2007 TRASH Regionals Discussion

Old college threads.
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Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:25 pm

So can we start discussing this tournament now?
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Post by creed_of_hubris » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:07 pm

Discuss away.

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Post by btressler » Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:04 pm

I don't know if we want a new thread or not, but here's goes:

On balance, I liked this set more than last year's. Certainly the top half of the Mid-Atlantic did well on the questions.

In my opinion, the difficulty needs to come a half-step down. At my region after the prelims, I had 9 teams with 106.7 PPG or down. Mostly, the teams composed of undergrads or younger have the most difficulty.

I think good tossup answer selection would help a lot, since in matches among those teams there were round with <10 tossups converted. For the regionals level, wouldn't it be OK to have more tossups with answers like Snoopy, Checkers, Bee Story, or Khan? Tossups that start with hard clues, but end with clues that a grand majority of rooms will convert. I'm not saying all tossups, but more per round would help these teams I think.

I will also plea for less words in tossups. Here's an example from a Chris "Jesus" Ferguson tossup (which is actually among the shorter tossups):

"One of the featured stars on Full Tilt Poker", he earned a Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA in 1999 after 13 years a grad student, and his ability to cut vegetables by throwing a playing card is often cited during poker telecasts".

Could this not be shortened to:

"A member of Team Full Tilt, after 13 years he earned a 1999 UCLA Computer Science Ph.D. One talent is to cut vegetables using thrown playing cards."

At the end of the day, I really think less verbiage would help. Even when reading at a brisk pace, I took >30 minutes per round.

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Post by shim » Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:10 pm

Commendations: Great job overall. I liked the packets and variety of questions. Northeast regional was well-run, even if the timing of the rounds was a little off.

Gripes: Did anyone else think the Joystiq question in Round 10 was ripe for a wrong early buzz on "Peter Rojas," who is more closely associated with Engadget.com? (He hasn't written blogged on Joystiq since 2005, whereas he regularly writes for Engadget).

Also, I think most of the song/album questions were a little too formulaic. "This song was released in XXXX as a B-side. It reached number X on the chart...etc etc." Essentially, encyclopedic information about great or interesting songs = a bad question in my opinion. I enjoyed the questions where the lyrics or plot of the song were used heavily, or other references to pop culture were made (i.e. Lois Griffin's mishap with Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Night.") While I'm sure it makes the questions more "pyramidal" if you use encyclopedic information about music, it sure does make them boring. I think this may have be applicable to movies/actors/directors as well, but it was less noticeable to me.

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Post by powerplant » Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:53 pm

As someone relatively new to the world of college trash, I thought that the tournament was very fun, and the questions were pretty fair. I felt that the answers were pretty accessible, but playing against the better teams, very little got to the point where I could get it.

And I think the Bee Movie tossup probably should not have mentioned the name of the main character in the first line.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:13 pm

shim wrote:While I'm sure it makes the questions more "pyramidal" if you use encyclopedic information about music, it sure does make them boring. I think this may have be applicable to movies/actors/directors as well, but it was less noticeable to me.
I don't think that's what pyramidal means. Maybe "pyramidal" is different?

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Post by vandyhawk » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:28 pm

Stat74 wrote:I will also plea for less words in tossups. Here's an example from a Chris "Jesus" Ferguson tossup (which is actually among the shorter tossups):

"One of the featured stars on Full Tilt Poker", he earned a Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA in 1999 after 13 years a grad student, and his ability to cut vegetables by throwing a playing card is often cited during poker telecasts".
How much longer was this question? If someone doesn't know it after the Ph. D. in comp sci, I can't imagine they would get it until the end. Then again, I am a mod at a major poker forum...

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Post by yoda4554 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:40 pm

I also thought this was better than the last TRASH I attended, ~3 years back, which is not to say that I thought it was an eminently good set.

I would like to second Bill's point about verbiage: people on this board tend to define question depth in terms of line-length, but that should be shorthand for the number of useful clues within the question--the above example is actually among the least egregious, I think. The questions at the tournament were fine lengths, but a lot of times there wasn't a useful clue until close to the end (which, of course, makes the question take longer). Chart positions, of which there was a lot, seem particularly useless to me, since there are presumably many songs that hit #4 in 1976, for instance: unless there was notable chart-jockeying or a particularly long run at the top, even a Billboard junkie wouldn't be able to make any use of that.

A lot of questions, I think, misjudge the difficulty of things. I doubt that there were more than a couple rooms in the country where more than one player had read Spook Country--if clues from that q became the first part of a William Gibson tossup, then they would have made all the same distinctions between players this one did and then made even more for those of us who've read Neuromancer and nothing more (or, otherwise, that q could have been saved for TRASHionals, along with Gateway and other recent genre lit.). Similarly, Etrigan the Demon would've been better as the hard or middle part of a bonus that also included, say, Kirby and Swamp Thing.

There were some other major pyramidality problems: I hope never to see The Game Plan, but I have been forced to watch previews for it at every movie I've seen this year, and thus having "Joe Kingman" and "Boston Rebels" in the first lines means even I can get an early buzz.

There was something of a tendency toward stock and/or known-anecdote clues rather than toward interesting and substantive ones: the Lorne Michaels thing for Dr. Evil, the 1992-1996 reign of Khan, a distinctive lack of lyric clues on a lot of song tossups, etc. Also, I know everyone loves High School Musical, but three questions is excessive. And I think we'll all happily live on if no one ever again writes a question on Victory!, which has come up at just about every TRASH (and maybe trash) set I've ever seen.

That said, the Snoopy question, as well as those on JLA, Stephen Colbert, and other such things were very accessible qs with very hard early clues that worked their way down nicely. My teams--all newbies--had a good time, and I can die happy now that I've heard Pirates of Dark Water come up in qb.

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Post by mrmaguda » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:54 pm

I thought it was a good set overall. Good difficulty. A few quibbles:

There were way too many 5-10-20-30 bonuses. Either make every bonus that way or get rid of them. Each bonus should be formatted the same way to ensure fairness.

There was a lot of Broadway questions this year. While I don't care one way or another about the subject, there was one packet that had 2 or 3 bonuses about Broadway which is too much for one packet.

I also want to thank TRASH for mentioning Kindred: the Embraced in a bonus just like they did at last year's TRASH Regionals. I'm glad it's becoming part of the TRASH canon

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Post by pray for elves » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:09 pm

I like how that Vampire: the Masquerade bonus was followed by the laziest bonus I think I've ever played on. It was literally just "Name any six 'The Onion' books".

Packet 9 bonuses were easily the worst of the set, since the above were in it. Other notables from that round were "Name the Britney Spears song from lyrics", the WNBA, hotel chains, "The Endless", halls of fame, and 'recently deceased food people'.

For those interested, we have the round report for packets 1-11 from New England here. Scoring overall and bonus conversion were both way down that round in comparison with most others.

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Post by alkrav112 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:32 am

For that matter, I just want to say how every 4th question was about someone who recently died. What makes recently deceased people infinitely more interesting than, say, living people?

And don't knock the WNBA bonus. Some of us enjoy that kind of thing.

