Plants vs. Zombies: Game of the Year
Plants vs. Zombies is a 2009 tower defense video game developed and published by PopCap Games. First released for Windows and Mac OS X, the game has since been ported to consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices. In Plants vs. Zombies, the player takes the role of a homeowner in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. As a horde of zombies approaches along several parallel lanes, the player must defend the home by putting down plants, which fire projectiles at the zombies or otherwise detrimentally affect them. The player collects a currency called “sun” to buy plants. If a zombie makes it to the house on any lane, the level will be failed and the player will have to restart it.
Plants vs. Zombies was designed by George Fan, who conceptualized it as a more defense-oriented sequel to his fish simulator game Insaniquarium (2001), then developed it into a tower defense game featuring plants fighting against zombies. The game took inspiration from the games: Magic: the Gathering and Warcraft III; along with the movie: Swiss Family Robinson. It took three and half years to make Plants vs. Zombies. Rich Werner was the main artist, Tod Semple programmed Plants vs. Zombies, and Laura Shigihara composed the game’s music. In order to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, the tutorial was designed to be simple and spread throughout the Plants vs. Zombies.
Plants vs. Zombies was positively received by critics and was nominated for multiple awards, including “Download Game of the Year” and “Strategy Game of the Year” as part of Golden Joystick Awards 2010. Reviewers praised the game’s humorous art style and simplistic but engaging gameplay. Upon release in May 2009, it was the fastest-selling video game developed by PopCap Games and quickly became their best-selling game; surpassing Bejeweled and Peggle. By 2010, it had sold over a million copies worldwide. In 2011, PopCap was bought by Electronic Arts (EA). The company laid off Fan and 49 other employees, marking a change of focus to mobile and social gaming. After the buyout, Plants vs. Zombies was followed by a series of games including two direct sequels, three third-person shooters, and two spin-offs, most of which have received positive reviews.
Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense video game in which the player defends a house from zombies. The lawn is divided into a grid, with the player’s house to the left. The player places different types of plant on individual squares of the grid. Each plant has a different style of defense, such as shooting, exploding, and blocking. Different types of zombies have their own special behaviors and their own weaknesses to different plants. For example, Balloon Zombie can float over the player’s plants, but its balloon can be popped by Cactus. Other examples of zombies include Dancing Zombie which summons Backup Dancers around himself; and the Dolphin Rider Zombie, which rides on a dolphin to jump over a plant.
The player can pick a limited number of types of plants through seed packets at the beginning of each level, and must pay to place them using a currency called “sun”. The player gathers sun by either clicking on the sun that randomly generate over the lawn, or by using certain plants that generate sun, like Sunflowers and Sunshrooms. Each type of plant recharges between each placement at various speeds. If the player wants to remove a plant, they can dig it up using a shovel. When a zombie reaches the left edge of a lane, its Lawnmower will kill all the zombies in that lane and is depleted after one use; if another zombie reaches the end of that lane, the player has to restart the level.