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Puzzle solved: 8 fun facts about Bejeweled

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Narnia Island

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Oooh, shiny!

So addictive it should come with a surgeon-general's warning,
the legendary Bejeweled franchise is pretty much as big as puzzle gaming gets. Since 2000, it's appeared on nearly every platform in existence -- and it's about to get bigger. The anticipated Bejewled 3 arrives on December 7th, packing new
features, new modes, and most likely the same old result: outrageous sales to millions of obsessive jewel junkies.

But how much do you really know about the match-3 kingpin
itself? Swap some gems for facts with these Bejeweled tidbits:

-- It debuted as a Flash game called Diamond Mine, but was
eventually re-named Bejeweled to avoid confusion with a competing game called
Diamond Mines.

-- As of Feb 2010, the series has sold over 50
million copies -- more than Tomb Raider (35 million), Halo (30 million, prior
to Reach), and even Guitar Hero (over 40 million). Heck, that's even more than the
StarCraft, God of War and Rock Band franchises combined.

-- It can actually mellow you out. Like, for real. In a 2008 study conducted at East Carolina University, Bejeweled 2 was found to reduce stress in nearly half of all test subjects.

-- It's a record holder. Earlier this year, Guinness World Records
awarded it the title of "The Most Popular Puzzle Game Series of the
Century." (Note: that would be this century, as we're pretty sure Tetris would snag 20th century honors.)

-- A copy of Bejeweled 2 has been purchased by one in every ten iPhone owners.

-- The game's deep, scary voiceover is handled by none other than lead designer
Jason Kapalka, who also happens to be PopCap's Chief Creative Officer and one
of its three founders.

-- The highest possible score in Bejeweled 2 is 2,147,483,647 points,
though thus far it's only been accomplished by one person: Mike Leyde, a
57-year old steel contractor from Riverside, California. Leyd pulled off the
astounding feat in 2009 after playing for over 2,200 hours.

-- It's not necessarily the first of its kind. That honor debatably goes to
"Shariki," an early 1990's PC puzzle game built by Russian programmer Eugene Alemzhin, which featured similar gameplay mechanics.

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