My hunch is that the music of Bejeweled 3 was developed under laboratory conditions, using algorithms that specifically and subliminally target whatever parts of the brain it is that trigger the neurotransmitters dedicated to the pleasure of sliding and connecting like-coloured digital gems.
Notorious cribbers PopCap hopped on the road to success by taking wholesale established, usually Japanese arcade puzzle concepts and polishing them until they dazzled.
The first Bejeweled was released 13 years ago and has since been iterated upon several times, ported to many different formats and played by many millions of gamers, many of whom quite probably wouldn’t refer to themselves by that collective noun.
The satisfying click and crash of brightly coloured precious stones is backed from start to finish by a selection of rich, glassy synthesiser tunes that recall the late 80s/early 90s.
You know, the era of Richard O’Brien ushering yuppies around Channel 4’s The Crystal Maze on the telly, while a state-of-the-art Commodore Amiga sat underneath awaiting the end of the show and the latest “start the fans please”, more-pieces-of-silver-paper-than-gold endgame disappointment for the latest team with mullets, bubble-perms, big glasses and garish jumpsuits.
Anyway I love it, it’s a bit Jean-Michel Jarre and a bit Tangerine Dream and it fits the aesthetic perfectly, elevating a simple ‘match-three’ puzzle game into something grander and more atmospheric.
The composers responsible are Peter Hajba and Alexander Brandon.
As well as PopCap, Hajba has also worked with Remedy on the first two Max Payne games and Alan Wake as well as with Epic Games on Unreal Tournament. Brandon meanwhile also worked with Epic on Jazz Jackrabbit and Unreal 2 as well as composing for other well-known titles such as Deus Ex and Dust: An Elysian Tale.
Here are three lovely tracks from the large selection on the Bejeweled 3 OST:
Lightning (aka Blitz) by Peter Hajba
Zen – Part 3: The Return by Alexander Brandon
Butterflies by Peter Hajba
Buried Treasure by Alexander Brandon
Bejeweled 3 is the culmination of many years of refinement and is – at the time of writing until 28th October 2014 – available for PC or Mac on EA’s Origin platform at a cost of absolutely nothing:
The Bejeweled 3 digital album – A Musical Quest – is available here: