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Opinion: Man beats Bejeweled 2 after three years – was it worth it?

Mike Leyde wants to be the best at everything he does, even if one of the things he does is play Bejeweled 2. PopCap Games recently profiled this 52-year-old steel contractor, revealing him to be the very first man to ever "beat" the puzzle sequel. It took him three years to do it, too!

Leyde earned a score of 2,147,483,647, which just so happens to be the highest score Bejeweled 2 is capable of processing. It took a total time of 2,205 hours and 51 minutes to collect the 4,872, 229 gems necessary and ostensibly "complete" a game that nobody else has managed to best, despite its immense popularity.



"We had to give the game some sort of maximum displayable score, and figured that was high enough, no one would ever get that many points," admits the game's co-creator and PopCap chief technology officer Brian Fiete. "When Mike collected that next gem match, the additional 2,200 points would have put his score above the maximum ‘calculable’ score, and much like some of the original arcade games, it caused his score to ‘flip around’ to a negative number. Well, the game’s code wasn’t designed to display a negative number so it just showed a blank where the score should be!"

It took Mike 2,200 hours stretched over three years to achieve this momentous milestone. To put it in perspective, it would take eight hours a day, five days a week in order to beat it in a year. His family celebrated when the game's score blanked out, although it could have simply been because it might mean he'd finally put the damn thing down.

It's an achievement, certainly, but we do have to wonder where you draw a line between impressive and worrying. Leyde isn't the only man to sacrifice hours of his life in order to accomplish in-game feats that would make weaker men tremble. A few months ago, Taiwanese World of Warcraft player "Little Gray" made headlines by "beating" Blizzard's popular MMO, collecting 986 Achievements to officially beat WoW before the next expansion.



In order to beat it, Little Gray killed 390,895 creatures, dealt 7,255,538,878 points of damage, completed 5,906 quests, raided 405 dungeons and hugged 11 players. We think he had sex zero times.

Then there are the record breakers. Legends like Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, who have earned their fame for reaching the end of Donkey Kong and battling each other to the bitter end and vying for the position of the world's greatest Kong player. There are record breakers for all the arcade classics, be it Qbert or Paperboy. They dedicate their lives to these games, seemingly for no other reason than to know they are the champions. Purely an introspective victory, for the best these characters face from their fellow gamers is derision for being "sad" enough to pump so many wasted hours into a game, seemingly at the expense of a social life.



But then, when we're all technically wasting our time with videogames in the first place, does it matter if we quibble over degrees? Is it less sad for us to pour days of our lives into Halo or Call of Duty? How about beating Super Mario World for the dozenth time, even though it always ends the same way? Then there are the months we could theoretically spend on the latest Final Fantasy, or collecting over 450 Pokémon. I just made fun of Little Gray's sex life for raiding 405 WoW dungeons, but am I any better? Are any of you? Maybe we are, maybe we're not.

It's sure easy to scratch one's head or laugh at people who achieve astronomical high scores and fight their way to the top of a worldwide leaderboard. It's certainly easier to mock the accomplishment rather than try and beat it. I'm no less guilty of doing that.

It might not be considered a "real" accomplishment to beat Bejeweled 2. It's not like Mike Leyde is a New York fireman or a scientist making lifesaving medical breakthroughs. At the end of the day though, he's achieved more through playing Bejeweled 2 than we have through pouring derision upon him and his ilk via the Internet. Unless they're handing out world records for being smarmy online wankers, in which case, where do I sign up?!

Apr 30, 2010

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15 comments

  • Derk2 - September 14, 2013 8:46 p.m.

    Just hit the maximum score on Bejewelled Classic 2,147,483,647 which I started June, 2012. Disappointed it did not continue beyond this number as there was no end in sight.
  • SwampRat - November 29, 2010 4 p.m.

    WARNING .... DO NOT REGISTER WITH THIS SITE!!!!!!!!!!!! ONCE THEY HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE YOU CANNOT REMOVE ANY OF THEIR COMMENTS. ERROR MESSAGE SAYS "FAILED TO HIDE MINIFEED STORY"
  • SwampRat - November 29, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    Great Bejeweled2 BEST score to Mike Leyde, but the TYPE of game he was playing was left out; was it the "NEVER-ENDING" or "CLASSIC" Game? My wife has been playing the Classic game every morning for an hour for over 2 years and broke 1 BILLION last Saturday (fairly, no cheating with instant reboot if NO-MORE-MOVES occurs), really would like to know if Mike was playing Classic too.
  • Ded - May 2, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    It's not really that bad.. that many hours spread over three years isn't much at all for most gamers to be playing games. The only thing different is he spent it all on one game.
  • RanGo - May 2, 2010 3:16 a.m.

    what an ... idiot. wasted time of life.
  • skipwiley - May 1, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    What many people don't realize is there is a bug in the game, once you get the No More Moves notification, hit the home button right away and relaunch the game. You will be able to continue playing your previous game starting after the last successfully completed level.
  • crumbdunky - May 1, 2010 1:16 p.m.

    @darkdispatch-I can't handle the truth so can we just leave it "out there"? On topic: Bejeweled2 is one of those puzzle games that some people, like Tetris before it, do get really hooked on. My wife had a problem with, IIRC, the first one and was only weaned away from doing similar to this guy by seeing someone's new record for a coupke of Sonic2 speedruns! Sadly, we lost her to that for couple of months so it backfired! Oddly enough, she can get pretty close to the record and she'd still happily spend all her free time trying to get that tiny bit faster even now. Juast shows how simple, seemingly thankless tasks can really get ddictive IF you're that way inclined. I guess we should be happy nobody introduced either this guy or my wife to Crack or Crystal! Or WoW, naturally.
  • darkdispatch523 - May 1, 2010 11:02 a.m.

    For the TRUTH go to:: http://www.sovereigntimes.com/
  • darkdispatch523 - May 1, 2010 10:53 a.m.

    For the TRUTH go to:: http://www.sovereigntimes.com/
  • NanoElite666 - May 1, 2010 5:18 a.m.

    Huh, didn't think it was possible to "beat" Bejeweled. In a bit of an ironic twist to this story, I once played a game of Bejeweled on my phone in which I lost out after the first move of a new game. 10 points, and that was it. I only wish I had thought to take a picture of the score screen with another phone or something...
  • PhantomDave - May 1, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    Now his next hurdle....he's going to win the internet.
  • usmovers_02 - April 30, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    Woah guy! That quite a task you're taking up. You sure you're up to it? I beat Far Cry the movie but only because I had a ton of ice cream in the freezer we had to get rid of.
  • Ravenbom - April 30, 2010 10:53 p.m.

    This is inspiring. I've decided I'm going to try and beat Far Cry. Not the game but the movie based on the game.
  • sgh341 - April 30, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Wow, this puts the Final Few on Halo 2 to shame. Good job, OCD man!
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 30, 2010 10:29 p.m.

    No.

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