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Subject: Episode 45: Doorways to Horror rss

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Chris Michaud
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Vampires! Witches! Monsters! All sorts of ghoulish terrors await you behind the Doorways to Horror! Featuring COLORSCAN(TM) technology, this 1986 VHS bidding game advertises "over 8 million different encounters" where players watch clips of (probably public domain) horror films while casting magic spells on various creatures to earn gold certificates. In this video adventure of menacing monsters and punishing puns, will the panel have the nerve to survive? Plus: In our Battle of Wits, the panel is forced to make a horrible choice...

http://tableflipsyou.blogspot.com/2014/01/episode-45-doorway...
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Blair
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Wow this sounds terrible and deliciously 80's. Can't wait. Gonna listen now.
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Erik
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There goes my productivity this morning!
 
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David Briel
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Assuming there's 60 clips like you said and there's 10 of each thing (1 door, 2 doors, each color) then it's going to have some variables in there that are hard to calculate. The first one being the number of die rolls you have and the second being that you only fast forward, not rewind. The first roll would determine where you started and I'm not good enough at math to calculate that. So we'll take it at face value that, sure there's over 8 million permutations of this game.
 
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David Briel
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If you play the Jersey Shore trivia game in - COLORSCAN ! -   and roll orange would you have to stop every time you see Snooki?
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Chris Michaud
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dbriel wrote:
If you play the Jersey Shore trivia game in - COLORSCAN ! -   and roll orange would you have to stop every time you see Snooki?


HAH! All the doorways are, in fact, orange, as are all the faces on the die, except for one...which is a symbol that makes you rewind the tape to the beginning and resume play.
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Chris Michaud
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Also, - COLORSCAN ! -
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Ron Hayes
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The song at the end was the best... that should be a ringtone
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M T
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I had no idea that Domination was a Sid Sackson game. Makes me feel better about my parent's collection which also included Masters of the Universe 3-D Action Game. I also had no idea that someone turned Focus/Domination into something else entirely...
 
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Matt Bowles
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Hi guys

just some quick (and ultra geeky) maths points.
8,000,000 is a very low factorial number. I expect around 10 or so.

60! - 60 factorial is actually an 8 followed by a few other numbers
- 8,320,987,100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (to be semi precise)

Factorials aren't likely to help us here. They a typically used when the selection order of things is important.

for this episode, I'm assuming a few things. but you would use the following maths regardless:
Assumption #1 - there's 60 clips to choose from.
Assumption #2 - you have a random selection of 20 clips in each game.

the number of different lists of 20 clips from 60, where ordering is unimportant, is called 60-choose-20 (can't get the superscript and subscript notation to go on here)
60C20 equals 4,191,844,500,000,000

so somewhere in there is the real answer.. good luck!!
 
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Brian Counter
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I'm working on this actually. I'll post the results when I can get the number and explain it reasonably. What's throwing me is the reduced clips thing as you progress thru the tape. I'll post when I am confident in the results. But am kind of busy at the moment, so bear with me...
 
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M T
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heymondo wrote:
I'm working on this actually. I'll post the results when I can get the number and explain it reasonably. What's throwing me is the reduced clips thing as you progress thru the tape. I'll post when I am confident in the results. But am kind of busy at the moment, so bear with me...

I had been thinking about it too and thought I'd have to set up a series that went down by a random variable of 1 to 6 with each step. Then I remembered that the only thing about series which I remember is being terrible at them and was ready to forget about it. However, does progressing only forward actually simplify it? There are only 6 choices with each - COLORSCAN ! - roll. Of course, if you assume only six choices and no rewinding, 6^20 is the same order of magnitude as 60 choose 20.
 
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Stephen Miller
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From the description of the game, I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

Assuming 60 clips to choose from, you have ten clips per colour. Assuming the colours are evenly distributed, and the game ends when you reach the end of the tape...

You have a minimum of 10 clips and a maximum of 60 per game, with 1 way of having 60, 6 ways of having ten, and there things get hairy.

It's basically the same question as how many routes you can take in a game of Candyland - without any 'go back to x' stuff, and I'm unaware of the mathematical equation for that because making one choice eliminates up to five others, but might only remove itself from future choices.
 
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Brian Counter
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Actually there are only 4 color choices. 4 of the 6 sides of the d6 are the colors. Then you have the star and double star. I asked Flip about this, and when you roll a star, you play the next clip in line, and the double star means skip one clip and play the next. There are 60 clips, 15 of each of the 4 colors, and sequential repeating. (i.e., one of each color, then repeat the same 4 colors in the same order). At least that;s how I understand it. After a cursory look, that 8 million may indeed be correct. However, hold that thought and bear with me as I work out the details and how to explain. I want to ensure I'm doing this correctly, so am enlisting the help of my sister the calc teacher (I may do math for a living, but honestly, I do stats and state/fed reports for the college I work at, and my previously learned theoretical math from my college days approaching 25 years ago sometimes fails me). whistle
 
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Mr. Phaedrus
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This is clearly a critical question, so I've done some analysis, and I'm ready to present my report.

