out there), plum from mulberry, lavender from mauve … I ran out of my limited vocabulary for “purple,” — you get the idea. I have yet to distinctively identity navy apart from indigo, but believe me — I am getting there.

Just like every other smartphone game/app craze, “I Love Hue” has fans and detractors.

Senior Smrithi Balebail counts herself among those flummoxed by the app, saying, “Although all my friends are obsessed with it, I don’t love playing the game because I could never discern which colors are supposed to be adjacent to each other.”.

“I Love Hue” also counts the number of steps players take to complete one level and shows them the World Record number of moves. While this feature could add to the pressure to perform well, players generally complete the round with fewer steps than the so-called World Record. In addition, users are dubbed a “bright shining rainbow,” “great gleaming star,” “glorious butterfly,” “multicoloured sunrise” or a uniquely magical title by the game when they beat the record along their journey, inspiring them to look up from their phone and exclaim “I Love Hue” to the world.

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