austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I never thought I could feel so free

One nice relaxing detour at Rutgers yesterday was a visit to the arcade room in the Busch Student Center. This was something of a coming home; that was where I first learned to really play pinball, going nearly daily to fine experiences like Strange Science and Secret Service and such. They only had two pinballs, but they also had many fewer video games. They put them in diagonal columns so they looked like more.

In the arcade were a new Simpsons -- I've still got a bad taste from the aggressively medicore 1990 pinball -- and Ripley's Believe it or Not. I picked the later, and discovered the game room had switched from giving quarters to giving tokens, the better to rip money off students while making it harder to get laundry change.

The Ripley's game was fun, though I didn't know what to expect. I hit various modes based on hitting targets, but there were so many ramps, bumpers, holes, spinners, and such -- and so many lights always flashing -- I didn't have time to figure out where to aim. I enjoyed it, though. The only real mistake, I think, was some endlessly squaking mask/icon figure that wouldn't shut up and wouldn't say anything clearly enough to understand, so it was just an ongoing distracting nuisance.

I scored 22,828,700, putting me on the high score table at #3, which I hope means they installed it that morning. I'm not that good, but am cold. I'd have played more, but my rule is to stop once I've hit the high score table, turning over the games I've won to new players -- giving back something for all the free games I got following outstanding players like Sean Joseph Grant. I hope whoever got my credits did something worthwhile with it.

Trivia: An average pinball machine has around 1,200 nuts, screws, and washers. Source: Ripley's Believe it or Not Pinball, Stern Pinball Inc.

Currently Reading: 50 Short Science Fiction Tales, Isaac Asimov and Groff Conklin.


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