March 7th, 2015

krazy koati

I'm here today to introduce the next phase, the next step in the big Bart craze

The Lansing pinball league has everyone in it play the same several games. That's unusual for Michigan leagues, where it's more common for groups of three or four players to compete against just one another and select tables on their own. What's new is that the league president has started announcing ahead of game night what tables we expect to play, which gives those of us who live near enough the chance to practice.

One of the games announced for the coming week is The Simpsons Pinball Party, to almost universal groans because it is not a popular game. The game has its partisans, but they all seem to be playing on tables set to less harsh settings; ours, among other things, has no ball save even though the skill shot has a high chance of draining the ball, and is pretty touchy to tilts. Overall, most of the Lansing league has just never gotten to playing the game well enough to see any of its alleged charms, and typical scores hover in the one-to-six million point range. The factory-default high score table --- which should be fairly easily beaten --- ranges from thirty to fifty million, if that helps you get the scale of it any. Basically the table is brutal, and the scores dismal.

But since we had the warning we put a couple dollars in and started trying to play for skills development --- working out how to shoot the ramps, building up to the D'Oh Frenzy, that sort of thing. And, you know, after enough hacking through this dreary table I managed to put together several games above ten million points. If this could be done at league --- and that needs to be a very big If, because league is a great time to play under average --- it'd be a very good way to advance in the standings. As I say, it's a brutal table; even a slight edge would pay off very well. If we end up playing it, since games will malfunction, and if we can retain the skills we were starting to build up. And if the pinball gods don't punish us for the hubris of practicing like this. If.

Trivia: France lowered its term of National Service to two years in 1905. It was raised to three years in August 1913. Source: The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848 - 1918, A J P Taylor.

Currently Reading: The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution, Barbara W Tuchman.