Plants vs Zombies XBLA Release Party!

August 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Video Games | 36 Comments
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So for those of you who were wondering what the August 2nd “save the date” was all about, PopCap held a Plants vs Zombies XBLA Release Party in San Francisco on that day and it was a blast! I tried to take as many pictures as I could (I’ll post some here, but if you want to see the entire batch, you can find them here). George and I also performed “Zombies on Your Lawn,” which you can watch here. I was a little nervous at first, but I hope it’s still alright!

There were 3 areas at the venue: The main courtyard had a makeshift stage and a delicious buffet-style dinner.

All the cooks there were wearing PvZ aprons, and unfortuntely for the plants they were serving Cornpults

They also had one of those giant pictures where people could put there heads through it in order to look like Bobsled Zombies. What are these called anyway? I see them all the time at carnivals and amusement parks, but I have no idea what their actual name is.

George Fan

laura shigihara
Laura Shigihara dances with zombies

Indoors they set up a gaming station with several large monitors and Xbox consoles so that people could come and try out the new game (some people were glued to their consoles for literally 2.5 hours)… there were benches and folks could hang out here to warm up (since it was really cold outside).

People test out versus mode for the first time

Lindsey Kurz, Tod Semple, Rich Werner, George Fan

laura shigihara in game room
Laura Shigihara in the game room

The last area was a small covered space between the courtyard and game station… there was a bar here where you could order PvZ-themed drinks like “Fermented Plant Matter” or Crazy Dave’s special “Zombie” drink. The PvZ artist (Rich Werner) also had a table set up where he drew personalized plants and zombies for people.

Infamous Brain Ooze

Some of Rich Werner’s sketches

Drink menu

laura shigihara, crazy dave, george fan
Laura Shigihara, the “real” Crazy Dave, and George Fan pose outside the game room

As for the game itself, I really think they did a great job with the conversion. At first I had no idea how the control scheme would work; going from the mouse to the iPhone or iPad was a simple transition, but I figured mapping controls to an Xbox controller would be a much bigger challenge. Basically, the player uses the analog stick to move the cursor around. Rather than clicking on sun, you roll the cursor over the sun in order to pick it up. Pressing the R-trigger will magnetize the sunshine allowing it to be automatically collected. You can use the right and left bumpers in order to scroll through the seed packets, and you press A to select them. It’s surprisingly intuitive and easy to pick up.

By far my favorite part of this version is the “versus mode.” You can play as either the plants or the zombies. The zombies’ goal is the same as in the original game: you want to break through the plant defenses and get to the house. The plants’ goal is to destroy a certain number of gravestone targets, while battling the onslaught of undead that the zombie player sends towards you. While it was still in development, I spent several hours playtesting this mode with George. Despite the fact that the game wasn’t even balanced yet, I could not stop playing because it was so addictive. There’s something incredibly fun about being able to place zombies… especially large ones like the Gargantuar.

The co-op mode is also worth checking out; especially if you’re trying to get less competitive friends or family members to join in. Players can help each other out by “buttering” zombies in order to hold them in place. This mode also encourages players to talk with one another in order to come up with strategies for the more difficult levels. And of course, there is no shortage of fun mini-games in addition to the original adventure mode… so even though this isn’t a sequel, it has so much new material that it kind of feels like one 😛

Anyways, thanks to Popcap for putting on such a fun event! We had a great time 🙂


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  1. Hehe. It does look like you had a blast. And the co-op mode does sound very interesting. I’ve already bought a copy of PvS for both PC and iPad. I’ll have to consider my budget for an x-box version but if you say the co-op mode is interesting I’ll definitely consider it.

    So I want to know whats behind this picture! Assuming the inside joke isn’t too embarrassing or anything.

    It sounds like George once again got the laughs going with his zombie voices. He should consider releasing a comedy track video/podcast or something! I think you did a very fine performance. Have you had much practice doing live performances?

  2. Oh. Oh, this is so cool.

    More dancing zombies! I always knew Crazy Dave was real.

    What is up with the STFU Cattail? heh.

