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austin_dern

September 2017

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Jun. 8th, 2017

Friday was a day for qualifying. There were two major tournaments, the Classics on a quartet of electromechanical and early solid-state games; and the Main tournament, a selection of games old and new. Qualification is done by putting in games on as many of the machines you want. You get points based on how many of your competitors you beat, with the top four scores (for Classics) or five scores (for main) counted for your position. The top twelve people would go to the Classics finals. The top 24 (roughly) people would go on to Main finals, in either the A or B division. Classics qualifying ended Friday night. Main tournament would have three more hours of qualification Saturday morning.

So the order of priority was to put up a game on all the tables, for Main and Classics, and then see where I stood. Also on the two games set aside for the daily tournament, on which I put up nothing noteworthy and didn't qualify. Neither did [profile] bunny_hugger. Would've been nice for the bragging rights, but, eh. I only put one try on each of those two games.

The Classics tournament had a game I'd had some wonderful experiences on, 1977's Prospector. It's an electromechanical with a loosely gold-and-silver-prospector theme and for no clear reason the figures of Laurel and Hardy on it. I put up a fantastic first game, a good omen for the day; the score would be something like 35th in the pack. I would give it another try, doing about ten percent better and getting me to 32nd place. There was also Gottleib's 1971 Four Square, a pretty nice simple table with beautifully easy rules, hit sets of the targets 1, 2, 3, and 4. It had a four-digit score reel, so that 9,990 would be the score game designers figured couldn't be beat. I got as high as 5,270, which was good for 26th place.

I had better luck, eventually, with Genie and Firepower, both early solid state games and available in simulation on Pinball Arcade. Eventually got up to eighth on Genie and ninth place in Firepower, good for ... not really anything much. With this sort of qualification format you can get in, securely, with a broad mediocrity. Prospector and Four Square scores sank me, though.

I ended up in 16th place, about twenty points away from qualifying. [profile] bunny_hugger would have a worse time, finishing even behind me, and inspiring a lot of grumbling that, you know, we do well in Classics. We're in tune with the slower pace and gentler moves of electromechanical and early solid-state games. It's not fair.

Trivia: One of the first software products IBM sold, in July 1969, was the Customer Information Control System, offered for about $600 per month. Source: A History of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age Of Musical Radio, Thomas A DeLong.

PS: What Second Derivatives Are And What They Can Do For You, another supplement for Why Stuff Can Orbit.

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