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Post by creed_of_hubris » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:02 am

mrmaguda wrote: I also want to thank TRASH for mentioning Kindred: the Embraced in a bonus just like they did at last year's TRASH Regionals. I'm glad it's becoming part of the TRASH canon
The Vampire question was edited late in the process to remove a repeat from this year's set.

My apologies for making the question tougher and including a repeat from last year's set.

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Post by Kilby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:08 am

I'll have more to say after some more discussion has occurred (and when it's not six hours until I have to get up and go to work), but just a few comments on what people have mentioned so far. (Note I'm quoting some of the posts from the old thread.)
shim wrote:Did anyone else think the Joystiq question in Round 10 was ripe for a wrong early buzz on "Peter Rojas, who is more closely associated with Engadget.com? (He hasn't written blogged on Joystiq since 2005, whereas he regularly writes for Engadget).
As the author of that question, I apologize if anyone got hosed there. Having Ben Zackheim in there made it uniquely identifying a couple of words later, but given that Zackheim also has a few posts credited to him at Engadget and Joystiq started not long after Engadget did, I probably should have used a better or more uniquely identifying clue here.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:There were some weird things with the distribution in that round (it's not a great idea to have two different tossups on videogame news outlets, for example)
That miffed me as well, but I didn't catch it until it was too late. It was some bad luck to just happen to place my one "video game media" question of the tournament in the same round as another one that was written for another category. It's no secret (if you look at past packets) that we currently do 1/1 video games every round, so this was a mistake.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:That Katamari question got easy too fast
I'd be curious to know where people got this. In the room I moderated, Michael Kearney buzzed in after the Hoshino family clue with the correct answer and one of those "what else could it be so I'm buzzing in anyway" looks. I thought it gave a hardcore clue (soundtrack), then clues relating to the plots that would only be answered by those who've played the games, followed by the character names from the series, and then the clues describing what a katamari actually is (for non-gamers). Did it turn too fast with The Prince/King of All Cosmos clues? That'd be my initial guess.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I would like to see some more love for handheld games, though. The only thing I remember coming up was the much too hard bonus on handheld systems.
In addition to the Virtual Boy / Atari Lynx / Game.com bonus (which I assume I underestimated the difficulty of the Lynx on), there was one on the Phantom Hourglass that sadly got randomized to bonus 20 in one round and there was also a bonus on PSP puzzle games that you may or may not have seen. I didn't really cover older handhelds other than the aforementioned first bonus, but I figured I hit both major current ones. Plus, I didn't want to skew too old (that was what I interpreted that people didn't want video game questions to do). Does anyone else want to see more questions on older handhelds? Or more than 1 per platform on current ones?
cvdwightw wrote:Packets were 14-15 pages with huge margins, every question was boxed, and questions ran on to the next page almost every time.
While this has nothing to do with question length issue, we had a technical issue that prevented us from printing the questions on the same page. Sorry about that. It should be fixed for TRASHionals and beyond. Although I must say... you don't like the boxes? They seemed weird to me at first, but I've kinda warmed up to them.

I'll have more to say later... please continue discussing.

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Post by cvdwightw » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:09 am

Oh yeah, repeats. Through 11 rounds I recall only one, on My Chemical Romance having like the exact same clues in two different bonus parts. I take back what I said earlier. Good job eliminating repeats, guys. And factual accuracy -- Jimmy Rollins is not an outfielder. There might have been other errors, but as I said, I suck at trash, and wouldn't have caught them if they had been there.

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Post by swwFCqb » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:17 am

I think that the set, overall, was probably a little too hard, but this is of course IMO. This was my first TRASH tournament ever, granted, but there were too many toss-ups that went dead over the course of the day. Don't writers aim for 90% conversion percentage by the time the whole question is heard? This percentage may be lower, especially for a regionals competition, but I would be interested in learning what writers aim for the TU conversion percentage to be. It just seemed that in some games 30-40% of the questions would go dead, and that isn't much fun for anyone involved.

But overall I had a good time. The one issue I had was that I thought the toss-up for "unassisted triple play" had way too easy of a lead-in, but that lead-in enabled me to get it really early, which made me feel good inside :grin:
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Post by Kilby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:31 am

Kilby wrote:In addition to the Virtual Boy / Atari Lynx / Game.com bonus (which I assume I underestimated the difficulty of the Lynx on), there was one on the Phantom Hourglass that sadly got randomized to bonus 20 in one round and there was also a bonus on PSP puzzle games that you may or may not have seen. I didn't really cover older handhelds other than the aforementioned first bonus, but I figured I hit both major current ones. Plus, I didn't want to skew too old (that was what I interpreted that people didn't want video game questions to do). Does anyone else want to see more questions on older handhelds? Or more than 1 per platform on current ones?
I almost forgot: there was also a toss-up on Phoenix Wright in one of the later rounds (I'm wanting to say it was in the teens). Next year, I'll keep in mind that at most sites all 16 rounds will not be heard and that the distribution should be tailored for 12 rounds or so. At TRASHionals, however, at most one round will not be heard, so preparing the set with the intention of all questions being heard will be a more valid ideal.

Ok, now I'm done for tonight.

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Post by pray for elves » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:35 am

Kilby wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:That Katamari question got easy too fast
I'd be curious to know where people got this. In the room I moderated, Michael Kearney buzzed in after the Hoshino family clue with the correct answer and one of those "what else could it be so I'm buzzing in anyway" looks. I thought it gave a hardcore clue (soundtrack), then clues relating to the plots that would only be answered by those who've played the games, followed by the character names from the series, and then the clues describing what a katamari actually is (for non-gamers). Did it turn too fast with The Prince/King of All Cosmos clues? That'd be my initial guess.
I got the question at "on the Rocks". Believe it or not, in my experience, a lot of people who have not played the game have heard the soundtrack, and know the tune of the theme song and that it's called "Katamari on the Rocks", so that may not have been as hardcore a clue as you thought. (Disclaimer: I have played the game.)

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Post by creed_of_hubris » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:45 am

DeisEvan wrote: Packet 9 bonuses were easily the worst of the set
.
We are always interested in doing a better job of standardizing bonus difficulty, but the placement of particular bonuses in a packet is by chance -- we have a distribution, obviously, but within that distribution we randomize questions across the packets, so a particular packet being more or less difficult is a statistical artifact.

Incidentally, the randomizing is also what leads to occasional multiple questions on the same general topic in the same packet, when the questions have been written in different subdistributions. One person is in charge of making sure that, say, the movie questions in a particular packet do not overlap, but they may not notice if there's another question on a similar theme among the TV questions. It's not always obvious when it occurs.

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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:27 am

Having experienced this set as a player, moderator and Tournament Director, here are some quick-fire thoughts...

The fact-checking (other than the aforementioned OF Jimmy Rollins) was pretty good. No other obvious clangers (like Bruce Springsteen's folk album of Bob Seeger covers from ACF Fall).

The questions are too long. I don't mean the number of tossup lines or number of clues; the games take just too long to play. We ran our tournament in basically 4 rooms adacent to each other in one hallway, so there was minimal travel time for teams between games, and each round was still running 40-45 minutes. If you can't play a game of 20/20 (more like 20/15 with dead tossups) in half an hour, something is wrong.

