Monty and Morgion 043: Tetrisized

25Apr03 (Monthenor): Does anyone else remember the old ad campagins where Nintendo urged everybody to get "Tetrisized"? I hope I'm not the only one... While this comic is based in fact, there are two small points that I feel I should bring up. One, I have never actually fallen asleep in class. I remember some days that I wish I had, but five years into my college career I'm still completely nap-free in classrooms. Two, I haven't had a Tetris dream in a couple of years.

I had a couple of other comic ideas for this week, but this one had to come first. Why? So that I could gloat, of course! I invite the world, especially my brother, to check this shit out. See that high score? I would now like to invite the world to bring it if they have the Tetris skillz to challenge me!!

For a little more background on the interaction between Tetris and class, here are the entirety of my notes for AI that day. And yes, that's another railgun schematic in the previous day's notes.

Reminder: If you haven't yet contributed to my friend Vixen's Jaunt for Jubblies, you're a horrible person.

Gargoyles / Star Trek crossover fanfic makes the angels cry.
04.26.03 (Morgion)

I would submit that if you don't contribute and you call it Jaunt for Jubblies, you're a crass, insensitive clod. Having donated, as have I, Monty is somewhat immune from this assessment. Somewhat. ;-) Unless, of course, he's completely vindicated by Vixen… she has been looking for a team name, and this does sound like a strong candidate.

I knew Mozilla's bookmark keywords were good for something! I just had no freaking clue what, until I saw this guide on keyword searching / bookmarklets in Mozilla. Now, I just type in "php [functionName]" and like magic, I've got the manual page for the function in question. Or the PHP site tells me it doesn't know what I'm talking about; this, however, is a limitation of the search function on PHP's site. They should just reap the benefits of free, intra-site Google search.

Speaking of powerful browser functions, remember when Apple looked like they weren't going to implement tabbed browsing in Safari? There were lame-ass rationalizations for sans-tab Safari, and brief comments from a developer that tabs serve no useful purpose for the classic novice user. This is theory is thoroughly perforated by dumb-ass delmar watkins (author of the lame-ass rationalization above, who should feel silly now):

First, like the one-button mouse, Apple designs interfaces so that they are as simple as possible. …there is just the one button, but then add control- option- command- and shift-clicks and you have a set of features that is actually *more* powerful and complex than, say, Windows' simple "right-click" paradigm.

"Simple" Apple interface == "one button, but then add [an assload of modifier keys]". Needs two hands. Not self evident, and therefore lame. I'm not saying Apple and developers should get rid of modifier key clicking; I just want you to add another button to my mouse / trackpad so I don't have to buy the currently superior Microsoft mice. Please?

On a cinematic note, go see Identity. Don't let the knowledge that the writer, Michael Coony, has done some other, questionable work. Then, you might want to stick around after the movie and get in line for X-Men 2. After that, you really want to start waiting in line for The Matrix: Reloaded. Unfortunately, you'll have to find some way to earn money, because the summer movie joy is just beginning.

Now, some software. Engage in the latest incarnation of the voyeuristic American culture: SimCamX. Now you can easily post pictures of your latest time-sucking, life-by-proxy adventures in control-freak micro-management or wonton abandonment of human morality (e.g., trapping your Sim in a room without doors, but with walls of windows; or, reducing them to a pruney mass in their pool-prison).

Also, read the quirky review of Squeaky Toy Deluxe. Then, if you're running X, install the software… for "fun".

GerbilMechs and Morgion are not responsible for headaches, aneurysm, seizures, or neurological disorders resulting from use of the previously-listed software. You can try to pin it on Monty, if you like. ;-)

26Apr03 (Monthenor): Reader EvilDRGN16 (who I don't believe I know personally) sent me this link to very enlightening Tetris gameplay. I would very much like to meet whoever made this video and test my Tetris against them. Rawr!!

Of course, I only play ZTetris on TI-85. It's not just because it's portable and disguised as a calculator. The control is tight and flawless, the scoring is reasonable, and it's fast enough to provide a challenge. In fact, although the gameplay movie above shows impressive speed and talent, it's actually encouraging poor Tetris strategy. With pieces immediately dropping to the pile, it's in your best interest to build a large spike in the middle of the field so you can slide pieces off to either side. This is the exact opposite of what you want in other Tetris modes. A healthy pile should be nearly flat, with a single shaft down to the bar tetrad's good side (rotating a bar is biased to one side or the other: in the original Nintendo version is skews right, in ZTetris it skews left).

This sort of thing is why I fantasize about teaching a Tetris theory class.

I ran some numbers this morning: to get a score of 54660 starting from level 9 means I had crazy luck that day. 100 lines to level 10 / 4 lines per tetris * 1200 points per tetris = a mere 30000 points in a perfect game. And then I only get 2-3 tetrises per level with the point reward increasing by about 120 each time...and it's level 15 before I get near 54660. And that's with a perfect game of pure tetrises, which is near impossible in itself. So account for the fact that most pieces you drop add a point and subtract some for 1-3 line cleanups. I'm betting I was still getting tetrises at level 16, a speed that was almost unplayable just a few weeks ago.

Clearly all my boring lectures are paying off. I've even surpassed my skill level from five years ago in freshman Chemistry.