The Problem With Mobile Tetris

A few days ago, I downloaded a Tetris app on my phone. Suffice to say, I was not satisfied as I felt there was something off about the game. Today I wanted to share my experience and how I think the game could be improved. 

First, in order to understand why I’m dissatisfied with the app, you’ll need to know what Tetris is. Tetris is a world renown puzzle game where you stack blocks on top of each other. You can move these blocks across a 10×20 grid as they slowly fall down the screen, and every time you clear a line it disappears. There are also other features to enhance the game play. One of these features is holding, where you save a block for later use. Another feature is hard dropping, where you instantly place down a block. The goal is too clear as many lines as you can, the caveat being the game speeds up as you clear more lines. 

Normally, the left and right movement would be controlled with keys, D-pad, or joy stick. However, this is not the case in the new Tetris app. It may not come as a surprise but not many smartphones have D-pads or a joy stick, this means the Tetris apps needs another way to move the blocks around. The solutions the developers came up with is using your finger to drag the blocks around, and I have mixed feelings about it. 

The benefit of this decision is the ability to play with one hand, which wasn’t a bad choice on the developers part. These days, I find the ability to play games with one hand makes the game more convenient and accessible. The fact the new Tetris apps wants these appealing selling points doesn’t seem that odd to me. However, by my personal preference I dislike it. It many not seem obvious to a person that’s completely new to Tetris, but this drag option is very restrictive compared to other alternatives. Unlike with a keyboard or D-pad, it is much harder to precisely control blocks. Another disadvantage is the inability to hyper tap, which is when you mash the left or right button to move a block really fast. Personally, I think a virtual D-pad would have been much better option. Still, I do understand the appeal of convenience and why the developers chose this one handed approach. Unfortunately, this leads me to my second gripe with the app.  

If the developers where aiming for a leisure game, which I believe they were, then their game progression is way too fast. Unlike a game like Candy Crush, Tetris requires your active attention. A single misplaced block can spell the end of your game, and this becomes much more prominent the further you get. By the fifth level, I usually found both my hands on the phone and all my attention directed at the game. The moment I needed two hands, the game didn’t feel very leisurely to me. Normally that would be fine, but I feel this makes the convenience of their one handed drag movement completely redundant. Like I said before, I’d much rather settle for a virtual D-pad and buttons. 

However, if they did want to keep their current movement design, I feel they would need to slow the game down even further than it already is. There are several ways this could be done. First, they could slowdown the drop speed. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix, and with how the game is design will only prevent the panic induced play of later level. Another solution would be to lower the maximum level or let players set their own level cap. As of now, the current level cap is 15. However, ever for me level 15 feels fairly fast. Instead, I feel level 10 would be a good cap for a leisure game. It is fast enough to feel the progression in difficulty but still possible with one hand. 

Overall, the new Tetris app is interesting. It is indeed fun, but there are several things I believe that could have been done better. Personally, I feel Tetris renditions on smartphones pander too much to convenience and it looses that Tetris feel. However, that is just my personal opinion in where Tetris is going on mobile devices. Regardless, I will continue to try beating my personal record on the new Tetris app. 

C# Test Projects

A few weeks ago, I have been dabbling in C# programming on my own. This week, I want to share what I have learned and how I plan to implement those ideas. 

The first program I created was a basic movement system. In this program, there is a box and it moves to wherever you click your mouse. However, the box only moves to the nearest 10 pixels. The reason for this rounding is that if I have a grid or tile set, the box will end up in one of the tiles or points. In addition, I also created another box that follows the first one. I call this an enemy box. The reason I wanted to do this, was to test enemy ai on a small level. In the future, I hope to have the enemies do more complicated actions. As of now, the only application I can think for this program is making a game similar to snake. I can have multiple boxes follow the leading one and if any of them collide with each other the game is over. 

Next, I created a puzzle system. Basically, there are a bunch of boxes and an equal amount of slots to match. In the program, you can mix and match these slots and boxes. When a slot is filled, the program recognizes it as filled and won’t let you place another box in it. Right now, I can use this system for a mix and match puzzle, but I have so much more planed for it. In the future, I’m thinking I could possibly use this program to create an inventory system. In this system, you could see all your items and possibly equip/un-equip items, this would be really useful if I ever create an RPG like game. In any case, I have a lot planned for this system. 

