Preview : [Bookworm Adventures 2] (2009)

Developer : Popcap
Release Year : 2009
Price : 19.99$

Sequel of  great 'Word Game' + 'RPG-style'.

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Chocolate, 9-spelling-length. My best (up to now).

[Bookworm Adventures] was good, as well-done mixture of 'Word Game' + 'RPG-style'. And now, 2nd. series has come.1

You must make 'Word' from 16 alphabets, as long as possible. Attack & Win & Gain Exp. & Lv. up. However, 'Making Words' & 'Choosing Items' are essential of this game, not RPG.

For 'Choosing Items', it's like [Insaniquarium].2 Before starting chapter, you could pick up 3(2 items + 1 buddy) to help. It's very important, because it could change difficulties a lot.

Basically, [Bookworm Adventures] was already good. With some change & improvement, became better. Just the problem is, 'making longer words' is not so easy, and more difficult for who is not-English-natives. Besides that, very good game. So you'd better try & buy it. :)

Where to buy : Popcap3

Footnote.
  1. In fact, it's Volume 2 rather than sequel. This game starts with Book 4, because earlier game was until Book 3. [Back]
  2. Tysen Henderson did lead role for [Bookworm Adventures] series, and he was 1 of 2-men team Flying Bear Entertainment, who made [Insaniquarium] before they entered Popcap. Another one was George Fan, who's leader of [Platns vs Zombies]. [Back]
  3. Originally, It was annouced to be released at 15th. Aug., but seems to be released earlier at 30th. Jul. [Back]
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Pig-Min has praised a lot of Popcap, after [Bookworm adventures] in 2006. It's good to see their new game so soon, sequel of the great word game + RPG mix. Original game was released for 29.99$, but this sequel wlil be 19.99$ & Steam will host it for 9.99$. Just wait for 1 month, and we will see another good game.

But...
Release date is Aug. 15th? Korean Independence day?
And [Plants vs Zombies] was released at 5th. May, Korean Children's day!

Is there something related to Korea? :)
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5 reasons : Why Popcap is Good?

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To my happy, they never disappoint me after [Bookworm Adventures] in 2006.


1. [Bejeweled].

Who didn't play [Bejeweled] at all? If you've not played it, that's just misunderstood, you might not remember the name.

Of course, [Bejeweled] is NOT everything Popcap has, anyway it has been really big sales / play time until now. And for some Casual Gamers who don't remember the names, [Bejeweled] is Popcap & Popcap is [Bejeweled].


2. 1 game -> Many platforms as possible.

Their unique business style. "Make 1 game & Convert to Many platforms as possible." That really works for their business, and our gaming needs.

For example, [Bejeweled] has been released for Windows PC (Download / Web) - Gaming Console (XBOX Live Arcade) - Mobile (PDA / Cell / Smart / iPhone) - In-flight entertainment system - Hotel game-on-demand - Lottery(!) ticket - and even [World of Warcraft] & Facebook.


3. Really good Casual Games.

I'm not sure every Popcap games has been good. But at least, after [Bookworm Adventures] in 2006, all Popcap games by 'major studio' are good.1

[Bookworm Adventures] - [Peggle] series - [Bejeweled Twist] - and recent masterpiece [Plants vs Zombies]. 4 great (or good for somebody) games in 4 years. How can't I like that company?


4. They care about Hard Core Gamers, too.

Basically Popcap is making games for Casual Gamers. Casual Game market is very different from Hard Core Games, as you already know. But to my suprise, or just be simple, they also care about Hard Core Gamers!

For [Plants vs Zombies], you could clear 'Adventure Mode' not-so-hard. After that, real game starts which is more challening. For [Peggle] series - [Bejeweled Twist], both of them have 'harder challening levels', which could be good gifts for Hard Core Gamers.

And Popcap is selling their games at Steam2, which could be 'Sanctuary of Hard Core Gamers'. Not just selling their games at Steam, but also does some Promotion as [Peggle Extreme] - add Steam Achievements at [Plants vs Zombies].


5. They research for 'Stress Relief' & 'Family Unite with Casual Game'.

Popcap is doing many Surveys - Researches about 'Stress Relief' & 'Faminy Unite with Casual Game'.3

You might not think that's so important. Anyway that's kinda Counterattack to the 'Video Games are Evil' theory, and could grow Ecosystem of whole Casual Game market - even Video Games.

