10 Years Of Bejeweled, 1,000 Years Of Lost ProductivityS

PopCap kicks off a ten month long tenth birthday celebration today for Bejeweled, the causal gaming sensation that's sold more than 50 million units and stifled the productivity of an entire generation.

Bejeweled, for those of you who haven't immediately run off to play a few rounds in celebration of the occasion, is a simple color-matching puzzle game that possesses the power to latch barbed hooks into the soul of anyone playing it. Originally launched in the spring of 2000 as Diamond Mine, it was rechristened Bejeweled at the suggestion of Microsoft in May 2001. Since then the simple little flash game has received two sequels - Bejeweled 2 and Bejeweled Twist - and has been ported to countless platforms, from Windows PC to Xbox Live Arcade to iPhone.

"Bejeweled has obviously succeeded beyond our wildest dreams," said Jason Kapalka, co-creator of the game and co-founder and chief creative officer at PopCap. "When Brian Fiete, John Vechey and I built the game ten years ago, we had no grand aspirations for it or PopCap, we were trying to survive as a company during the depths of the dot-com collapse. Little did we know we'd still be selling copies of Bejeweled a decade later!"

The game has inspired countless clones, and was instrumental in the creation of an entirely new sub-genre of puzzle game, the puzzle role-playing game. Yes, without Bejeweled there would be no Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and I would have memories of 2008 that didn't involve moving colored gems around.

During the next ten months, PopCap will be celebrating the success of the game, hosting contests at http://www.bejeweled.com/ and competitions within the latest iteration of the game, Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.

Oh, and about those 1,000 years of lost productivity? If every one of those 50 million copies were played for just a half hour, that would amount to approximately 2,854 hours lost - and no one plays Bejeweled for only a half hour. Tack on free web versions of the game, and you've got a whole lot of wasted time.

Happy 10th, Bejeweled. If we're really nice to you this year, can we have our souls back? No? Okay.