Finally, the last program I created is a tile set. In the program, there are many boxes that cover the entire screen. I call each one of these boxes a tile. When you hover over a tile with your cursor, the tile changes colour meaning it’s selected. There are also labels that tell you which tile is selected. In the future, I can have the program do specific thing when hovering over a certain tile. For now, each tile is blank and doesn’t do anything, but the possibilities are there. In the future, I might end up creating an entire game around this system. I always wanted to create a tactical strategy game, and this might just be a way to do it. Unfortunately, due to how the tiles work, I fear there will be too many boxes on the screen at once and the program won’t run smoothly. 

In the end, I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head for a game. However, I can’t start it without testing some basic concepts first. As of right now, I’m planing on furthering the puzzle system but will continue the other two programs at some point. All in all, I’m interested where this will lead me. 

Arknight Defenders

Since we’re on an Arknight roll, let’s continue it with Defenders. Like the other classes before it, what makes the Defender class special? Well, like the Vanguards they’re also the result of another game mechanic. So, in order to understand the effect Defenders have on the game, I’ll need to talk about the block system for a bit. 

Like DP, I’ve constantly mentioned block potential. In my mind, the meaning is pretty self explanatory. If an operator has high block, they can block more enemies from moving. It’s kind of confusing if you’ve only experienced traditional tower defence games, so let me explain. Picture a river with water flowing down it, this is the enemies. Now, your operators are dams that block this water. The more block an operator has the higher the dam. As you can see, more block means an operator can stall for longer. Unfortunately, this also brings me to blocks unique relationship with attack. Whether it be magic or physical attack, a high block stat usually brings with it low attack. Remember our dam analogy? Well, now picture each dam with a pipe that can divert water, this is a representation of a units attack value. What this means is that even if a unit has high block, it won’t matter if enemies don’t die. Overall, every unit has a block stat and tend to balance it with their other stats. However, like Guard Assassins and their single block, Defenders like to take things to the extreme. 

Defenders have ridiculous block and defence capabilities. These units throw attack to the wind and solely focus on blocking enemies. Most of the time, these units are incapable of defending a chokepoint on their own. They will almost always be overwhelmed and with no self satiability in terms of HP, they will eventually fall regardless. However, with all this focus on blocking, it gives other units time to take out enemies. The fact an entire class was built around the tanking of enemies, shows how important of a niche Defenders fulfill. It’s is such a simple concept but a staple that can’t be replaced, and because of that they have the highest DP cost of any ground unit. As of now, Defenders will have a block of three. However, this can augmented with skills. The reason I mention this magical number of three, is because every other class has a maximum block of two. It doesn’t sound impressive, but it is when a constant wave of enemies are coming at you. 

At this point, I would begin talking about subsets. Unfortunately, like Vanguards Defenders are lacking in them. Although, that’s not quite true. From what I’ve experienced so far, each Defender has unique traits that make them one of a kind. These unique abilities changes a units play style so much I can’t comfortable group them in subsets. Instead, I’ll be mentioning the Defenders I use and the abilities that make them so unique. 

The first of two Defenders I usually use is called Liskram. What makes her unique is her large attack range. Normally, Defenders can only attack enemies that are on top of them. However, Liskram doesn’t abide by this and can target enemies three tiles away. This absurd attack range, higher than normal attack stat, and ability to take out flying enemies make Liskram quite a special Defender. 

The other Defender I use on a regular basis is Cuora. In the Arknight community, she is highly regarded as a great unit. This due is multiple factors of course, one of them being her useful ability to block four enemies for a limited amount of time. There be plenty of times where not even a three block Defender will suffice because you can’t dispatch enemies fast enough, this is where Cuora shines. It also doesn’t hurt she’s really easy to get, making her a staple for beginners. 

In the end, Defenders will always be need in later stages. Of course they are lacking in attack, but more than makes up for it with their high block and defence capabilities. Without these tanks to block crucial chokepoints your forces would be overwhelmed in seconds. You won’t need many of them, probably one or two, but their presence can definitely be felt on the map. Next time, I’ll likely take a break from the ground units and talk about Healers.

