austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

And you baker

After Thursday's lunch we went back to our hotel room to rest some. You'd be surprised how tiring standing around playing an hour of games and then pausing can be. And bunny_hugger wanted to follow up a hot tip she'd gotten. There was this web site where people at Pinburgh were putting up rules and bits of advice for games. Since Pinburgh had a bank of hundreds of pinball machines, many of them from the 60s and 70s that nobody had heard of, more of them from the 80s that nobody's played since the 80s, all advice about rules and strategy was welcome. But she couldn't get the Wi-fi in the convention center to work and even when it did, the site, a rather slick Javascript-ready one, didn't work well with her old iPod.

There was an alternative: a PDF with at least a static list of the tips people had submitted. She just had to download it to her computer, easy. And then get it from her computer to her iPod, agonizingly hard. You can transfer plain old files from computer to iPod, but Apple really doesn't want you to, even if you have something on the iPod that can read the file. She spent much of the downtime and burned up much of her rest trying to get a file onto her portable computer.

I dismissed the site's value, on what I thought reasonable social factors. To wit: nerds always give too much advice. They have no idea how to teach, which is to give one or two thoughts and then time to ponder and practice them, and then repeat. They instead blow through everything possible there is to know about the subject, never noticing that the student zoned out after three sentences and now is pondering what body part to chew off to escape all this. I imagined that the advice tossed together by the pinball community would be like that: Forty rules, many of them contradictory, that the expert would find did indeed perfectly explain the entire map of everything that could possibly be done in the game. And no awareness that what you need is ``clear the drop targets twice before you shoot the spinner, because then it's lit for 10,000''.

Well, I was wrong. PinTips.net has turned out to be almost perfect as a shorthand advice site. Each bit of advice is a sentence or so, about as long as a tweet. Few games have more than six pieces of advice. You can look up a game you never heard of and get enough stuff to help and not more than you can keep in mind. There are some games where the number of tips are running out of control, such as Game Of Thrones. But that's also a game with such a complicated rule set that nobody understands them all. Twelve pieces of advice are not too many there. And there's some nerdly overkill, for example, Tales of the Arabian Nights advising how to max out the wizard mode, not a concern for most people. But more of the tip sheets are like Taxi, advising how to collect the jackpot (which isn't obvious from the rule card, if it's on the machine, or from studying the notes on the playfield) and giving the good-to-follow advice about how to keep the game in multiball.

That was our break. Back to Pinburgh for the last two rounds of the first day's qualifying, and my attempt to rebuild my spirits after my third round 0-12 shutout.

Trivia: In the referendum held 28 February 1861, North Carolina voters narrowly rejected a secession convention. Of the 86 counties thirty voted for secessionist, thirty-five voted unconditional unionist, seventeen conditional unionist, and four divided votes to no decision. Source: The Confederate Nation 1861 - 1865, Emory M Thomas.

Currently Reading: DC Showcase Presents: Metal Men, Volume 1 Editor Peter Hamboussi. There is a surprising lot of continuity between adventures considering every page is written like they assume the reader has never read an issue of the characters, or possibly anything, before. It all moves very well but if feels like the characters would break if they had a fourth stock phrase to repeat, Doctor Jerkface included.

PS: The End Of 2016 Mathematics A To Z: Any Requests? as I build up to a new round of this.

Tags: pinball, pinburgh
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