Popcap the Question

By Alec Meer on April 16th, 2008 at 9:51 am.

I can’t decide whether this is cute, or trite, or so cute it becomes trite then back to cute then back to trite, and so on until I’m sobbing and screaming at the same time.

What it certainly is is smarter than anything I’d ever think of. A canny fella has managed to hack Popcap’s Bejeweled to propose to his casual game-lovin’ girlfriend. Thanks to a month of New Jersey software engineer Bernie Peng’s code-tinkering, the match-3 game would display a ring and message when Tammy Li hit a certain score. Given today’s litigious climes, it’s the kind of tale I almost expect to end with Bejewelled’s publisher suing Bernie for cracking their game, but in this case Popcap are picking up the bill for the Pengs’ honeymoon and sending over a sackload of copies of Bejeweled to hand out at the wedding. “Most video game companies would frown on people manipulating their games,” said Popcap’s Garth Chouteau, but it won him a woman. As a bunch of geeks, we have to say, ‘Bernie, hats off to you.’”

They also have to say “wheeee! Money!”, as I can only imagine they’re profiting healthily from thousands of people hearing about this story on mainstream news, duly cooing ‘awwww’, then googling for Bejeweled. What? Yeah, I’m a hopeless cynic. C’mon, I can’t post a sweet story about love’n'stuff without saying at least something venomous.

Edit- turns out the story’s from back in January, but the Popcap involvement is new. Also seems Bernie didn’t hack the game, but actually coded an entire new version of it for Nintendo DS. “Third party profits from Bejeweled clone” – now that’s a rather more familiar tale, eh?

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5 Comments »

  1. Phil says:

    “Bernie, hats off to you” indeed.

    A few hours modding is far cheaper than a trip to H. Samuels.

  2. The Shed says:

    A beautiful new-age love-story. Well, proposition story.

    Damn nifty how genuine Popcap are behaving; who’d've thought.

  3. Nick says:

    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  4. jbrandt says:

    This is perfect. He has actually come up with a single, measurable, criteria for judging whether a woman is qualified for wifehood. Just think– if she’d never reached the appropriate score, he never would have proposed, and she would never have known. He could then move on without all the drama of having getting engaged and THEN discovering her substandard Bejewelled skills, which would inevitably result in a resentful (if justified) breakup. Really, I think this is the future of engagements and matchmaking. I would humbly suggest that all game makers start to include marriage criteria in games. All you’d have to do is set a username to watch and a point value or some other criteria that must be met before the question is, as it were, popped. Imagine sitting down to a game of Rock Band, getting 5 stars on “Suffragette City” on expert, and having a proposal appear on the screen! Or Counterstrike– “Congratulations! Your win:loss ratio is better than 2:1. Will you marry me?” I see a great need.

  5. AbyssUK says:

    Damn it man it should have been peggle