austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Masquerade! Hide your face, so the world will never find you!

In November 2016 bunny_hugger ran her first pinball tournament that just didn't work. It was named Fear and Trembling, based on a Kierkegaard quote about the terror of having to make choices. Its gimmick was I thought a brilliant one: for each game you'd choose one of nine handicaps to play under. You have to play with the flippers covered, say, or with someone trying to distract you, or while wearing oven mittens. But nobody came out for it except her, me, and the stalwart MWS.

I blame timing. There was no good chance to hold it before Halloween, and even the week after Halloween had too much going on. We had to hold it the night after Lansing Pinball League's finals. This would discourage all the people who'd travelled an hour from Grand Rapids the night before from doing it again. Also it was the night after the election that burdened us with a future disgraced former president. In that depressing light how could you do something merry like a goofball pinball tournament?

Also likely to blame: the tournament could not be sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association. The IFPA won't give ratings points for matches that are anything but playing pinball. Stunts like having to play with your arms crossed over don't count. So it was reasonable that someone might wonder if they wanted to journey to Lansing a second night running, on one of the worst days the century had yet seen, for a goofball tournament that wasn't even give players credit for playing. I don't blame people for deciding to stay home and weep instead.

This year at least the schedule would be better. The tournament had to be two days after Lansing League --- nothing else was free --- but at least it wouldn't be immediately after. And bunny_hugger could get IFPA certification even with a tournament that required some element of hard choices.

She wanted to do a pin-golf tournament still. The goal of a pin-golf tournament is to meet some achievement on each table in as few balls as possible. And she would bring the element of choice into it by giving, for each table, two objectives. But before you started playing you had to decide which objective you were going for. And only achieving that would count. If you got the other objective, that's nice, but you wasted your play.

It fell to me to find objectives. And two for each table that we might use. This gave me the surprisingly rare chance to go around and play every table, looking for things to do. It also gave me the chance to look for novelties. Stuff that you could play for and that, ideally, wouldn't be the same old things that always turn up in pin-golf tournaments. Like, Medieval Madness has a prominent castle target; knocking down a certain number of castles almost begs to be the objective. Could I find something more interesting?

I would have fun in the pin-golf tournament --- more on that, coming --- but the best part for me was in doing this research. Going through each table, and the rules, and the tips about how to play, and trying to find stuff that's not too hard to do on purpose but that also people don't normally play for. And also find pairs of things that were about equally hard to do. For nine tables. Plus three tables for the finals. Plus a couple of alternate tables in case something broke during the tournament. And then write up, coherently, what the objectives were and how to pursue them, just in case somehow we got someone showing up who didn't know how to get a four-ball Mosh Pit Multiball going on Monster Bash, or how to get the 'Hit Me' game going on Jack-Bot. It turns out we'd get some who didn't.

Trivia: To sell United States treasury bonds during the Civil War, Jay Cooke wrote a letter ostensibly from a farmer in Berks County, Pennsylvania, asking ten questions about what the bonds were and how they worked, and published the ``letter'' and response as advertisement. Source: The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War over the American Dollar, H W Brands.

Currently Reading: The Complete Peanuts, 1997-1998, Charles Schulz. Editor Gary Groth.

PS: Evening comes to Six Flags over Texas.

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The early-evening light creeping in on Runaway Mountain, Six Flags Over Texas's version of Skull Mountain. I jest; apart from being built inside mountain attractions the rides aren't very similar.


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From rather later in the night: the concert being given in front of the carousel.


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Hero-pose shot of what's certainly not the lead horse on Six Flags Over Texas's antique carousel. Also gives a view of the scenery on the inside, which has got to be vintage if not original.


Tags: pinball, six flags over texas
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