Like kids of any age or size, we like to play with toys here at PopCap. Especially if it means we can get out of a meeting by doing so. So given the choice between attending a 1.5 hour meeting or assembling a brand new 3-D Plants vs. Zombies construction toy from China, guess which one we chose?
(If you chose “go to your meeting,” I’m sorry to inform you that you will never be eligible to work in the gaming industry.)
Now, one interesting thing about China, at least as far as PopCap goes, is that there are a lot of bootleg products over there. Lots of games and toys and plushies and so on that bear the PopCap name but in fact are not authorized by us at all. So it goes. We’re of course extremely happy that PvZ is so popular around the world. We’d be a little happier, honestly, if stupid bootleggers didn’t profit off our success. But whaddya gonna do? In any case, the good news (for us at least) is that this particular toy is an official product of ours. The bad news is that it’s only available in China. At least so far. So when one of our co-workers arrived back from our Shanghai office bearing a few of these sets, we were all over ‘em.
So what the heck is this thing? That is what I’m here to tell you. It is a cardboard diorama of the rooftop PvZ levels, complete with Dr. Zomboss and a variety of plants and zombies that you can stage and move around as you please. The packaging itself is some kind of engineering marvel, with every piece attached to a series of die-cuts like this:
So the first step is to punch all the pieces out, which is satisfying in its own small way, just like stepping on Bubble Wrap. There are actually a ton of pieces in this thing, with some of them, like Dr. Zomboss, requiring their own small assembly. Fortunately, every single piece is number-coded, making the overall assembly easy enough that even a slightly dim middle-aged social media director can put it together, assuming he has a smarter and younger person assisting him.
Assembly basically goes from the bottom up: You make the base of the diorama first, followed by the support for the roof, then the roof itself, and then the plants and zombies, which you can stick into slots anywhere you like. The total assembly time, for two completely sober adults with college educations, was about 40 minutes. Just long enough to be totally satisfying, and, as an added bonus, to allow us to avoid the meeting entirely. Yay! Mission accomplished!
Here is the final assembly, perfect for your coffee table, desk, dining room table, or mantel. Now all you have to do is get yourself over to China to buy one!