June 19th, 2011


Writer's Block: Band on the run

Which song associated with musician Paul McCartney is your favorite, and why?
Looks like I'm the first to choose "Wanderlust" from Tug Of War. Funny, I thought the choice easy. It's a powerful struggle for individuality in a sea of hopelessness. It's a great anthem for those who see life heading in a bad direction and want to take their own path. It builds up at a perfect pace, from subdued piano to orchestral fanfare. Easily one of my favorite songs of all time. (You may prefer the rerecorded version from Give My Regards to Broad Street. I don't. The new ending ruins it for me.) - ZM


I have two main things (and a bunch of little things) to share regarding the "Lucky 13", by which I mean the thirteenth annual International Classic Video Game Tournament held at the American Classic Arcade Museum, part of the Funspot entertainment complex in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. For those of you new to my journal, I and David Nelson are the only two contestants to have attended EVERY year (Cameron Feltner was the third on that list until two tournies ago; I should also mention Donald Hayes has attended every year but the first). I was once referred to as "Adam Wood of Funspot" on a forum for The King of Kong, which is curiously ambiguous as Funspot had an actual employee named 'Adam Wood' who isn't me [which is yet another reason I insist on my middle initial...], but suffice it to say I'm a fixture there.

First, that which probably brought you here if you're visiting from the Twin Galaxies forums. My favorite part of the tournament weekend is being able to converse with the wide variety of characters that are the classic arcade videogamers in attendance; when in 2004 I overheard this...
  • "Is she topless?!"
    "Yes, he is."

...it gave me the idea to start chronicling the amazingly colorful commentary I heard up there. Eventually I started an annual list of quotes - stripped of attribution and context, and with the disclaimer that they are from memory and as such possibly paraphrased - to the Funspot forum at TG, which has become one of the most popular post-tourney writeups there. Given the nature of some of this year's quotes, I decided to move the list to my journal. So, without further ado, I present "Overheard at Funspot XIII...":
  • "Ugh, what a horrible rack! ...Your Scrabble tiles, I mean."

  • "Shadowfest dicks - uh, Shadowfist decks..."

  • "The only time someone uses that hand motion is when a doctor does the cough check. You shouldn't have to use it for a videogame."

  • "You know how hard it is to find a specific short, chubby guy in there?"

  • "The thrust button is dying."
    "Huh-uh, you can't thrust."

  • "Ugh!"
    "What happened, you nick yourself?"
    "Get a static shock from the cabinet?"
    "No - the coin slot was wet!"
    "...I don't know what to say about that one."
    "I don't know what to say either... except 'ick'."
    [laughs for ten seconds] "I'd never heard anyone say 'ick' before this weekend!"

  • "Oh, come on honey, don't be offended, it's just a little profanity..."

  • "Are you playing for a high score? In golf?"

  • "More like Gaminus, right?"
    "Yeah, Ganegative."

  • "Please tell me you've heard of Steam."
    "Of course - Valve's online game distribution system."
    "Thank you! You'd be amazed how many here have given me funny looks!"

  • "Oh God - Kelly Flewin on a pogo stick!"

  • "A Pac-Man oven mitt."
    "Check the inside!"
    "The maze is inside? That's amazing! ...No pun intended."


Requests regarding sources and/or contexts will be ignored and/or deleted - don't bother asking. Just enjoy this for what it is.

The other major thing I wanted to bring up was the Name That Tune competition. Tom Votava is an amazing talent. Es list of NES accomplishments is astounding, and es performance during the tournament is consistently very strong - in fact, this year e won the main tournament, in one of the most nailbitingly close finishes the tournament ever had. (I was content to place third in the World Championships of Galaga, just edging out Dwayne Richard in what will likely be the only videogame tournament I place ahead of em in.) But as it turns out, Tom also shares my passion for gameshows, and when es "Name That Tune" quiz e debuted in 2008 proved popular, e decided to turn the concept into a gameshow for future years, complete with qualifying round and live-audience-attended finals, and orchestrated with a computer program e wrote emself. It quickly became, for many, the best part of the weekend. Trying to describe just how entertaining it all is - the challenge, the variety, the players, and especially the atmosphere - is nearly impossible.

Thankfully, this year, I don't have to, since e filmed it. It is with great pleasure that I have this opportunity to give you all a view through what is quite possibly the truest window available into just how enjoyable the whole tourney-weekend experience is:

If anyone has any questions - general or specific - about any of this (barring "Overheard" quotes), or anything else regarding the tournies, feel free to ask in the comments. - ZM
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