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loogslair.com Don't mind me. I'm just hanging out.

Sunday, 6/30/02, 1:31 PM
Zoda... Zo-Zo-Zo-Z-Zoda...

The NES Lair now has a new review for Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics 2. Now I never have to play this game ever again.


Thursday, 6/27/02, 10:02 AM
Lamenting God and Millionaire

I was just going to talk about the series finale of WWTBAM today, but considering what happened yesterday I better get my say in about the utterly mornoic event that occurred yesterday as well.

In case you didn't know, the People's Republic of California's Court of Appeals - which is run overwhelmingly by appointees of Jimmy Carter - has just declared that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, since the words "Under God" infringe on the separation of church and state.

Many words have been used by the politicians to describe this ruling: "Ridiculous" (George W. Bush), "Nuts" (Tom Daschle), "Disgraceful" (Zell Miller), and "Idiotic" (Bob Barr). For once, both sides of the aisle were able to agree on something: you don't screw around with some things, and the Pledge of Allegiance is one of those things you leave alone.

I would now like to turn my attention to the man who brought the suit against the state regarding the Pledge. And sir, please understand that I ration myself one cuss word a week, so when I spend it, it's for good reason.


I am so sick and tired of all the people in this country who feel "oppressed" because something exists that they don't like. They can't stand cigarettes, so they don't let anyone else smoke. They can't handle the responsibility of having sex, so they get rid of the responsibility by permitting abortion. They fear criminals with guns, so they make guns harder for law-abiding citizens to attain.

This is just another in a long line of steps taken to completely sterilize and desensitize this country. Since one person - ONE PERSON!! - throws a hissy fit, he ruins it for nine states.

Has anyone ever considered just not reciting the Pledge yourself? Or better yet, just leaving out the word "God"? If you're an atheist, you can simply say "One nation, under <pause>, indivisible..." There. You've stated a loyalty to your country without having to endorse any religion.

A lot of people are throwing up their hands at this and saying "What next - will 'In God We Trust' disappear from our currency?" To them, I say this: don't give these ninnies any bright ideas.

Anyway, on to more light-hearted news...

Tonight marks the end of an era. The final nighttime episode of the "permanent" series of Who Wants to be a Millionaire on ABC. The show will return in syndication this fall and in special weeks on ABC, but it's fair to say that neither of them will recapture the buzz that this show originally had.

A lot of people have pointed fingers at many reasons the show got cancelled - they overexposed it to the point of exhaustion, they went overboard on the celebrity episodes, the removal of the phone game drastically reduced the chances of anyone winning the million, etc. Many of these are quite valid points (although for me, the show jumped the shark when Reege started putting his verdicts on speed-dial). However, I think there is one primary reason why Millionaire will be gone as a series after tonight: Time simply caught up with the show.

See, here's the thing: daytime and primetime television are two completely different animals. If you don't believe me, look at the things they put on each schedule. In the daytime, you have game shows, talk shows, court shows, local newscasts, and reruns. What do all these things have in common? They're all very stable properties. You tune into one of these shows, knowing fully well the process that is going to unfold. Yes, the popularity of one genre over another ebbs and flows over time, but when it comes right down to it, a daytime show thrives on its immutableness. I know that at 10 AM, I can turn on channel 2, and there's Bob Barker, and there's the first item up for bids, and there's Plinko and Cliff Hangers and Hole in One... or Two, just like it was yesterday, and just like it will be tomorrow.

Primetime shows, however, depend on being a dynamic form to make it. Watch an early episode of Frasier, and watch one from this season. The storyline has changed. Relationships have formed. Now, look at one of the bombs from last fall (Bob Patterson leaps immediately into mind). Why did that show fall flat on its face? Because rather than try to have a long-term storyline with evolving characters, it operated on a gimmick. Gimmicks usually have a shelf life of one episode at most, so shows that don't have anything to use in the second episode usually don't last much longer than that.

In the cae of WWTBAM, this was a show that started off with high intensity and drama at every moment. David Honea came in, rode roughshod over his first nine questions, tortured himself for five minutes over the $32,000 question, and wound up winning it, looking totally wiped out afterward. Two days later, here comes Doug Van Gundy to become the first player in nine years to win a quarter-million on TV. The following Wednesday, Michael Shutterly eclipses him. The show comes back in November, and look - here's John Carpenter. By then we'd seen it all, but the show still manages to keep the audience interested with special events with celebrities, returning champions, and a progressive jackpot.

But eventually, WWTBAM ran out of its own Lifelines. Celebrity weeks stopped becoming events to look forward to, everyone was stopping at $125K (provided they made it that far), and everything was really starting to look routine on the show. And when you're in primetime, a routine is the last thing you want to have.

I still have my hopes for the show - although Meredith Vieira as host strikes me as a bit of miscasting. Maybe when the show enters syndication, the show will do well once again, especially since the network suits aren't there anymore to get their fingerprints all over it.


Wednesday, 6/26/02, 10:36 AM
Feeling listless, are we?

