Tagged: crossover

Peggle spinoffs: Popcap has the crossover fever.

As of this writing, the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo – E3 for short – has come and gone. Lots of companies announcing hot new games slated to come out later this year or the next, people pushing polygons to the limit, and your favorite franchises coming back for a new installment, often yearly.

Electronic Arts, being the rebellious type, decided to skip E3 this year for a catch-all “EA Play” event sometime in July. I fully expect them to show more of their notable franchises such as Madden NFL 22 and FIFA 22 and Battlefield 2042. And I expect them to once again ignore one of their notable franchises from when they acquired Popcap Games in 2011. One that has a notoriety due to its announcement at a past E3. The one of memes everywhere.

It’s a shame we’ll never see this guy announce a Peggle game like this ever again.

I’m talking about Peggle, the simple bouncing ball and peg game loosely inspired by pachinko. Originally released in 2007, the game became a big hit for Popcap Games, primarily due to its simple yet challenging nature and cutesy design. Oh, and the smart use of using “Ode to Joy” when you successfully completed a level.

Admittedly my experience with Peggle is the original game and no further. The game’s followups have not been reliably available on PC, with the infamous Peggle 2 being locked away to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, consoles I don’t own; and Peggle Blast, which is only on mobile phones. But there are other Peggle games, of which I’ve actually played.

Likely as good cross-promotion, Popcap Games decided to make two Peggle spinoff games, crossing over with two major video game companies around 2007-09. While ostensibly similar to the original game, they have their own little quirks.

That sun with the G-Man face is… rather offputting.

The first is Peggle Extreme, released in 2007 and available on Steam. 2007 would be a lucrative year for Valve as they released the critically acclaimed The Orange Box, which featured the second expansion in the Half-Life 2 saga, the long-awaited Team Fortress 2, and a quirky little puzzle game called Portal. As promotion, Popcap’s Peggle Extreme would be released alongside it, free to owners of The Orange Box. Nowadays if you have a Steam account, you can play it for free regardless of whether you own any of the Orange Box games.

This really doesn’t jell with Peggle’s overall aesthetic, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

If you’re not familiar with Peggle, I do recommend playing Extreme to get a good handle on the game’s mechanics. The basic goal is to eliminate all the orange-colored pegs around the arena. You shoot a ball to have it bounce around the various pegs and score for points. The more orange pegs you hit, the more points you get. In addition there’s purple pegs which give huge points, and green pegs that do special abilities depending on the playable character you choose. Finish off all the orange pegs before running out of balls and you get an Extreme Fever, where you score big points on any extra blue pegs you hit before dropping it down a hole for a huge bonus. It’s a really simple game that anyone can play, and it’s pretty fun.

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2003’s Sega Hot Wheels, featuring your favorite Sega properties.

Back in late 2012, I wrote about Hot Wheels cars featuring iconic Atari brands. The cars featured were based on the 3-4 existing brands Atari already have milked dry but on rather dubious car brands. At the end of that post, I had mentioned that I also had some other Hot Wheels based on a video game brand, and that I’d get around to writing about them someday once I completed the set. Well, that time is now because I finally completed the whole set.

Hot Wheels cars were quite a fascination to me when I was younger. I grew up in the age of the wacky race tracks and those automated machines that moved the cars at high speeds. It was quite an entertaining toy, and naturally I ended up grabbing a bunch of them over the years.

When I bought the Atari Hot Wheels back in 2012, I wasn’t really expecting to have another set to complete. Since I had three out of the five, I thought it was a fairly easy goal to attain. After all, unless it’s from the 80s or earlier, the more recent cars don’t really have high demand, and thus are easy to snatch up for a few bucks each. After all, the Atari Hot Wheels only cost me $12.

But enough rambling, let’s take a look at the cars themselves:

So many interesting games to make as cars…

Much like the previous set I covered, these are all cars based on various Hot Wheels car lines or real cars. These cars give a perfect snapshot of Sega from this period. By this time Sega had already abandoned their console heritage after the Dreamcast floundered, beginning to publish games for their previous rivals the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox.  This was back when they were experimenting with old series frequently and making sequels to Dreamcast titles most people didn’t play originally. Here are the cars in question:

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