Difficulty was uneven. Many games featured dead tossups alternating with tossups being answered on the early clues. Too many zeros on bonues and too many easy 30s. I think the one thing that TRASH still hasn't mastered (relative to the rest of the circuit) is the easy-medium-hard 3-part bonus. Many bonuses are an easy 30 if you know [sports/video games/the particular TV show being asked/whatever] but are essentially zero (or a lame) if you don't.

Seems like there was an effort to expand the tossup answer space. I think for a Regionals-level tournament, this worked out poorly. Tossups whose answer is the name of a motocross racer are just a bad idea. An informal canvassing of our field revealed nobody who had ever heard of that guy. I'm all for the inclusion of minor sports, but there's a limit.

Overall: a pretty good set. Difficulty uneven and overall maybe slighty difficult for Regionals level. Biggest opportunities are consistency in bonus difficulty and fine-tuning of the tossup answer space. Thanks to TRASH for all their hard work. In spite of all the nitpicking that shows up in these threads, it really is much appreciated.
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Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:29 am

I think one of the problems with the way TRASH gets their questions written is, from what I've heard, that people sign to do blocks of categories. While this is probably the most efficient way to write packets, it also results in the difficult being really hard to standardize. If people wrote half packets or whole packets of diverse subjects, I think the bonuses could potentially be much evener.
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Post by ArloLyle » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:52 am

Overall I thought the tournament was pretty good. I think that some of the packets were a tad hard, which I think is where the issue of question length comes. I didn't have a problem with question length except on some the ones that went unanswered.

I don't really mind questions that are bit on the long side if they get to the point (no useless clues just for the sake of length) and the grammar used is helpful in comprehending what is being asked for. It seems that at times people try to shorten their questions without taking out clues and just make them awkward. IMO, the Chris Ferguson example above does this.

I second mrmaguda's point about 5-10-20-30 bonuses. Also on the topic of bonuses my team seemed to get a lot of either 30s or 0s. Though this might be a little exaggerated by a couple strings of 0s at inopportune times. It almost seemed like writers were writing questions to be lamed.

If I had my notes from the tournament with me I could probably say more, but like I said overall I thought it was a good tournament.

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Post by btressler » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:59 pm

vandyhawk wrote:How much longer was this question? If someone doesn't know it after the Ph. D. in comp sci, I can't imagine they would get it until the end. Then again, I am a mod at a major poker forum...
There was too more sentences mentioning titles that he's won, who he beat heads-up (T.J Cloutier, I believe) and that he was known as "Jesus".

I agree on your assessment. I'd be buzzing on Computer Science Ph.D. But I've also logged many poker hours.

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Post by Kilby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:38 pm

DeisEvan wrote:I got the question at "on the Rocks". Believe it or not, in my experience, a lot of people who have not played the game have heard the soundtrack, and know the tune of the theme song and that it's called "Katamari on the Rocks", so that may not have been as hardcore a clue as you thought. (Disclaimer: I have played the game.)
Yeah, that really surprises me. I agree that a lot of people might recognize the opening theme upon hearing it, but it's not the like the lyrics themselves (even the translated ones) say anything about "katamari on the rocks." In order to know the actual name of the song, you'd have to look it up, download the soundtrack (legally, right?), or import the CD. If you do any of those three, I'd assume that you were a pretty big fan of the series and deserve to get points early. My follow-up question would be: is there some other way people would know the title, thereby making it a very easy lead-in? Unless a lot of other people got it at that clue, it sounds to me like you know your katamari trivia and deserved a quick ten points for demonstrating that knowledge.

As an aside, soundtracks are usually accessible for film and TV, but for video games it usually requires a bit more work. That's not to say that all video game soundtracks are difficult (see the Spy Hunter reference to Peter Gunn in another bonus from the set), but I'd say only hardcore gamers are going to have knowledge of the vast majority of game composers and song titles that are worth knowing.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I think one of the problems with the way TRASH gets their questions written is, from what I've heard, that people sign to do blocks of categories. While this is probably the most efficient way to write packets, it also results in the difficult being really hard to standardize. If people wrote half packets or whole packets of diverse subjects, I think the bonuses could potentially be much evener.
I would hope the rest of TRASH doesn't mind me giving away trade secrets... :grin:

That's not quite right. As Fred hinted at, different people are put in charge of editing different categories (which isn't too much different from, say, what ACF does if I understand their procedure correctly).

Everyone in TRASH writes questions for different subjects. But since we are working with a small group, certain people are better at writing for certain subjects than others. I'll put myself in the hot seat for a moment: if you haven't figured it out by my posts, I edited video games for this tournament. I also ended up writing all but a handful of the video game questions. If you were to walk up to any member of TRASH and point a gun to their head (please, even if you didn't like the tournament, don't do this :grin:) and ask them to write a video game question, they could certainly do it. But why force people who aren't video game experts to do that when there are people like myself in the organization who are lifelong video game fans and enjoy writing questions on them? And that's why the editors often end up having to write a large chunk of the questions for their category.

The only downside to this is that people do tend to write to their wheelhouses. It sounds like we did a better job of handling this issue for this set. I'm hearing less complaints about asking from minor things about minor things and more about asking minor things from major things (if that makes sense).

As for writing to our specialties causing uneven difficulty: this is something we need to discuss internally and all get on the same page about. For now, it might be helpful (as some have done) to single out which categories seemed too hard, which seemed too easy, and why.

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Post by cvdwightw » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:07 pm

Constructive criticism, now that I'm less steamed about the West Coast tournament problems:
1. The name of the main character of any movie, TV show, video game, etc. should be near or in the giveaway. There were thankfully less problems with that this year than in 2004, but still some.

2. For a Regionals-level tournament, the criteria for answer selection should not be "Would I answer this?" but "Would a majority of the field be able to answer this?" A prime example of this is canceled TV shows that only lasted a few episodes. They should not be tossup answers unless they were somehow noteworthy, and at a regionals-level tournament should be mostly confined to middle and hard parts of bonuses.

3. Again, for Regionals-level difficulty, if there isn't a part of the bonus that someone with a passing encounter with the topic could reasonably have a chance at answering, the bonus is probably too hard. If someone with only passing knowledge of the subject can get most or all of the points on the question, it's probably too easy. Again, difficulty is hard to judge, but most teams should be getting at least 10 points on practically every bonus.

4. I didn't like the boxes, large margins, and other things that made our printing costs more than anticipated. I guess others did. I'm not a huge fan of having only 3 tossups on some pages; this seems like a waste of space to me. There's no reason that, especially with the questions spilling over onto the next page, the packets couldn't have been 11-12 pages instead of 14-15.

I hope this is more helpful than my "this tournament was better than 2004, but still I didn't like it" post.

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Post by Rothlover » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:47 pm

I will have more to say later, as I've only seen three packets, but in those three packets there was so much bad...

Why was there a tossup on 6 degrees? In chat I got that off the lead-in and then said "why the fuck is this a tu"? It aired what, 8 episodes? It had bad ratings and mediocre reviews. Things like that should not be a tu a year after it aired, much less at regionals (and it wasn't like it was a high profile failure like Girls club, and even then, such sterotypical TRASH questions should rarely come up.)

