(If you are new to my blog you may want to check out my glossary to understand the concept of Kansas)
After this past weekend, if I wrote a letter to Pop Cap Games, it would start out something like this:
Dear Pop Cap Games,
I would like to thank you for making a game that has made EVERY game obsolete...
On Wednesday the game Bejeweled Blitz, made by Pop Cap Games, hit the Xbox 360 and since the first time I played it online competitively Friday night it has been the only game I have thought about.
What Bejewled Blitz is, and I assure this post is not an ad for the game, is a lightning fast 1 minute version of Bejeweled. What makes this game unique, and addicting, is that when one plays it online the player can play head-to-head with another player with the highest score winning.
Since I started playing it I have said that, "This is the first game that goes as fast as my mind" which may be why I am so enthralled with it.
When I went to sleep Friday night I was #1 in the world at it and I knew that if I never played the game again I would always be #1 thanks to Microsoft's True Skill system (I could go on a thousand word rant about True Skill and lay out why the ELO ranking system is better, but this is lifeontheothersideofthewall.blogspot.com and not Aaronsratingsystemsoftheworldrantpage.blogspot.com) but what fun would that be? As much as I love being the top player, what I really love are the games that come down to the wire in a flurry of color and reflexes.
I have not been this hyper-focused on a game since Toca Race Driver 3 came out five years ago this month. Bejeweled Blitz wasn't the only game I played on Saturday, but it was the only game I cared about. Rob, Travis, and I won the EASHL championship on NHL 11, but it was a hollow victory as I was still thinking about blue diamonds and red square rubys and making sets of three or more of them.
Saturday night at 11:30 I said I would play, "just a couple games" but those couple games went to 4:30! I could not stop playing and I felt as if heaven had descended to Earth in the form of Bejeweled. After experiencing this I may have to coin a new term and call this "Hyper-Kansas" because I have experienced many a Kansas, but truly I was playing this game to the exclusion of other events in life. Food? It can wait. Sleep? Who needs it?
By Sunday I was getting very aggravated at the True Skill system as I bounced about in the top 10. I could win 40 games in a row and not move up one spot, but then lose one game and drop three. Every time I told myself I was done with the game I would start up, "just one game". Of course one game leads to a multitude of games.
As I sit in my office on today, a Monday, I am still thinking about the game. I mean, how do I score just a little bit more? Can I beat get just that little bit faster to beat my nemesises, a girl, from England and a guy from Texas? Will I get back to a True Skill of 34?
It's been a long time since I experienced a interest like this. This certainly reminds me of the strength and weakness of my mind. When something gets to this level every other object or event becomes dull. Why do I want to eat since it takes time? Why do I want to go to bowling tonight when it is going to take away time to match jewels? Heck, why do I want to leave the house since Bejeweled Blitz can't be taken on the road with me?
Thankfully I am able to break away; although it was close. I just about did "one game" this morning, but I didn't want to take the time plugging every thing back into the power outlets (very bad storms last night. I think a tornado passed over our house because the pressure I felt in my ears were something I never have felt before). so I just left the house and came to the office.
How long will this Hyper-Kansas last? I'm not sure and I can assure you there was no conscious effort for this game to become such a powerhouse in my mind. Just as I make no effort for my mind to become transfixed by something; I also can't just say, "I don't like this anymore". Interests run their course and some last longer, or much longer, than others.
I think I am going to keep playing until I simply can't take the True Skill system any more. I try not to care, but I know I should be higher than my position. Don't get me wrong, and I don't want to sound like an elitist, but I should be higher than 8th (my position last night). And then again maybe the intensity of the matches are enough and if this is a case I, again, would like to thank Pop Cap Games for making every game before it and after obsolete because I have found the ultimate game.