Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Daring or Non Obedient?

I wrote this (and the upcoming next) post while flying from Bangalore to Jaipur few days back.

Unka kaam hai bolna aur hamara kaam hai nahi sunna.

A fellow passenger doesn't switch off his cellphone during take off even after being specifically told by the flight attendent. On the other side, a small kid is sitting on an open tray table. His father(?) initially tries to get him to wear the seat belt, but when the kid doesn't agree, he gets busy with attending a phone call while his kid is sitting in a very unsafe position. All this during takeoff.

I wonder the paragliders and the sky divers in western countries would drive their cars without wearing a seat belt, even if their is no law regarding the same.

Being daring to get thrilled is one thing, unnecessary risk taking for sake of non-obedience is another. I am afraid a lot of Indians I know fall in the latter category.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Why Mafia Wars is more addictive than Farmville.

I used to be a Farmville player, and after wasting quite a lot of my life precious hours on it (which could have so much more well spent with family/my startup and this blog), I was finally able to kick off this habit. However, in doing so, I got into another addiction and that too by Zynga -Mafia Wars. After wasting another set of precious hours, I now see how Mafia Wars has become the new addiction, and a more difficult one to cure.

Here are my reasons why I think Mafia Wars is a bigger addiction than Farmville.

  • Leveling up becomes pretty difficult after level 25. The max level player I saw in farmville was level 60 or so, and that was a paying player. On the other hand, I have completed more than 300 levels in mafia wars and I still can level up 4 times in a day.
  • The real gameplay is really just planting crops and harvesting. All other activities (such as harvesting trees and animals) yield zero/little experience and little money. The motivation is to get more and more different type of items, and most of these items have nothing more than decorative value. On the other hand, all the mafia wars activities yield exp/money/items, and items have attack/defense value useful for fights.
  • Maybe it was Zynga's brilliant move to monetize, but fuel limitation seriously hinders gameplay. That's Zynga's way of saying, this game is free only till level 25. No such apparent limitation in mafia wars.
  • You can setup Farmville to play only once every 24/48/72 hours (by planting appropiate crops), but you can't do the same for mafia wars. That's where mafia wars is dangerously addictive. Farmville addiction can be cured by slowing down the game and ultimately leaving it, mafia wars addiction is much more difficult to cure.
  • Farmville is slow to load. It took me almost 5 mins just to load the game everyday, and that was the primary reason why I stopped playing the game Just couldn't wait any longer.

Zygna has addressed some of these issues in recent times (after I stopped playing Farmville), such as useful buildings, one click harvesting, mystery gifts and giving out free fuel. But limited farmland and limited fuel capacity is still a major deterent.

So if mafia wars is so addictive, why is Farmville is no 1 game of the internet?
Here's why. The first time user to mafia wars will see all black screen with guns n illegal stuff, and all he needs to do is click "Do Job" again n again to gain exp. On the other hand, First time user to Farmville will see colorful plants on green soil and he has options to plant different crops. No prizes for guessing which one most users will like more.

You start liking Farmville immediately and slowly get bored of it. On the other hand, it takes you 10-20 level ups to start getting a hang of mafia wars (and getting used to it's graphics), and it starts getting addictive after you level up 50 times.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I invented the slow bouncer

Long long time ago, I used to play a cricket game on my computer. It was a DOS game and was called Allan Border's Cricket.

Most of these cricket games were heavily tilted towards batsmen. There were limited options with the ball, and most of the time any player, like a typical indian, would simply put the game on auto-player mode while bowling and then play when it came to batting. 

But I used to try bowling a lot (mainly because I was a better bowler as a kid than a batsmen). I saw that whatever I tried, it was really difficult to take wickets.

Then I noticed that these computer players would always leave the bouncers alone (it was the era of test cricket). So I would drop most balls short. Then I tried reducing the pace. I reduced and ... what I see ... the batsmen got BOWLED by the slow short pitch delivery (hehehahaha).

To some it might be discovering a bug in the game. To others it is innovation, out-thinking the computer (is that an oxymoron) and its physics laws by bowling out the batsmen with a slow bouncer.

I invented the slow bouncer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

20 years, 200 runs

Dear Sachin,
I know I have been a crabby guy. For 20 years, all I have done is to complain.  Sachin, why didn't you stay till the end and got those 17 runs? Why did you got out early when we needed to chase 360 runs for the world cup? Why do records like highest test score and highest test average belong to someone else? Why don't you play like your earlier days.

And I know you don't like that. All these 20 years you have been trying to keep me happy. Here, keep this Sharjah cup I got for you from Australia. Here are records for highest no of runs and centuries in both one days and tests. Here is the overseas win you wanted so badly. Here is me hitting Akhtar out of the park. And Shane Warne. And Olonga. And McGrath. And Walsh and Ambrose. And Akram and Waqar. Dude, I am trying hard for the world cup. Just wait.

I was 11 when I started watching cricket. You were 18. I don't even remember how quickly you became the synonym of cricket for me and for everyone else in India. I couldn't even realize that cricket is a team sport, not an individual one. Yes I liked Azhar, Jadeja, then I liked Ganguly, Dravid and then Sehwag, Dhoni. But truly speaking, I switched on the TV to watch you, and switched it off the moment you got out. When my mood is so much governed by how you play, I am bound to get crabby when you get out.

But from today I'll stop complaining. Today you wiped out which was probably our biggest shame, and coverted it to our proudest moment that's gonna stay for a long time. You were the one who stopped Anwar from getting a double hundred that day years back, and today you finally put an end to that pinching that every Indian Cricket Fan has been feeling in their hearts for past 13 years.

Congratulations on getting a double hundred Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, and Thank You very much.
(Photo courtesy: R@VITH)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sanjay Goel resides on goelsanjay.com

Its been quite some time since I registered domain http://www.goelsanjay.com. And even though moving blogger to your custom domain is only a 10 mins job, I have been lazy enough to not spare those 10 mins.
Anyways, here is my first post on the new domain. All the existing posts gets redirected automatically and the rss feed works too.

One small poll. Which domain is better?

  • goelsanjay.com or 
  • sanjaygoel.name
I have registered both. Please mark your preference in the comments.

The next step would be to actually write a post, something I haven't done in 3 months. Its high time to do so, expect a post soon.