Peggle Magic!

Hi, folks! You know, sometimes (though not very often), I forget how tragically unmagical your human universe is. Oh, sure, you may have quantum physics and love and synchronizing of the 6507 processor instructions to the television’s electron gun via the Television Interface Adapter. But splendid though some of those things are, they’re really no substitute for good ol’ fashioned magic. And by magic, of course, I mean Peggle magic.


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Let me give you an example. I look over my desk and see a simple coffee cup. Its primary job is to contain coffee, a task it performs admirably. However, by dint of being a Peggle Universe object, this simple coffee cup also has a deep interior life, a long and storied history of wacky misadventures, and over twenty ancillary functions which range from writing catchy pop singles to going to the bathroom for you. Here in our world, this coffee cup is trivial, a bit of swag I received for some rendered services, but in your world, with its dearth of magic, the street value of this mug would be twenty thousand million thousand Ameridollars.


Or consider a Peggle ball. At first glance it appears to be a simple metal ball that bounces around in a field of pegs. But this simplicity masks a fiercely complex interior structure laced with lattices of magical energy and joy matrices so intensely awesome that if one were transported directly into your world, it would weigh more than twenty boxcars full of donkeys and other ass-related products.


Luckily, the folks at PopCap have recently come to appreciate the extraordinary properties of things and materiel originating from the Peggle Universe. Consequently, they and we are furiously working on a fat pipeline through which we can dump our useless junk on unsuspecting human rubes for multitudes of your earth cashcoins. Stay tuned!

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Peggle Pennies

Hi, folks! Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post about the curious human invention you call “currency.” Since then I’ve been looking into it, and today I’m prepared to announce that I am officially MAD FOR MONEY!


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I visited PopCap the other day, so it was a great opportunity to try out some of your human cash in its native environment. I’d already collected some doubloons, sheckels, wooden nickels and travelers cheques before the trip, and I was able to convince some helpful PopCappers to spot me a couple of additional bucks on the side. Escorted by PopCap producer Isaac Aubrey, with a bold heart I stepped outside the PopCap holding facility and into your transactional world. I was ready!


First, we crossed the street and used currency to purchase a cup of coffee. It was thrilling! Handing over a slip of fiat tender and receiving a handful of legally binding metal discs as “change” is so far beyond the realm of my regular experience, I had to lie down for an hour just to stop hyperventilating. Isaac was wonderfully accomodating during this period.


Pictured: Isaac Aubrey


Then, once I’d gotten my bearings, we trundled down the street to a taco truck, and again paper was exchanged for a food object as well as some coins. Astounding! I almost swooned again, but a gentle punch in the neck from Isaac allowed me to recover my equilibrium.


Finally, we toddled over to the Seattle branch of a major investment bank where I took my doubloons and structured a tertiary tranche of a mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligation into a credit default swap and leveraged it against a distributed basket of oil, gas and maple syrup futures. Easy peasy!


All in all, it was a productive and economic way to spend an afternoon. I can’t wait to try out some of these ideas in Peggle!

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Solitaire Pits

Hi, folks! Recently I’ve had to face up to a disturbing truth about myself: I’m terribly stupid!


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I’ve been playing a bit of PopCap’s new Facebook game, Solitaire Blitz, you see. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it’s good clean fun full of maritime-themed card-flipping and delightful aquatic characters. Sadly, however, it turns out I am crushingly, screamingly, hoof-splittingly terrible at it!


I pride myself on being great at… well, essentially everything. I am a magical unicorn, after all, and it’s rather expected that I be able to excel at tasks from which most humans would stampede screaming in choirs of hysterical failure. And, in most cases, such excellence is indeed the case.


But why oh why can I not get a decent score at Solitaire Blitz? I’m quick-witted. I’m alert. I’m able to count from 2 to A and back again. Triumph should be as easy as making poop after an all-night magic oat binge. And yet, try as I might, the cards never add up. They stare at me, balefully, rafts of sixes when I need nines, eternal Queens when tens or twos are required. Instead of the game-winning paragon of unicornial virility I imagine myself to be, Solitaire Blitz reveals me to be a clumsy-hoofed ignoramus with fewer brains than a bowl of carpet tacks. I stare from the bottom of my leaderboard up at a sea of pitiless human faces and cry out, WHAT GIVES???


I must play more!

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Mystery of the Mastery

Hi, folks! Have you ever wondered how a Peggle Master develops his or her particular Magic Power? No? Think carefully. Surely you’ve thought of it at least once, even if it was only two seconds ago when you read the “Have you ever wondered how a Peggle Master develops his or her Magic Power” sentence three sentences back. Yeah. I thought so.

