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austin_dern

July 2017

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Apr. 22nd, 2017

So. I'm finally ready to start on the second day of the PinMasters tournament. It's pin-golf again, with the same score objectives on the same tables that I'd done all right on the day before. If I do slightly better, I'm assured by ADM's friend, I might be in range of the finals, low seed but still, wow. If I do only as well, I'll probably be mid-pack in a very competitive group. I groaned at ADM's friend for jinxing me when he said this, but that's just superstition.

We're in new groups, roughly matching where we finished the day before. But since we're playing against the score objectives the skills of other players doesn't matter much. My first game: Road Kings, a late solid state game. It's from, to me, the hardest era: you have to make a lot of very precise shots to get the best scores and there aren't many alternatives. The day before I'd met the objective, albeit on the last ball, by getting the multiball started and collecting the jackpot. Now I know what to do --- light locks, lock two balls, and then re-lock both balls. Should be easy.

It's not. I keep missing the lock lights. When I finally get a ball locked I can't lock the second. I do some flailing around. And then, worse and worse: someone else gets the jackpot. As is common in solid state games, the jackpot builds, ball to ball, player to player, and when anyone scores it goes back to a smallest value. The jackpot had been enough to meet the objective at once. Now it's way too low. I'll have to get a multiball going and keep it going a long while, which I don't. I end up with a pitiful score, good for nine strokes. That's two worse than even my worst balls the night before, and it's one stroke short of the worst possible. A bad start.

I'll get back to my playing shortly, but want to share [profile] bunny_hugger's experience on the table. She, in another group, was also being streamed on Twitch while she played. She knew this for sure when the game did a really indecent bit. One of the shots you're supposed to take sends the ball on a ramp to the left outlane, where the kickback sends the ball back into play. Only this time the kickback tossed the ball to the other side of the table and down the right outlane and out of play. Moments later her phone rang, a text from MWS asking whether the game really just cheated her like that. It had.

I realize now I'm not sure that didn't happen on Friday. But on Saturday, the second day, she was certainly playing Road Kings while being streamed again. And I know this because she got multiball going and was fishing around for the jackpot. She locked one ball, but didn't know that to get the jackpot she should lock the second. She made some reasonable guesses, including shooting a ramp shot that, were this a modern game, would totally have been the jackpot. And she overheard the commentators saying, ``She doesn't know! She doesn't know! She doesn't know what the jackpot shot is!''

So it was. But she didn't lose the ball either, and the ramp shot in multiball is rewarding anyway. (It might even be a better value than a freshly-reset jackpot.) She keeps the ball going long enough to reach the target score, and on the fourth ball, par. A commentator says she got her par ``the hard way''. One of the Twitch chat room followers says she got her par ``like a boss''. It's a satisfying moment.

There won't be enough of those.

Trivia: In a cabinet meeting on the 22nd of April, 1927, President Coolidge named Herbert Hoover chair of a special committee to handle the Mississippi flooding emergency. Hoover would spend sixty of the next 71 days in the flood territory. Source: Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 And Hw It Changed America, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen, Philip Ball.

PS: In Which I Offer Excuses Instead Of Mathematics, but at least it's something to read and to look at.

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