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Thursday, December 3, 1998

First, the New Stuff:

Well, I'm still on sabbatical. I had originally planned to resume doing programming work for TSI by now, but during my absence they reallocated funds, and now they can't bring me back. But it's really just as well... I'm still up to my eyeballs in Looney Labs work, and given the increase in sales we got this week, I actually don't need to go back to contract work just yet.

But having said that... if ever you wanted to do something to help us get this dream of ours off the ground, now is the time. We've got an on-line gift shop stocked with lots of cool stuff, a fully operational order collection and fulfillment system, and a storefront that can accept customers from anywhere in the world. All we need now is lots of traffic. And things are going very well... we just had our biggest week in sales ever, and the shopping season has barely started... but we need more. And that's where you, my loyal readers, come in.

During these next few weeks of busy holiday shopping, everyone's looking for cool gift ideas, and word of mouth suggestions go a really long way towards getting people's attention. So if you can put in a good word for one of our products, please do so. Mention Fluxx in a chatroom or on a newsgroup. Show Aquarius to your co-workers at lunch. Bring Arthur's Buttons to a holiday party, or wear one of our new calendar T-shirts, and tell the people who check you out where they too can get one. (To help on this last point, we made Y2K Shirt business cards, so you can easily pass along the info when wearing the shirt out in public. We're including a few with each shirt... if you want more, just ask.)

Anyway, if it's appropriate, and you don't mind doing it, please consider putting in a plug for one of our products. This is a critical time for us, when we need all the help we can get in attracting those holiday shopping dollars. The more product we sell now, the longer it'll be before I'm compelled to return to programming work (being able instead to start writing my next novel). And more importantly, if we sell enough stuff this Christmas, we might be able to accomplish the ultimate goal sometime next year: plastic icehouse pieces.

Thanks for your help!

There are no results yet on the test marketing of the television ad. Even so, we've ordered up more Aquarius decks, so hopefully it's going well. We haven't sold out yet, but we don't want to run short just when holiday sales are peaking, and with printing schedules being what they are, we simply couldn't wait any longer. So, we ordered more. We're certain we can sell them eventually, even if the ad campaign doesn't hit big.

So I spent some birthday money* on Tomb Raider 3, and my immediate reaction is one of incredible frustration. They've seriously screwed up the control options. I've gone through the first 2 games using Control Method 3, one of their 5 setup options, and have learned to guide Lara through every conceivable danger with that control arrangement chiseled into my gray matter. It's like learning how to type. It takes a while to learn where all the keys are, but once you know them, you can type without even thinking about which button does what.

But astonishingly, in Tomb Raider 3, the controller configuration I've been used to is not available. None of the options even resembles what I'm used to, yet there are still only 5 options. Adding more configuration choices would have been fine, but to remove one is inexcusable! What were they thinking? How dare they change an established standard? It's just plain rude.

Of course, I do have to say that there are some neat new moves and the graphics are better than ever. But they've made the save game option more restrictive again, using a mechanism that sort of combines the highly limited method of TR1 with the delightfully free system from TR2.

I guess what it boils down to is this. Last year, with TR2, they took an incredibly good game and raised it to a level of high art (at least in my book) by fully animating her waist-length braid of hair. This time, however, it's merely the next installment, with a new hat (or, as the TV ads punchlined it, new outfits). Worse, for me at least, the experience has been marred by a serious design blunder. So I'm disappointed. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop playing it; it is Tomb Raider, after all.

ObCoolTrick: You know that butler who follows you everywhere on the practive level? You can trick him into going into the meat locker and then lock him in!

*thanks, Marv and Elaine!


I don't care what the calendar sez... to me, it's officially winter when there's nothing left to fall.

Enjoy Life!

For a while now, I've been living on California time, but I seem to have fallen through a time vortex into the Dimension Where Time Has No Meaning.
"Triumph of the Nerds" describes late 70's home computer hobbyists as "guys with big beards who thought a good use for their computer was controlling a model train set."

This week's film: Swingers

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[Mailing Lists] [Wunderland Boosters]
This rental from '96 reminded me of the Empty City, both in the struggle of the main character and in the shifted-slightly out-of-reality setting.

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