November 3rd, 2016

krazy koati

Young and old people

We'd go on to play. Besides lots of pinball machines ReplayFX had a wing of video games. And if you think we can fully resist the offer of Vectrex or other now hilariously-obscure video game consoles then you've misunderstood us. Especially when they have some weird maze game that isn't the Asteroids clone we always see at furry convention game rooms.

Also spotted playing: someone's VHS copy of Ghostbusters (1984) on your classic fat old TV set. Further spotted playing: a guy dressed as Pac-Man, whom we caught playing Mouse Trap. He was dressed for this by wearing a yellow leotard with red boots, and a cap that had your classic slice-cut-out Pac-Man head shape. There was a lot of costuming going on, not quite so much as at a furry convention proper but still a satisfying amount. Or maybe there was as much as at a furry convention. I only know like four video game characters, and maybe eight anime characters. I could say with confidence someone dressed as Darth Prequel Character was cosplaying. Other folks might be just flamboyant.

We'd keep going back to pinball machines, though, looking for novel ones. We found another copy of Interflip's 1977 Dragon, the curious table that haunts the Flint-area pinball scene and that introduced ``bao'' to pinball play. bunny_hugger showed me the form on Bally Midway's 1989 Transporter: The Rescue that led her to a glorious victory on that late solid-state game. It's a fun, odd game themed to saving astronauts from aliens. And we even found Stern's 2009 Big Bang Hunter, licensed to the video game and the first modern pinball machine bunny_hugger remembers noticing. She'd seen it in a movie theater's arcade, and paid attention because she and I were getting quite serious and she wondered about this pinball thing I was so into. In 2009 she thought it wonderful, astounding and complicated and flashy in ways she hadn't known pinball games could be. Today, with experience, she sees it ... as lesser. She could see how the game's designed to impress novices without much regard for how experienced players would see it. But that's fine; pinball needs games that are treats for novices just as much as it needs ones for the experts. The game still rests in that short list of pinball machines that feature raccoons.

We did see a Tri Zone there. Sort of. It was modified. There were a bunch of modified games there. Tri Zone had been modified to be a Simon. There are four drop targets on the table, all pretty well separated from one another. They're worth a thousand points, or ten thousand if the light in front of one is flashing. The flashing light proceeds, left to right, in a steady timed march. The modified Tri Zone had the lights flash in patterns, with the goal of the player being to duplicate the pattern. It makes the game much more of a control challenge. You can get, like, ten points for hitting the wrong stuff, or a thousand points for completing a pattern of targets. bunny_hugger did rather better than I did. I think she got up to something like 21 sequences completed; I didn't manage half that. Clearly it's a chance to practice your skills and controls.

Since we were getting a bit weary we headed back to the hotel room for an hour or so. As we walked out we saw, across the expressway running under part of the convention center, people lined up for the Clinton rally. The line ran out the building, down to the corner of the block, and then around that corner down as far as we could make out. On a corner opposite that were a half-dozen Jill Stein supporters. And across an access street from that were three Trump supporters holding signs and looking bored. Trump would actually talk about the Clinton rally, so far as he can be said to talk about anything, and say how few Clinton supporters showed up. Maybe he sent his people to the wrong corner.

Trivia: The first film of the World Series was made in 1908. Source: Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History, Cait Murphy.

Currently Reading: Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans: A Brief History, Charles H Kahn.

PS: The End 2016 Mathematics A To Z: Algebra, starting off this sequence with a popular word everyone figures they know already.