Sunday 10 April 2011


It's almost assessment period. For the thirty-or-so viewers I average a day, there might be an update drought for a bit.

But for now, it's post-2000 time which means more stolen images from IGN. This is Peggle, had you failed to see that giant image. Not really all that obscure, but still classed as demon spawn by the select few who think they know what gaming is.

I'm not a fan of the terms "casual" and "hardcore". They annoy me, because... well... I don't know. They just do. Just like "8-bit graphics". To me they're half-baked concepts used solely to create divisions in gaming society. For example, if you play Peggle, this means you are playing a "casual game" and are therefore potentially a "casual gamer". By slaughtering Nazi zombies in one of your many sequels to Call of Duty, you are playing a "hardcore game" and are therefore a "hardcore gamer". The two apparently can't mix as there'll be an immense loss of life... or something.

Or at least this was the argument put forward in 2007-ish when Peggle turned up on Xbox Live Arcade. Peggle is a simple game which prides itself in being accessible to everyone. Unlike the majority of games both before and after its invention, it was not aimed solely at the young male audience, and this rattled a few cages for some reason. The idea that *gasp* other groups could like a video game too was almost unheard of. That if your grandmother got hold of the game you could never touch it again.

But it's not so much the idea of dividing society up that bothers me. It's that, as words, they're... quite bad. To me it doesn't sound healthy to play games in a "non-casual" way. If you're making a living out of it, fair enough, but typically if there's money involved you tend to mix and match between all sorts of genres for all sorts of people.

I can pad this post out with rants because Peggle is a very simple game and doesn't take a great deal of time to explain. At the top of the screen exists a launching device which can fire balls at a specified angle. Your job is to hit all the orange "pegs" without running out of balls. Balls bounce of pegs and inevitably fall off the bottom of the screen.. So it's a bit like pinball without the flippers (except for the levels were there [i]are[/i] flippers), or, if you're feeling Japanesey, like pachinko with disappearing pegs. Nobody really hates pinball and so nobody should really hate Peggle.

Along the way there are obstacles. Purple pegs that increase your score, and green pegs which activate special powers which liven things up a bit. Despite what it says though, it's more of a game of chance than a game of skill, but it does have manly unicorns and rainbows so all is well in the world.

The problem with Peggle is that it doesn't really try very hard. There are about a hundred levels (and more in the expansion pack, Peggle Nights), all of which are mostly the same. The scenery changes, there's a few music tracks and as said, the special powers are not always the same, but Peggle is perhaps a bit shallower than you would expect from a home console puzzle game in the 21st century. The formula does get a bit old after twenty or thirty levels.

It's also sadly padded out with layers of tedium. The game finds joy in having the helper characters talk to you at the start of each stage, even when the game admits there's nothing worthwhile to say. You're never going to relate to these characters when you're only around them for five levels each, and to me it's just wasted effort that could have been put into making the gameplay more varied and interesting.

But is Peggle a bad game? No. It would certainly be more appealing if the full game was included with new Xbox 360s rather than just a trial, but you can't really go wrong with this one.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, Peggle. I played the whole game and I finished it merely to get it over with. Sure it's fun and smooth and colorful and accessible, but it's also repetitive, dull, and luck-based.

    I also tried to play when no one else was around due to the rainbow vomit the game would make me go through when completing a level.

    I guess it could be shown to those who've yet to play a videogame.