- kory! & hspd-12 suxorz
A brutal, tender,
weird, prophetic fantasy
for our modern world.
the Lambretta twist
10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World
"Daddy, will you help me write a letter?"
"Sure, who do you want to write to?"
"I don't know."
"Let's see... We could write to Andy Looney and tell him
how much you like Treehouse."
"Actually, I don't want to write a letter... Can we play
"So you'll have to settle for an email from me... Seriously,
she's a fanatic. As you're aware, I'm more of a Homeworlds guy;
Treehouse initially struck me as a bit lightweight. But hey,
my daughter is 5, and it's a lot more interesting than her previous
favorite, the Cinderella-themed jewelry collection game 'Pretty
Pretty Princess'. I played Treehouse with her a few times, more
or less telling her what to do with each roll. Recently, she
realized that tactics within her grasp would give her a reasonably
good chance of beating Dad! She immediately banned strategic
hints and learned to read the words on the die herself. Now we
play most nights, and she's telling me I'm scheduled to teach
it to her kindergarten class. I have a very hard time playing
any game at less than my full ability, so any game that lets
Averill compete fairly with me without feeling like a coin flip
is excellent." -- email from Rob
Then and Now
||How Many Copies Sold Makes
Something a "Hit"?
is the back-glass image from a Twilight Zone pinball machine.
I love this image... it's a beautiful homage to my favorite TV
show of all time, and the back-glass alone was a selling point
to me when I decided, in 1996, to purchase a used Twilight Zone
pinball machine from an arcade (using bonus money I'd gotten
because of Icebreaker).
Obviously the theme had a lot of appeal for me, but I also chose
the Twilight Zone because I'd heard from my pinball-playing buddies
that this was actually an exceptionally good machine. It was
designed by the same people who'd created the hugely successful
Addam's Family pinball machine the year before, and it's packed
with cool features.
It's been great fun having this machine in our house, and
having recently gotten it tuned up and serviced, I've been playing
it again recently, and learning more about it. As it turns out,
I made a better choice than I'd realized: the Twilight Zone PinBall
Machine (TZPBM) has become one of the most prized and highly-valued
pinball machines ever made. The dude who did a bunch of maintenance
work on it for us told me that if I ever wanted to sell it, he
could get me 8 or 10 times what I originally paid for it! (Not
that I want to sell, mind you...)
So, why is this
particular machine increasing so much in value? Well, according
to Wikipedia, many pinball enthusiasts consider Twilight
Zone to be "the most complex pinball game ever designed."
It has become a favorite of collectors because it lends itself
really well to custom
modifications, something I'd never even thought of before
(and now find myself interested in, at the very least, a set
of those fake
gumballs for the otherwise mostly-empty gumball machine).
And I've realized there's this very exclusive club, which I'm
an automatic member of, and for which there's an actual roster
online I could sign up for: Owners
And just how exclusive is that club? Well, there's a definite
limit to the possible membership, since a limited number of TZPBMs
were made, and thanks again to Wikipedia, it's easy to find out
that the production run was for exactly 15,235 units. Wow, that's
it? Only 15,000? That doesn't really seem like very many, does
it? Of course, pinball machines aren't like hamburgers. (Remember
when McDonald's kept updating all their signs with a running
total, in billions, of the number of hamburgers they'd sold?)
As it turns out, this machine's older brother, the Addam's Family,
is the best
selling pinball machine of all time, having sold 20,270 units.
I find these numbers especially fascinating right now, since
Kristin & Robin & I have been having lots of long working
sessions lately, putting together a comprehensive new Business
Plan for Looney Labs.
For example, obviously I'm comparing apples with oranges here,
but I still find it interesting to note that we've currently
sold 17 times more Fluxx decks than the all-time best-selling
pinball machine ever made. And unlike that pinball machine, we're
not going to stop making them!
So, how many copies of something have to be sold for it be
considered a "hit"? Again, it's an apples vs. oranges
situation, but consider the Gold
Record. According to the current definition in the US music
industry, a Gold Record is one that sells half a million copies,
with a Platinum Record being a million-seller.
While there are no "gold record" standards in the
Hobby Game Industry, any card game that has sold at least 20,000
units could be considered a hit, at least to some degree. By
that measure, our company has several minor-grade hits: Chrononauts,
Pyramids, and Aquarius
have each sold at least that many units. But our major hit is
total sales of which are currently over 350,000 copies, and increasing
But when a card game really hits the big time, these numbers
can go through the roof. Consider Uno: they celebrated its 35th
anniversary in 2006, after selling more than 100 million
copies and still going strong. Really successful parlor games
will end up selling more copies every year, for decades or longer,
and I beleive Fluxx
is destined to become just such a mega-hit. We've sold over a
third of a million copies in 10 years... how many million decks
will we have sold 25 years from now?
thanks for reading, and have a great week!
||Well, I haven't heard a word from the Superhero
people, so I guess I didn't make the cut. I'm actually more surprised
than disappointed... I thought the ideas I submitted were really
very compelling and unique. I'm guessing I was rejected for a
specific reason, like worry that I was just trying to promoting
my games, or perhaps it was my
views on the drug war, or maybe my character was just a little
too crazy for their tastes. Oh well, on to the next challenge!
||I like Barrack a lot more than Hillary, but I like Dennis
Kucinich the most of all. I also like Bill Richardson quite a
bit. (If our next Democratic President has to have the same name
as the last one, I'd rather it be his first name, not his last
name, at least in this case.)
||"The results seem pretty self evident to me. As someone
who has done his fair share of drinking and smoking marijuana,
I know which one had significant negative effects if I did too
much of it. In short, smoking too much pot just made me sleepy.
It never made me emotionally volatile, or had me doing things
I regretted the next day. It never caused me to spend hours in
the bathroom vomiting. It never left me incapacitated with a
terrible hangover the next day. All of my worst party-related
experiences in college were the result of too much booze, not
too much pot. As for gateway drugs, I did cocaine once in my
life, over a decade after I smoked my first joint, and, interestingly
enough, at the end of a night of heavy drinking. I never felt
the urge to do stronger drugs after smoking marijuana." -- email sent to Andrew Sullivan and posted
in his column, in response to news about a study which found
& Tobacco Worse Than Pot & Ecstasy