April 2007 Archives

Ode to Joy

Victory is mine!

Tonight I achieved 100% on the two remaining levels, earning the title of Extreme Peggle Master. I'm certain my light saber will be arriving shortly, and even now I can see the mysteries of the universe opening to me at last. Or is that just my life returning? Dang.

Comment (1) | last by Dave, Apr 29, 10:44 PM

Ultra Extreme Fever

I have now completed all 75 Peggle challenges, which was actually much easier than I expected. Spooky Ball is your friend. Here's another tip: On the level with "FEVER" spelled out in bricks, aim the gun as far to the right as it will go, then hit the left arrow key six times, then fire.

You're welcome.

Now, only the ultimate challenge-- 100% on every level-- remains. It will be mine.

Comments (8) | last by t, Jul 14, 12:29 PM

A friend commented that I hadn't posted about The Amazing Race in a while, and that's largely because until last night I was three episodes behind. Now I'm caught up, and have these thoughts on that and other shows:

  • Charla and Mirna are, if anything, even less likeable the second time around. I'm not sure which would be more offensive: if Mirna affects her bogus accent intentionally, or subconsciously. And give Charla the Understatement of the Year award for her comment upon leaving Auschwitz, "What a tragedy."
  • What the heck were Uchenna and Joyce thinking? The Amazing Race is NOT about taking risks. In fact, it's about precisely the opposite-- taking absolutely no risks and staying with the pack. They were insane to take a flight where they knew that even if the flight had no delays, they might not be able to make their connecting flight in time. If any of a zillion things went wrong-- which they did-- their plan was suicide. The only thing to do in that situation was to switch to the same flight as everyone else. They wouldn't get ahead, but the race is about being absolutely sure you don't get left behind. Racers, repeat after me: "My goal is to not finish last." Only on the final leg does the mantra become "I must finish first."
  • I don't care how tasty it is, two feet is a lot of kielbasa.
  • There is no "purity" in not using the Yield. The Yield is a tool, and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. Teams that take such a thing personally have a perspective problem. In this case, Dustin and Kandice didn't benefit from its use, but they didn't know that at the time.
  • I'm happy to see the Guidos go, but if you'll pardon the phrase, they got shafted. It absolutely sucks to get eliminated because of an airline snafu over which you had no control. To make things worse, after being marked for elimination the next leg was structured to really give them no chance at all. The Intersection meant that even under the best circumstances they'd be dead even for the lead with another team, and the following task was not one in which a half hour could be made up. That's pretty lousy race design.
  • Speaking of which, the past couple of episodes have been heavy on airport and travel agent footage and low on anything else. There were a number of legs which were poorly conceived. In Kuala Lumpur, they had to show up at a location just to pick up a clue telling them to go someplace else. Yawn! It blows my mind that this show consistently beats the far superior Survivor for the Best Reality Show Emmy when the very structure of the show is so consistently riddled with problems like this.

    Speaking of Survivor, big, big props to Yau Man for having the wit to create and hide a false immunity idol. I really hope that gambit pays off down the road, but with the seeming merger on Exile Island looming this week and nobody else from his tribe having been there to get clues, it seems unlikely. A shame, because it's sheer genius and the moment at Tribal Council when someone tried to use a fake idol would be priceless. Conversely, good riddance to Lisi. She foolishly gave away her only advantage-- knowledge of the idol's whereabouts-- and then proceeded to sleep through its discovery mere yards away. Moreover, she was clearly out of her league and displayed no sense of how to play the game. To paraphrase Ghostbusters, when someone asks if you're a God, say yes.

    Over on The Apprentice, Christine made a brilliant tactical decision that backfired. Separating herself from Trump's pet Heidi to demonstrate her superiority was a great move, as long as she had the goods to walk the walk. In the boardroom she got a bum deal when Trump summarily fired her. Sure, she made a mistake with the phone number, but from all accounts Nicole contributed almost nothing to the task. An argument could have been made that Christine only made the error because she was doing the work of two people, and the blame for that is on Nicole. Heidi, on the other hand, had no excuse. It's hard to know how well Frank or Heidi did on the task, because the editing in this episode was especially suspect. But in the boardroom Heidi flamed out spectacularly. She visibly fell apart while Frank rallied to the fight, and her own doubletalk doomed her. Had Christine and Heidi teamed up, I'd have expected them to be the final two. Now all odds are on Stephanie, whose presentation skills are clearly the best of the bunch and who has none of James' annoying personality traits.

    And finally... I'm a little behind on Lost, but the episode from two weeks ago with Paolo and what's-her-name was brilliant. Loved that they were smart enough to introduce the characters earlier in the season so the audience would actually be interested in knowing who they were. Loved the subtle touch of having virtually all of their flashback moments interact with the other dead characters, and that they took the opportunity to flesh out Arzt a bit more. And the whole device of restaging scenes from earlier in the show's history to include those two characters was clever and successful. Sure, the story itself was disposable, but it was well-executed and entertaining. Kudos.

  • Comment (1) | last by Chris Lemon, Apr 12, 7:57 PM

    Adrian Hon, director of play for Mind Candy, talks at Google about the creation of their alternate reality game Perplex City.

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