February 15th, 2015

krazy koati

When you're the one that's standing there you'll reach the final bell

The food they had was tacos, three trays, one of them vegetarian, which was apparently one of those things born in a moment of guys joking around and then the bar owner decided yeah, we're gonna do this. The bar doesn't serve food normally so this was a welcome break and may well have kept the more dedicated players from passing out or, I guess, wandering off to find a Pizza Hut. (Though we'd also found a sandwich shop just down the block with a huge number of vegetarian and vegan options, and that's not even counting Stella's.)

The tournament was still going on, because it wasn't simply a matter of single- or even double-elimination. People were playing whole strings of matches to determine who beat an opponent, and were playing a string of opponents so that every place from 1st through 16th would be reasonably accurately placed. Tournament matches would be going on for hours after the tacos were brought into play; and somehow despite all this we missed the competition for #1. We only learned who won the next day, looking it up on Facebook. (The winner --- AND --- brought one of those head lamps for working in tight spaces to play with, a functional yet also hilarious adaptation to dark playfields. He also tried wearing a chest harness to which his hand phone, using a 'Flashlight' app, was strapped.)

But 4:00 arrived and with it the start of the Michigan Masters tournament, an open pin-golf match. The objective in pin-golf is not to get a score per se, but to achieve some goal on a set of pinball tables in the fewest balls possible. Some of these goals I was familiar with, eg, scoring the Monster Fish on Fish Tales --- which I managed in one ball in practice --- or getting the Total Annihilation Multiball on Attack From Mars --- got it in two balls in practice --- and some I had never heard of before, like getting Crystal Ball Multiball on The Wizard of Oz.

Happily we waited to start to get a foursome together --- the organizers were willing to let bunny_hugger and I play with just one another, and while certainly we'd have been honest that is opening temptation --- and one of the other players was able to explain for the newest tables how to get stuff like the Black Suit Multiball on Spider-Man. bunny_hugger was able to get a hole-in-one, needing only one ball to start a multiball on AC/DC. I failed to get the Monster Fish on Fish Tales or the Total Annihilation Multiball on Attack From Mars, although I was the only one in our group to get to Warp Six on Star Trek 2013.

The pin-golf format was an interesting one, particularly for breaking us out of the normal way of playing tables. Also that I got surprisingly consistent scores on Attack From Mars aiming for Total Annihilation rather than my usual strategy (shooting saucers, taking Multiball or Martian Attacks as they come) suggests that might be the way to go in competition in future.

Because the pin-golf tournament was running in parallel with the ends of the state championship there would be a lot of accidental lock conditions, where one group couldn't play because some of the needed players were busy finishing another game. This resulted in both championships taking hours to wrap up, with the top four pin-golfers going on to a head-to-head match and then having to break a tie. But in the end our friend MWS came out as the winner of the pin-golf match. He'd said before all he really wanted was to win a pinball trophy, any trophy. bunny_hugger said she'd felt that way before she won her Zen Tournament match. He might also be coming around to the ``just one more'' ambition. In point of fact he didn't have a trophy yet, though, as it's to be engraved and given ... well, sometime. I'm sure we'll hear about it.

In the main tournament, though, MWS finished eighth, which is still eight places better than he figured on. CST finished in sixth and that's lower than we expected; possibly he was overloaded by all the day.

With the results of the pin-golf tournament I --- in a three-way tie for 12th place, or as the IFPA regards it, 13th place --- earned another 0.29 points, bringing my ranking to 2295th in the world, and my rating to 860th, at least among the 25 thousand or so people that the International Flipper Pinball Association has listed. bunny_hugger, in a two-way tie for 15th, or as IFPA regards this 15th place, earned 0.21 points and rose to the 98th-ranked player in Michigan, and 4589th in the world, which I believe puts her ahead of where I was after my first scores ever were entered.

Trivia: In the earliest form of the Roman calendar the kalends, the start of the month, were on the new moon, and the ides, the 13th day of the month, were on the full moon. Source: Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent The Perfect Calendar, Duncan Steel.

Currently Reading: A Tenth Of A Second: A History, Jimena Canales.