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    ajrich's Peggle Extreme (PC)

    [January 14, 2008 02:24:19 AM]
    In my second session, I completed the five bonus challenge stages. Two of these stages required a minimum score once the orange pegs were cleared, another two added more orange pegs than normal, and the fifth requires that all pegs be cleared. The most difficult, for me, was surprisingly not the clear all pegs stage, but the more difficult of the two high-score stages. Even after I managed to find a way to reliably make a super-slide on the first drop, I was unable to clear the challenge until, by chance, the ball fell into the center bucket during extreme fever (it's worth 100,000 points, as compared to 10,000 or 5,000 for any of the other buckets). The additional orange peg challenges also felt chancy - pegs and bricks are of fixed position, but which pegs are which color is randomly generated at the beginning of the round, except for the one bonus point peg, which is randomly selected before each shot. The randomly moving purple peg is especially important on points challenges.

    I also played a few rounds of duel mode with the computer - I set its difficulty to medium and was treated to an absurd shellacking - the computer never failed to tag an orange peg (duel mode penalizes you for that) and frequently timed the ball to fall into the moving bucket at the bottom of the stage. I did win one round, by making a rather difficult shot to take the Extreme Fever.


    Peggle incorporates the three main design elements common to most, if not all, of PopCap's games.
    1. Simple rules and interface: Peggle can be played with only a one-button mouse. It is sometimes advantageous to use the arrow keys to fine-tune a shot, but it is not strictly necessary, even during challenge mode. The core rules of Peggle are clearly visible to the player in the course of play - after the first ball has dropped, all that really needs to be explained is that you have to clear the orange pegs to win. Due to the simple ruleset, most of the designer work necessarily goes into level design.
    2. Blurring the line between luck and skill: Although the course of the ball is strictly determined at the time of launch, to actually work out that course beyond one or two bounces is beyond the ability of reasonable human beings. This sort of design is fundamentally advantageous to the AI player, which can precisely calculate the course and travel time of its shot. Furthermore, the game randomizes the color assignment of the pegs, which prevents memorized "solutions" - a sequence of predetermined moves, determined by painstaking research, that solves the puzzle. (Or at least requires that these solutions remove every peg on the stage, and not rely on special abilities or extra lives from high-scoring shots).
    3. Family Friendly art: PopCap's art follows an aesthetic not entirely unlike that of the Carebears. The cast consists of talking animals, one of whom is a unicorn, a rainbow features prominently in the extreme fever sequence, ect. Peggle Extreme, as noted in the summary, imports art from Valve's distinctly darker aesthetic. The result is aptly summarized by the image that graces the menu screen: Bjorn, the talking unicorn, standing with his face obscured by a headcrab impaled on his horn.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 14th, 2008 at 02:27:58.

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    [January 12, 2008 10:34:08 PM]
    SUMMARY: Peggle Extreme is a special version of PopCap's Peggle, designed for and distributed with Valve's Orange Box. Peggle gives the player control of a ball launcher set in the top-center of the screen, which is populated with blue, orange, green, and purple pegs and bricks. Once struck, any peg or brick lights up and grants points, and lit pegs or bricks are destroyed once the ball reaches the bottom of the screen. The color of the peg determines which special effect the peg grants in addition to points once struck. The game requires the player to strike all of the orange pegs or bricks in the arena with a limited number of ball launches in order to complete the level and advance.

    GAMEPLAY: Peggle Extreme's adventure mode presents each of the game's 20 stages in ascending order of difficulty. Since Extreme is actually a free demo for Peggle Deluxe (since I skipped out on reading the instruction manual, this took me by surprise) it's campaign is rather short - by the time it's finished introducing all the basic gameplay elements, you're halfway done.

    Peggle valorizes the fuck out of clearing all the orange pegs - when the ball comes close to the last peg, the camera zooms in on it and a special effect is generated by the ball, and if the peg is struck, Ode to Joy heralds the start of fever mode, in which any pegs the ball happens to strike are worth something on the order of 10^2 times as much as normal and the bottom of the stage is filled with buckets, each of which are worth a certain bonus to your score. Once the ball falls into a bucket, the stage is cleared off and your final score is tallied. Peggle Extreme adds a brief voice clip from whichever Valve game provided the background for the level. This is all very satisfying - the first time it happens. After the third or fourth level, I tuned out everything except the voice clip.

    There are also voice clips for failure, but by the time levels were hard enough for me to learn this, I was on the Portal levels. I suppose I could go back to the earlier levels and lose on purpose to hear everyone complain, when I do the second part of the assignment.

    The puzzles themselves are enjoyable enough, although there aren't a satisifying number of them, it's quite a bit more content than your average free demo, and I may consider buying Deluxe if I should ever chance upon some sort of windfall.
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    [January 12, 2008 06:02:08 PM]
    Peggle Extreme: The first 45 minutes (liveblog)

    I'm liveblogging my first session with Peggle Extreme, the one game in the Orange Box that I haven't played yet, as reference for the assigned gamelog for my class.

    Without this assignment, I may or may not have ever gotten around to playing Peggle. Normally, I'd try to find and read the manual, but because I'm doing this for class, and nobody ever reads the manual, I'm skipping that.

    This liveblog isn't my actual submission for the assignment - I'll refer to this when I'm writing that.

    14:26 - Press Launch game
    14:30 - Finished first game. The artistic presentation is hilarious, and the special event script just before and you clear the level's objective is rather satisfying.
    14:35 - There's a hint on the scorebox after you win. The first hint was so banal, I didn't mention it before: "Clear the blue pegs so you can get at the orange ones" but the second hint is the sort of thing that I'd expect to find in the instruction manual, if I had read it: "The ball will head to the exact position of your mouse cursor when you fire"
    14:44 - And now they give me that hint at the start of the round. So far they've been introducing new stage elements in every round, and explaining them in the start-of-round box.
    15:17 - It's been a bit more than 45 minutes now, and I've completed "adventure mode." It ends with an advertisement for regular Peggle. Time to write the proper entry for class.
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    ajrich's Peggle Extreme (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 12 January, 2008

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 15 January, 2008

    ajrich's opinion and rating for this game

    Good humor, great demo.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See ajrich's page

    See info on Peggle Extreme

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Peggle Extreme (PC) by jp (rating: 4)
    2 : Peggle Extreme (PC) by spoo (rating: 5)


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