The Physics of Bejeweled


I have dabbled in the game Bejewled in recent days. A momentary lapse, I should grow our of it soon. It is fascinating the sort of ideas that go into such a game.

Now I come from a Physics background and it is quite fascinating to think of the parallels with a game like Bejewled. I am thinking especially about criticality. The game is played in two dimension, there are seven different tokens each with a different colour. Now if there were eight, patterns wouldn’t appear so easily, and if there was six cascades could last through the whole game, a sight to behold but not very interactive. That’s the point the game is balanced so the player gets a sense of accomplishment, agency interaction with the problem.

That is what it looks like, I have a sneaking suspicion that the game isn’t entirely random. Once I start to feel like a lab rat, affirmative jingles in game play put me off. As ever, and thinking like the physcist I never quite was I tend to abstract the problem.

Now how many colours would be needed to play the game in 3D? Game play would be impossible, but it would be quite interesting to see a rotating cube with a game going on inside it.

Another thing the game knows which are good moves to make when you ask for a hint, I take it just does a single scan, and gives you the first one it thought of, I would have thought that would be quite a computationally intensive task, flash is a bit of a CPU hog at the best of times.

The idea of criticality is an important consideration in usability. If you can get a system that sparks ideas off in peoples minds, and build on the momentum, not too far, but enough to induce the sacred Flow state then things would be fine and dandy. The nirvana point in the dialogue between human psychology, and usability.

I cleared 200,000 on Bejeweled Blitz.

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~ by zeristor on April 5, 2010.

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