A tu on Billy Bush. It was transparent and horrid. And its on an inconsequential figure from TV who happens to be a Bush. This was a tu that could've been on something useful in tv, which is something that could be said for the answer selection 75% of the time.


Tus on rotoscoping and stedicam that were both transparent and not wholly accurate. Steadicam means many things, not just the device that was described two lines into the tu, thus confusing people who actually know film, and who know there are many film devices similar in build to what was described. For rotoscoping, most of what was used early in films was not rotoscoping as it would be recognized today, as done by Fleisher in the clue (and in a bunch of Disney/WB shorts), that was basically a proto technique. I would've buzzed in and said "tracing film," since that was the only accurate answer that early based on the clues, unless you are looking to wikipedia for your understanding of film terms.

Milf weed, what the flying fuck? Outside of the Snoop Dogg cameo episode, the term milfweed was used ONCE! (this is not counting last week's episode, which used the term a few times, but which would've presumably aired after the tu was written). This would screw over anyone who missed that one very special episode of Weeds even if they had deep Weeds knowledge, not that such a thing is laudable. There were 100 better ways or things to ask about related to Weeds in terms of accessibility. I don't see how anyone playing that set could see the tu as anything but a "fuck you" to anyone who likes their TRASH to include conversion of tus.

As for the music in the three packets I've seen: tu on "mary, mary?" When should a tu's essential giveaway at regionals ever be "name this 8th most famous Run-DMC song." A tu on DMX that mentioned "electronics" in the leadin, thus making the tu more about "figuring it out" than actual knowledge. The umpteenth tu on that stupid tractor song, and that tu on the Tequila makes her clothes go off guy. He has barely sold two million combined albums. That doesn't even make him remotely popular in the allegedly populist genre of "country."

Rod Beck tu: ceterus paribus, TRASH will ask about the person of an occupation who just died. Buzz, name someone who died, take your 10 points. Corrupt NBA ref: RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES!

The woman Don Imus called a cleaning lady. Three lines on Imus, then a giveaway that makes kind of accessible. FTP, name this person involved in the 3rd most important Imus scandal.

Those are my off the top of my head "What the fuck"s from the first three packets of tus I've seen.

Oh, I also heard wikiplagarism was a big problem according to people from one region. I hope this isn't actually true.

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Post by Kilby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:21 pm

Kilby wrote:In order to know the actual name of the song, you'd have to look it up, download the soundtrack (legally, right?), or import the CD.
I was talking to someone tonight who pointed out to me that the game does actually tell you the name of the song playing when you start the level. Even though I own the first game, I haven't played it in such a long time and forgot this detail.

I don't think this hurts the question that much. You still had to have played the game and had a keen eye for details in order to buzz in, but it definitely isn't as strong of a clue as I thought it was.
Rothlover wrote:Oh, I also heard wikiplagarism was a big problem according to people from one region. I hope this isn't actually true.
As do I. If any clear evidence of plagiarism of any sort is found, be it from Wikipedia or otherwise, TRASH will deal with that internally and take the appropriate actions.

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Post by creed_of_hubris » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:02 am

Rothlover wrote: Tus on rotoscoping and stedicam that were both transparent and not wholly accurate.
One of our movie editors has studied film at the graduate level. He has had classes covering these topics and he says the questions are quite accurate. If you'd like to take it up with him, I can give you his email address; he's not a member of this forum partly because of the vitriol.
Last edited by creed_of_hubris on Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Abra Cadaver » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:14 am

From the Dallas regionals, things were pretty hit or miss. For future reference, our tournament took 10 rounds to complete, so I can't speak for later packets. There were a number of great questions, but my specific concerns include:

Bonuses were basically all or nothing, and irregular to boot. Our team lamed the first bonus we had twice, and still got stuck with 0's in a row because the questions were asking about teen shopping mall venues and space age bachelor pad music. (To this day I still have no clue what the heck this is referring to. As far as I know it doesn't seem to be electronic music because I actually listen to that, and was on the lookout for questions regarding Brian Eno or Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream or Ladytron or something. I believe there was one third of a bonus on Kraftwerk.) Name the 6 Onion publications for five each. Uh ... I've read one I think and it was called Our Stupid Century? Our Dumb Century, it was, thanks for zero points, with a maximum of five if you got the synonym right. Unless most people have a legitimate chance of getting some of them, I'd limit these listing bonuses to 10/5/5/5/5, i.e. identify the Onion based off a clue, than provide four of of the six publications.

Lots of cancelled TV shows. The tournament already had a hell of a lot more TV than the other Trash tourneys I attended, so why bump it up even more with ones nobody cares about?

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg question. Don't ask for the "titular objects of Cherbourg" in the second sentence.

Bee Movie. I perked up at the prospects of pyramidality for a 2007 theatrical release, which I would have had a huge advantage on, then the question mentions the main character in the first sentence. Buzzer race ftw ... Nope.

The Game Plan. Why?!?! Does anyone actually like this sort of generic release or anticipate liking it, or was it just a perfunctory inclusion for the non-movie crowd that scanned the papers in the month preceding the tournament?

Get off the 80's already. If Akira and Miyazaki's early work wasn't from that period I'd probably abandon films from the decade altogether. Besides, as it ages it becomes okay for people to recycle the same damn questions about the Brat Pack or Uncle Buck in place of questions actually about older films from directors like Wilder, Kurosawa, etc. Also, crappy early 90's Dan Aykroyd / Chevvy Chase / Disney Live Action flicks are not the new 80's. I don't care if you hated these films when you were a kid. No one else remembers them. If you want to hit a couple terrible films stick with the classics like Troll 2 or Battlefield Earth or Uwe Boll, amongst others. Or Little Children. That'd work.

Board game questions were going wonderfully with Mastermind and Stratego until that Checkers question came up. Its complete banality is pretty much saying I didn't want to bother to fill this space with a legitimate board game like Settlers or Ticket to Ride or Puerto Rico or Diplomacy or something, and is also an F-You to board gamers because it utterly eliminates advanced knowledge of the topic.

On video games, if you can't vary the selection find someone who can. Based on that tournament I would have assumed video games didn't exist before 2007, other than Dig Dug. (Questions pretty much hit the stereotypical "new" high points: Guitar Hero III, Halo 3, BioShock, Metroid Prime 3 ... Lair for the PS3, I guess.) As far as actual "old" questions go I recall a Super Mario 64 bonus where the second question was basically irrelevant (Yoshi is entirely an easter egg in that game and you don't even have to know anything about Super Mario 64 in particular to get it, so find something else) and that handheld gaming question, but there seemed to be little or no representation of either SNES or PS2 / GC era gaming. PC gaming also virtually absent aside from the multi-platform games, unless I missed something. Some variance would be nice.

Nothing seemed wrong with the Katamari question though I buzzed after "on the rocks" because I have the soundtrack.

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Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:28 am

I am still going through the set, and while I'm aiming to do a full, in-depth review of it (which I'll probably never finish), I will say that I've noticed a few questions already that really could have had some redundant words trimmed.

