The Zen of Zuma

Posted: August 30, 2006 in Uncategorized

There’s a little game from Popcap Games called Zuma. In it, you shoot balls from the mouth of a little frog, and if that becomes 3 or more same-colored balls, they are destroyed. The goal is to eliminate all the balls. There are some “specials” like an exploder ball and one that pushes things backwards, as well as assorted bonuses for little coins that appear on the screen or for shooting through a gap in the snake-like ball progression. It may sound kind of lame, but trust me, it’s highly addictive. Kind of like “The Game” from that old ST:TNG episode featuring Wesley.

Anyway, sometimes as I play I realize I spout out words to live by that go beyond the simple arcade gameplay. So I thought I’d jot down a list of rules to live by inspired by playing Zuma.

1. Don’t Panic. Just like in life, losing your cool never does you any good. Stay calm, stay focused, let the game come to you. Ugh, that sounded so cliche it made me a little sick.

2. Never Give Up. A corollary to number 1, Zuma almost always offers a chance to survive. But you have to be persistent. A defeatist attitude is generally a quick loss.

3. You Need A Little Luck. It may be hard to swallow, but no matter how smart or good you (think you) are, you still need a little luck to succeed.

4. Sometimes You Gotta Take Risks. There’s always a risk/reward ratio in everything you do. Zuma is no exception. There are times you just have to go for that between the balls shot to hit the exploder behind them because it’s your only chance. If it doesn’t work out, at least you took a chance.

5. Never Gloat. Gloating and over-confidence looks bad on anyone. And trust me, just when you make it to level 12 and even think about gloating about it, you will regret it big time.

6. Sometimes, Greed is Good. Kind of hand and hand with 4 and 5, there are times when it’s better to be greedy and go for extra points from a coin or a trick shot. The reward over the longer haul is the chance at an extra frog which you may need. Just don’t let greed control your every action, because that too can become your downfall.

7. Think Fast, but Think Strategically. Zuma teaches you to plan ahead – at least a couple of steps if possible. Set things up so that you can get a special or a secondary blow up.

8. Make Good Decisions. That sounds prety stupid and obvious, but this game demands you make the right choices, and make them fast. Anything less and it’s game over.

9. Know When to Discard. Corollary to 8, there are times when the timing just isn’t right, so dump that ball and wait for something you really need/want.

10. Be Alert and Be Flexible. You have to pay attention at all times, there are opportunities all around you, if you can just follow all the other rules and find a way to get to them. But you also have to be willing to change your rigid gameplan and adjust to what’s presented to you.

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