Consoul's Blog Consoul Games: Tournament Torment

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Tournament Torment

Wednesday. A day that brings with it mighty expectations and inevitable disappointment. A day that promises so much and delivers only missed opportunities.
For Wednesday is the day of the local pub's Playstation 2 Tournament!
I remember my excitement months ago, when the bold colourful signs appeared on Enmore road, heralding the impending competition. It seemed so simple:

Local Pub + PS2 Competition + Human Competitors + Cheap Beers + Decent Prizes = Ideal way to spend Wednesday nights.

I should have known that this apparently simple formula would be complicated by the kind of sophisticated, razor-sharp management skills (read: gross ineptitude) evident in most bar trivia comps.
All seemed well to begin with - upon paying my $2 and entering, I had to read and sign a full-page agreement of terms and conditions that seemed to have been very well thought out. First prize: Limited edition silver PS2 with two controllers. Second prize: $100 cash. Third prize: Slab of beer of your choice. Nice. I was also presented with a laminated colour entrants' card entitling me to cheap beer during the competition. Weeks passed, word spread, more entrants signed on.

At last, the day arrived - the official first night of the tournament.
The pub was more crowded than I had ever seen it. The PS2 was plugged into a large rear-projection TV and non-competitive warm-up games were afoot. The kick-off time of 7pm came and we waited anxiously for the tournament to begin. And we waited and waited. Eventually I asked one of the 'organisers' what the hold-up was. Apparently there weren't enough competitors yet. One detail they had not made public was that they weren't going to start the tournament until they had 64 competitors. At that stage, only about 35 people had paid and signed on. So rather than start it and encourage people to join as the event went on over the next ten weeks, they decided not to start it that week. Bad move.

Despite numerous new ring-ins turning up the following week, the decision was again taken to hold out for 64 entrants. For a pub with an average population of about 4 people, this was simply not a reasonable expectation. The next week, numbers were down. Way down. There was a maximum turn-out of about 15 people. Things got progressively worse and my disappointment grew - the punters had justifiably lost faith in the event.

Weeks later a call went out, or to be more precise, an SMS went out. All entrants were invited to turn up that Wednesday - the show would go on, with or without the 64 entrants.
The organisers had seen the small blue light at last.
My hopes were raised once more.

And dashed. The turn-out following the SMS was moderate. About 15 people showed up, a vast improvement on the 3 people of the week before. The organisers had decided to work on a revised tournament structure of 32 entrants, starting with as many as they could get and allowing competitors who were knocked out to buy back in - thereby filling empty slots on the tournament table and kicking in a few extra dollars. Unfortunately, this golden opportunity to salvage the competition was also ruined by incompetence. Rather than taking the 15 players present and slotting them into the first 15 slots on the tournament table, they decided on a whim to allow each player to choose a number between 1 and 32 that would determine which slot number on the tournament table they'd occupy. Brilliant. This meant that half the players in attendance (myself included) were unable to compete because they were adjacent to an empty slot on the table. My friend Dave K got to compete, but had the misfortune of coming up against the number one seeded player in the event. One look at this guy and you know that playstation is his day job.
To Dave's credit, he only lost by the narrowest of margins in a 5 lap Moto GP race round Philip Island.

Since then, things have gotten steadily worse. Last week I popped my head in there and other than three old cobbers watching the greyhounds the pub was empty. The playstation was plugged in, but there wasn't a player in sight. I figured I'd grab a beer anyway.
"Schooner of Old thanks" I said to the bargirl.
Moments later I was presented with a tall glass of amber ale. Hmm.
"Err...I ordered I schooner of Old"
The bargirl looked at me with utter contempt - "That is a schooner of Old."
"No, Toohey's Old is a black beer" I replied, motioning toward the words "Black Ale" clearly written on the beer tap.
She silently took back the unknown beer and poured it straight down the grate beneath the taps, briefly firing me a scornful look as if to accuse me of depriving alcoholics in the third-world of the beer they so vitally need. She then poured me an Old.
Insult to injury. Salt in the wound.
This pub has pushed me too far.

...and yet, I still feel the mirage-like allure of the tournament, compelling me to visit on Wednesday nights. Perhaps there will be a competitor? Perhaps they will simply decide to give the prizes to whoever shows up the longest? Perhaps the obscure government department that enforces competition terms and conditions will conduct a raid on the establishment, sending a crack team of operatives crashing through the ceiling as they abseil out of helicopters and arrest the organisers before sending them to Abu Ghraib prison? Certainly would be a pity to miss that.

The large sandwich-board sign on Enmore road remains: "Playstation 2 Tournament - still time to enter!"


Blogger tracie said...

how very disapointing for you. I can well imagine your pain. This was definately going to be your moment in the sun Rob. Damn the playstation gods!

9:18 am  
Blogger NeeKee33 said...

You are already THE WINNER in my eyes Robin!

11:52 am  
Blogger Petras said...

Where's your animated gif?

8:42 pm  
Blogger Robin said...

Trace and Niki, thanks for your kind words of support.
Pat, I see you've noticed the gif I knocked up for Loraine. I'm not really up for one at this stage. If I think up something funny enough I might have a go.

9:35 am  
Blogger Petras said...

Perhaps next Saturday will provide the inspiration!

6:45 pm  

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