  3. Looks like fun. Really wish I could have been there 😦 You sounded great on the piano though, and of course George was amazing at (zombie) vocals 🙂

  4. Man, that’s my idea of a real party! Looks like you guys REALLY had a great time 😀 Really wish we all could be there . . . sadly, I’m currently stuck on all my exams and I don’t think I would even have a chance of going to anything like this anymore 😐 Hope the release is a success! Take care!

  5. I hope i can work at popcap

  6. Its really fun…so cool i like it….i love it very much!!!!!its funtastic!!!!

  7. hahah XD how good if here have this kind of party too =P

  8. im a fan plants vs. zombies im from phil.manila

  9. ang ganda ng plants vs zombies nya hehehhe ^_^

  10. hehehe… i love it!
    plants vs. zombies addict!!

  11. hehehe… plants vs. zombie addict!!! i really love it!

  12. i like to play

  13. -hi! really love plants vs. zombie!
    we have party all addicted of this game? ..

  14. Love the photos of the merchandise (ie. apron & brain ooze) Where can we buy these items?

  15. Congrats on the release! You have the best job ever 🙂

  16. love it!!!! im so addict in this gaME SO mUCh!!!

  17. hi there i am a plants vs. zombie player

  18. 🙂

  19. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :|]

  20. I love play a plants vs zombies the Dr. zomboss is not a powerfull

  21. Aww!! Was this a public event also? I wish I could have been there.

    Great performance btw. Keep up the good work!

    Hopefully I can get an interview with ya when my site goes up. Hehe *nudge*

  22. I think I need one of those zombie heads. @_@ That’d be the best Halloween costume ever.

    • I was a jackinthebox zombie for Halloween! My friends were annoyed at the paper mask and somehow got me lost with his irritating brother

  23. hhehehehe nice kaayo inyo duwa

  24. What’s the point of saving the date if we don’t know what happened until afterwards o_O?

  25. Darn, I was really hoping a Soundtrack would be released…oh well, guess the party was tons of fun! Can’t wait to play this on the 360 too!

  26. Laura: You should post your Zombatar. 😀

  27. hi laura, im your fan here from uruguay, the only one (true) i dont know but i cant comment your blog or send a message to you, i asking for you give a message on the facebook group of fans
    its a great honor, mi friends dont like you, but i dont care, for me you are a great artist, you can do so mucho, kisses

  28. I have to agree with Sugar Andspice, I’d love to buy all the cool PVZ merchandise too, someone at PopCap should make a PVZ online store with all the goodies, would be awesome 😀

    I have a few questions btw :-

    1. Is there any hope of a PC update after the XBLA version comes out? I’d absolutely love to play Coop and Versus on my computer with a friend 😀
    2. What exactly does Brain Ooze have in it? Other than brains of course hehe 🙂
    3. Any chance that Rich does PVZ drawings for people? As in, if he does commissions? Hope that question makes sense.

    Anyway, thanks so much for showing us the pictures of the event, and so can’t wait for your soundtrack to come out, REALLY looking forward to it! 😀 Thanks for reading this too btw.

    P.S. I love the flower on your dress, suits you well 😀

  29. Hi Miss Laura! I’m quite the Plants vs. Zombies fan too. It seems the premier was TONS of fun! Lol I would only dream to go there xD So Anyways, I’d love to have a Versus mode in the pc so they’ll just hook each other up online! xD I can’t wait till the soundtrack comes out.

    I was wondering where I could download Moongrains, Graze the Roof and Grasswalk… I can’t find it in anywhere safe….

    So thanks for providing AWESOME, 1st Class and HIGH QUALITY music to the PvZ. Yay for Laura. Yay for PvZ!

  30. im starting to miss you laura.. 😦

  31. I like to play that game!!!!

  32. Hi Laura! Greetings from Manila Philippines. I was just telling my friends that I googled you and ended up here. Seems like what youre doing right now, aside from singing, (testing games) is so much fun. Working in the gaming industry or so they call it, is just a mere fantasy for me..Anyway, keep it up, and tell popcap that plants vs zombies is catching on in so many countries

  33. Looks like my kind of party! I hope my drawings get as clean as Rich Werner’s someday.


    watch this.. china real life version plants vs zombie!

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