Dude, this has been like a really super-intense week for us,
and so much has happened that I'm not even sure where to begin.
I guess I'll start with an Executive Summary. First, there was
that whole Xmas thing; ours
was totally hectic, but also absolutely wonderful. We got everything
we wanted, and then some, and we gave out lotsa neat stuff, including
Beta release copies of our new game Q-Turn,
for which we've been getting both praise and constructive criticisms.
Then, just as we were settling in to play with our new toys for
the week, Leslie flew in
from Texas. She'll be here for 3 weeks, helping us do some long
term planning, and putting together a business plan for us. Oh,
I forgot to mention that Green
Bean decided to have a go at gnawing off his own leg, forcing
Kristin and Alison to spend a few hours in Injured-Pet-on-Christmas-Eve Hell. And now, Y2K is upon us, and of course
we've left our stock-piling until the last minute, which means
we've had to fight the crowds at the Price Club in order to stock
up on things... anyway, it's been a very busy week for us, as
usual. How were your holidays?
And now for some details...
Green Bean: Alison's little
Quaker parrot got into trouble again
this week, by scratching that itch on his leg so much that it
bled, and then some. We're not sure why he did this (although
he has been a feather picker for as long as we've known him...).
It was so severe it necessitated a trip to the only emergency
vet in town accepting patients on Xmas Eve. She put his leg into
a soft little cast-like bandage and sentenced him to two weeks
in an "Elizabethan" collar. So it looks like he'll
be OK. And while this wasn't at all how the girls wanted to spend
the last shopping day before the holiday, at least theirs wasn't
the drama they witnessed at the emergency animal hospital...
a guy with an injured dog came in, followed by the driver of
the car that had hit him, and Green Bean's treatment had to wait
as the hospital staff raced to keep the animal alive.
Christmas Eve: I've been living a
nocturnal lifestyle for a year or two now, partly because it
allows for maximum efficiency and partly because I like it, but
while I routinely stay up all night, I had never kept the night
watch on Christmas eve itself until this year. I really enjoyed
it. There's something magical about being up all night on this
night of nights, especially if you're actively working on creating
Christmas magic, like I was, wrapping gifts and making fudge
until dawn. It's great being awake at 5:30 am on Christmas morning,
with everyone else in the house still asleep, knowing that people
everywhere (or at least everywhere in my timezone) are starting
to wake up, starting to experience the joy of Xmas morning. And
you feel this great connection to everyone else, as you think
about the excitement and anticipation they're all feeling at
this time. It's like when the Grinch stood at the top of Mount
Crumpit, ready to dump the toys, waiting to hear the first sounds
of distress from Whoville below (except without that whole Grinch
element). Come to think of it, it seems like all the best Christmas
stories revolve around pulling an all-nighter... first, of course,
there's that night of Grinchly mischief; then there's Scrooge,
who stays up all night hobnobbing with the Spirits, George Bailey,
who spends the night experiencing a world in which he never existed,
and finally Santa himself, the ultimate grave-shifter, who accomplishes
an entire year's work in one very productive evening. So it kind
of seems like Christmas magic can really only happen in the wee
small hours of the night, on this longest of all nights in the
year (more or less). And that's what I was thinking about as
I worked through the night on Christmas morning this year. It
was cool. I think it will become a new tradition for me.
Christmas Day: We had just a totally
great Christmas. Actually, it was more like 4 Xmases, since we
celebrated the season with family at several different outposts,
followed by our own, which we ended up postponing until Boxing
Day. We got a bountiful assortment of cool gifts (and of course,
the occasional clunker) and while I'm tempted to describe all
the nifty new toys I got, I think I'm going to skip it, since
there's so much other stuff to talk about this week. However,
I will say this: Yellow Submarine Action Figures!
Q-Turn Rules v1.1: By now, many of you
will have received a holiday gift from us, in the form of a pre-release
copy of our new game Q-Turn. We've been getting lots of e-mail
about it, and the consensus is that it's pretty cool... but that
it's also just a little too prone to stalemates and king-making.
We actually already knew that... that's why we included a little
note in with this Beta release run, indicating that the rules
will probably change slightly before the final release. But while
Q-Turn does still need a little work, it's nothing that won't
shake out with tweaking and added playtesting... and if you've
got one of the pre-release copies, you can try out the latest
changes to the rules, which are as follows:
- No passing: you must Move, Bounce, or Turn. (And no 360 degree
- Double Arrows permits *only* a 90 degree CCW turn of some
Let us know how it plays! Our Mad
Lab Rabbits all got the Beta release, and they've already
been discussing it on the Rabbits mailing list...
Leslie Burgoyne: We met Leslie a little
over a year ago at a conference, and judged each other to be
Cool. She's a senior at the University of North Texas, and since
she's majoring in Business Management, and we're a young business
seeking to grow, Leslie's become very interested in helping to
craft our company's 5-year plan. She's spending her winter break
with us, living, eating, and breathing the Looney Labs corporate
philosophy, asking us lots of questions, and giving us writing
assignments. The hope is that when she goes back to Texas in
3 weeks, we'll have a detailed business plan in hand that we
can use to pursue a full-fledged business loan, and considering
how aggressively our new Winter Intern has been digging into
the task so far, I'm guessing we'll succeed.
Naturally, Leslie has all sorts of questions about our plans,
our market, and in particular, our customers. And while we're
not completely clueless about these things, we also concluded
that we don't know as much about our customer demographics as
we ought to, so we decided to pass her questions along to you.
New this week is an online survey of Game-Player's
Demographics. If you play games, please take a few moments
to tell us a little bit about your game playing and buying habits.
It will be very helpful to us as we work on writing our business
New Year's Eve: It sounds like most
of America is now planning to just stay home for this massive
milestone, and well, so are we. We're just gonna hang out, playing
videogames on the Bridge's wonderfully-refurbished viewing screen,
and waiting to see if the power goes out at midnight. Or perhaps
we'll watch the Hudsucker Proxy. Where will you be?