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Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:43 am

Some thoughts on packet one's tossups:

#3 - Why would you ever give Bill Walton as a clue prior to Ann Meyers? I don't believe the latter has an 'e' in her first name, either. The length of this question doesn't really match the rest of the packet's, either.

#5 - I don't understand the selection of this answer. It's not a notable failure, and it never really had any sort of popularity. I suppose this would have been a fine part of a bonus about Abrams as a "difficult" answer, but I don't understand how this can stand alone as a tossup subject.

#6 - I liked this one except for the fact that you very vaguely allude to their being confused to the Beach Boys, but never further define it.



#12 - While I believe there should be a somewhat larger number of questions about country music, I don't know how Joe Nichols makes the cut before some other artists that are far more notable.

#14 - Answer selection here has already been touched upon.

#16 - "Mary, Mary" seems a bit too difficult for Regionals and not quite renowned enough to stand on its own as a tossup topic.

#17 - There's entirely too much about who is on the box's cover when it's something that most likely will not help in answering the question.

#21 - Once again, I raise a question of notability with Neil Clark Warren being the topic of a tossup. He wouldn't be a bad answer for a bonus part, but I don't see how there's enough information widely known about a man best known for being slightly creepy in thirty second commercials that don't really define anything about him.

I thought #1, #4, (most of) #6, #7, and #15 were quite good.

On a general note, as a moderator, page breaks in the middle of questions would have killed me and caused much complaining.

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Post by Kilby » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:55 am

Abra Cadaver wrote:On video games, if you can't vary the selection find someone who can. Based on that tournament I would have assumed video games didn't exist before 2007, other than Dig Dug. (Questions pretty much hit the stereotypical "new" high points: Guitar Hero III, Halo 3, BioShock, Metroid Prime 3 ... Lair for the PS3, I guess.) As far as actual "old" questions go I recall a Super Mario 64 bonus where the second question was basically irrelevant (Yoshi is entirely an easter egg in that game and you don't even have to know anything about Super Mario 64 in particular to get it, so find something else) and that handheld gaming question, but there seemed to be little or no representation of either SNES or PS2 / GC era gaming. PC gaming also virtually absent aside from the multi-platform games, unless I missed something. Some variance would be nice.

Nothing seemed wrong with the Katamari question though I buzzed after "on the rocks" because I have the soundtrack.
In the first ten rounds (out of 20 total questions), you'll find:

- a toss-up on GDI from the Command & Conquer series
- the aforementioned Dig Dug toss-up
- a toss-up on Cid from the Final Fantasy series
- a toss-up on Banjo from the Banjo-Kazooie series
- the well-discussed katamari toss-up
- a toss-up on Daytona USA
- a bonus on early PlayStation (1) games
- the aforementioned older failed portables bonus
- a bonus where Steel Battalion for the original Xbox was an answer
- a bonus on old-school LucasArts adventure games
- a bonus on FPS weapons that included a mention of Quake 2 for railgun (the other two parts were on recent series that started before 2007)
- a bonus whose answers were Zork/Zero Wing/Zoop

Once you get past round 10, there are a few more questions that cover older material including Mega Man, Max Payne, old-school hockey games, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ratchet and Clank, a bonus part whose answer is Lemmings, 2/3 of a bonus on older Star Wars games (PC/PS), and 2/3 of a bonus on the SNES version of Shadowrun. As I've said previously, I'm sorry that I did the distribution based off of 16 rounds... I will redesign it for Regionals next year based on the assumption that most sites will not read every packet. But I can't agree with your statement that there wasn't much representation of older topics.

But more to what actually concerns me: from the discussions that have been had on the board, the main complaints about video game questions in TRASH (and lower-case trash) tournaments were that they never seem to cover the games "we actually play." So that's what my intention with the answer selection was. That's why there are so many questions on recent games in the set. Gamers are playing and talking about Guitar Hero III, Halo 3, BioShock, Metroid Prime 3, and Lair (well, maybe only talking about the last one). So I wrote questions on those. Has something changed since those discussions? Or was I mistaken in the belief that people play games on the 360, PS3, and Wii and, in actuality, they are all mainly playing PS2, Xbox, and GameCube games? Or older?

Also, to address another aspect of asking the "stereotypical high points:" video games are not as accessible as topics like film and TV are for the general audience. When you ask about the major releases, you are asking about things that people might have heard about. I'd be glad to write questions on Juiced 2 or Super Rub-A-Dub if you want your video game trivia to be less obvious, but I figured that people would rather hear questions on Phoenix Wright or Mario Party. Again, the whole "games people play" argument.

Guitar Hero III, BTW, came up in a toss-up on Neversoft (that had clues related to PS/PS2 games including an aborted PS1 Ghost Rider platform game, the Bruce Willis-game Apocalypse, and, later in the question, references to the Tony Hawk games) and in one of the music questions (along with a reference to noted PS2 game Karaoke Revolution).

If your main complaint is that the 16-bit to 128-bit systems aren't getting enough coverage and others share this opinion, then I need some help. I only have 16/16 to work with... even less if you account for the fact that most sites were actually only getting to hear 10/10 to 12/12. Something has to be represented less... so, again, do people want fewer questions on current games? That is the only place I could feasibly steal questions from as 8-bit and older systems as well as old-school PC games don't get a lot of coverage as is.

Regarding the other issues you bring up: first, the SM64 bonus. At the regionals level, I always try to include one part of the question that is answerable by teams with only a little bit of gaming knowledge. Just to look at the early rounds, there are bonus parts on Ridge Racer, the Wii Zapper (with a clues that specifically reference the fact that it takes its name from the original Zapper and I only required "Zapper" for a correct response), Monkey Island, and other things that a non-gamer trash player might have actually heard before, thus giving them a chance at 10. If you want to argue that Yoshi is too easy or that there are better things to ask about, that's fine and I'll listen to your case. But I absolutely don't buy your reasoning that Yoshi isn't worth asking because his appearance in the game is limited to an easter egg and you don't have to know about it to get the question correct. You still have to have knowledge of the Mario universe and asking about Yoshi is something that a lot of people know and will give them a decent shot at scoring at least 10 on the bonus. Rest assured, though, that I won't be so nice at TRASHionals...

PC gaming-wise, there was a BioShock question (multiplatform), the aforementioned GDI question, the aforementioned LucasArts adventure game question, the aforementioned FPS weapons bonus (which included games that have been ported to the consoles), a bonus part on Jedi Knight (in round 11) , a Total War question (in round 15), and Max Payne question (multiplatform and in round 16). I was wondering if some were going to think the distribution was too console-centric. If others agree with this view, I'd be happy to oblige with a few more PC-related questions. If people are also offended by using a multi-platform release like BioShock for the PC distribution, I can take that into consideration as well.

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Post by answerguy » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:01 am

As I've said previously, I'm sorry that I did the distribution based off of 16 rounds... I will redesign it for Regionals next year based on the assumption that most sites will not read every packet.
I'll say the same thing as the main Music Editor. While I suspected that not all rounds would be used, for some reason it had not occurred to me that Round 12 wouldn't be read by very many people.

