PopCap | PopCap | 2000
A fiendishly addictive color-matching puzzle game, often imitated but never bested
What made it so great?
The compulsive element. It's simple at heart: switch gems to get three or four (or, gasp, five!) of the same type in a row and they vanish with a satisfying plink. But not since Tetris has such a simple mechanic gripped so many for so long. It's the ultimate coffee-break game, but playing it when you have more free time at your disposal can be outright dangerous. So much so that the term "Bejeweled" is on the cusp of slipping into common parlance, as in: "Kevin? Oh man, don't talk to him. He's totally Bejeweled."
A gamer in a state of Bejeweledness sees the world in terms of colored gems and if approached, may attempt to switch your clothing in order to match similar colors to one another. Afflicted gamers are unable to speak except for suddenly pronouncing the word "EXCELLENT!" in a baritone voice.
Get ready to play
One of the reasons Bejeweled has spread so virulently is that it requires nothing of you to start playing. Virtually any machine can run it, the principles are obvious after a three-second tutorial and from then on you're set.
Been there, done that?
Also from PopCap is the Aztec frog-vomiting sim Zuma. You control a stone idol that can fire colored balls from his mouth at some velocity and must do so to prevent a curling stream of the things from being pushed down a meandering track into his gullet. It's a funny old world.