Things you might not know about PopCap


Home of decent coffee, grunge, rainy weather and sports teams that never win anything

I was in Seattle this week to talk to PopCap about their sale to EA for <DrEvil> 750 million dollars!</DrEvil>. I found out the reasons why everyone’s favourite casual gaming company joined up with a monolthic mega corp…

…and unfortunately for you, you’re going to have to wait until next week in the Guardian to find out. I’ll be filing a piece on it this Tuesday. In the meantime, here are a couple of other things you might not know about PopCap:

– PopCap has a gigantic touchscreen in their lobby with Bejeweled playing on it. Staff members compete in teams of three for bragging rights on the leader boards.

– The head of PopCap’s security is a dog called Noni. Her portrait hangs in the foyer and dog-doors have been installed throughout the building so she can come and go as she pleases. Also, her farts have been known to clear out a boardroom in seconds.

– There is a Chuzzle prize machine on the seventh floor of the building. It’s a complete con as you can’t get a single Chuzzle out of it. The claw-grabber thing is too big to successfully pick one up.

– PopCap’s VP, John Vechey, is a Greenbay Packers fan and his 17-year-old brother and dad are Chicago Bears fans. They all watched last year’s Bears/Packers semi-final around John’s house. John says there’s nothing that ruins the experience of watching your favourite team hammer their arch rivals more, than watching your brother burst into tears at the end of the game.

– PopCap’s break-out room has Street Fighter IV in it. Well of course it does. But did you know that some PopCap employees actually wear Kung-Fu bandanas when they play it?

– The same game cabinet in the PopCap break out room which houses Street Fighter also contains a game called Speed Rumbler – one of the greatest games Capcom ever made. Unfortunately, the buttons for it don’t work, so you can’t get very far in it.

– The people at PopCap are very fond of a beverage called Talking Rain. What is this exotic-sounding drink? It’s fizzy water. Fizzy water in a can. John Vechey says he drinks a lot of it because he’s too lazy to fill up a cup from the water-cooler.

– Abandoned Xbox 360 consoles abound in every single boardroom. Well, at least the ones I was shown into.

– John Vechey is an unashamed Rebecca Black fan. He can’t wait to hear her new single and he plays ‘Friday’ every single Friday. This does not make him popular in the office.

– The picture at the top of this post is of the Seattle cityscape. Somewhere in there is PopCap. And Valve. And Microsoft. And a novelist called Cheri Priest who writes horror novels which are apparently really good. And a bartender called Patrick who makes a mean Manhattan (more on him in another blog). It is not a picture of PopCap. Those will be coming later when I have a chance to charge up my camera and get the picture roll off it. Stay tuned…

Now, I’m off to enjoy the Seattle sun and the Block Party music festival down the road. Seattle is famous for music – particularly grunge music which made my teens and twenties more angsty than perhaps they needed to be. You can now listen to a ton of grunge bands here. Enjoy! If that’s the right word…

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