austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Make this your house, be one of us

Our plan was to invite all our local friends, which is mostly pinball people and a couple of grad school friends of bunny_hugger's, and let them come over and spend the evening in the backyard or on our pinball machine. We needed to get the machine a little bit fixed up. We didn't have any major problems with it, but some of the drop targets were not quite registering when they were knocked down. That's always a problem, but in a game of its vintage --- 1979 --- that's a serious problem since the game's strategy is mostly, knock down sets of drop targets. To fix it we had to open up the table and fiddle a lot with the small circuit boards and electric contacts, so that they would drop easily and register right and respond snappily.

We also had to figure how to do the table settings. Like any computer-enabled pinball game it has difficulty settings. We hadn't ever touched them but the principle seemed easy enough. Open the door, touch the settings button the right number of times and then ... do ... something? ... to change the setting. The owner's guide wasn't clear about how to change the setting. It turns out to be pressing the 'start' button.

We set the game so that it wouldn't give out extra balls. We would have a couple expert players showing up, including the game's previous owner. You can earn an extra ball every ball, if you're good enough, and at that rate one of them might never finish. We wanted a silly little tournament of seeing who could put up the highest score of the night and while we knew who probably would, we wanted to give everyone a chance. So, no extra balls, but a 50,000-point reward for making the shot that would have been an extra ball in ordinary circumstance.

Well, the tournament was won by CST, the top-notch player we expected to win it. He got over 600,000 points, well on the way to rolling the game. He put up that game early, too. I'm proud and slightly bragging to say that I came close, getting to within 50,000 points, but he was never seriously in danger of losing the trophy bunny_hugger had made.

We've left the table in ``tournament mode''. It's fun playing the game harder. About a week after the garden party I was able to beat CST's high score, and I've managed to top it one or two more times after that. I believe bunny_hugger has topped it once, too. Me, now, I'm kind of playing to see if I can roll the table on these really hard settings. No idea what it'll be like if we ever turn back on extra balls.

Trivia: The raw-silica Microquartz heating fiber which served as insulation on the X-15 rocket-plane, and would be a model for space shuttle tiles, was up to 0.3 percent impurities, from nineteen different elements. Source: Development of the Space Shuttle 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: The World Within War: America's Combat Experience in World War II, Gerald F Linderman.

PS: Something To Read: Galton Boards, which includes something to watch on video so do enjoy that please.

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