But it was my first time doing this. Live and learn... :smile:

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Post by Kilby » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:03 am

leftsaidfred wrote:On a general note, as a moderator, page breaks in the middle of questions would have killed me and caused much complaining.
I think everyone (even myself) agrees on this account. This was due to a technical issue and will be fixed before TRASHionals.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:28 am

Well, I would have liked to see a little bit more 16 bit videogames, as I feel they weren't very well represented in the tournament. It did feel like there were some "affirmitive action" videogame tossups like Lair that seemed to be in the set to include a certain system (in this case the PS3).

I was also not a fan of that Super Mario 64 bonus. Super Mario 64 is perhaps in the top 5 of most famous games of all time, and I would hope the question was answered by almost every team at the tournament. The problem is that the Yoshi question mentioned he was a "dinosaur", and anyone who has ever played a Mario game pretty much knows that Yoshi is a dinosaur, so that's another really easy part. Then you had the 3rd part be on Mipps or whatever that rabbit is called, a really insignificant part of the game. I think I've beaten the game 3 times but I didn't know the answer to that question. It would have been much better served asking for a part of the game that is actually significant (names of minor characters in Mario games really aren't).

By the way, my problem with the Katamari question was that it mentioned the King of the Cosmos really early. I don't really know if there is a more famous part of the game, except for being about rolling stuff.

Oh, and that FPS weapon bonus seemed pretty hard for this tournament. One of those parts should have been on a game the weapon was used in to make it easier.
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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:34 am

As far as wikiplagarism goes, I know that the second clue of the "The Thing" tossup is almost verbatim from the wikipedia entry. I am a fan of the movie and was able to buzz on the clue referencing the only female voice as that of the chess computer thanks to wikipedia. Perhaps its not direct plagarism, but it is certainly familiar.

As far as Katamari goes, I buzzed much later than I should've. I was sure of the answer by "moon" but waited until Little Prince.

As for video games in general, I had no major complaint. I saw that Guitar Hero III came up, multiple times. It wasn't always an answer, but I did get kinda sick of hearing it. As far as game choice and distribution in general, I don't have a problem.

My only gripe is Sci-Fi. TRASH regionals two years ago had a tossup whose answer was Ender's Game. At the time I hadn't read the book but now that I have I feel that questions on Ender's Game (and other more well-known sci-fi) are needed. Thats not to say I would like to see Ender's Game appear in every packet, but I just think that sci-fi with that level of accessibility is needed. Not some Hugo or Nebula winner pre-1970 (of course, certain "culturally-significant" exceptions can be made). But then again, Sci-Fi lit doesn't seem to be a big enough part of the overall distribution to call this a "serious problem".
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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:41 am

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: Oh, and that FPS weapon bonus seemed pretty hard for this tournament. One of those parts should have been on a game the weapon was used in to make it easier.
I'll have to disagree with you on that, but hear me out.

The railgun seems to be the most prolific weapon of the Quake series. While that may be debatable, any video game enthusiast should automatically associated Quake with railgun and vice-versa.

As for Crowbar, again, it is the most prolific weapon of the Half-Life series. Almost any poster, image, screen shot, or anything showing all of Gordon Freeman will show him holding a crowbar.

As for Redeemer, that was a bit more difficult. I don't think it would be accessible to anyone who hasn't played the Unreal games but there should be an answer this difficult in all bonuses.

Also, TRASH writes a regionals and a nationals set every year. While this may have been to difficult for regionals, it would certainly be too easy for nationals.
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Post by Kilby » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:54 am

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Well, I would have liked to see a little bit more 16 bit videogames, as I feel they weren't very well represented in the tournament.
Duly noted.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:It did feel like there were some "affirmitive action" videogame tossups like Lair that seemed to be in the set to include a certain system (in this case the PS3).
Yes, I try to be all-inclusive with all platforms. I'm sure (somewhere) out there, people are enjoying their PS3's and I don't want to leave them out in the cold. If people don't mind seeing a lack of PS3 questions, I don't mind leaving them out.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I was also not a fan of that Super Mario 64 bonus. Super Mario 64 is perhaps in the top 5 of most famous games of all time, and I would hope the question was answered by almost every team at the tournament. The problem is that the Yoshi question mentioned he was a "dinosaur", and anyone who has ever played a Mario game pretty much knows that Yoshi is a dinosaur, so that's another really easy part. Then you had the 3rd part be on Mipps or whatever that rabbit is called, a really insignificant part of the game. I think I've beaten the game 3 times but I didn't know the answer to that question. It would have been much better served asking for a part of the game that is actually significant (names of minor characters in Mario games really aren't).
I guess the two things I tried but didn't pull off as well as I'd hope were (1) trying to ask SM64 as a medium-level answer and (2) appropriately challenging fans of the game with a hard question. For (1), I was hoping by not mentioning that it was a Mario game but still giving enough clues (early N64 title, collect stars to open up parts of the castle, it's a platformer) that anyone familiar with the actual gameplay of the game would get it. I assume that was still too easy. For (2), it looks like I went too crazy with the difficulty on MIPS (even with the extra clue about the name's origin). Yoshi was designed to be the easy part, and while it may have been one of the easiest questions at the tournament, it still served its purpose.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Oh, and that FPS weapon bonus seemed pretty hard for this tournament. One of those parts should have been on a game the weapon was used in to make it easier.
Hmm... I thought railgun was pretty easy (I've seen it come up as an answer at academic tournaments before). The crowbar is pretty well-known from the Half-Life series, but I tried to give a medium-level clue for that (mentioning a scene stating that you get it early on in the sequel, hopefully implying that it is an early-game weapon if you didn't remember that exchange). And the Redeemer was intended as the hard part. Was it too hard? For regionals, maybe. For TRASHionals, I wouldn't think so.

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Post by Coelacanth » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:21 pm

Wow, a lot of discussion including very strong opinions about a segment of the distribution (video games) that is only 1/1.

Full props to Kilby for addressing the feedback directly in here, and also laying out some of his rationales.

As a non-video-game-player myself (well, I did get the Dig Dug tossup) here are some thoughts from a disinterested observer.

One of the challenges with VG is that any one player's knowledge base is very sensitive to his/her age. This is also true for music, TV, etc, but the rapid evolution of technology over the past 20 years means that there are several (4 or 5?) distinct generations of video gamers among the early-20s-to-mid-30s people who comprise the bulk of TRASH players. Accounting for this is really difficult, and there just isn't precedent to guide the question writers.

In short, this notion of "what people actually play" is really hard to pin down.

My suggestion: Someone (or several someones) should write a video games theme round(s). The very opinionated folks posting in this thread should then play the round (at TrashMasters, ABD, TRASHionals, whatever) and then do a focus-group-like critique with Kilby and the other writers. Hopefully you can get a wide range of opinions of what works, what doesn't, and what the video games questions at TRASH should look like.

There's no way to please everyone, of course, but I think this would help to refine the video games questions at TRASH going forward.
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:23 pm

I don't care about TRASH but I do care about video games, so...

