Author Archives: Patric

The Missing Nuances of TSTO –vs- The Simpsons and Real Life

So…let’s just go with the fact that a lot of you don’t watch the Simpsons. You may have at one point, or perhaps can’t see it in real time where you live (outside of the United States), or simply came to TSTO because you love games and gaming.  And, let’s also be clear that while Wookie and others may see it as “the Best Show Ever,” it doesn’t always hit on all cylinders (like last week’s episode…argh).

However, as a life-long Simpson’s fan, I loved, and continue to love the show because it is so much more than just a bunch of gags, or “Eat My Shorts” set-ups.  It is a show with pathos, and true love between a family that is really no more dysfunctional than most average modern families.

This is a point that is often lost in the game of TSTO, simply because the dialogue is oftentimes not remotely derivative from the script of the actual show that the update was “based upon.”

Case in point… the “Rommelwood Academy” update, in  comparison to the episode on which it is supposedly based, “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” (S8E25).

This is one time that TSTO really missed the mark.
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Ergh…It Must Be MONDAY…

I hate to admit that I am one of those people who dreads Mondays. It isn’t just because I love weekends so much (as I often work through most of a weekend).  It is that so much seems to happen over the weekend, that I can barely keep up.  It is then complicated by the fact that most of my broadcast clients are HORRIBLE procrastinators, and load me up with stuff they need “ASAP!!!!!” that they “forgot to do last week.”

I have a sign on my door that says, “Your Procrastination Is Not My Emergency.”  But, of course, radio people can’t see my sign…because they are mostly NOT huge on “Social Media,” “the Inter-webs” or “the Google.”  But I digress…

The fact is, this weekend was jammed with seemingly unrelated events that all conspired to almost make sense as a single topic.

Almost.

Let’s see how this thread pulls itself together.

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Conformists, Non-Conformists, Tagging, Digital Hugging…and Other Points of View

I am going to start with making a disclaimer…undoubtedly one of many in this post…which should alert some of the more “literal” in our readership that they may not agree with everything I am about to write. That’s OK. I am simply letting you know , before I make you upset (which is what most disclaimers are really all about. Right?)

And to that point, I am of the age when most of the commercials on the evening news (remember the evening news?) are for pharmaceutical wonder-drugs that will cure what ails me…but whose disclaimers are actually several times longer than the actual “meat” of the commercial copy.  You know the ones. “Two pills daily may help your painful hammertoes!” followed by, “not guaranteed to fix hammertoes, may cause swelling of the joints, redness of eyes, painful ear growths, loss of hair, projectile vomiting, leaking orifice condition, and possible death in some cases.”

This post will not cause any of the above…but COULD cause rising blood pressure in a large number of “Star Sensitive” players.

Here’s why…
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When The Writers Go Too Far…Diaper Shaming

It’s funny to me (and perhaps less funny to some), how the EA/Gracie staff interjects little political barbs based on bits of reality.  They are usually just lines in the dialogue, which most people bash through (I’d say Tap through…but, when you are in a hurry to get to the next task, bashing is more accurate).

In the “Around the World” event, there were a few items that could have riled the masses, including bits on immigration, municipal funding, and a couple of less minor topics that really got to me on a personal basis.

I get it. There is a lot to laugh at or lampoon in the world today. The whole bit with trying to woo the tourists, who didn’t speak our language was clever (they were French after all).  The bit about funding schools with the lottery was wincingly accurate, at least in Oregon…where we don’t have a sales tax.  So here in the Land ‘O Green, they fund schools with “sin taxes” including state run lotteries, and heavy taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and now, the burgeoning growth industry of recreational Cannabis.

But then they went too far.  They cut a little too close to home…it got PERSONAL.

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A Reality Check…the Best Prize of ALL!

Anyone from my old blog may remember that I am batso-crazy-pants for airplanes. No. Seriously…I love them. Especially the “two-winged variety.” 

How much?  Well…let’s just say that even though I was a “normal kid” in every other way, including being a good student, a musician, an above average athlete, and one of the “popular kids in school,”  I had a secret, that almost nobody but my immediate family knew about.  This is no joke.  My father, who was usually one of my biggest fans, and nicest guys ever, actually used to shake his head in disgust whenever he saw me “dressed as my alter-ego.”

But I didn’t care…I knew where I was, and who I was, and what my mission was…and nobody was going to talk me out of it.

Nobody…
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Mt. St. Fuji? It’s EAsy to Get Them Mixed Up

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For as long as I can remember, I have had a fixation on Mt. St. Fuji…

I know. It is actually 2 different mountains. But, as  a kid growing up in Portland in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens, I had heard repeatedly that Mt. Fuji in Japan was Helen’s sister.  It’s easy to understand why…if you take a look at pictures of the two mountains before May, 1980.

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Only the cherry blossoms tip off the viewer that one is in Japan, and the other in the PNW.

That is util May 18th, 1980 when my entire life changed forever…
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Destination Springfield – Calendar Act III

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Well, here we are…in the final act of what some are saying is the BEST UPDATE (of the year).  I get it. It has been fun…and I think that seeing the world outside of our Springfield’s.

The fact is, it has been pretty darn EAsy to get everything in the first two acts, and from what I’m seeing in the numbers, Act III isn’t going to be any different. Bonuts?  That is another story…but I guess we’ll have to see…right?

Let’s take a look at the numbers!
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Where Did THAT Come From? – Mr. Sparkle

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Because of his burgeoning school schedule, Wookster asked me to take a whirl at a “Where Did That Come From?” on Mr. Sparkle (aka Misutā Supākoru if you want the Japanese version).

I have to admit, that as I was just coming back from a 3-day trade show in Seattle, and was suffering serious “screen eyes” from trying to play the game, while working, shooting video, and doing “business meetings” with potential clients that went in the wee hours.  So, I was tempted to make the answer really concise…and just say, “Japan.” 

But, as there seems to be no end of the excitement for this odd, yet beloved sub-character in our games, I will do my best to get “deeper” into the origins of our favorite Japanese advertising mascot, “Mr. Sparkle” (with a huge assist from the crib notes that Wookie sent with his email request).

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When A Couch Gag Isn’t Just a Couch Gag

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What has become increasingly evident over more than 600 episodes, is that the “Couch Gag” has often taken on a status that can actually outshine the rest of the episode.  Like Saturday Night Live, the opening segment is often the best part of the show. There have been loads of “guest directors” for the couch gags, with some providing simply amazing sequences in their scope and creativity.

I won’t weigh in on whether this week’s couch gag (S28E14) outshines the rest of the episode (I’ll leave that for another time).  But, I WILL say, that I do like it when “The Simpsons,” which has clearly earned “revered old man” status in the pantheon of Prime Time animated shows, flexes a bit and takes the competition down a peg or two.

But, there is also an inside bit of humor that made me laugh. For Matt Groening, I suspect that part of this couch gag was a personal swipe at a family member.

Let’s see what you think…
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Destination Springfield – World Traveler Edition

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One of the most interesting aspects of having a blog that is truly international is the fact that the readers are…well…truly international! It’s an amazing fact to know that TSTO blogs like this are read in more than 110 countries around the world. Yes, there are surely “pockets of extreme tapperage” going on in certain locations (New Jersey as Blog Central comes to mind), but there is far more to this particular update than meets the eye at first (or even second or third) glance.

There is a certain irony that we are being tasked to send travelers across the globe in our games while actual world travel is becoming a “bit more complicated” to put it nicely. But as always, we will leave the politics to other radicalized sources of propaganda (FaceBook), and celebrate the amazing diversity of players/readers we have here.

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