Editorial: Peggle?

Yes, Peggle.

I really needed a break from the epic RPGs I had been trekking through for months since I bought my Xbox, and I wanted something light and fun for juxtaposition. There are a few podcasts that I listen to in which a number of members rave about Peggle, but their descriptions of the game failed to entice me. However, I had leftover points on my account after downloading The Who Rock Band track pack, I decided I would give the casual title a go.

Yes that is a flower, and yes that is a car of pegs.

Yes that is a flower, and yes that is a car of pegs.

My god, is that game addicting.
Yes, I might be playing as a magical unicorn shooting virtual metal balls towards multi-coloured pegs in a hope to hear Ode To Joy play one more time, but few games give such instant satisfaction. 

But Peggle is a bizarre phenomenon. Like I said, no matter how many times I heard the game described by enthusiastic fans, I could not be enticed. In fact, I had brought my hard drive to my friend’s apartment and was playing Peggle there when he entered the room and immediately proceeded to make fun of me. Even viewed in action, the game looks boring and ridiculous at first sight, but I dared him to try the game out.

We played until 10am.

Yes, Peggle will claim your soul and not return it no matter how hard you beg. But if you, like me, have had a Mass Effect/Fallout 3/Tales of Vesperia overload, Peggle is the perfect distraction .

This might be a short article this week, but I need to go play more Peggle.

Do you guys play Peggle? Do you have other guilty gaming pleasures? Leave your thoughts below.

0 comments on “Editorial: Peggle?”

  1. @Lusipurr – Think of it this way. In a RPG, casual gamers are a character at levels 1 through 5, and hardcore gamers are the same character at levels 6 through 10.
    At level 10, the character knows all the spells that the character would have learned at all other levels up until that point whereas a character at level one would only know the spells at his level.
    Conclusion: a hardcore gamer can play casual games and still be considered a hardcore gamer. Also, Flower is more than just mindless fun, that’s why I say it’s not casual.

  2. Flower has casual gameing written all over it. It’s a slippery slope, and when you can no longer see the distinction you know you’ve fallen a long way XD.

  3. Rpg analogy = fail, but I do agree that a hardcore gamer can play casual games without being considered casual gamers. Where I grow concerned however are when people are so shamed by their casual daliances that they try to convince themselves that they’re not even playing a casual game at all. Denial never works if you’re the only person subscribing to the dillusion.

  4. That may be the worst analogy you’ve ever crafted–and that’s saying something!
    SN is right. As usual!

  5. C’mon guys, give me SOME credit with that analogy, at least you knew what I was talking about.
    And Flower is casual in the way that the original Mario Bros are casual (and they are): anybody can pick them up and love them, but they’re way more for those willing to look.
    Flower doesn’t have the same number of secrets or amount of gameplay depth by direct comparison, but the games are different lengths for different purposes.
    @SN, have you played Flower?

    Anyway, yes, Peggle IS fully casual.
    But like a previous Lusipurr.com article stated: does it really matter? Really? Games are games and fun is fun. Every piece of entertainment or art serves a different purpose, why look down upon anything if it does its job well?

  6. I can honestly say that I did not follow your analogy.
    Another difference between Super Mario Bros. 1 and Flower is that SMB is good and Flower is not. :p

    “Why look down upon anything if it does its job well?”– It’s the “does its job well” which is the debateable part. You maintain it does, and we maintain it doesn’t. What’s fun for you [clearly!] isn’t fun for everyone.

  7. @Ethos- No I really didn’t follow your analogy, it didn’t make a bit of sense. And no Ethos it doesn’t matter, fun is indeed fun…..but you keep on trying to dress up a donkey as a stallion.

  8. @Lusipurr – True, but having fun with a game is separate from how well it performs. I don’t enjoy the Grand Theft Auto games in the slightest, but I would never argue that those aren’t games with excellent design that does what it intends to do very well. Those games work and excel, they just don’t appeal to me.
    Flower works and does a very good job doing what it does, but I entirely understand how somebody couldn’t enjoy it, I just object to calling it “bad”, especially when you haven’t played it.
    But again, I’ve played and not liked GTA4, but I don’t call it bad.

    @SN – Like Lusi said, what’s fun for one isn’t fun for another. While I don’t know if you’ve played the game either, if you have and you don’t like it, it doesn’t mean I’m dressing up the game since it is legitimately the best gaming experience I’ve had in over 4 years. I play games for the mood and emotional response, and Flower is unequaled in delivering these two things. Two nights ago, I spent 90 minutes playing two levels that could be beat in 10 minutes total. Insert joke about how I’m bad at games, but I’ve blasted through the game and know how to beat it quickly. I did it because of the incredible experience. This is not dressing up anything. I do not make it up for the sake of argument.

  9. Ethos I’m not argueing that the game isn’t fun for some people, many people enjoy casual games and there’s no shame in a core gamer playing a casual game, but you’re trying to say flower isn’t a casual game which is like trying to dress a donkey up as a stallion, because however hard you try you are never going to succeed in passing one off as the other.

    I probably won’t ever play Flower because I don’t need to play a game in order to know that I will not enjoy it, but I accept that for some people it probably isn’t an awful game.

