Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wayback Wednesday: PopCap!

In this Wayback Wednesday, we'll be honoring the developers that made the most successful puzzle game of the decade, and has produced amazing mobile, PC and console games alike. That company is PopCap!

It all started in 2000, when Brian Fiete, John Vechey and Jason Kapalka founded PopCap, an officeless company that made Flash games for the not-so-good (Well, some of them!) people of the Internet. They continued making Flash games until 2001 when, after making the first Bejeweled, the Internet wasn't being so kind to them, and they started to lose money. Then came their first REAL game: Bejeweled Deluxe, which was so successful that it saved the company, because many people around the world downloaded it. From then on, things got hella better. Since Bejeweled was so well-received and the company had a steady income, they dipped their toes into a different genre, and created Bookworm, a word forming game like Scrabble that pretty much defined PopCap as the best casual game developers ever.

2003 came, and Bookworm was named Puzzle Game Of The Year by Computer Gaming World, while Zuma finished off PopCap's three year hat trick of great games, with it's addictive and fun gameplay that made you think, but not too hard. Also that year, Bejeweled was ported to mobile phones, and thus the second great mobile game was created, after the sheer beauty that was Snake. In 2004, Bejeweled 2 was released, adding secret game modes and new features to the already great franchise. This game cemented Bejeweled's status as one of the best puzzle franchises of all time, and in 2005, PopCap took a well deserved rest, as they thought up another award winning game.

In 2006, tons of PopCap's greatest games were being ported to different devices, from Xbox 360s to to mobile phones to iPod's, and this is where PopCap started getting most of it's money, as it was growing fast, with many new jobs being created. Then, in 2007, my personal favorite PopCap game, Peggle, came out to mass critical acclaim, selling many copies (And also Xbox 360s!) to people of all ages and gaming skill levels. It was everyone's game!

In 2008, even more Bejeweled games came out, with Bejeweled Blitz rocking the Facebook games market, and Bejeweled Twist completely changed the concept of Bejeweled, because instead of having to switch two gems, you rotated four of them. This game proved that PopCap weren't milking a dying franchise, but they were finding more ways for it to be innovative.

PopCap's most well known game, Plants VS Zombies, came out in 2009, and damn right did it deserve to be known. It was endless fun, and critics and gamers alike applauded it for it's challenging gameplay, while it was nominated for many Interactive Achievment Awards and was highly praised for it's great soundtrack. Soon enough, 2010 came around, and Plants VS Zombies was topping the charts on phones and consoles, while Zuma Blitz was released on Facebook, so all audiences got their taste of PopCap magic. And after 2 years, another Bejeweled sequel was spawned, Bejeweled 3, and it was truly the jewel of the Bejeweled franchise, with 4 new gameplay modes, HD graphics and more badges to earn!

With the new consoles being released in 2013, PopCap decided to release Peggle 2, which had new levels, challenges, Peggle Masters and special powers, and was praised by critics. Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare is being released in two days, and since it's a lot like Star Wars Battlefront 2, this could be an amazing game. We'll have to see, but for now PopCap, we salute you!

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