Assuming 5 million social networking devotees are correct, the Facebook iteration of Bejeweled is a resounding success.
"How successful is it Cap'n?" I hear you ask meekly from behind the newspaper you're pretending to read. I think for a moment, carefully perusing the press release issued by PopCap earlier today (and vaguely wondering when I'd earned a Naval title), before reading the following passage aloud:
"Relying entirely on its own merits, the 'social' version of Bejeweled has become a Facebook phenomenon, attracting more than 5 million monthly users after quietly debuting in beta form in late December of 2008. With new users joining at a rapidly increasing rate, Bejeweled Blitz now adds a new friend to the fold every second."
Seeing your eyes glaze over during those last few lines, I gently jab at your ribs with my walking stick. I clear my throat and offer an interesting anecdote from PopCap's chief creative officer Jason Kapalka:
"One-minute Bejeweled was initially an in-house joke, because who'd think anyone would play a 'casual' game with such a frenzied time limit? But it turned out the one-minute timer actually made the game more accessible, as a bite-size entertainment for people busy doing other things on Facebook."
What does it say about our collective gamer attention spans that marketeers are crafting games specifically for the relatively dull, fleeting moments between cybersex and infinite memetic recursion?