Video Game Thoughts: Peggle

Peggle was a 2007 puzzle game by Popcap Games that I played on the PC. I got this game for free during a special promotion event that Electronic Arts put on at the time. The gameplay in Peggle was like one of those peg arcade games. The player pays some money, then gets to drop a few metal balls. They try to get the balls to bounce through the pegs properly to end up in a bucket that gives the most points. The game’s namesake comes from the “peg”.

In Peggle, the player got to choose the angle that the ball would be launched from. The game had a simple physics system to calculate the ricochet effect based on where the ball hit the peg and the speed the ball was moving at. Instead of getting tickets for prizes like they would in an arcade, Peggle rewarded the player with high scores. Also, instead of just trying to get the ball into a valuable hole, the object of each level was to hit all the pegs to clear the board. The player could get bonus points for hitting more than one peg per ball. Some pegs also gave the player special powers, such as duplicate balls.

I found the game to be easy to pick up and play but also to have a lot of depth if I wanted to really practice at it. There was a lot of skill in precisely aiming the ball to create the right combination of bounces. However, there was a little too much focus on precision for my liking. There was no randomness in the levels–repeated tries could complete any level–but I quickly hit my personal skill cap at the game. I generally prefer games with more learning in them. That is what creates the fun in a game for me. Peggle, on the other hand, is more about muscle memory. I’d rather play piano if I want to improve my muscle memory. Still, it was great for a free game.

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