“Watermelon Game” frenzy

A drawing of a plate of vegetables on a teal background overlaid with a slightly darker grid. The plate is blue and holds a tomato, lettuce, three white beans, two turnips, two pea pods, three potatoes, two green onions, a purple lettuce variety, a red onion, two green peppers, and a yellow bell pepper.
Stacking fruits and veggies, difficult in real life and in games! Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay, manipulated by lee lim

What is the Suika Game, where did it come from, and why is it so popular?

If you’ve been in gaming spaces on the internet lately, you’ve probably seen a little game with a lot of fruit in a little rectangle. You’ve seen that all the text is in Japanese and you’ve probably wondered what exactly this game is.  

Well, it’s called the Suika Game, but it’s more commonly known as the Watermelon Game.  

It exploded this October and was only released worldwide on October 20, the day before I’m writing this. It was originally released in December of 2021, exclusively to the Japanese Nintendo eShop. The game sat quietly for nearly two years until it was picked up by livestreamers who began playing the game.  

I first saw the game on October 13 on Ludwig’s channel, the video titled “Beating the HARDEST Game in Japan in 1 Hour.” If you look up #suikagame on YouTube, Ludwig’s video is at the top. The current most viewed video when you just search “Suika Game” is from a Japanese YouTuber named ピノの羽 (Pino no hane, or Pino’s Feathers) and their video has 2.2 million views. It was uploaded on Sept. 27, 2023. Looking up “Watermelon Game,” Ludwig’s is the fifth most viewed video as of writing this article. 

But, what is the Suika Game

It’s a single-player puzzle game reminiscent of Flash games from the late 2000s and the early 2010s. Your goal is to merge as many fruits as possible without having them spill over the top. The more fruit you merge, the higher your score becomes. Each fruit you merge creates a new fruit; except for the final fruit, watermelon, hence the name “Watermelon Game.”  

If two watermelons end up merging, they both disappear. It has a similar feel to Tetris, stacking things together while trying not to reach the top. As you create new fruit from merging fruit, the new fruit becomes bigger and bigger, taking up more space in the box. What makes the Suika Game especially difficult is the physics. The fruit does not sit nicely. They can bounce off of each other and roll off of each other. The built up pressure between fruits can cause fruit to launch out of the box, causing you to lose. 

There are 11 fruits in total, ten that you can merge to, and the smallest, a cherry. After the cherry is a strawberry, then grapes, and then two orange fruits which are highly debated. One is believed to be an orange of some type and the other is seen to be a persimmon, though which is which is unclear. After the two orange fruits there are apples, pears, then peaches, before going into the biggest fruits like pineapples, melons, and watermelons.  

The game will only provide you with the smallest five: cherry, strawberry, grape, orange fruit 1, and orange fruit 2. In the official release of the game, you are able to see which fruit will come up next after you drop the one you’re on, which is not available in all versions of the game. 

Not all versions of the game are official. There are several browser games modeled off the Suika Game, especially on smartphones. The most notable one is Synthetic Big Watermelon, a Chinese browser game that came before the Suika Game and acted as inspiration.  

The big goal when the game started blowing up was to reach 3,000 points, which was reached fairly quickly. According to my switch, the highest score now is nearing 8,000, and I watched overnight the top score go from being in the 3,000s to the 7,000s.  

Before the October 20 international release, the official Suika Game was notoriously difficult to get. You would need to access the Japanese eShop, which meant you needed a Japanese account. You also could not pay for the game using a credit card outside of Japan. Some reported success using PayPal, but I did not. Many resorted to buying Japanese eShop gift cards to purchase the game on the Japanese eShop, which is what I did to get the game.  

The Suika Game is incredibly addicting. If you like puzzle games of any sort, get this one. It’s only $4.10 on the Canadian Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo Switch.  


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