EA really dropped the ball at its E3 press conference earlier today—it announced Peggle 2, that is. The sequel to PopCap's pachinko-like hit is coming on [date] later this year to [platforms], and those are the hard facts. Alright, we don't even have a screenshot, but we do have extreme fever dreams of what we hope Peggle 2 is all about.
Face Off pits two gladiators against each other as they tackle gaming's most perplexing conundrums. This New Year's Eve edition is a chronological throw-down: which decade gave PC gaming the most? Podcast Producer Erik Belsaas says it was the '90s—the origin of modern PC gaming. Executive Editor Evan Lahti insists it was the '00s, with its speedy internet, better PCs, and shinier graphics engines.
Today's "say it ain't so" news involves PopCap releasing about 50 employees at its Seattle offices and investigating the shaky future of its Dublin, Ireland branch. Now, PopCap co-founder John Vechey took to the keyboard with an official blog post explaining the decision with unusual clarity.
Following the news that PopCap has been purchased by EA. We've decided to bring you a feature on the mammoth casual games developer that originally ran in PC Gamer UK issue 220.
Sitting on the floor of Benaroya Hall in Seattle, I’m depressed as hell. I’ve come to the Casual Connect Conference 2010 to hear the makers of casual and social games share their ideas, but in three days of lectures I haven’t heard a single idea about games.
Instead they’re talking about how designers don’t matter. They’re talking about how psychological tricks can turn their audience into zombies. They’re talking about how to use metrics to better monetise your mum. This isn’t just the industry’s business men and women talking, either; these are the people who actually make the games. At a point in history when a new and huge mainstream audience is trying computer games for the first time, our ambassadors aren’t interested in talking about how to make something fun.
There are strong rumours flying around suggesting that EA are in the late stages of negotiating a deal to buy up PopCap for a massive ONE BILLION dollars. Edge picked up a report from TechCrunch, who have been approached by two unnamed sources who say that Electronic Arts are about to spend 13% of its stock market value to buy up the casual games developer.
PopCap are holding a Thanksgiving winter sale, with all of their games selling for half price. That means a chance to scoop Plants vs Zombies, Peggle and Bejeweled 2 for almost $10 each.
The sale is set to run until November 29th over on the PopCap site. For an insight into inception and development of these games check out our interviews with George Fan on the making of Plants vs. Zombies, and Jason Kapalka on the inception on development of PopCap's most addictive opus, Peggle.
Yeah, we did just call Peggle an opus. Eat it, unicorn haters.
Last weekend we ran a competition to send in a replay of your best shot in a Peggle game, with a large bounty of Peggle swag for our favourite. We've watched all the shots, recorded our favourites and made them into a quick highlights video. Overall winner after the clip.
If you've never wanted a tiny plushie Splork of your own, you haven't got that far in Peggle yet. Well, now you can get one of those, a Peggle mug, two Peggle badges, a Peggle mouse mat, a Peggle iPhone skin, Peggle, Peggle Nights, £30 of iTunes vouchers to buy Peggle and anything else on the iPhone, a bumper sticker reading XTRM FVR, and for some reason a bunch of Chuzzles.
All you have to do is save a replay of a great Peggle shot, zip it up, and post it on our forums. It can be Peggle Deluxe, Peggle Nights, or Peggle Extreme, but it probably has to be the PC version. We're not looking for the highest score, just that mix of style, skill and dumb luck that makes Peggle fun. Here's how to submit one.
PopCap Games are the creators of Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, each of them one of the biggest and most lovable games on PC. When casual and social games are reaching ever larger audiences and their developers are getting a bad reputation for poor design practices, how have PopCap managed to find fans amongst gamers and grannies alike? To find out, I visited the studio and interviewed everyone I could find. We're running those interviews each day this week and calling it PopCap Week.
Today I'm speaking to PopCap co-founder Jason Kapalka and the designer of Peggle, Sukhbir Sidhub. It's only now when looking back at the transcript that I realise there are long periods when I don't ask any questions. Jason and Sukhbir have worked together for years, and it shows. They talk away without my intervention, revealing details of PopCap's forgotten first release, a strip poker game called Foxy Poker, and follow it up by going into detail about the many variants of Peggle, including a Thor-themed version called Thunderball, and what would have happened if co-founder John Vechey's mum had been PopCap's accountant.
If you have Plants vs Zombies on Steam, you might have noticed it was recently 'upgraded' to the Game of the Year edition. It stores your savegames online, lets you create custom zombies to put into the game, and adds a new achievements screen that has a little secret. Here's a video.