Press Your Luck Was Never This Fun
In the early '80s, the late Peter Tomarken hosted the annoying-yet-addicting "Press Your Luck", where contestants would answer unbelievably easy multiple choice questions to earn "Spins", which they would then use to play for Big Bucks. You'll remember the square board, with flashing squares of various prizes and dollar amounts, which randomly rotated and changed -- along with your cursor, which you'd hit a button to stop, hopefully while a prize was highlighted, and not one of the dreaded Whammies.
My brother and I used to watch this show all the time growing up. He was always convinced he could win big on it; his hand-eye coordination was top-notch. I was always sure I'd be terrible on the show unless I got extradinarily lucky; my hand-eye coordination is not as quick -- and the joints in my fingers not as responsive. This is why I got my ass kicked in most fighter games on Nintendo growing up, and had to get good at games like Tecmo Bowl and Mario that didn't require as quick a response time, or else I'd have got my ass kicked in every video game.
Sunday night, Press Your Luck came to my house in the form of a rotating-graphic piece for web project I was working on. The problem area lies in a series of graphics in the header that randomly change when the mouse cursor is hovering over the box. Well, one of the graphics wasn't loading, and I was trying to determine which one. Easy, ordinarily -- you right click on the "question-mark" box to find out the properties, go fix that graphic, done. Problem is, you have to be really quick and right click while the missing graphic box is up. Wait one second too long, you get the next graphic which of course is fine. Jump the gun, you get another graphic which is also fine. Pull the cursor off the box, you're screwed -- when you move it back over the box, it will change to a new graphic.
And of course, you never know when the graphics are gonna come up. Totally random. There was unfortunately no predictable six patterns like the original Press Your Luck, which was <a href="http://gscentral.net/larsen.htm">famously scammed out of $110,000 when that one guy figured out the patterns</a>.
And there's far too many to open up each individual one in Photoshop to see the problem.
So for 28 minutes, I sat there, staring at the screen, waiting to right-click at just the exact right moment when the missing graphic was on screen. I kept waiting a split second too long and getting the next graphic in line. I don't mind telling you it was pissing me off really bad after about 15 minutes of abject failure.
I just about called my brother to come over and try his luck. Or, Press His Luck, as it were.
I kept seeing the smarmy Peter Tomarken standing there, and the Whammies dancing around in front of me, and I wanted to start yelling "No Whammies, no whammies, come on big bucks, no Whammies, and...STOP!"
Funny thing is, after doing that a couple times, it became fun. I still wasn't clicking at the right time, but failure was more fun. My neighbor lady, watching and listening to all this from her deck across the yard (yelling when your window is open is fun), thought it was the weirdest thing ever. I actually saw her shake her head at me, scowl, and then go inside. Cool.
Anyway, I finally figured out which graphic it was and fixed the problem. Thank God. That's 28 minutes of my life I'm never getting back. And the three minutes you just spent reading this (eight if you read the link to the scam artist from Press Your Luck, which you totally need to read by the way)? You're not getting that back either.
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