Bookworm Adventures has been erased from the internet, and I want to know why
There’s been a murder. And no one appears to have observed. One among my favorite ever games, launched throughout the peak of PopCap’s glory days, is just gone. Not simply not on sale, however seemingly erased from historical past, from the present timeline. Bookworm Adventures (and it’s sequel), the lovable word-spelling fight game, has been Shazammed proper out of existence.
Again within the very early days of RPS, a bit game known as Peggle was launched. All 18MB of it. A file dimension that turned peculiarly essential to the site for numerous years – for causes implausible to clarify it turned the worldwide unit for measuring demo sizes. All of us cherished Peggle, as a result of we weren’t mad. However there was considered one of us that most popular one other PopCap game on the time, and that good-looking chap was me. If I needed to hold one, I’d have trodden on Peggle to save lots of my Bookworm Adventures.
It’s onerous to imagine simply what a unprecedented hit manufacturing unit PopCap was again in 2007. Much more so the breadth of their enchantment, by some means ingeniously presenting themselves as each a “casual games” outlet releasing throughout all these super-mainstream internetsites like Huge Fish, and a specialist firm who had been incredibly early to get their games onto Steam. Most likely most broadly well-known for Bejeweled, they had been placing out a mixture of so many game sorts, from hidden object to arcade to pachinko, managing to blur the fiercely guarded line between “casual” and “hardcore”. A lot in order that there was even a crossover particular version of Peggle in Valve’s Orange Field. Yeah, wager you forgot that one! And whereas maybe their peak crossover second got here with Vegetation Vs Zombies, moments earlier than they had been purchased by EA, for me my favorite will all the time be that wormy phrase game.
There was a game earlier than it, Bookworm, a extra conventional puzzler, that actually isn’t excellent. However Bookworm Adventures reworked it into one thing so damned bizarre that it may solely be magic. You play as Lex, a sesquipedalian worm, who is shipped inside a library guide to try to rescue Greek mythological heroine Cassandra. Yeah. That. To do that, you have to after all spell out the longest phrases you may from a 4×Four grid of lettered tiles, the fashioned phrases used as a weapon in opposition to the story-themed enemies, beating the crap out of them.
As you progress, the tiles turn out to be cracked, poisoned, concrete, and many others, and different letters are price extra when utilized in phrases. And sure, if that is sounding incredibly acquainted regardless of by no means having performed BWA again in 2007, additionally it is the very same setup as 2014’s Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey.
Because it occurs, it was enjoying Letter Quest on my Change with the boy that jogged my memory how enjoyable it is perhaps to dig out Bookworm Adventures for this column. I may replay a well-loved game, and convey up the outdated RPS rivalry between it and Peggle, and have a good time how humorous it was, and the way brilliantly it observed thematic phrases. It’d be a nostalgic, smile-inducing article about one thing good and pure. So I typed the title into Steam to get to its retailer internet page, and… nothing got here up. Which was odd, because it was on Steam from the 2nd January 2007, and I’d all the time performed it there since. Oh for flip’s sake, I believed to myself, bloody EA. It’ll be caught on Origin for no good motive, gained’t it?
So I blew the thick layer of mud off of Origin, loaded it up, waited for it to interrupt just a few instances, loaded it once more, and looked for it there. And nothing got here up. Huh. I then went to what I’ll loosely name “PopCap”‘s internet site, to see if possibly it was no less than on cellular? Most likely reprogrammed to have it’s a must to pay microtransactions per phrase spelt or one thing. However the phrase “Bookworm” doesn’t seem on the mutilated corpse of PopCap’s internet site wherever. It’s erased from their historical past. It’s erased from in every single place.
Fortuitously, if you personal one thing on Steam it’s fairly onerous for it to be taken away from you once more. So I used to be in a position to set up it from my library, regardless of the hyperlink to its retailer internet page redirecting you again to the entrance internet page. I ran it, and… some unusual message about “steam.dll” being unfound. Nooooooo! Absolutely their insanity wouldn’t lengthen to intentionally sabotaging the digital stays of this peculiar, inexplicable killing? In the long run, copying the steam.dll from Steam’s predominant listing into the BWA listing “fastened” this oddity, and the sport launches! Hoorah! It does nonetheless exist! Albeit as a ghost.
So why? Why on EARTH would EA go to such lengths to destroy one of the crucial innoccuous games ever created? I imply, if there had been some harebrained scheme to erase the pre-existence of EA’s possession of PopCap, to carve some Stalinist revision of historical past the place the one franchises that stay are these absolutely massacred with microtransactions and cellular promoting, then it might no less than make some half-sense. However no, the remainder of PopCap’s peculiar assortment is up there on Steam to get pleasure from. All these SpinTop hidden object games (all the time one of the best of the shape, for my cash), peculiarities like Typer Shark Deluxe and The Wizard’s Pen that no one has ever heard of, they’re all there. Origin goes again even additional with PopCap’s first ever game, 2001’s Alchemy.
So right here begins my conspiracy idea. And I come again to Letter Quest. Even on the time I commented on simply how peculiarly related the sport was to Bookworm. Like, in virtually each element. LQ had a 5×three grid as an alternative of 4×4, and added some additional problem modes, however after that it was fairly tough to inform them aside. So why on Earth wouldn’t an organization like EA have sued them into outerspace? It was a blatant carry of Bookworm Adventures. But, reasonably than being buried in legal professionals, two years after its unique launch, builders Bacon Bandit games put out a remastered model. Two years later was 2016, the identical yr Bookworm Adventures was deleted from our timeline…
Properly, no. Clearly that’s full nonsense. That’s as a result of conspiracy theories are all the time bollocks. I spoke to individuals who know individuals, and there’s no connection in any respect. OR SO THEY CLAIM. Precisely. THEY SAY. (As a result of it’s true.)
I’ve additionally reached out to a few the unique PopCap workforce who labored on the sport, and they’re equally confused about what’s occurred. no one is aware of something. And to Bacon Bandit games to ask in the event that they know something about it, to place my idiotic conspiracy to them, so if I out of the blue go quiet and am erased from the internet, effectively, you gained’t be studying this and I’ll be DEAD. Who is aware of how deep this goes individuals?
And naturally I contacted EA to ask them if they may simply clear up the thriller. Twice. No reply got here.
Within the meantime, it’s incredibly unhappy that you could’t play Bookworm Adventures any extra until you got it prior to now. I imply, after all the internet Archive has a single lone copy preserved in a glass case, and you could possibly maybe, er, go and stare at it admiringly? Trace, trace. It’s genuinely the higher game over Letter Quest, regardless of the latter’s additional options, as a result of it was a lot extra cheeful and charming, which was a lot of what made it particular. However Letter Quest continues to be nice, principally by being practically the identical game, and that’s nonetheless on sale in every single place. FOR NOW.