Monday, January 20, 2014

. . . My Personal Angry Birds Star Wars Saga

Released in November 2012 for pretty much every game platform that you can think of at prices ranging from just a few dollars to serious money, Angry Birds: Star Wars offers the fusion of two of the most popular IP offerings in history -- Angry Birds, and Star Wars!

 “Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.”
Mark Twain

Regular readers of my column, Digital Grind, which appears every other Tuesday in the Cape Cod Times, will know that I have an extensive list of literary favorites (some of which I am not at all shy about using the world "hero" to describe).

I often quote them when it is appropriate to do so.  Not so much lately, but when I am writing a commentary piece in Digital Grind I commonly do.

I bring this to your attention largely due to the manner in which I opened this post -- with a Twain quote -- because it is on-target and helps to set the tone.

The reason for that specific Twain quote has to do with my dear and wonderful wife Yvonne -- who features prominently in this post thanks in no small part to her entering my game play lab where she found me taking a break and playing Angry Birds: Star Wars on my newest gaming console, my Xbox One, whose network name is Calliope.

Those are some Angry Birds...
If I may digress for a moment, the network naming convention for devices on my home network is a theme-based system: devices that are on the gaming virtual network are named from a list of characters found in mythology.

Devices that are transient to the network automatically get assigned the last three digits of the IP address they draw from the pool available from our DHCP server, and all of the other devices - PCs, laptops, tablets, and the like, sport a wide variety of names in that the individual owners are allowed to pick whatever they like as the name.

So I was happily (more or less) engaged on Calliope playing Angry Birds: Star Wars when my dear wife came into the lab and began to give it her usual ten-second-tidy, collecting the odd tea cup, and the plastic beverage bottles on the floor that did not make it into the recycle container at which they were thrown because - and this will not surprise most people who know me - my basketball skills are weak.

While she goes about doing those things she does, out of the corner of her eye she is observing me play the same level, over and over again.

Now it should be obvious to her that what I am doing is trying to obtain 3-Stars for that level.  Each level in the game has three potentially unlock-able stars, each of which is unlocked for completing a different set of actions - the secret of which I do not know.

Because I do not know what, specifically, the game is looking for me to do in order to unlock all three stars -- and it is NOT simply obtaining a specific score -- which I know for fact!

I know this because I have replayed levels in which I only scored two-stars with an ending score of, for example, 80,000 and then replayed the level with an ending score of just 60,000 but for some reason I cannot fathom I unlock the third-star.

Clearly I did something in the level new, that I had not done before, as otherwise how does one explain unlocking that elusive third star?  I am just saying...

Levels are solved easily enough, but unlocking 3-Stars?  Not so easily managed.
 Keen Observation

So my dearest Yvonne is watching me as I basically do the very same thing over and over again.

The level that I am trying to complete with three-stars is one that as nearly as I can figure must be completed in a specific way, targeting the birds in a narrow aiming point, the idea being to take out all of the pigs as a sort of predictable splash-damage effect.

"You know," my wife observes... "You know," she repeats.

"Yes?" I ask.

"A common definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, while you expect to achieve a different result?"

The look that I give my dearly loved wife has been known, in past use, to melt glass.  To cause small children to take flight.  To motivate broken cars to fix themselves.  To cause Pit Bulls to cower in fear.  It is, I must say, and with great pride, a very expressive glare.

"I'm just saying," she adds, completely unaffected by The Look.

No comments: