November 25, 2006

Yikes! What Have I Unleashed?

I'm stuck inside writing a brief today but couldn't resist sharing some Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) correspondence from a long time reader:

Dear Robert,

Ever since you started posting your score on the Hamsterpault my husband has been crazy to beat it. It seems that he cannot break 650 and has asked me to write to you for some info and tips.

First, what is the highest score that you have had with any one hamster?

Second, how many hours do you think you have spent playing the game? He asked me to phrase this specifically as if I asked how many games you have played, you might not be able to answer accurately…

Third, do you have any tips that you would be willing to share as to how to make the hamsters fly longer distances?

I can only assume that this is a guy thing… But, I can tell you that the muttering at the end of the evening has reached a crescendo… especially when I told my husband that you had broken 1200. “You can tell that miserable llama Robert mumble, mumble, mumble, oorgle, oorgle oorgle” I’m going to bed now…

And so it goes, evening after evening.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could lend some tips. You would certainly be doing God’s work. Think of yourself as a marriage counselor! A happy hamster flinging husband is a contented husband… or something like that!

Well, the institution of marriage is in bad enough shape as it is. I wouldn't want to contribute to any further slide, so I will do my best to put a smile on hubby's face with what I've been able to glean:

1. I don't recall the exact figure, but I did send one hamster shooting about 400-odd feet once. At my best, I'd say my average flight is somewhere in the 150 foot range with the occasional 200 or 300+ tossed in. And while I have the occasional high score, I'd say my overall best average was probably in the 700-800 foot range.

2. Again, I don't know. I don't play nearly as much as I did a few weeks back. In general, I can't play the game more than fifteen minutes at a go because the eye-strain gives me a serious headache. I can say that however much time I've actually spent on it has probably been too much.

3. Ah, tips. Well, I think I've actually got a few that might be useful:

--- The biggest thing is getting early momentum. When you launch, be careful not to get too much height. Concentrate on going out rather than up and make it your first priority to try and hit a rocket or two.

--- Use your hamster glide power sparingly. I only tap the mouse enough to keep my nose up unless I need to gain enough height to go for a rocket.

--- Beware those air-jet thingies. If you get too close, they will push you so high that you go right out of the rockets and balls zone, especially if you're already going slow. On the other hand, if you're moving along at a pretty good clip, try passing either just below one or else a little high over it - it'll add to your forward momentum.

--- Don't be afraid of the ground. By going low, you can sometimes come across a lot of rockets. Also, you can see enough to try and aim for the springboards. And remember that if you hit the ground at a flat enough angle, you can sometimes get enough of a bounce to either get to a springboard or even to catch something up in the air and relaunch yourself.

--- Of course, you probably already know that the pink balls don't bounce as high or far as the greens. If you get a green ball, I consider it to be worthwhile to actively try and avoid the pink ones.

--- There are patterns to the way the various bits are set out in the sky. Sometimes the air-jet thingies will be set in a kind of stair formation so that once you get caught in the first, they'll sweep you on up higher and higher. Avoid those. Sometimes the jets are also placed to cover rockets or springboards. I haven't figured out what to do about that (if anything). On the other hand, be on the lookout for strings of rockets - sometimes you can hit three or four of them in rapid succession, and the faster you go the more control you have (to say nothing of the actual distance you gain).

--- Remember that there is a great deal of blind luck involved. Sometimes you simply run out of options and while you might have scored 270 on one flight, you'll find yourself with a 30 footer the next time.

There! I hope that helps - cue the Wagner!

Posted by Robert at November 25, 2006 01:09 PM | TrackBack

Thank you Robert...

Posted by: Babs at November 26, 2006 12:34 PM

I am being driven nuts by flying hamsters.....I knew I never should have click on that link. And I am not winning or even doing well with a high score of 300. But off I go to play some more!

Posted by: LeeAnn at November 26, 2006 06:37 PM

Tim would concur with all of those and add the following:
-Don't underestimate the power of staying low (just to reinforce that one of yours)
-Embrace the skateboard - if you can get a skateboard and maintain a fairly horizontal flight, when you land you will skate an extra 20 or so feet, sometimes right up to a springboard at which point you're off again

Posted by: beth at November 27, 2006 09:09 AM