Okay, I am a BIG fan of PopCap. They constantly make amazing games that you can just pick up at any time, play, and have fun, which is the whole point of the casual game. I especially like Bejeweled – it’s genius. 😀 I love the style, I love the simple gameplay, and I love the fact that it’s a calm, chilled-out game one moment, and then all of a sudden, it’s filled with massive explosions and The Voice basically screaming about how “SPECTACULAR!” that last move just was, then offering you an action replay to watch it again, SLOWLY. 😀 I also love the fact that it’s an epic time-killer. But I don’t like using that term, because that’s usually attributed to lame Flash games. 😛 Bejeweled is NOT a lame Flash game; it’s genuinely fun, it feels as if it’s had a lot of love put into it, and it gives your brain a nice workout. Plus, there’s that challenge of trying to beat your high score, which is great, cuz that adds some nice replay value. A lot of it, actually. 😀
Now, I won’t hold anything back; I’m pretty damn good at Bejeweled. That’s probably due to the fact that I’ve got a lot of experience, since I’ve played every version of Bejeweled ever. 😉 I played the original on the ‘net, then played it on the desktop. Then I got Bejeweled 2, which I thought was great – so great that I actually made a sound pack for it. 😀 This was the game that actually caused me to start making voiceover replacements for games with that kind of “old chum” voice. Here, have a montage:
(And there’s another reason to hate faggit WordPress – I’m only allowed to embed videos from certain sites here… -.-)
I’ve just noticed… “here, have a montage”… I think that’s the first time anyone’s ever said that. 😀 If you want any of those sound packs, just say so – I’ll be happy to zip ’em up for you. 🙂 Anyway, back on topic…
I didn’t believe they could ever improve Bejeweled 2… but they DID say something along the lines of ‘keep your eyes open for Bejeweled 3!’. That made me quite intrigued, but of course, no sequel ever emerged. Until Bejeweled Twist. 😀 This simply MAGIC game arrived quite a while after Bejeweled 2, which firstly made me shit my pants, because I never thought Bejeweled was gonna get a sequel, and secondly made me shit my pants because it, quite simply, beat the crap out of every other games company that’s done a match-3 game before. Instead of the same old “switch two gems” gameplay like in Bejeweled 2, they said “hey, I wonder what happens if we rotate four gems around?”. Stir this idea into a glass of water, and BOOM, instant genius, plus bonus points for revitalising the genre. 😉
Then, after a short while, Bejeweled Blitz appeared on Bookface (I’m not sure whether it appeared after Twist or before, but whatever :P). More instant genius right here. You have one minute; score as many points as you can. When your minute’s up, we’ll blow up all special gems for you, so they don’t irritate you. This minute long game can very quickly become, say, 30 minutes. Because you’re adamant about beating your own score, and more importantly, your big-headed friend’s score. (*ahem* 624,750… ;)) It’s also perfect for those on a quick coffee break at work; just boot up Bejeweled Blitz, and have a few games while sippin’ your java. Brilliant. 😀
After updating it with coins and boosts which make the gameplay much more interesting AND let you score even higher, they soon released a “fully-awesomized” version of Bejeweled Blitz for the desktop, which I almost immediately purchased. 😀 It’s always bugged me, though – the desktop version is NEVER updated, and you actually get more features on the Facebook version than you do on the desktop version which you pay for. Sure, you get nicer graphics, full voiceovers, less annoying server-related bugs, and cool slowdown when you set off a Lightning gem or Hypercube (which actually helps quite a bit), but you don’t get the Daily Spin, you can’t get rare gems, and after a little while, it lost the ability to be able to post your score to Facebook (as in, to your wall), probably because of a bug in whatever SDK developers use to communicate with Facebook. Or maybe a bit of incompetence, but it’s EXTREMELY rare you see a bug in PopCap’s games. Now I record all my Blitz runs using FRAPS, which I hate, because every so often, FRAPS randomly chooses to drop your game to 20FPS whenever it damn well wants to.
What was most interesting, however, was what I found in the music folder of Bejeweled Blitz – a file called “Bejeweled3_suite.it”. “Bejeweled 3”? Strange name to give to a music file which is meant for Bejeweled Blitz. It’s a tracker file, so you need a special program to open it – I use XMPlay. When you DO open it the XMPlay, you get the name of the track, and, surprise surprise, it’s called “Bejeweled III”, and for those who are hilariously pathetic at understanding Roman numerals, that means “Bejeweled 3”. 😛
The strangest thing is… the tracker file has 10 parts to it. That itself isn’t strange, I expect that one tracker file has more than one piece of music in it. But there aren’t 10 songs in Bejeweled Blitz. Let’s see here, the first part is blank. The second part is the loading music. The third is for the main menu. The fourth is for in-game. The fifth contains the endgame music. After that… there’s some music that you never hear ingame. It’s quite weird, that. Why have they left those unused songs there? I assumed that they had named this game Bejeweled 3, and the extra tracks must be prototype tracks they left in because it makes no huge impact to the file size.
Well, I’m not so sure about the prototype tracks, but I was damn wrong about PopCap naming Bejeweled Blitz “Bejeweled 3”. Because look what I found shared by Bejeweled Blitz on my wall when I got home from Uni:
Seems Bejeweled Blitz wasn’t the official Bejeweled 3 at all. Nor was Bejeweled Twist; that was just a… heh heh… a SPIN-OFF! HA HA HA!! Oh, I crack myself up. 😛
But I am serious when I say this – I am more excited about this game than almost every game released this year. It sounds crazy, because this is just an indie puzzle game, it’s lost the sense of strategy that it had in Bejeweled Twist, it’s more luck-based… but look at what they’ve done! It looks like it’s almost been overloaded with modes and challenges! What’s that mining mode I caught a glimpse of? That looks like Big Money, Dynomite and Bejeweled all crossed over! Classic Mode, Lightning Mode, Zen Mode, and then in the Quest Mode, we’ve got something with a “balance” bar, POKER, something to do with collecting butterflies, excavating artifacts, Sandstorm mode, and all those medals… it’s just… ahhhhh! SO MUCH TO DO! Content overload, excitement overload… how the hell can they do so much with a MATCH THREE GAME?! It’s like what I can do with side scrolling shooters – enhance and upgrade them almost to infinity!
Right there is one of the reasons I love casual games. No matter what you do to them, they can still be expanded upon, added to and tweaked until you have something so packed with content and playtime it could rival most modern games… well, with the exception of RPGs. 😀
Bejeweled 3 looks like… oh man. It looks glorious. Or should I say, “EXTRAORDINARY!!” 😉 It’s released December 7th, and I have GOT to get it. And you should get it, too. Unless you’re one of those sad, boring people who only ever play FPSs and annoyingly graphics-laden, buggy, over-rated AAA titles.
Or of course, if you simply don’t enjoy puzzle games. That’s fine, I guess. Sounds a bit retarded to me, but it’s eekay. 😛