Bejewled Blitz Expose

The first time I played Bejeweled I thought to myself, “Self, this silly little game won’t be around long.” That was, what, 30 years ago? I don’t know. I lose track of time. But I should have known that the game-creating geniuses at Pop Cap Games were not planning on letting this little jewel get away from them. Whatever happens to the brain while playing Bejeweled, some addictive switch is triggered that causes endless gameplay to commence. Once it became mobilized and Facebookized, we were all in trouble. I reckon most of the Bejeweled junkies have decided to play one more game on their phone while lying on their bed before going to sleep at night.

For the uninitiated (the 5 people who’ve never played out there), the concept is simple enough. Line up three jewels that are alike and they disappear, thus giving you points. Line up four and five of them and you get special rewards. For the Blitz edition you are connected via Facebook with other friends who are playing and you are now part of a leaderboard. On this leaderboard are cheaters who amass staggering amounts of points through some process I do not know. The rest of us, who play fairly, start out at about number 7 or 8 on the leaderboard. You can even share your scores, extra points, and a replay of your game on Facebook. We all know that our friends are sitting on pins and needles to see replays of our Bejeweled Blitz games.

I have asked a few friends who hit these ultra high scores just how they do it. Most of them will admit that they do not know. They just play constantly and that old country saying comes into play: even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then. Or in more modern terms, they just get lucky. I am thinking that there is a secret out there that no one has yet been willing to tell me (thus my reference to the ‘cheaters’ earlier!). One friend did give me some strategies, but I was already familiar with them.

That Voice. It is my theory that there is a psychological manipulation behind Bejewled Blitz that has very little to do with how you play the game. There are the obvious signs … the bright colors, irresistible sound effects, groovy music, and the deep god-like voice that tells you that your move was EXCELLENT….GOOD….AWESOME. You know, of course, that you can begin before That Voice says ONE MINUTE. I don’t think you get more than a minute, but you could get less if you wait!

Multipliers. The key, of course, is the multipliers. You cannot have a great score in Bejeweled without multipliers. The higher you go, the higher your points, and the greater the chance of having that winning minute. You don’t always get the multipliers at what seem to be the needed times…and this can be frustrating.

Not Random. I’m not sure but I think that these ‘boards’ of jewels are not random. It appears to me that you hit a bunch of crummy ones and then hit on some that are virtual explosions of matches and points. How many times have I wiped out row after row after row and never even got a x2? Then some other times I connect a few dots and things start popping and flowing on my game board in such a way that I certainly didn’t make it happen.

Better at the beginning. When it’s time for the leaderboard to refresh and we all start on an even playing field (except the cheaters), that is when you get the best boards. Later you run through those series of boards where you just stare trying to find one match someplace. That’s when you turn to…

Hints. I do not like to use hints. I feel that I am cheating…and then I begin to overuse them … and it takes up too much time. I do not like Hints.

Time. One minute is all it takes to play. But that is simply a lure to get you to play the game during those moments when you need a break. Pretty soon those “one minute” games have become sixty minutes and an hour is gone. Are you at the top of the leaderboard after an hour? No, of course not.

Appeal to all ages. There are both young people and elderly people who are addicted to enjoy playing Bejeweled. But if you have not ventured into the PopCap world of Bejeweled, be warned. There is no coming back. Just ask around. You see that guy over there with the black eye? Dropped his phone on his face playing Bejeweled in bed. See that lady over there who is dressed much too brightly? She’s got colorful jewels on her mind. Finding conversations with friends to be taking place in 60 second blocks? Bejeweled.

Yes, while the world is talking about nuclear disarmament and the out of control economy, most humans are sliding their finger over their iPhones changing jewels around. Or they’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome from clutching their mouse too tight as they fling stones from side to side, hoping to see an explosion. Beneath the surface of life as we know it is the subculture of Bejeweled. That’s just one game from the Pop Cap empire. Don’t even get me started on Plants Vs. Zombies (please bring it to Facebook!) and Zuma (the newest Facebook / Pop Cap craze!).

~John

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