austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

All of the gifts are now melted or dead and I'm sorry, sorry in advance

So March Hare Madness got under way, and starting on JunkYard. That's a fun, weird-concept late-90s game and I've lately just stunk on it. I blame the skill shot, which gives you different prizes based on a spinner and which my whole game strategy's based on. I'm probably overreacting. But I was able to come out ahead of the threshold score. And on this, the first game ... bunny_hugger wasn't.

She had provided for this. Specifically, she allowed that anyone who got knocked out in the first two games, JunkYard and Getaway, could buy their way back in. Since during those rounds two people were eliminated each time ... well, three people bought back in. Not sure what happened to the fourth. Maybe someone was knocked out both the first and second rounds; you were allowed only one buy-in.

Still, with the first two games done and everybody warmed up we could go on to serious play. bunny_hugger had cleverly arranged things so that, on average, we'd expect the worst players to go first on any game and for the better players to zip right through. There'd be some variations. I played as far ahead as I could the first several games, despite being a pretty reliable player. That would be so we'd have some threshold score on record for the tables, and to get people ready for games to play them. The point of the seeding was so if two people were waiting around they know who should play first.

And then bizarre things would happen. The first player eliminated on the third game --- the first one who couldn't buy back in --- was AJG. He's a strong player. One of the strongest. State champion, this year. And he was knocked out by a terrible score on Tales of the Arabian Nights. It's a 90s game, of the dot-matrix-display era. It's not a coin toss the way a solid-state or older electromechanical will be. And it's not an obscure game whose rules someone might not know. Indeed, if it hadn't been everywhere in the mid-90s and afterward, you'd still pick it up as the first game included in the fantastic Pinball Arcade app. It just happens that AJG had a lousy game on this table. Such things happen, especially when you're playing an unfamiliar specific instance of a table you know well. Especially when it's on a table in the rough shape our hipster bar normally gets.

Still, everyone who heard this was stunned. How could AJG lose and in the first losable round? He was literally speechless. bunny_hugger thought he might cry. He didn't seem quite able to say anything.

This surprising outcome didn't hurt his world ranking. The system's set up for that. And it didn't hurt his state ranking. The ranking system's set up for that: you get credit for playing, even if you come in last, and that's that. But what it did hurt, more than just his ego, was his rating. That calculated based on not just how much you play, but the rankings of the people you beat. Before the tournament he was #2 in the world. After he was #17. You just don't think that sort of thing can happen.

Trivia: By 1876 there was one doctor for about every 2700 people in France. Source: The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, Graham Robb.

Currently Reading: Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, Peter Stark.

PS: A Leap Day 2016 Mathematics A To Z: Uncountable, carrying on my mathematics glossary.

Tags: march hare madness, pinball

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