Episode 7 of The NES List is now up. The topic: The Top 3 "Missed Opportunity" NES Games. (You'll see what we mean when you get there.)


Friday, 6/21/02, 12:24 PM
Yes, Tony, the Repository has been updated

I've added 15 new rulesheets to the Rules Repository. They are: Couch Potatoes, Fandango, Let's Make a Deal, Make Me Laugh, Pictionary (Kids), The Reel to Reel Picture Show, Rodeo Drive, Think Fast, Think Twice, Three on a Match, Tic Tac Dough, Treasure Hunt, Trivia Trap, Trivial Pursuit, and Trump Card.

The U.S. was eliminated in the World Cup quarterfinals by Germany, 1-0. We now go back to completely ignoring the sport.


Tuesday, 6/18/02, 5:13 PM
Up for a quickie?

Episode 6 of The NES List is now up. The Topic: The Top 3 Best Quick Plays on the NES.

Oh, and I can get past the freeze on Max300. </DDR>


Tuesday, 6/18/02, 12:39 AM
Loogaroo Looks Over: Four "New" Game Shows

OK, so one of them has been on for a couple months, but the other three are relatively new. I finally managed to catch them on TV this week, and now it's time to give you my thoughts on the four shows that have premiered recently:

Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck: An admirable revival. Todd Newton hosts well, although he can get a little overexcited sometimes. Really, the show suffers from two big problems: first, there are way too many prizes, and the prizes themselves aren't too fantastic. (Yes, it is cable, but how many Round 2 prizes are under $1000?) Also, the set doesn't have any flash to it. The original version was practically all chasing lights; the only movement in the set now are those "fingers" that are behind the players during the question round. The Whammies are as fun as ever, although they need to tone down the number of "Double Whammies". Using my Repository paradigm, Whammy! gets 2/3/1/1 for a total of 7.

Russian Roulette: Easily one of the more intriguing shows I've seen in a while. Time will tell how long it takes for the gimmick to wear off, but the aspect of challenging opponents to answer questions is an intriguing one, and the bonus round manages to incorporate the drop zones effectively (although I do tend to dislike bonus rounds that are all chance). Mark "L." Walberg is also quite a decent host. (Which leads us to ask - are we going to see Ron Maestri ever again, or was he just a cyborg created for that one show?) Not a whole lot of vibrance in the set, but the atmosphere doesn't call for it. For now, I'm giving Russian Roulette a 2/2/2/2, for a total of 8.

Prisoner's Dile- ...er, Friend or Foe: When everyone hypothesized how a Prisoner's Dilemma game would unfold, everyone feared the worst: nobody would win any money, because everyone would try to take it all from their partners. Now that we see it in practice, however, we see how much the prospect of sharing $4600 can persuade people to be nice to their partners. The gimmick of trusting teammates with right answers does slow down the game considerably, but it doesn't get too much in the way, and Kennedy is actually quite admirable as a hostess, with equal parts of bite and smile. Friend or Foe also gets an 8, with a 2/3/1/2 distribution.

And if you don't think Bob Boden and Rich Cronin are doing a bang-up job at GSN now, just think back to 1998, when the phrase "New shows on GSN" meant the premieres of Jep!, Extreme Gong, and Throut & Neck.

Dog Eat Dog: I hereby declare a moratorium on all new shows that involve voting players off. Honestly, folks, hasn't that gimmick been done to death already? What's more, this is the first game show I've ever seen where the champion can wind up leaving with no money, while the people he's beaten get the grand prize. Does that not make sense to anyone else? Brooke Burns is a marginal host at best, seeming to rely on a whole lot of teleprompter reading to make her way through the show. (Oh, and BTW - "Pass" is not an incorrect answer - it's a concession.) Payoffs seem to be shrinking, too - three years ago, WWTBAM was about to premiere, and now the most a new show is willing to offer is $25,000. It's sad, really. Dog Eat Dog gets 1/1/2/1 for a total of 5 points.


Monday, 6/17/02, 10:11 AM

As much as I have come out to say I don't like soccer, it helps when the teams you're rooting for are either winning or fighting their way back.

Yesterday, I got to see most of the Spain-Ireland match. Spain was up 1-0 for much of the match, until Ireland managed to tie it up in the final minute of regulation with a penalty kick - about the third time the Irish had scored so late in the game. Unfortunately, Spain eventually won on penalty kicks, but I was already at work by then.

And then, the biggie: The US humiliating Mexico by a score of 2-0, the first time we've ever won a single-elimination game. It was hilarious watching the Mexicans spend 7 1/2 minutes in the American side of the field, unable to get anything in, only to watch the Americans trot up the field and score within 20 seconds of getting the ball. Watching them get frustrated enough to pick up 5 yellow cards and one red card was fun.

Next up for the US: Germany.


Saturday, 6/15/02, 8:06 PM
More Max2 Goodness

Get ready to see this sort of thing a lot.

Two more catas in my control: Tsugaru and Rain of Sorrow (which holds the distinction as being the first time I've ever sight read a cata). Also had my first 27-foot game, which is the most you can have without playing Max 300 or Maxx Unlimited (which reminds me - I can almost get halfway through the former) on a three-song machine. Finally, I managed to reclaim #4 on the high scores with a 5:46 time on Nearly 130.

