Daily Archives: January 3, 2018

Quote of the Day – Satan Speaks on Lockboxes

So, gaming industry, if your aim is to bring down the jackboot of government regulation on loot mechanics and destroy what was once a source of joy to millions of gamers, you’re doing a bangup job.

Satan, “guest” post at The Psychology of Video Games

The quote just sums up how lockboxes feel to me, but the real meat is in the five tricks video games can… and have… borrowed from casinos in order to hook people into spending on what is merely a hair’s breadth away from gambling before the law.

Exploiting the holidays isn’t even on the list, thank Overwatch!

Anyway, the linked article is worth a short time it takes to read.  I am sure you will recognize some, if not all, of the practices listed.

Winter Movie League – A Great Showman Indeed

Week five of our Fantasy Movie League has passed and we are now into the cold, bleak reality of January.

This was the second four day league weekend in a row and way back at the end of 2017 it sure seemed like the viable anchor choices were either Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Jumanji.  The list of options looked like this:

Star Wars                  $610
Jumanji                    $588
Pitch Perfect 3            $242
The Greatest Showman       $143
Ferdinand                  $131
Coco                       $110
Darkest Hour               $93
The Shape of Water         $73
Downsizing                 $64
Father Figures             $48
All the Money in the World $40
Wonder                     $32
Molly's Game               $21
Best of the Rest           $21
Lady Bird                  $20

The pricing between Star Wars and Jumanji was close enough that I had to go with Star Wars for the week.  Clearly I was still not getting how big of an alternative Jumanji was for people who had already seen, or who had no plans to see, Star Wars.

Once I had chosen my anchor, then it was time to take a stab at what film might get the best price/performance nod.  There were several options down the list, but for some reason I was attracted to Molly’s Game.  It seemed to be on enough screens that it might turn out the way Darkest Hour had done the previous week.  I eschewed Best of the Rest again on the theory that it there is a movie priced below it, then it really isn’t a viable option, and Lady Bird was a buck less.

However, Molly’s Game left me with a lot of extra budget and I hate to leave that on the table.  Theoretically at least spending all of your budget ought to get you the best result, assuming the base pricing estimates were correct.  Of course, they rarely are so the real game is figuring out where they have gone wrong.  But still I took on a couple of screens of The Greatest Showman, which left me with only enough cash left for a screen of Lady Bird.  I spent my entire $1,000.  Go me!

My Winter Week Five Picks

Then came the New Years weekend.  With the coming of the Saturday estimates it looked like Star Wars was the safe choice, but that my other picks were non-starters, unlikely to get any bonus.

On Sunday things changed at it appeared that Jumanji was going to be the winning anchor, while All the Money in the World looked to be headed for the best price performance prize.  That situation remained through Monday and it wasn’t until the final results were in that the real perfect pick showed itself, six screens of The Greatest Showman and two screens of All the Money in the World.

Winter Week Five Perfect Pick

Still, it was a near run thing.  Five people in the Meta League went with Star Wars, The Greatest Showman, and six screens of All the Money in the World and ended up less than $6 million behind the perfect pick, which bestows a $5 million bonus.  The results for the week looked like this:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $143,009,764
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $143,009,764
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $143,009,764
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $143,009,764
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $143,009,764
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $122,968,439
  7. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $122,968,439
  8. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $122,968,439
  9. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $122,968,439
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $118,937,726
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $116,784,975
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $116,784,975
  13. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $113,254,882
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $109,607,034
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $104,277,319
  16. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $101,516,622
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $99,835,373
  18. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $97,874,819
  19. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $69,413,601 (Did not pick)
  20. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $52,813,601 (Did not pick)

Meta League Legend

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

Those five did very well this week even without the perfect pick, with Ben holding on to his overall lead in the Meta League.  My own pick was popular, with four of us in on it, plus variations on it that had Best of the Rest in place of Molly’s Game, which seemed like a coin toss choice to some, adding another pair.

Only one person did not anchor on Star Wars, Kraut Screens, and they secured a reasonable mid-pack finish going with Pitch Perfect 3 with four screens of The Greatest Showman helping them along.

And then we had two players who forgot to pick and who found out that, unlike other titles, Best of the Rest does not roll over automatically from week to week.  So Liore had only Star Wars and a $14 million empty screens penalty while Movies Movies Movies had Star Wars and Ferdinand and a $12 million penalty.

All of which left the overall Meta League scores looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $576,722,491
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $561,231,751
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $531,131,417
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $529,218,248
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $524,316,872
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $518,517,190
  7. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $504,318,127
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $499,795,318
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $493,754,370
  10. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $493,388,292
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $481,537,583
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $467,236,290
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $460,173,147
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $450,535,039
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $444,428,264
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $437,592,836
  17. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $429,550,797
  18. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $394,038,262
  19. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $221,529,264
  20. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $367,711,555

Five weeks in and Ben has a solid, if not insurmountable, lead versus nearly everybody save for Corr.

The problem with catching up at this point is that the big holiday weekends are now behind us.  Will this first, grim week of January be a bust?  The lineup looks like this:

Jumanji                    $369
Star Wars                  $336
Insidious                  $262
The Greatest Showman       $143 
Pitch Perfect 3            $126 
Molly's Game               $100 
Ferdinand                  $81 
I, Tonya                   $56
Darkest Hour               $52 
Coco                       $50
All the Money in the World $48
The Shape of Water         $32
Downsizing                 $30 
Father Figures             $28
Wonder                     $24

It seems to be the week that Star Wars will be dethroned, but what else looks good on this list?  There are only two new options on the list this week as we finally shed Lady Bird and have no need for a Best of the Rest option.

The first new pick is Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth installment in a horror franchise I had not even heard of up until now.  But the previous three seemed to do well enough in the box office previously to warrant a fourth entry.  However, isn’t facing the first week of the new year horror enough?

And then there is I, Tonya.  As much as I love America’s trailer park sweetheart from the 90s, I am not sure how much nostalgia there really is, comedic or otherwise, for reliving the battle of wounded knee.  After all, we already had Attack of the 5 ft. 2 in. Woman on Showtime more than 20 years back and all the cultural references along the way, from Seinfeld to The Simpsons.  Also, Margot Robbie is too tall to play Tonya.  She lacks the menace of that compact, muscular Mary Lou Retton frame that Tonya had.  But that might be my personal baggage.

So Jumanji seems like the safe anchor for the week.  You can get a two screens of that with plenty of room for filler.  And, with the way the holidays rolled out, a lot of kids are still out of school this week, and they’ve probably all seen Star Wars by this point.  Maybe Coco would be a good filler pick?  And what about Molly’s Game?  Is the Aaron Sorkin dialog good enough to be worth the price?  It is going into wide release this weekend.