Big Magazine Article

There’s a 3 page article in this month’s (May) Computer Gaming World about Bonnie’s Bookstore. It’s nominally a review (and very positive), but it’s also about the Casual Games industry in general, and about my personal transition from mainstream commercial PC game developer to Casual Game developer, with a sidebar on PopCap (my publisher) and their history.

No link unfortunately – you have to stop by your local magazine rack to check this one out…

4 Responses to “Big Magazine Article”

  1. scott Says:

    So now I have to ask Phil now that the game is a success and getting good reviews and such…

    “How long do you think the clones start showing up of Bonnie’s?”

  2. Phil Steinmeyer Says:

    Well – a few points.

    First, though the game has gotten some quite nice reviews, including this CGW one, that doesn’t correspond exactly to sales – BB didn’t crack the top 10 on RealArcade, for instance.

    Second, BB is an iterative game – not revolutionary genre-creating. BB built on Bookworm, which built on others before it. So even if a game like BB came out, it would be an evolution of the genre, not a clone, ’cause BB hardly invented it.

    Finally, it should be pointed out that in fact two games very much like BB already did come out. At almost the same time as BB was released, Reflexive released Big Kahuna Words, and GameHouse released Acropolis. They’re both quite like BB (in terms of game mechanics, not artistic theme). It was a bummer for all of us to see the near simultaneous releases, because their hadn’t been another game in that style since Bookworm over 2 years prior, and suddenly 3 very similar games release within weeks of each other. But what can you do…

  3. Gooney Says:


    Dont you think the only reason that CGW did an interview on you is out of a morbid fascination of a well-known and respected game maker that left it all behind to go bush. I’m sure they were very polite and did a splendid article. I do wonder how the whole idea came about though. Its not as if CGW is known for its coverage of edu-tainment.

    **Senior Editor** “Say does anyone remember that guy from PopTop…what was his name? Phil Steinmeyer?”

    **GameJournalist** “Ya didnt he like, shave his head and join some hippy commune?”

    **Senior Editor** “No, not at all, he sold his company and decided to go into …what was it… book selling or something…no thats not right I think its uh, you know they make those software that you buy at Barnes and Noble in the section with the pop-out books and whatnot. Edu-Tainment I think its called”.

    **GameJournalist** “Well maybe we can check out and see what hes up to.”

    **Senior Editor** “Great idea, be nice, and see if hes gone off the far edge or if he is in semi-retirement, here take this mocca, Im sure he hasnt had a civilized drink in a while”

    I have enjoyed all of your Pop-Top releases and was saddened once Take-2 got involved, I guess it was all ineveitable once GoD drank the strawberry punch.

    Im guessing that you went the casual game path so you could spend more time with your family. I can understand that completely. Im also guessing that your fascination with this edutainment genre is a direct result of you watching the development of your own child (ren). I can understand that as well. And truth be told, I respect that totally, but still… I miss the type of games you used to make.

    One can only hope that you will continue to develop games in tact with your childs development, (if that is indeed the inspiration for this current adventure) and that sometime in the next decade we will see a worthy successor to the beloved Pop-Top titles that still inhabit my hard-drive.

    Until then Good Luck, you and your games are missed by the older fans.


  4. Phil Steinmeyer Says:

    I’m sure my previous history as a mainstream developer was a significant part of the reason why they did such a lengthy piece. It’s a nice hook to a story that, I think, marks the beginning of more extensive casual game coverage for CGW.

    As for my personal reasons for doing this – some of what you speculate on is correct, though there were many reasons. Initially, it wasn’t so much a plan to do casual games as it was burnout with traditional game development. Hard to say what I’ll be doing 5-10 years from now…

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