I've already once expressed puzzlement regarding the demand for older games to be represented. As I never had a gaming system, and didn't have a computer capable of playing anything good until I was in my teens, I never played any of these games, but unless we're talking about the classics here (SM64 certainly is) I don't see why these things should have a greater representation. It's the same problem with people writing on stupid late 80s movies that they saw when they were 12 and they still think it's great; many of those were pretty lame. I'm all for asking questions about games that people actually play, so the selection that people mentioned here actually look pretty good for the most part.

edit:
In short, this notion of "what people actually play" is really hard to pin down.
No, it's really not. Just look at what games are best-sellers and what games are getting the top reviews. It won't help you for some cult classics from the past, but it'll give you a good idea of what people are playing today.
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Post by Kilby » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:48 pm

Bigfoot isn't the preferr wrote:As far as wikiplagarism goes, I know that the second clue of the "The Thing" tossup is almost verbatim from the wikipedia entry. I am a fan of the movie and was able to buzz on the clue referencing the only female voice as that of the chess computer thanks to wikipedia. Perhaps its not direct plagarism, but it is certainly familiar.
I did not write this one, but the clue in question was:

"The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

The line from the Wikipedia article (which has been intact since before this year) is:

"The only female presence in the film is the voice of the chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."

I see no major foul in this, given that this is a verifiable fact and that the question is not composed entirely or mostly out of items from the Wikipedia article (meaning the article was not used as the sole source for the question). The phrasing is similar but not exactly to that of the article and it would not have hurt to modify it a bit (specifically the "only female presence" part), but this is not the same thing as blatant copying and pasting from sources. I can, however, understand the concern. You don't want to have the language trigger the memory of reading the sentence... you want the fact itself to trigger the memory and cause the buzz.
Coelacanth wrote:Wow, a lot of discussion including very strong opinions about a segment of the distribution (video games) that is only 1/1.
Yeah, I feel somewhat guilty that the discussion has mostly been about video games, which is only 40 out of 600+ questions in the set. But a lot of people (like myself) are very passionate about them, and since they don't get to come up a whole lot (yet), there isn't much room for bad questions or ones on topics nobody cares about.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:03 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I don't care about TRASH but I do care about video games, so...

I've already once expressed puzzlement regarding the demand for older games to be represented. As I never had a gaming system, and didn't have a computer capable of playing anything good until I was in my teens, I never played any of these games, but unless we're talking about the classics here (SM64 certainly is) I don't see why these things should have a greater representation. It's the same problem with people writing on stupid late 80s movies that they saw when they were 12 and they still think it's great; many of those were pretty lame. I'm all for asking questions about games that people actually play, so the selection that people mentioned here actually look pretty good for the most part.

edit:
In short, this notion of "what people actually play" is really hard to pin down.
No, it's really not. Just look at what games are best-sellers and what games are getting the top reviews. It won't help you for some cult classics from the past, but it'll give you a good idea of what people are playing today.
Games work a little differently than other forms of media, making older games more relevant to ask about (although I agree that the emphasis still should be on modern games).

First off, videogames exist as series. I doubt too many people care about the 4th iteration of Saw, but a hell of a lot of people are interested in Halo 4, the next Zelda game, etc. The fact that these series continue to have new games continues to make their characters and older games relevant. In fact, many new games often include old games as unlockable. Metroid was in Metroid Prime, Turtles In Time was in one of the new TMNT games, Donkey Kong was in Donkey Kong 64, Excitebike was in Animal Crossing, etc.

Videogames are also played on a variety of different platforms. I don't think very many people , but a hell of a lot of people still do so on a cell phone or handheld device. The recent proliferation of Xbox Live Aracade and the Wii's Virtual Console has also made these games accessible to people who no longer have the systems. Joe Madden probably doesn't play Pac-Man too much in the arcade anymore, but he may find the Pac-Man Championship Edition on Xbox Live Aracde pretty entertaining. Thus, it would not be unreasonable to have a tossup on Pac-Man (it still wouldn't be in the first place because that game is really significant, but perhaps you can substitute that example with Bomberman or something).

Again, I don't advocate asking too many tossups, especially at an easier trash tournament, about Bayou Billy or California Games or whatever else you found fun when you were 8 but doesn't really have any relavance to today. But there is room for a few questions in a TRASH Regionals tournament for things like Donkey Kong, Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VII, Street Fighter II, Sonic 3 and even slightly less than "best games of all time" games.

In regards to a videogame theme packet, I have written like two of these already. I may or may not write one for TRASHionals, that depends if I actually go to that tournament and if I have the time.
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Post by Abra Cadaver » Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:32 pm

I'd say that for whatever reason our team never saw around four of those bonuses you mentioned (though there was also that one about Wii games, which I forgot to mention earlier) so you can see why from my perspective it seems slanted at new games.

I don't think anyone's trying to increase the count of obscure video games though there shouldn't be any pressure to include new games because of the assumption people are playing them or that the entire field has an increased chance of answering. (Any question can be written in such a way to accomplish this, like the SM 64 bonus we discussed.) As far as ultra-current VG questions go, I don't see any need to include more than one per 2/2 (two packets, I guess that would be, though it might be time to bump the VG per packet up to a combination of 2/1 and 1/2); I think allowing 1/4th of the questions to be about a 1 year period of video gaming history when 25+ exist is plenty.
I've already once expressed puzzlement regarding the demand for older games to be represented. As I never had a gaming system, and didn't have a computer capable of playing anything good until I was in my teens, I never played any of these games
I don't really understand this logic. It's sort of like saying Trash shouldn't ask questions about movies prior to the year you were born because you weren't around to watch any of them. What it should be is that if you haven't watched any old movies, you should simply enter with the expectation that you will not be able to answer every movie question because your knowledge of the subject is less than extensive. Old(er) games and movies may be a bit aged but they're still significant, and there's no reason to avoid questions regarding them. Besides, with emulation it's really quite easy to gain access to older games...

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:23 pm

Kilby wrote:I did not write this one, but the clue in question was:

"The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

The line from the Wikipedia article (which has been intact since before this year) is:

"The only female presence in the film is the voice of the chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."
Dude, how is that not plagiarism? It's quite obviously taken directly from Wikipedia with the sentence structure slightly altered. Weird locutions like "the only female presence" are unlikely to show up in normal writing, and this coincidence is way too close to ignore.

Wikipedia is probably a decent source for pop culture stuff, but let's not kid ourselves about situations like these: they're just copy/pastes with a couple of words changed.
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Post by cvdwightw » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:30 pm

Abra Cadaver wrote:I don't really understand this logic. It's sort of like saying Trash shouldn't ask questions about movies prior to the year you were born because you weren't around to watch any of them. What it should be is that if you haven't watched any old movies, you should simply enter with the expectation that you will not be able to answer every movie question because your knowledge of the subject is less than extensive. Old(er) games and movies may be a bit aged but they're still significant, and there's no reason to avoid questions regarding them. Besides, with emulation it's really quite easy to gain access to older games...
I don't think you're understanding what Jerry's saying. Let me try with a different example. Back when I was in elementary school, I played this game called Time Riders that I thought was pretty cool. I also played this game called The Oregon Trail that I thought was also pretty cool. Now, I don't think anyone would have a problem if I decided to put the latter but not the former in a Regionals-level set. Why? Because The Oregon Trail is still a fairly significant game as a somewhat-accurate historical simulation that sold pretty well, spawned a bunch of sequels that people may or may not have played, and (as Fred can attest to) still has quite a bit of relevance for people in most of that 18-35 TRASH-playing age group. I could not say any of that for Time Riders.

