Monday, February 28, 2011

Blitzing a Bejeweled Weekend

(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 and not 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.

1 comment:

  1. I have a difference in verbal and performal IQ, which haves me thinking fast, but performing very slowly... So even if I play those kind of games, I just won't be able to act as fast as I think, making me very slow. I've been told this difference in IQ is very common (yet not everyone has it of course) for people with Asperger's. I take it you don't have this difference?

    By the way: Because of this I hate these IQ testing games things like the DS and such bring out. They usually also include how fast you are, which always leaves me seeming very dumb, while I'm really not. (hell I can advise people on university level! I just can't study that myself, because I can't keep up with the speed you have to work at there)