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[personal profile] heiligekuh
I picked up Planet Puzzle Leauge again, after misplacing the DS during the move and a far-too-long dallaince with WoW.  It's still, if you like arranging blocks, a fantastic, mind-blowing version of one of the best games ever.  There's a few little annoyances in the version, but I feel petty whining about a game that gives me WiFi play and vocie chat against my friends, automatic movie recoridng and sharing, and a dozen different modes that are all fun.  But, seriously, I would buy the game again if you inclued the original Tetris Attack music and sounds.

But as much as I love it, I think I'm done with it as a VS game.  After years of holding out, I'm prepared to concede that Puzzle Fighter is a far better vs puzzle game, and will even hear arguments about the brutally fast Magical Drop or Battle Balls. 

The downfall of TA/PPL comes after I've spent enough time playing with the stylus and exploring the Time Attack modes.  The stylus makes anyone a better player, flat out.  There hasn't been a control-change in a game since the addition of mouselook.   I still suck on a regular basis, but the ratio of "doh, why didn't I see that?!?" to "stupid fingers" is now about 80/20, whereas it was almost the reverse on the SNES (yes, Tiv, even with the keyboard).  So, I'm better now than I've ever been.  I'm not super great (and I don't play with crazy Exploding Lift), but I average about 16-20K in a 2 min score run, which means one x12 or x13, and a few x9s.

Score Attack is basically "the break" of TA/PPL VS.  You flatten out the board, push it up to the top, then take a few seconds to finesse things into place and start the break.  If you fuck up and kill your chain after x5 or x6, just level it off and push back up.  It's 2 minutes of clean breaks and it's fun as hell.  Becuase of the time crunch, breaking little 3s or x2s activley hurts you, taking away blocks which could have been used elsewhere and burning precious seconds with their explosion. 

After that, you've both got blocks of cheese on your screens and you move into Garbage Attack - another 2:00 timed mode in PPL.  Here, while you want to keep chaining if you can, block and break managment are far more important.  For decent players, it's pretty easy to send x4 or x5 bricks over on a regular basis, along with trash breaks.  This is enough to keep the screen full indefinatley.  If one player is clearly better than the other, they'll plow through the trash and get to do another clean break, piling another huge block of cheese on top of the stack.  But if you can keep breaking the cheese as it falls, keep moving the critic break into place before squish time expires, you can stay alive.

This is the game we played for hours at Merrill, the apartment vortex, the wedge, the Pi Hole (Oh, I still remember when Foust recognized that it took some skill to set up chains from falling cheese), and the Alex/Judi/Lisa house on Holden.  ( . .shit.  I just remembered that house was the same one that Nikki/Stevie/Zulema and I lived in.  Buut without the Li-tchen.  Anyway. .. )  Drop your blocks, stay alive.  These were the games that could strecth for 10+ minute rounds.

To borrow a phrase from descriptions of Euro board games, this is the point where I think it breaks into multiplayer solitare.  The extent of your influence over the other person is almost nil.  The game is now chicken, or sme sort of stress test, all about who fails first.  Once I've filled your screen with cheese, there's not much I can do but keep it filled (and layer a sandwich in, if the ! blocks show up) to make it harder for you.  This is bad, and has killed some of my excitment for the game.

As a result, I've been playing a lot more Street Fighter.  :)  More on that later.

Date: 2009-02-16 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeliaser.livejournal.com
In all fairness, it's really only a "multiplayer solitaire" in the way you describe when both players play at a fairly high level. Both players have to be good enough to achieve and maintain a moderate level of cheese-dropping, and both players have to be good enough to constantly be cheese-removing. I'm not saying that's a fantastically amazing player, but that stuff basically only happens to me on my best days. (And I've lost to you quite a number of times.) So, I hypothesize that it IS a decent vs. game, but, unfortunately, one that becomes LESS good for vs. as the level of player quality rises. Which, I suppose, makes it a crap vs. game. Point taken.

The DS game for me became unplayable when my DS decided to interpret all screen clicks 1/8 of an inch to the left. This hasn't made many games much worse, but it makes PPL unplayable. I still can't decide whether to send it in for repair or just buy a new one.

Date: 2009-02-17 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
Everything you say is true. Games play very different at different skill levels, and TA/PPL is notably suspect. When we first met Christine (now Flores), her mode of Vs. TA was to set the speed on 10 and just break whatever random shit you could and see who lasted the longest. The whole notion of dropping cheese was a brief afterthought.