Similarly, a difference exists between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and some random '80s John Cusack movie. The former is a fairly significant movie with recognizable actors and a scene that most people would know of even if they hadn't seen the movie. The latter is, well, none of that. Jerry's not arguing that tossups on '80s movies or pre-Xbox video games should be excised from the set. But there is an issue of significance. Not every older game or movie is "still significant"; in fact, a large majority of them aren't. Certainly things like Super Mario 64 and Zork and Dig Dug are significant enough to be part of the Regionals distribution. Most of those other games don't have the significance today. Even if you look at the "modern games" distribution, it's stuff that is (a) likely selling a whole lot of copies and being played by a bunch of people and (b) possibly significant enough that when people play on old TRASH Regionals packets 5 years from now they don't go "What the heck was that about?"

So yeah, if you can't reasonably argue that some older movie/TV show/video game etc. is still relevant and significant today, then it should probably be confined to the hard part of a bonus at the Regionals level.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:50 pm

Abra Cadaver wrote:I don't really understand this logic. It's sort of like saying Trash shouldn't ask questions about movies prior to the year you were born because you weren't around to watch any of them. What it should be is that if you haven't watched any old movies, you should simply enter with the expectation that you will not be able to answer every movie question because your knowledge of the subject is less than extensive. Old(er) games and movies may be a bit aged but they're still significant, and there's no reason to avoid questions regarding them. Besides, with emulation it's really quite easy to gain access to older games...
My point is basically what Mike already said: there are some classic games that are definitely important, and then there's a lot of dross. We should ask about important things, but not about the lame things which were not important. My concern (which is, admittedly, purely academic, since I don't play TRASH events) is that the same logic which applies to bad TV or bad movies is going to start applying to bad videogames, namely that "I played it once a long time ago and it was fun so here's a tossup about it." That's been the problem with asking about things like shows that got canceled after 6 episodes and never seen again, and I think it would be equally bad if people started writing the same types of questions about videogames.
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Post by AtomicPunk77 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:55 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Kilby wrote:I did not write this one, but the clue in question was:

"The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

The line from the Wikipedia article (which has been intact since before this year) is:

"The only female presence in the film is the voice of the chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."
Dude, how is that not plagiarism? It's quite obviously taken directly from Wikipedia with the sentence structure slightly altered. Weird locutions like "the only female presence" are unlikely to show up in normal writing, and this coincidence is way too close to ignore.

Wikipedia is probably a decent source for pop culture stuff, but let's not kid ourselves about situations like these: they're just copy/pastes with a couple of words changed.
Kilby misquoted Wikipedia.

Wikipedia states (and has for quite some time): "The only woman in the film is the voice of a chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."

The trivia section on IMDB reads: "The female voice on MacReady's computer was performed (uncredited) by the wife of director John Carpenter, actress Adrienne Barbeau."

The clue reads: "The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

There are only so many ways one can relay this information so in this instance I think it's a bit extreme to cry plagiarism.

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Post by theMoMA » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:01 pm

So could a computer voiced by Adrienne Barbeau be considered a Barbeaubot?

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Post by Kilby » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:19 pm

grapesmoker wrote:My concern is that the same logic which applies to bad TV or bad movies is going to start applying to bad videogames, namely that "I played it once a long time ago and it was fun so here's a tossup about it."
Dang it, there goes my toss-up on the NES's Mickey Mousecapade that I wrote for TRASHionals...
AtomicPunk77 wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
Kilby wrote:I did not write this one, but the clue in question was:

"The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

The line from the Wikipedia article (which has been intact since before this year) is:

"The only female presence in the film is the voice of the chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."
Dude, how is that not plagiarism? It's quite obviously taken directly from Wikipedia with the sentence structure slightly altered. Weird locutions like "the only female presence" are unlikely to show up in normal writing, and this coincidence is way too close to ignore.

Wikipedia is probably a decent source for pop culture stuff, but let's not kid ourselves about situations like these: they're just copy/pastes with a couple of words changed.
Kilby misquoted Wikipedia.

Wikipedia states (and has for quite some time): "The only woman in the film is the voice of a chess computer, voiced by Carpenter regular (and then-wife) Adrienne Barbeau."

The clue reads: "The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."
Sorry, my copy and pasting skills are lacking something to be desired here. Thanks to atomicpunk for catching that and my apologies to the question writer.

Let me make a comment as if this now fictitious case were still true. I've always considered plagiarism to mean that you copy something word for word. In this scenario, the sentence is not copied word for word. I agree that such a case would be a pretty lazy attempt at avoiding plagiarism and is something that should still be held up as an example of what a writer should never do. In both my collegiate work and in my question writing, I've never had to worry about asking "is this too close to the phrasing used by the source?" I strive to rewrite information to make it my own as much as possible.

If all it takes to qualify for plagiarism is being a few words off of the source material, then even in my limited experience with editing packet submission trash tournaments I've seen way more plagiarism then I previously thought.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:22 pm

AtomicPunk77 wrote:The trivia section on IMDB reads: "The female voice on MacReady's computer was performed (uncredited) by the wife of director John Carpenter, actress Adrienne Barbeau."
The IMDB also reads: "There are no female characters in the film. The only female presence in the movie is in the voice of MacReady's chess computer and the contestants seen on the game show that Palmer watches." (link)
The clue reads: "The only female presence in the entire film is the voice of Adrienne Barbeau as a computer."

There are only so many ways one can relay this information so in this instance I think it's a bit extreme to cry plagiarism.
So, I apologize, the plagiarism was apparently from IMDB and not from Wikipedia.

Again, when you see expressions like "the only female presence," that is a read flag because people don't usually write stuff like that (well, obviously whoever wrote the IMDB entry did, but it doesn't usually repeat itself). The fact that we have the same sort of phrasing referring to the same film is pretty indicative of someone just copying that clue right out of IMDB. I don't have a problem with someone looking on IMDB for interesting pieces of trivia about a film, but it's stupid to just copy like that.
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:30 pm

Kilby wrote:Let me make a comment as if this now fictitious case were still true. I've always considered plagiarism to mean that you copy something word for word.
That's an unorthodox definition of plagiarism.
In this scenario, the sentence is not copied word for word.
But it uses the exact same somewhat unusual expression as the IMDB link does.
I agree that such a case would be a pretty lazy attempt at avoiding plagiarism and is something that should still be held up as an example of what a writer should never do. In both my collegiate work and in my question writing, I've never had to worry about asking "is this too close to the phrasing used by the source?"
I don't think there's any problem with paraphrasing a source; we write questions from many sources and obviously it would be ridiculous to have to have to source everything or whatever. But even when I write from sources that I'm pretty sure most people don't have access to (like specialized textbooks) I try to phrase sentences in such a way that they sound like me, not like the book.
If all it takes to qualify for plagiarism is being a few words off of the source material, then even in my limited experience with editing packet submission trash tournaments I've seen way more plagiarism then I previously thought.
I can't say this is terribly surprising to me; editing ACF Regionals last year, I found several instances of questions being taken right out of Wikipedia.
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