Special thanks goes to the schmoe at Golf 'n' Stuff who gave me about 45 tokens for my $5 coupon. That was the cheapest trip to GnS I've ever had.

If people beg enough, I might start a DDR section to this place, if for no other reason than to move these little progress reports off the front page. But then again, this is probably the only way this front page will ever get updated once the buzz of the new design wears off.

Oh, one more thing - the next time I'm asked to work an 11-6 shift at Vons, someone please gag me before I have a chance to say yes.


Thursday, 6/13/02, 3:29 PM
Two good days on Max2

Show of hands: Who actually cares about how I do on DDR?

Well, though noogies. It's my site and I told you I'd be posting more stuff in here anyway.

Anyway, last Tuesday I went to the local Golf 'n' Stuff (as I always do every Tuesday and Thursday this summer break) and played my usual 5 games of DDR Max2. A pretty damn good showing that day, as I was able to clear So Deep, Dynamite Rave, and Break Down!, the first time I've ever cleared more than one cata in the same day, and bringing the count to 12. Granted, So Deep was kind of illegitimate, as I had it on 1.5 Scroll and Solo, but since I had sight read it Friday night and faile don the very last step, I wanted to get that thing out of the way.

Today, nothing awe-inspiring, but a couple accomplishments, nonetheless. My first multi-cata game was completed (consisting of Super Star, Break Down!, and Dead End - a total of 26/27 feet), followed by another multi-cata game later during the day (Candy Vocal, Break Down!, Afronova - 25 feet out of 27 possible). I also beat my longest time on the Nearly 130 course - 4:58 the first time, 5:03 the second. I'm especially proud of the 4:58, since I kinda tanked in the opening of Higher, but managed to combo the next 15 seconds or so until the fatal Boo. Couldn't cement So Deep, though (Normal scroll is harder than I thought), and don't talk to me about Waka Laka.

If anyone needs a translation of the above, E-mail me.

Before I go, expect the Rules Repository to get updated next week. See ya!


Wednesday, 6/12/02, 10:32 AM
Making a List and checking it twice

I've finally gotten around to catching up on the old episodes of The NES List, as well as upolading the most recent episode yesterday. All of the carnage can be found in my Video Game Lair. Don't forget to vote!


Monday, 6/10/02, 8:02 PM
Musings on the World Cup

If you're like me, you've probably been paying lukewarm attention to the World Cup, perhaps even sitting down to watch a half or two. A lot of this could probably be attributed to the fact that the US might actually advance to the second round for once.

As I was watching, I came to the following conclusion: there's a reason why soccer will never be the high-scoring affair that we offense-minded Americans enjoy seeing so much. The reason? The offside rule. Offside is called on an attacking player if they run past the last defender before the ball passes him. If he does, it's whistled offside and the other team gets the ball, effectively squashing the first team's charge.

This comes off to me as being highly unfair to the attacking team. Yes, there needs to be something that prevents an attacker from camping out inside the goalie box while the ball is still 50 yards away, and then punch it into the goal when an opening presents itself, but the offside rule as it stands right now takes all the flow out of the game. It penalizes a team for being faster than their opponents, essentially. Moreover, it prohibits breakaway plays, meaning that once a team mounts an attack, there's already five defenders waiting for them.

Obviously, offside is a necessary rule for the aforementioned camp-out reasons, but I can't help but think there's some way to tweak it. For instance, make it like hockey: it's called if an attacker enters the goalie box before the ball, and once a team is onside they can move freely in the box until the ball leaves. At that point, the offensive players must exit the box until the ball re-enters. Another way to do it is to only call offside if the player in question is behind the defender before the pass is made, but once the ball is passed it's the defender's responsibility to keep the frontrunner in check.

They need to be more liberal on calling penalty kicks, as well. As it stands, they're only granted if a foul is committed in the goalie box. Personally, that again rewards the defense for fouling outside the box, even if the attacker had them beat. The NBA has a rule giving free throws to a player who was on a breakaway; that should probably be the case here, too.

It's still more exciting than baseball, though.


Friday, 6/7/02, 11:16 AM
A Dawn of a New Era...

Well, kinda.

What you're looking at now is the new design of loogslair.com. As you can see, I've dropped the frames and replaced them with a toolbar on each page; hopefully this will help make things a little easier to navigate. If you're wondering what happened to the update and rant pages, I'm going to start using this front page for both of them. I was originally going to try using a blogger for the front page, but that turned out to be more trouble that it's worth.

As for actual updates, I have added a new proposal to my production headquarters (entitled "The Pace") and spruced up the links page. I'm in the middle of working on 12 new rulesheets for the Rules Repository (I've finished typing up the rules - now I need to review them, get screenshots, and format them into HTML, so I've still got a ways to go), and in the Video Game area I've got some graphics finished for my new Dragon Warrior shrine, which I hope to have running by the end of the month.

Hope you enjoy the new site!