From: (Steve Baumgarten)
Subject: PAPA 3: First impressions
Sender: (Steve Baumgarten)
Organization: PANIX Public Access Unix, NYC
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1993 16:59:48 GMT
Lines: 71

PlayMeter may have a lead time measured in months, but here in we have a lead time measured in hours...

Apropos of which, initial impressions of PAPA 3, as viewed by yours
truly Thursday night during setup at the Park Central hotel in New
York City.

Being a veteran of previous PAPA tournaments, I was immediately struck
by two things: how much space there is this year, and the huge number
of games available.  The ballroom at the Park Central is much more
spacious than the room at the Sheraton last year -- there's plenty of
room for three full sets of eight games (for the "A", "B", and "C"
division qualifying rounds), plus three full sets of games for the
finals (also used for special mini-tournaments, like Doubles, Zen
Pinball, etc.), plus a row of SUPER MARIO IN MUSHROOM LAND for the

On top of all this, there are plenty of video games (hey, it's the
nineties), a big display booth for the company that makes the computer
pinball game Tristan (and now Eight Ball Deluxe), a big display booth
for someone selling backglasses and the like, and plenty of space left
over.  (This is particularly important for the players: people who
tend to move around a lot while they play will be most happy with the
arrangements, since there's a lot of space between games.)

There's also a catwalk all the way around the front of the ballroom,
making it the second best place to be for the finals on Sunday (the
best place to be is *in* the finals, of course).

The room itself looked terrific, and the games were all in top shape.
They were either brand new or fully shopped out, so much so that, for
example, I didn't even realize that the FISH TALES I was playing
wasn't just out of the crate.  Techs were crawling all over the place
making sure that every game worked perfectly, and though we did see
our share of problems Thursday night, all required only brief
attention to correct.

The qualifying rounds will still be based on total score across all
eight games, but before anyone points out how much higher-scoring a
game like DR. WHO is than a game like SURF 'N SAFARI, I should note
that the settings on the higher scoring games are *very* conservative.
(Actually, the settings on DR. WHO are borderline facist.)  I found I
was getting about 100M on each game I played, which is just as it
should be.  Of course, it's difficult to make CUE BALL WIZARD a lower
scoring game than it is, but with the posts on the outlanes raised all
the way up, shortened timers (especially for 9-ball play), and the
programming set so that the Wheel shot on the ramp doesn't
automatically relight, I think anyone who gets a really high score on
CBW will have to work hard for it.

Overall, I think the work done to even out the scoring across games
will prove to be worthwhile and effective; hopefully we'll be able to
collect per-machine statistics to see how even the scoring ends up

After doing what little I could to help, I also got to play both
SF2 and ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, the former about twice and the
latter more like a dozen times.  I wish I was able to play R&B even
more, and I look forward to the day it arrives at Broadway -- it's one
terrific game.  On the other hand, if I never played SF2 again I would
still be able to die with few regrets...

I'll post more this weekend, after the party tonight.  Don't let the
snow and rain dissuade you -- PAPA 3 looks like it's going to live up
to its billing (``The Big Time'') and then some.

    Steve Baumgarten       |  "New York... when civilization falls apart,
    PANIX, New York, NY    |   remember, we were way ahead of you."
    Email:   |                            - David Letterman