October 8th, 2008

As a video game journalist operating outside of any larger organization, you learn pretty quickly that there are certain developers who are a pain in the ass to communicate with and certain ones that are downright lovely. Popcap, the makers of the wonderfully addictive Peggle, are very much the latter. Their PR guy Garth Chouteau — who’s really more of a PR gentleman — is super personable, super quick to respond, and awesome at his job. The other thing that makes Popcap great: they send tons and tons of random swag.

After a silence of a couple years during which time I wasn’t doing much reviewing, I first got back in touch with Popcap as I was boarding my plane to go to The Penny Arcade Expo last month — or, I should say, Popcap got back in touch with me. Garth was calling about Peggle Nights, the newest incarnation of the game that had both Scott and I utterly obsessed back when we were supposed to be writing our senior projects. He was sending over early access to the game. Great. Within the next few weeks though, I not only received access, I also received a full-sized, high-quality poster promoting Bejeweled. Then what should come in the mail but what’s described as the Peggle Nights “Bucket O’ Goods,” a box including a temporary tattoo, a bumper sticker, and a plush alien in a spaceship that looks like a slipper?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those game journalists who pretends to dislike swag. At heart I’m still a little kid who was never allowed to have toys, so I go crazy for this stuff. The fact of the matter is, though, Peggle Nights really isn’t that different from the original Peggle. There are new levels, and the characters are a bit more pimped out, but all in all the gameplay feels disappointingly similar. That is to say, it’s still plenty of fun. But it lacks that shiny newness that gave the first game its addictive appeal. Now the question is, how full can my closet get with Popcap swag before I change my mind? Speaking of which, does anyone want a push alien in a slipper?

Tags: new games, swag

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