My name’s Steve, and I’m here to admit I have a Peggle problem.
Don’t let Popcap’s family-friendly, cuddly surface fool you. These guys are peddling gaming narcotics in their most concentrated form, throwing the authorities off the scent with unicorn/squirrel characters, smiley faces, jingles and rainbows - but I know their true forms; they are a menace I say, a menace!
My wife has had Peggle for ages on the PC, and I would often make a jokey comment about how often I’d find her playing it. We already had Zuma on the 360 and I had to admit that it was a pretty damn awesome game - forget the ‘casual’ label that’s too often thrown about, it’s a fiendishly challenging game of reflexes, skill and wit that will give any other game a run for its money - and I dare any so-called hardcore gamer to take it on at the higher skill settings, and tell me that it’s just for people who don’t like ‘real’ games.
So, when Peggle finally got ported to the 360, I figured I’d give it a go (since while I still love my PC for gaming, until I get my back fully sorted out I need to spend time away from the PC in the evenings). Big mistake. Before I knew it I’d bought the full game. Last night, I figured I’d have a quick 10-minute go while waiting for my wife to finish up what she was doing so we could jump on Horde or something, and then all of a sudden it was 2 hours later and I still didn’t want to stop playing.
Peggle doesn’t involve reflexes, but it does require a lot of concentration. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a modified, electronic version of Pachinko - ie Japanese pinball (ish). You fire a ball from the top of the screen and try to clear all the orange pegs before you run out of balls. There’s a few wildcards like point multiplying pegs, different shaped & animated pegs, power ups, combo rewards etc to keep it interesting. Very, very simple, but fiendishly addictive. Some people say it’s random / chaotic, but nothing could be further from the truth - in theory, you can predict absolutely everything that happens when you fire that little ball off, if you have the will to calculate it. It’s all just physics after all, and it’s immensely satisfying when you’re on your last ball and need to hit 2 pegs at opposite ends of the screen, and pull off a great rebound shot to do it. I’d say it’s most like a cross between playing pinball, Breakout and performing trick shots in snooker. The ability to control precisely the launch angle of the ball is what makes it so addictive - if the ball was just launched upward imprecisely like in a pinball machine then it would be random, and that would destroy the fun. You know that if you could just learn to better predict where that ball was going to go, you’d be able to get that precious multiplier / clear that advanced level…
Another masterful game by Popcap it seems. Bastards. 😉