Monday, June 12, 2006

Bejeweled -- I hate thee...


You ever achieve a goal faster than you expected? And not only faster, but also shatter your goal with meteoric levels?

I play bejeweled ... a lot. Its a nice little game on my cell phone that passes boring minutes when traveling by subway or listening to people. I even use it to duck out of work to play on the toilet bowl.

Bejeweled, if you haven't played before, is matching colors in horizontal or vertical lines. Then getting them to combo. Each time you combo, you gain time. This is clever and unexpect, so obviously I felt confused and scared. After playing though I gained a modicum of proficiency. In about a month's time I gained a score of 3000. This was phenomenal considering a I was lingering around 1000 most of the time and peaked at 2400 before. At this time, I decided I would give up the game when I get a score greater than 10,000. I jokingly said this thinking it would take me the rest of the year to do this. In this sense, I would have had several bouts of boredom with the game and incrimentally increased my skill as well.

Eventually, I broke the 3000 mark and found my self at 3600. Everything was moving as planned. My average score was about 2200. Not bad. Then in a short time I passed that score and got 3900. Again my average was in the 2000s. Soon though, I discovered something. My basic tactic had evolved as follows:
1. I did something! Horray!
2. Get the nearest ones to you
3. Setup for the coolest patterns (I didn't mention this before, but chains of 4, chains of 5, L shapes and T shapes all count... and I suspect they count more.)

I knew chains were kick ass. They not only gave me more points, but more time. I realized if I just made chains at the bottom the random nature of the top will create plenty of combos. Eventually, my score leaped to 4000 then to 4900. I took a little break and played another game. Then came back and in a few weeks I broke my record. Some where in 5000s. Then I broke 6000 soon there after. Eventually I had 6800 and lingered there. I still thought it would be a while till I broke it. And this record stood for about two weeks. But no! I had to pick it up today. Things were going smoothly. Most games last about 7 minutes now that I average about 4000. (At first games lasted about 3 minutes).

In the interim from my last strategy revelation, I realized that taking a break and pausing the game is great for getting a better score. So in the middle of this game I was perplexed as to how much time I had vs. how drained I felt from the game. I looked at my score and realized I was probably gonna break my score. I was flowing pretty well and I was above 7000 already. So I took a little breather and came back. I continued and I had my eye on and off the score. When I still had an abundance of time left at 9400, I knew it was going to happen. I always get a little panicky at this point because I might just fuck up and just fall short. But then I passed it. 10,000 accomplished. Horray. Or not really. I was a filled with melancholy at the achievement. I expected the goal to really last longer. To have to 'figure' something else out. But it happened. Then I went on to 11,000 then 12,000 ... 13,000 14, 15... And then I ended with a score of 17, 660. I have to say I am quite proud of this accomplishment. But I can't really say I want to play ever again. Mainly b/c this game isn't suppose to take 1/2 hour of my time. Yeah I could set 50,000 as a new 'goal' but I don't think I want that goal. So the search is on for another cell phone based casual game. Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe Bowling?

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