Why I Suck at Pig Up

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I will readily admit that today’s post was supposed to be an interview with two of the PopCap designers who made our new Facebook game, Pig Up. If you have not yet seen or played this game, you can do so right here.  I summarily cancelled the interview yesterday, however, when I got so mad at the game that I never wanted to talk to either of them again.  And then after I cancelled the interview, I walked by both of their cubicles and angrily shook my fists, a rather pointless and toothless gesture since neither were actually in their cubicles at the time. But I did feel a little better.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. I did get mad at Pig Up, and I did postpone the interview, but the two events are totally unrelated. But since it’s my turn to post today, and the interview won’t run until next week, I figure I can at least tell you why I got mad at Pig Up.

Here’s why I got mad at Pig Up: I suck at it.

There's me, festering at #16 on my leaderboard.

I know this is not the game’s fault. I am not unreasonable. I don’t need my pals here at PopCap to change the gameplay to accommodate my lack of skill. (I mean, I wouldn’t complain if they did, but I have reluctantly begun to accept, in my late 40s, that the world does not revolve around me, at least not all the time.) What I do wonder, though, is how many people are like me, lacking whatever component it is in our DNA to do well at this kind of game.

I understand what it is that I am supposed to do: Fly in the air, collect the flapples, and avoid the bees. Simple enough. I’ve done harder things in my life. And yet even knowing the rules, understanding the mechanics, and spending hours clicking “Launch!” over and over, I cannot seem to get any better at this dang game. It’s some kind of timing thing, made worse by my ever-deteriorating Old Man Reflexes. Because here’s what happens: No matter how much I try to avoid them, I somehow seem to hit every single bee that appears on the screen, every time. My relationship with the bees in Pig Up is sort of like when you’re driving or skiing and you start looking at the thing you are actively trying to avoid, like a parked car or giant tree, and then go straight towards it. I see a bee in Pig Up and I cannot not aim straight for it. And when a bee looks like it will miss me even if I do nothing, I will proactively jump so that I do hit it. “Hey, don’t try to fly by me, I’m trying to hit you and lose more flaps!” If this game were about hitting the bees, I’d be at the top of the leaderboard. Conversely, and just as annoyingly, I do somehow manage to avoid the things I am supposed to try to collect. 2x flapples? Quick, Jeff, jump to avoid! Rocket Pack power up? Uh oh! Don’t wanna pick that up!

Hey, there's some bees up there! I better try to hit them!

What I really need, the more I think about it, is for someone to open my brain up, get out a wire cutter and soldering iron, and rejigger a couple things in there that apparently got switched at birth, just to be able to play Pig Up correctly. (Or, I suppose I could just practice more and save the medical bills and trauma to my family. Will think more on this one.)

What I’d like to know today, and feel free to leave comments below, is if you suffer from the same kind of affliction I do when it comes to this game. Are you good at it? Do you suck? What’s your high score? Help an old man out here. Tell me I’m not alone in the world.


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