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As it turns out, Magic Power development is a fascinating process full of delight and heartbreak! One might think it’s as simple as waving a magic horn around, mumbling a few incantations and praying the magical forces of the Peggleverse dump a fully realized Power directly in front of your face. If one thought that, however, one would be incredibly off.


No, even the simplest of Magic Powers (Jimmy’s Multiball springs to mind) requires a great deal of careful contemplation. A host of considerations demand attention. Is it fun? Is it useful? Is it easy to understand? Is anybody going to have to put in overtime to create it? And so on.


Once these issues have been exhaustively discussed over piping hot mugs of magic potion, it’s time to implement the new Power and see how it plays. The basic implementation usually only takes a couple of days along with three bushels of straw magically converted into gold. Once the time and straw-gold has been expended, the aspiring Peggle Master may now try the power out on a real live Peggle board. Even in a primitive state without bells, whistles or party-style noisemakers, a good Magic Power will reveal its amazingness quickly. Conversely, no amount of fancy lace and additional frippery can make a clumsy, ineffective or non-moneymaking Power work.


Once the decision to proceed with the Power has been made, then innumerable elves, fairies and pixies are brought in to sprinkle the Power with various degrees of awesomesauce and wonderjuice. The Power is then tested extensively by a crack crew of badgers and hippos (and hippobadgers), all of them playing the new Power over and over again looking for any sign that its use might wipe out all of existence. Once the Power has been cleared for universal safety, then and only then is it implemented into the larger Peggle game.


It takes a lot of effort and inspiration to create a Peggle Magic Power, but I hope you’ll agree it’s supremely worth it!

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Peggle Plots

Hi, folks! It’s been relatively quiet around the Institute for the last few days. Normally, I strive for calm efficiency, but too much sanity can get a little dull. Consequently, I think it’s time for an adventure! But which one? There are so many to choose from…

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Peggle Challenge

Maybe we should issue a challenge to the Peggle Academy! You know, those group of fiendish Peggle cheats and criminals ruled with an iron hoof by none other than Academician Fnord Unicorn. They look just like us, except with beards, eyepatches and hue-shifted color palettes! It would provide a competitve angle, and we’d get to confront our evil dark sides in the bargain!


Peggle Moonquest

What if the moon disappeared? We’d have to drop everything and fan out across the land to find it. We’d search desk drawers, look under piles of dead leaves and explore monster-filled caverns in our desperate quest to return our shiny silver buddy to the heavens! That could be kind of a kick.


Peggle Franchise

Supposing we suddenly needed to expand Peggle in every direction? I’d have to send the various Masters to strange and unhospitable realms where they could establish new Peggle Institutes, while I would be forced to walk the lonely paths and explore the lost niches for new Masters, new Magic Powers and new ways to enjoy Peggle! I could certainly get behind such an effort.


Mo Peggle Mo Money

What if we suddenly ran out of money and needed cash? We’d need to rediscover some of your human economic ingenuity and learn how to arbitage currencies, set up clothing stores and establish casinos. We’d beg money on the streets and move in the highest circles of Peggle power soliciting donations. That could be kind of fun — and terrifying, to boot!


Peggle Invasion

What if awful beings from beneath reality attacked the Peggle Universe? Imagine if these prickly beasts of pure darkness sought to eat joy, consume happiness and desaturate every rainbow they could find! It’d be the solemn duty of every Master I know to summon our Peggleness in order to repel the invasion!


As you can see, we have many adventurous possibilities from which to choose, all turgidly gravid with dramatic potential! I think I’ll kick back with a coffee and some magic yogurt while I’m trying to decide…

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Solitaire Blitz

Hi, foks! While I will always stand firm in my absolute allegiance to Peggle as the greatest and only of all games, sometimes PopCap comes out with something new that almost makes me reconsider. This time it’s a dandy little confection called Solitaire Blitz!

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I’ve played card games on the internet before, and while some of them are amusing, I find most to be miserable failures so dire they force a unicorn to question his desire to live. Not so with Solitaire Blitz!


It’s a simple variation on classic solitaire in which suits of the cards don’t matter and one may match cards both up and down. So, for example, you could play 6, 7, 8, 7, 8, 9, 10 in sequence and the game would reward you handsomely for your wisdom. This simple change allows for a snappy, fast-paced game with just the right level of challenge. And, of course, it’s a PopCap Blitz game, so each round comes in tasty little one-minute chunks so appealing you’ll gorge yourself on them for hours.


As if these keenly designed game elements weren’t enough, Solitaire Blitz jingles with expressive life as the game places the player in an inviting nautical scene. Delightful aquatic figures pop up at key moments to confer additional multipliers as soothing music and sound effects make you wonder how you ever were able to experience happiness before.


