Apparently, Peggle is the top selling game at PopCap games.

I gave the demo a try — I dig puzzle games.

As far as I can tell, it is basicaly a really well presented simulation of pachinko with about an order of magnitude more control over how the ball is put in play.

Completing any of the levels beyond the initial set basically boils down to luck.

The brilliant bit is that the game is implemented such that luck and skill are nearly indistinguishable. Failure begets success by simply repeating non-stupid shots and the luck of the board layout. On any given shot, skill lasts about two bounces or so and then luck takes over.

It is really quite the brilliant bit of balance that anyone who pays attention to either user experience or industrial design (in the HCI sense) should pay attention to.

Regardless of the delicious implementation and even at 50% off, I still can’t see this game being worth $10 ($20 normally).

Of course, I don’t find slot machines at all entertaining either.

In the comments, Robert added a link to the Zero Punctuation review of Peggle. Spot on and brilliant, as well.

4 Responses to “Peggle.”

  1. Erik says:

    I gave the demo a try too, and I was impressed enough with the quality of the game (taking into account graphics, sound/music, and gameplay) that a few days after my demo expired, I handed in my ten bucks. For $20, I wouldn’t have, but ten, yes. And I agree with everything you said about UE, because I think this would be a lesser game without the attention paid to the interaction between player and program. On the other hand, perhaps kind of insulting to compare Peggle with a slot machine. If the game had randomized gravity or wind then I could see it fitting into your description of equal parts skill and randomness, but since those seem to be constants, it seems safe to say that Peggle involves some of the same trig and geometry-calculation effort that makes billiards fun.

  2. Robert Fenerty says:

    You really need to watch Zero Punctuation’s

  3. Robert Fenerty says:

    Rats. So much for my fancy embedded link attempt. Here’s the review, it echoes (and expands upon) your thoughts:

  4. Mark Dalrymple says:

    I picked up the $5 iPod version, and have been playing it entirely too much. For a quick diversion, it’s a lot of fun.

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