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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

What’s PopCap creative chief playing lately?

Sitting next to PopCap’s Jason Kapalka at lunch has its advantages.

Today, over tuna tartare at Seattle’s RN74, he shared a few of the games that he’s been playing lately.

Besides PopCap titles, of course.

Kapalka has a pretty good eye for games. He’s a co-founder and chief creative officer of Seattle-based PopCap, which was acquired a year ago by EA in a deal worth up to $1.3 billion.

Here’s what he’s been playing lately:

Ski Safari,” a deceptively simple “runner” game in which you try to outrun an avalanche chasing you from the left side of the screen. Kapalka called the 99 cent iOS game “probably the coolest one I’ve seen recently.”

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Puzzle & Dragons,” a puzzle-monster game (pictured) that really is big in Japan, where it’s available through the Japanese version of iTunes. Kapalka is intrigued by the serious player-to-player competition seen in Japanese games and expects to see more intensely competitive games to show up in Western markets.

Spelunky,” a challenging, underground exploration game in which a whip, bombs and other tools are used to progress and to collect treasures. The players’ haul is lost when they inevitably die, sending them back to start the section over again. “Spelunky” started as an indie PC game but was released this summer on Xbox LIve Arcade.

Kapalka likes the unforgiving challenge of “Spelunky.” PopCap makes games that are more accessible to a broader range of players, but he thinks it’s still important to make games hard enough that people feel rewarded when they succeed.

“You do lose something if games are always easy,” he said.

Kapalka said PopCap is on the sidelines for now with Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console. “We’re going to wait and see how it turns out,” he said.

Looking farther ahead, Kapalka predicted a breakout of gaming on Web-connected TV sets. He’s not sure if this will be via hardware from Apple, Google, Sony or another company, or through sets that connect directly to the Web.

“That’s a potentially crazy thing that could come up in the next year or two,” he said.

Comments | Topics: Apple, apple, Apps

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