Holiday Gift Guide: Fierce Competitors

Welcome back to the PopCap Holiday Gift Guide!  This edition focuses on the fierce, the furious, the all-in-fun, the love-to-play-but-wanna-win type. You know them, you love them, you revel in taking them down from time to time: the hard-core competitors, for whom a game is not a game unless there is a victor.

Why no, I don’t know anyone like that myself… why do you ask?

Plants vs. Zombies for Nintendo DS

Recently, a man asked me whether he ought to buy his grandson a DS or an iPad, because he needed the device that would allow the grandchildren to play Plants vs. Zombies against one another. Well, first of all… best. grampa. ever.

I pointed him in the direction of the Nintendo DS, because PvZ on DS includes Versus mode, in which you take on a friend and choose whether you will play on the side of Plants or Zombies!

And seriously, best grampa ever! That’s a happy holiday for a lucky kid.

Bejeweled Blitz LIVE for Xbox 360

Included on the disk for the newly released Bejeweled 3 for Xbox 360 is a real gem of a game for the competitive beast inside. In fact, it would be fair to say that this game is responsible for bringing out a deep-down, heretofore unseen competitive side in a great many people. I’m talking, of course, about Bejeweled Blitz. And if you ask me, there has never been a purer incarnation of Bejeweled Blitz than Bejeweled Blitz LIVE for Xbox 360.

Both Classic and Twist mode are included. Just when you start to get frustrated at how good your opponent is getting, switch modes to reset the playing field! Then laugh an evil laugh.

Sit side-by-side with a friend and take a minute with Bejeweled Blitz LIVE, Xbox controllers in hand. An hour or so later, wonder how a minute can be so incredibly invigorating and fun! You start each round with an identical board, and each move you make changes the layout and causes different cascades and explosions. That’s competition in its purest form, when you can see clearly that you each started with the same materials in the same configuration, and one of you spun gold while the other wound up with a chunk of lead.

Peggle Nights for PC/Mac

That brings us to the granddaddy of PopCap competitions: Peggle and Peggle Nights’ Duel mode.

We take this very seriously around these parts — never do we allow a PopCap Olympics to go by without a masters’ Duel on the big screen while we ooh and aah at the expert skills on display and collectively sigh at the occasional near miss. You know the audience sound effects in the game when you almost hit a peg?  Recorded live at one of our events.

(Okay, not really.  But it would be cool, wouldn’t it?)

When you duel in the Peggle world, you have such complex choices to make! Do I aim to make the highest score myself each shot, or do I aim to block the good moves for my opponent on their next turn? Do I dare risk the consequences of missing an orange peg in order to try for greatness with a purple and a bucket bounce combo? You’ll watch as your friend lines up a glorious shot and soars ahead of your score… only to have their score diminished moments later by a poorly executed maneuver. The ups and downs of Peggle Nights are as dramatic as the circus dreams of Kat Tut himself.

These dreams go on when I close my eyes...

Sure, Jimmy scored a rockin' slide, but Master Hu is about to go totally Zen with the smackdown, just you wait.

Peggle is also available on DS and Xbox… if you have a friend or family member who doesn’t think they enjoy gaming, this is your ticket to winning them over! The precision, the patience, the sheer joy from which the ode takes its name, will lure the game-shy to your side and make them eager converts! Well, those things plus the satisfaction of winning a duel against their own teacher! Competition is healthy, fun, and friendly, and never more so than at the Peggle Institute!

Happy holidays everyone!

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