In other words, it’s fun! Try it out!

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Seeing Food

Hi, folks! I just had a rigatoni with scallops and shrimp for lunch, and while it was good at the time, I’m not entirely sure my guts agree!


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Food is, of course, more problematic in the Peggle Universe than it is in your own. Everywhere you look, you’re staring at some kind of talking animal, so it’s not at all clear who you’re allowed to eat. Since humans are (or so you think) the only conscious, self-aware beings going in your world, you have a much wide ranger of eating options. True, I’ve heard of your “vegan” and “vegetarian” humans who dodge the moral questions of eating animals by consuming only plant life, but as Tula or Renfield would be happy to point out, that does squat for us in the Peggle Universe.


No, in our world the only way to be sure you’re not eating somebody with a Social Security Number is to straight-up ask just before lunch. Like the shrimp I had this afternoon; I had to question them all closely to ensure that none of them were related to Claude or owed him any money.


And yet… I wonder if in those shrimp there might not have been a slight flicker of consciousness, or at least a hunger for revenge, because all of a sudden pooping sounds like the most important idea in the world!

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Aspect the Ratio!

Hi, folks! Today I’d like to talk to a little-appreciated element of games known as the aspect ratio!

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What’s the aspect ratio, I magically hear some of you ask? Here’s what it isn’t; it’s not a gelatin food made of low-frequency electromagnetic waves. No, that would be radio aspic. Far too many designers have failed to make the proper distinction between the two, resulting in messy game experiences that are almost impossible to get out of the upholstery.


Simply put, the aspect ratio is the ratio between the aspects of the game. “But Bjorn,” the sharper readers cry, “that’s no definition, it’s simply a restatement of the term you’re attempting to define!” Good work, sharper readers. You’re very clever, calling me out on my sloppy definitions. Have a cupcake or something to celebrate.


The aspects of the game, in this context, are basically just the width and height of the game screen. The aspect ratio is the ratio between them. So if the width is greater than the height, then the screen is short and fat (some call this “landscape” format), and if the width is less than the height, then the screen is tall and thin (those same folks would call this “portrait” format). If the width and the height are the same, friends, then you are going to have to face the reality that your game screen is, in fact, square.


Different aspect ratios can have a subtle impact on the look and feel of a game. A wide, flat screen can give a great sense of open space to a game where you run along the ground, but would be pure poop for a game that involved a lot of climbing. A tall thin screen, meanwhile, doesn’t work for anything unless you’re developing games for the iPhone, and who would be crazy enough to do that?

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Hi, folks! It’s been an intensely snowy few days here at the Institute, and we’re still clearing it all away!

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Generally speaking, we don’t get a lot of snow around here. Oh, we have weather, don’t doubt it, but it tends to take more prosaic forms like boiling pitch erupting from the ground, or pieces of starstuff tumbling from the heavens, all very normal and easy to handle as a rule.


Snow, however, confounds all our usual weather-dealing protocols. It’s a solid and a liquid at the same time. It’s cold, but it’s also white. It’s utterly silent, but it makes loud crunching noises under one’s hooves as one trots. Puzzling and perplexing!


We had a week of it, scratching our brains trying to figure out just how to dispose of the unexpected dump. Eventually, and I have to give you humans credit for this, we were able to get ahold of a few marvelous devices you call “shovels,” and thusly armed we were able to clear a path from the front door to, well, the back door. Hey, it’s a start!

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First Post of the Year!

Hi, folks! Welcome back to human time in your human year of 2012!

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I trust you all followed my end-of-2011 instructions to the letter by consuming buckets of sugar, vats of cream and multitudinous barrels of joy. If you left any out, I really do encourage you to go back and catch up; the overall effect is properly understood as a synthesis of all three indulgences.


So, now that we’re all charging happily into this fresh new year, what sorts of things can we expect? Well, as a magical unicorn, I do get some press releases and memos on future events to which you humans may not be privy. Here, I’ll share some!


February 2012: Mayans will unveil a new 5000-year stone calendar and put an end to all those silly 2012 end-of-the-world rumors.


July 2012: The world will end for completely unMayan-related reasons. Luckily, it will only end for eight seconds in the middle of the night until support staff in Michigan reset the system. It’ll be a close one!


October 2012: An exciting new game product will come out from PopCap Games and usher in a shining millenium of peace, hope and rejoicing (or not).


December 2012: Santa Claus will, in your human world, raise over $45 billion in a ground-breaking holiday IPO. Toy delivery will spike 15% on the announcement.


Whew! As you can see, there’s a lot coming up for you humans this year, so strap on your event-belts and get prepared for a wild ride unlike any other!

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