Footnote.
  1. Not sure about others as [Mystery P.I.] series by Spintop, branch of Popcap. [Back]
  2. Let's skip XBOX360 Live Arcade at now. [Back]
  3. If you're getting Press Releases from Popcap, you might get many of them at 2008, as I did. [Back]
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This is the e-mail Interview with the 'Tysen Henderson', Lead Designer of [Bookworm Adventures] & Co-Designer of [Bookworm].

Korean version of this Interview.


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1. Did you choice some 'Target Player' for Word Games, as [Bookworm] & [Bookworm Adventures]? If so, how come to get it?


Our core audience is always our first target, namely our long-time loyal PopCap fans, our friends and family, and of course ourselves.  With added role-playing elements and new complex game play we also invite more traditional role-playing and hard-core gamers to try their hands at Bookworm Adventures.


2. We could call it 'Word Game' as 'Another Method of Education' or 'Edu-tainment'. Did you expect something like that, when you make & release 'Word Game'?

While wordplay is at the core of Bookworm and Bookworm Adventures, education is not specifically the first focus. Providing a fun, engaging and challenging experience was the focus.  That being said, the educational and cerebral aspects one experiences while playing are not accidental. In many ways we attempted to engage the player’s mind and to think about words in unique ways while adventuring with Lex the bookworm (such as in Moxie’s Mini-Game Hut, the Sphinx’s Riddle, and using bonus word categories).


3. There might be some 'positive feedback' about your works, as 'Word Game'. And you might feel very good about that. Could you please let us know some episodes about that briefly?

Bookworm Adventures has been received very well since its launch.  Its sales numbers have been breaking records despite its slightly higher price point as people are seeing the definite added value we’ve put in the game.  Players are also accepting the genre combination of casual word games and role-playing and enjoying the nuances it adds, and that either genre alone lacked before Bookworm Adventures was released.  Also, as the previous question alludes to, a lot of feedback gathered speaks to Bookworm Adventure’s success as both casual entertainment and a bit of mental stimulation.


4. Do you have some special algorithm for [Bookworm Adventures], for Alphabet board?

There are a number of hidden rules at play concerning letter distribution in Bookworm Adventures.  The fun of spelling words is of course in finding words fast and/or spelling words of exceptional length, so it was important that we facilitated that as much as possible.  You’ll notice with a little bit of observation that the game makes an attempt to keep a balance of vowels and consonants on the board, as well as limits the number of instances of certain letters that can appear at once.  While certain enemies in the game have special abilities to offset this balance, you’ll almost always be able to spell something to deliver a whopping to your foe, and you’ll likely find yourself using the Scramble button to clear off nasty effects more often than to find words.  We want you to spell powerful words, and so does the game.


5. You can't use all the words in the English culture, and you might have some basis to choice 'What words use & What words don't use'. Could you please let us know, how you decided (or choiced or made) 'Dictionary' of [Bookworm] & [Bookworm Adventures]?

The choice to include certain words and not others in the Bookworm Adventures was based numerous factors.  Most notably we did not include ‘Proper Nouns’ such as the names of people or countries or calendar months, as this is a rule commonly found in word games both in the board-game format as well as in computer-based word gaming.  Another important factor was in consideration of our audience.  To ensure that players of any age and background could enjoy Bookworm Adventures at home, a friend’s house or in a classroom, we took extra care to restrict words that might otherwise offend our players or ruin the light-hearted and humorous atmosphere of the game.


6. Could you leave some advise something, if somebody wants to make 'Word Game' with non-English, as Korean or Japanese or Chinese?

The Korean, Japanese and Chinese gaming audiences obviously have their own unique nuances, expectations and trends.  But in producing any game including word games, one must prioritize fun first, everything else second.  As beautiful as your graphics might be or as populated your lobby might be, if the game isn’t fun, eventually everyone will move on and leave your game behind if you don’t hook them with fun.  Once players are having fun, give them new goals, give them something to progress towards, whether it be that next level or a new area, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to give them something sparkly to collect.  Who doesn’t want a shiny new treasure as a reward for all their hard work?


7. Please leave some message for Pig-MIn Interview Readers, especially for whom are interested in 'Word Games'.

Whether you develop games or just play games, try to remember why you’re playing. It’s for fun, right?  Games should inspire or relax or thrill you (or all of the above) and make you feel fulfilled. Bookworm and Bookworm Adventures were amazing projects and a lot of fun to create, and we all hope you have just as much fun playing along with Lex the bookworm on all of his adventures! Thanks for your time. Enjoy!


Korean version of this Interview.
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