  10. @SN – I suppose we never will agree, and probably because our definitions are different. I didn’t think I’d really enjoy Flower before I tried it, but I also believe that Lusipurr is entirely accurate in assuming he’ll hate it, so I shouldn’t judge you for your assumption.
    I say our definitions are different because the only way in which I view Flower as being casual is the fact that it is short and the controls are extremely easy to grasp. Like I said, I simply can’t call any game with such emotional weight and carefully crafted emotional arc tied to the evolving way the player approaches the gameplay a casual game.
    And I’m obviously not embarrassed to love casual games hence my Peggle article.
    I just think that although you have every right to write a game off as one you’ll never play by seeing media and reading reactions (I do the same, we all do), I don’t think you have the same right to discuss the game in depth and apply labels to it as somebody very familiar with the material does.
    The book (or game in this case) is very different from its cover.

  11. Ethos the thing which makes a game a game is not it’s emotional arc. I call Flower a casual game for it’s absence of traditional mechanics when it comes to a gamers progression. Now I may be wrong but Flower doesn’t appear to be a game which tests the skills of the player, no way to win or loose, no impediment to the progression, every child gets a prize, so not a game in the traditional sense of the word. I realise that for many people Flower is a transcendental experience, but that is not sufficient for it to shed the label of casual game. I’m very happy for you that you like flower, but you like a casual game, it will always be a casual game no matter how much you like it, because that is what it is.

  12. Okay, I understand your definition of it now. Yes, it’s true, there’s only one level in which you actually have to restart if you “die” so to speak.
    So it is absolutely a casual game by your definition.
    And again, this IS a matter of definition, because my favourite games, hardcore or casual by your definition, are easy since challenge isn’t the reason I play games.
    I DO like a casual game by my definition. Many. And I’ll gladly and proudly admit to it: I like Peggle, I like Wii Fit, I like Animal Crossing, I like Tetris, I like Virus Buster. I could go on. These are games that are simple fun, but many of them have challenges. Peggle has very difficult levels, there are masters of Tetris, and even some high scores are very difficult to top in Wii Fit skiing. These games (mini games in Wii Fit’s case, and perhaps not Animal Crossing) have traditional mechanics when it comes to a gamer’s progression. That’s why I chose to define casual differently.
    Because Peggle is actually very traditional in some senses. There are progressively more difficult challenges, there are points and high scores and abilities that you gain if you chose the “main game”. You also fail if you don’t meet the requirements and thus “die” and have to restart the level. But few would dispute that Peggle is a casual game.
    That’s why I’d say the player’s emotional involvement has a larger hand in defining the category. If there’s a well thought out game world. If there’s a story that is connected to the gameplay. If all elements point to a single theme.

    But, in another sense, I could be confusing “games as art” as “games as hardcore”, since games are just games to me, and the spectrum is too wide to categorize as much as we all like to do.

    So what I’m ultimately saying, Silicon, is that we’re just ultimately arguing semantics, and I think that it makes no sense for either of us to say a game is something to someone else since the matter is almost entirely subjective. So I’m sorry for trying to make you subscribe to my definitions.

  13. Yeah ok I can see there are problems with my definition, but then your definition doesn’t work either as a game cannot be distinguished from other media such as film, art and music in terms of emotional involvement. Then you have core games like Halo 3 which offer gamers absolutely no emotionaql investment in the proceedings.

    I feel as though I have run into a rhetorical brickwall. The definition I was laboring under clearly isn’t sufficient to classify these games, yet there isn’t a single facet of Flower that I could look at and see a core game mechanic.

  14. Well, a game, by definition, must have a condition for victory or defeat. In Tetris, you lose by letting your stack reach the top of the play area. In Halo, you fail by getting the crap shot out of you. In Peggle, you fail by not hitting all the orange pegs before running out of balls. Regardless of whatever silly and arbitrary distinctions we wish to draw as gamers, at the end of the day, games have to have the ability to be won or lost. This is why Flower and Nobi Nobi Boy aren’t games. There are no conditions for defeat.

    Back to Peggle however, while it’s a fine enough game, there’s really little in the way of chances to get better. In a game like Super Merio Brothers or Halo or Madworld, defeat brings with it a chance to learn something, to gain a better understanding of what needs to be done in order to achieve victory next time. In Peggle, by contrast, so much of it is luck. You can’t really control anything other than maybe the first two ricochets, and after that, you’re left to pray. Is Peggle a game? Certainly. However, it is more a game of chance than of skill, and I tend not to play for more than an hour at a time.

  15. @SN – Yes, absolutely. Like both you and I said, by the end, I was definitely noticing holes in my definition as well. I just think it’s fun, interesting, and worth it to discuss it once in a while.

    @Master Chief – Re: Flower, not only can you “die” in the 5th level and have to restart it, but there are conditions for victory in each level, and failing to meet these conditions will, in turn, not allow the player to progress. Obviously these conditions are very simple because they weren’t intended to be the main point of the game. But there are levels, there is progression, there are secrets, there are (very easy, mind you) puzzles. It is a game. By the sounds of it, it’s not your style of game either.

    Re: Peggle – you’re right in many regards, but that little bit of skill required ends up being very important. To just hit a single peg into the free ball bucket. To hit the purple one first and send it at just the right angle to hit a bunch of blue and orange on the other side for more points and more free balls. While nobody can deny the level of chance inherent in the design, I think you’re underplaying the level of skill involved as well.
    Poker is, by definition, gambling. A game of chance. But I hope you wouldn’t deny that by learning the odds, one can become very good at the game of poker. It’s a bit of an extreme example, but the principals apply.

  16. Lol yeah always fun Ethos, arguements are my favorite part of the internets.