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'Relax with this never ending game', is the message enthusiasts of Bejeweled 2 are greeted with, each time they sign on to play this fun puzzle game. However, California grandfather, Mike Leyde, has succeeded in the seemingly impossible task, by scoring the maximum, 2,147 billion points - A milestone the creators of the game believed would never be reached.
The 56-year old steel contractor who lives in Riverside, CA, has always loved solving puzzles and was hooked the moment he was introduced to Bejeweled 2, in 2005. A perfectionist by nature, Mike found himself trying to better his score every time he played and soon devised a strategy that worked quite well, as long as he was not distracted.
Driven to achieve the highest possible score, Mike kept plugging away, playing about two hours each day - until that fine day on March 23rd, 2009, when he reached that optimal point collecting 4,872,229 jewels and 2,147,483,647 points - the highest possible score.
However, unaware that he had reached the highest point, he kept playing and all of a sudden the score turned blank. That's because the game has not been programmed to calculate beyond this number and the additional 2,200 points that Mike scored, caused it to 'flip' it to a negative number. But, since it did not know how to display a negative number, it just went blank.
At that point, Mark knew he had done it - It took the engineers at PopCap, the company that created the game, a year to ensure that Mike had indeed scored these many points - Last week, they finally conceded and crowned the grandfather of four, 'King of Bejeweled 2'!
Despite spending 2,200 hours (the equivalent of 8 hours a day, five days a week for an entire year) playing the game, Mike insists he is not a hard-core gaming enthusiast. He just likes to finish a project once he starts it. We are sure all the gaming companies are wondering which game Mike is going to tackle next.
Bejeweled 2 is the second in a series of web-based games developed by Seattle-based PopCap games and involves swapping one gem with an adjacent one to form a chain of three or more gems of the same color. Once the chain is formed, it disappears and is replaced by a random set of gems. As players score points, they get to higher levels, each of which have secret game modes that get unlocked. The game, which was first introduced in 2001, is still very popular among adults and kids and has won several awards over the years.
sources: wikipedia.org, bejeweled.com