I'm assuming that the esteemed Mr. Counter's description of the game is correct -- that there's 60 clips on the tape, 15 each of the four colors in sequence (red, blue, green, yellow, red, etc.), and that rolling a color face means "play the next clip of that color (which means the very next clip on the tape if it happens to be that color"), that rolling a single star means "play the next clip", and that a double star means "skip one clip".

First of all, it's useful to put an upper bound on things. Essentially, as we pass by each clip, we have a choice of "play this clip" or "don't play it". If we were to play purely by those rules -- say, if we flipped a coin for each clip -- then that would give us a total number of possibilities of 2 to the 60th power. 2^60 is about 1.15 quintillion possibilities. So anything higher than that must be wrong. But the actual number is going to be lower than this, because this includes lots of possibilities where we skip more than four clips at a time -- including the infinitely preferable but illegal option of "skip all 60 clips and play Steam Park instead."

So, what's the real answer? Well, we can start by noticing that the single-star and double-star faces of the die are red herrings. They affect the probability that a given sequence of clips will come up, but they don't affect the number of possibilities -- if the next clip on the tape is green and the one after that is yellow, then rolling a single star is the same as rolling green, and rolling a double star is the same as rolling yellow. So we can leave the star faces out of the analysis.

Now let's use another useful technique for these problems: start at the end and work backwards.
* If we've already watched 60 clips -- we're at the end of the tape -- then there's only one possible way to play: the game is over.
* If we've watched 59 clips, then there are two possible ways to play; we watch the last clip or we skip it.
* If we've watched 58 clips, then we can watch #59 (and there's two possible ways to play from there), or we can watch #60 (1 way to play), or we can skip to the end of the tape (1 way to play) -- that adds up to 4 ways.
* If we've watched 57 clips, then we can watch #58 (four ways to play), or watch #59 (2 ways), or watch #60 (1 way), or skip to the end of the tape (1 way) -- that adds up to 8 ways.
* So far we've simply doubled each time. But if we've watched 56 clips, we can (sadly) no longer just skip to the end of the tape. We have to watch #57 (8 ways), or #58 (4 ways), or #59 (2 ways), or #60 (4 ways) -- a total of 15 ways, not 16.
* And from here on out, we get a predictable sequence: If we've watched N clips, the number of possible plays from here is the sum of the possibilities from N+1, from N+2, from N+3, and from N+4.

At this point, I just created an Excel spreadsheet that did the math, and here's the final answers:
* If this were a 10-clip tape, there would be 773 ways to play.
* For a 20-clip tape, there would be 547337 ways to play.
* For 30 clips, there's 387,559,437 ways to play.
* For 40 clips, there's roughly 2.74*10^11 ways to play -- that's 274 billion ways.
* For 50 clips, there's roughly 1.94*10^14 ways to play -- that's 194 trillion ways.
* And for 60 clips, the actual length of the tape, there's roughly 1.37591*10^17 ways to play -- that's 137 quadrillion ways.

That's certainly way more than 8 million. But it also seems plausibly close to (but under) our 1.15-quintillion upper bound.

So there you have it: 137 quadrillion pathways to horror, with COLORSCAN.
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Stephen Miller
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KickahaOta wrote:
So there you have it: 137 quadrillion pathways to horror, with COLORSCAN.


And from their description, I think playing a hypothetical Tales of Horror instead would be preferable. Even if the group had to write the tome themselves first.

Still, enjoyed reading that analysis.
 
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E. Strathmeyer
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Just found this article on Sid Sackson from GAMES Magazine, Feb/Mar 1987 that mentioned Doorways to Horror!

http://www.webnoir.com/bob/sid/zetlin.htm

Quote:
Worse yet, according to Sackson, are games that just don’t play well. In one game he encountered, the first player could win on the first move. Then there are games whose instructions are impossible to follow. "It’s surprising how companies will sometimes produce games that don’t work. It seems like they’re in a hurry to get a game out, and they figure it will only be around for a couple of years-- so why not?"

Occasionally, these games that don’t work can be a boon to Sackson, who has frequently been called upon by game manufacturers to fix them. For example, he was asked to update Mousetrap to make it a more competitive game, and, more recently, to improve the play of Doorways to Adventure and Doorways to Horror (reviewed this month in Games & Books, page 47), two VCR games.
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