austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The hot and the tired, the weary and the sore

We made a foursome for the pinball golf tournament, me, bunny_hugger, MWS, and a guy bunny_hugger and MWS knew better than I did. We were starting out late, but figured we'd have time for one, maybe two rounds, before heading back to Lansing, where we hoped to invigilate a make-up session for the regular league night.

For pinball golf the objective is not to ring up points, but rather to achieve some objective in as few balls as possible. This really, strikingly, changes the emotional logic of the game, and I think I've worked out why. In an ordinary game every single ball is the chance to have the greatest game of your life: even if you start out in fourth place by a mile, there's only luck and endurance keeping you from racking up a world-class score. But in pinball golf, every ball lost is one irretrievable step farther away from achieving your goal, and even if you do reach the goal on the next ball, you've done worse than you might have if you were a little bit better. It's rather the difference between a normal baseball at-bat, where every plate appearance is a chance to hit a home run, and a baseball out, which is the clock ticking the game out of your hands.

This is kind of a way of explaining why tempers grew awfully short during the day. For one, it changes the calculus of tilting: there's no real penalty to throwing the machine around if you're on the verge of losing your ball. Ordinarily the loss of bonus points restrains folks. People caught onto this and the play was a lot more aggressive than the norm. Then, too, the fact that a new ball was a reminder you were sliding down the rankings and could not climb back up on this ball shortened tempers, and there was a lot of growling at the machines. I'm embarrassed to admit I was one of those affected, and I shocked people by how much I lost my cool on some of the tables.

I did have one moment of real triumph, getting the objective in a single ball. Neatly, the hole-in-one was obtained on No Good Gophers, a golf-themed machine they had there. But otherwise I had a bunch of mediocre and some outright failures, including on a couple of tables I know well and should have been able to beat handily.

Trivia: The naval battle the British term the Glorious First of June (1794) the French dub the Bataille due 13 prairial an 2, reflecting the calendar systems in use at the time by the respective countries. Source: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: Debt: The First 5000 Years, David Graeber.

PS: Calculating Pi Terribly, my little semi-ironic contribution to the Pi Day Of The Century, about a lousy way to find the number. Fifth of these (wow) since the last roundup, and as before you can read it by RSS or you can add it to your Friends page.

Tags: pinball

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