PopCap Games, the multi-platform casual game company best known for its popular titles such as Bejeweled and Chuzzle has announced a free web version of Bejeweled for Apple's iPhone that's now available via the Safari browser through www.popcap.com.
Not a downloadable game like many of PopCap's popular PC games, the Safari web-browser based game still delivers players all the original functionality and gameplay that helped create Bejeweled fever. Making use of the iPhone's Web 2.0, unique screen options and wireless technologies, Bejeweled for iPhone offers the new mobile platform the first officially produced title by a well-known game developer for Apple and AT&T's popular cell phone.
To create the game, PopCap worked with Polish developer Arkadiusz Mlynarczyk, one of the first coders to take advantage of the device's gaming abilities with the Bejeweled clone known as Diamenty. Yet, Bejeweled appears to be a refined version of Mlynarczyk's first effort with better graphics and a refined interface.
Regarding any announcements for a complete non-web version of the game, a PopCap representative replied, "We really can't comment on the status of a "non-web version."
Still curious, we had the opportunity on Friday to ask PopCap's Greg Canessa (vice president of video game platforms) and Andrew Stein (director of mobile business development) about the game's arrival on iPhone:
Regarding the wireless capabilities of the iPhone, does that mean uploading of top scores or multiplayer?
No, not at this time; it just means we're using the wireless capabilities of the iPhone to access the game. However, we're always thinking about new features going forward, and those capabilities may be added later.
Could users of Safari run it on Windows and Mac versions of Safari?
Yes, they can... however, the game was optimized to take advantage of the screen size and input controls of the iPhone.
How is the game optimized for the iPhone?
Due to the screen size and layout of Bejeweled, the game is designed to work in the vertical orientation. You CAN rotate it, and it WILL change the orientation, but it also zooms in on the 'active' part of the game field/deck, and you can't see the whole screen. Shrinking the Bejeweled game field/deck makes the individual gems very difficult to select using the touch-screen capabilities. So we had a difficult decision to make here, and we went with what we felt was the best compromise. That said, we love the landscape/portrait capabilities of the iPhone, and we're very interested in finding ways to leverage this aspect of the device for any future games we may do for iPhone.