Which may well be a valid play style! Certainly I would suck at that mode on a d-pad, and lost to her frequently.

I think my point is that for a certain level of play, vs. TA breaks and becomes isolated and dull. While I never reached that level when playing on the SNES, on the DS I'm there. hence why I'm only now noticing that people who are good at this game have known for years. Good at this game and *less high.* That seriously impeded my analytic skills.

Have you watched any of the videos of what Time Attack looks like with Exploding Lift on? It's more crazy that 3D mode. Here we have another minor change that creates an entirely new game. I can only imagine that VS with Exploding Lift would consist of "Start chain. First person who breaks it, loses."

WARNING: You may need extra pants.

Sorry to hear about your DS. I can't imagine you could service an out of warranty DS for less than the $100 purchase price.

Date: 2009-02-17 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeliaser.livejournal.com
I am incapable of processing the information contained in the video you linked to. Was that PPL? Was he playing with the d-pad?!!

I've a suggestion for enable your future enjoyment of versus mode. Heavy narcotics. It sustained enjoyment of the game for us in the vortex.

Yeah, unfortunately, 100 bucks isn't worth it to play PPL to unemployed Iason. Employed Iason, no doubt, would feel differently. And then I wouldn't have to wrench it from M's Suduku-maddened claws.

Date: 2009-02-18 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
That was PPL, but it was a saved movie so the cursor movements seem a bit erratic (since you don't see the stylus, it looks like it's warping all over the place).

Yeah, my brain gives up on that video. There's so many simultaneous breaks, that I lose track of which is the "real" chain and which is just exploding craziness.

back to the orange juice after brushing teeth

Date: 2009-03-05 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chcknfire04.livejournal.com
after last night, when i epiphinized about measuring the compressed world in a black hole, and after remember that i myself have built and programed a robot, i understood how to love math.
you have to understand that math is understanding. its beautiful. theres a formula and thyrum for everything. you just have to discover it, and do it.
thats how scientists get paid.
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
I have no beef with the epiphanic moment - the "upsight" of great wonder. I too have transcended the bounds of time and space. It's just really hard to keep track of a PDE while you're doing it.

And I hesitate to take the deterministic "there's a formula for everything" angle. I distinctly remember sitting in a vector calc classroom, looking at a (x,y,z) vector field and thinking how beautifully Hobsian it all was. But it fails in the big macro scale, and it fails on the tiny personal scale. It's a good local model for crude events.

There's a huge, HUGE gap between "discover it" and "do it," and that's what the drugs hide.

Date: 2009-03-14 10:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chcknfire04.livejournal.com
you're a parade rainer.


My life's work would have to do with the reacurance of chance. I'd have to explain it to you. here's an example.

you haven't seen frank in a year,
you have a conversation about frank, or something makes you think of him.
later that day, or the day after,
you run into frank,
or he calls.

makes for an interesting discovery doesn't it?
I really think this is a gateway to understand time in a predictable way, and or peer into the future.

of course, this was before i read your response.

Date: 2009-03-14 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
Oh! The man you want to talk to is Ralph Abraham. He's a pioneer in both what mathemticians call Chaos theory, whihc is all about modleing incredibly dynamic systems, and how that connects back to . . well, this conversation to put a fine point on it.

When I left Santa Cruz he was still holding infomral office hours/classes at Lulu Carpenter's (a coffee shop on the north end of Pacific Ave). I know your schedule is packed with units right now, but an evening with him could change your life.


Oh neat! He's running a semi-structured class for $50.

# . math theories of chaos and bifurcation:
what are they and why? the cabinet of dr. calimari

# 1.2. the mathematics of paranormality:
models for telepathy, precognition astrology, the I Ching, and stock options

# 1.3. sacred geometry:
prehistoric chaos theory the silence of the sphinx

# 1.4. archeoastrology:
where did we go wrong? how to relocate the milky way

# 1.5. chaos in relationship:
how to retreat from dichotomy what is consciousness anyway?

Seriously, not to be a "old news! buzzkill, but this guy has spent a career puzzling over these same sorts of ideas, and is an intersting model on how you can make a life out of that.

Happy to have this conversation, a week at a time, in the comments of my post on old puzzle games.

Date: 2009-06-16 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
Just wanted to let you know that I've been having one of those weeks, where a dozen random disparate chains of thought seem to be leading you to specific people and binding you together in amazing and unexpected ways.

I do have a tendency to be a parade-rainer at times, but I was glad you shared this series of thoughts with me.


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