Beating Bejeweled: The Ultimate in Hardcore Casual


A California steel contractor has redefined what it means to be a hardcore gamer by becoming the first man on the face of the planet to “beat” Bejeweled 2, posting a score of over 2.147 billion – yes, billion – points.

Bejeweled” and “hardcore” are two words that aren’t often associated with one another. Then again, there aren’t many Bejeweled players like Mike Leyde of Riverside, California, who took the PopCap hit Bejeweled 2 to the proverbial 256th level and “beat” the game.

“The highest score the game is capable of calculating is 2,147,483,647; that’s 2 to the 31st power minus 1,” explained PopCap co-founder Brian Fiete. “We had to give the game some sort of maximum displayable score, and figured that was high enough, no one would ever get that many points.” And like the famous last level in Pac-Man, if someone does somehow manage to rack up that many points, the game essentially breaks: The score “flips around” to a negative number, causing a blank space to be displayed where the point total should be.

On March 23 of last year, Leyde became the first person to beat the unbeatable score, having sunk more than 2200 hours into the game – that’s the equivalent of three solid months of playing, without pause for sleeping or eating. A few other impressive statistics: He reached level 439, collected 4,872,229 gems and made 48,519 power gems and 18,190 hyper cubes.

Why? The man clearly likes his Bejeweled, but there’s more to it than that. “The game caught my interest and as I started playing I found myself trying to better my score every time I played,” Leyde said. “I’d generally play the game for an hour or two per day, sometimes longer, depending on what my schedule would allow.”

Perhaps most important, he sounds as though he never doubted he’d reach the end. “I figured this was a marathon, not a sprint; no sense trying to finish the game in a single setting, and since I didn’t know what the maximum score might be, I figured I’d better pace myself,” he added. “If you’re going to invest time in something, you might as well be as good at it as you possibly can, and I really enjoy the thrill of victory – like when I won my first stock car race or when I bowled a perfect 300 game.”

Now that’s hardcore.

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