In 2008 - before the crash - PopCap launched Bejeweled Twist with a party in the Sky Church at Seattle's Experience Music Project venue. Gymnasts played human match-three in the wonky, Gehry-rigged lintels, and waiters in retro-future Jetsons outfits wandered about serving cocktails. Earlier that day, I'd had a chat with the company founders back at their huge HQ just down the road. They'd shown me an early build of another new game, and it was one they seemed to be ever so slightly nervous about. A zombified spin on the tower defence genre, they knew it was clever, but they sensed it was potentially a little too hardcore, a little too niche to become another cash cow. Pre-lawyering, it was called Lawn of the Dead.
PopCap co-founder John Vechey has defended EA after it won the dubious honour of being crowned worst company in America.
EA has bought casual gaming giant PopCap Games in a deal worth $1.3 billion.
All downloadable PopCap games are half-price from the PopCap website until Monday, 29th November.
With more than 50 million copies sold worldwide, Bejeweled is PopCap's biggest-selling game. Then there's Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, Zuma, Bookworm... All success stories in their own right. The company's only been around for 10 years but from a foundation of three has grown into an operation of over 250 people, producing games that transcend traditional demographics and trends.
PopCap has announced that gem-swapping puzzle game Bejeweled has sold over 50 million units.
That apparently makes the game one of the top five best-sellers ever - a position it may improve one as a new copy is sold every 4.3 seconds.
Bejeweled turned 10 years old today, and PopCap will celebrate this birthday for the next 10 months. During that time we'll be given a new way to play Bejeweled Blitz plus be invited in on numerous competitions and promotions.
Puzzle mastermind PopCap has turned its attention to DSiWare, where we'll see Bookworm added later this month and Bejeweled Twist in mid-October.
The press release for Bejeweled Twist is full of lies! There is not "no doubt" that "this is the world's greatest casual videogame"; just ask the world's millions of Tetris and Peggle fans. Bejeweled Twist does not "revolutionise fun". The visual and audio effects are not "stunning". And it's incorrect to say that "virtually every aspect of Bejeweled Twist is new". It's still played on a grid filled with multi-coloured gems. The gameplay still involves matching gems of the same colour to make them disappear, thereby racking up points. There are still special gems that have different effects when matched. The visuals are pretty enough, the music is as gently hypnotic as always and the nice clinky sound effects are as nice and clinky as they've ever been.
So not many aspects of Bejeweled Twist are new.
That said, not everything in the press release is a lie. There has been one simple yet fundamental change to the gameplay, and it does put "a completely new spin" on the game. It really does mean that Bejeweled Twist can be "relaxing, challenging, exciting or incredibly strategic, depending on your mood". In the original Bejeweled, the gameplay was about switching gems with their horizontal or vertical neighbours. In Bejeweled Twist, the gameplay revolves around, well, revolving them.
PopCap has announced the release of Bejeweled Twist, the sequel announced last month, for GBP 14.95 online.
PopCap will release the third instalment in the Bejeweled series next month.