I am a pretty big and unabashed Popcap Games fan. Â Not all of their stuff, mind you, but I’ve spent more money and wasted more time on their games than I’m willing to admit. Â I’m playing Chuzzle again lately, since it’s been released for iPhone (and with all honestly, when I got my iPhone it was the first game I searched for on the app store). Â One thing I’ve always loved about Chuzzle was Zen mode.
Zen mode allows you to simply play the game, forever, without any chance of losing. Â You accrue points. Â You can achieve trophies. Â But with no risk of failure. Â Conventional game design wisdom would argue that a game without an end condition like that wouldn’t be of any lasting value, but I’m quite sure I’ve spent more time playing Zen Chuzzle than I have any other mode. Â Part of this is the sheer joy of playing the game. Â It looks and sounds great, and it is simply entertaining just to pop chuzzles.
I think what we can take away from this is that with enough polish, you can shrug off a lot of the conventional weight of game design.