Arknights Vanguards

Like I said last week, I’m going to be covering Vanguards and that’s what I’m going to be talking about. To start, what makes a Vanguard different from every other class? In short, it is their early round abilities and low to mid range cost. Unlike Guards, there are a lot less subsets, two if we’re being specific. However, the Vanguards abilities are also much more connected to a certain game mechanic. In order to get a better grasp of the class, I feel it appropriate too quickly this mechanic first. 

In previous blogs, I have continually mentioned deployment cost. I have never really went into great depth about it because I felt the mechanic was pretty self explanatory. There are units and those units need a cost to deploy them, simple. However, with Vanguards being so dependent on the deployment system, it probably best I explain the system here. At the beginning of every round you start with some DP or deployment points and these point generate every few seconds, eventually capping at 99. These points are used to deploy units. Each operator has a designated cost assigned to them and when deployed their cost is subtracted from your DP. Overall, thats the gist of the deployment system. Other feature such as unit cool down are more specific to classes than the actual deployment mechanic. 

Now that we’ve talked about what DP is, I can explain how Vanguards are related to it. To start off, no matter what subset all Vanguards dabble in DP generation. How this is done varies between subsets, but because of this trait they are very good during early waves. To balance that though, they usually suffer in terms of everything else. Unlike other classes, they don’t particularly access stat wise like Guards or Defenders. In addition, most Vanguards only have two attack tiles and can only be deployed on the ground. The only silver lining to their mostly terrible mediocre stat line is their own deployment cost. With a few notable exceptions, Vanguards have the lowest deployment cost when looking at all factors. I say looking at all factors, because upgrading and rarity can have a huge impact on deployment cost. However, the point is Vanguards are cheap and most of the time, disposable. 

The first subset of Vanguards are the DP on kill (DoK) kind. What separates this subset from the other kind of Vanguard is their trait or passive ability. Specifically, this ability allows you to gain a deployment point every time an enemy is slain. The down side is that they can only block one enemy. However, unlike the Guard Assassins from last week, there isn’t anything particularly good about this single block. Still, this trait usually doesn’t pose a problem when DoKs are used properly. In most scenarios, DoKs are usually the first units deployed to build up DP and the pulled out for more efficient operators. This is supplemented by their other trait which allows for the full return of their DP cost when pulled back. 

On the other hand, we have what I called DP generators. What differentiates this subset is their abilities and block. Unlike DoKs they don’t have a DP related trait and rely solely on their abilities to generate points. Unfortunately, this severely limits their overall viability on a team. In Arknights, an operator’s ability is what defines them and makes them unique. Out of the three potential abilities an operator can use, only one can be equipped at a time. By having your DP generator equip their DP generating skill, they are locked into generating DP and nothing else. A DoK can remain viable in later waves due to their abilities depending on the situations. However, once you’ve built up a substantial amount of DP, your DP generator will be dead weight. Well, I may have been rather harsh but my point stands, for dealing with enemies any other DPS class would be better. 

In the end, Vanguards are an important part of your team. They may not stick around, but they will aid in getting your other units out. There have been countless times I have been swarmed by enemy because I didn’t have enough DP to place operators. When used correctly, Vanguards will ensure that never happens. Next time, I’ll likely touch upon another ground class, Defenders. 

Arknights Guards

Last week, I went over a game called Arknights. In that blog, I talked about the mechanics, how I stumbled across the game, and briefly touched upon the operator classes. However, I also said I would take a deeper look into the classes and I’m starting with the Guard class. 

Guards can generally be defined by their high attack. Out of all the classes in the game, Guards boast the highest melee attack damage. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to this. First, like all melee operators, they can only be deployed to intercept the enemy along their path. Second, with a few exceptions they a really weak against magic attacks. The reason for this is their complete lack of magic resistance. In addition, their health and defence are middle of the road, they’re not bad but leaves much to be desired. As for deployment cost, Guards have a wide range and it really depends on the units rarity. The lower tier operators usually need 10 while higher tiers require 20 deployment points. However, for the most part, Guard operators tend to cost more than Vanguards but less than Defenders. That is to say, they aren’t disposable, but they aren’t expensive either. 

With the general characteristics out of the way, I can begin talking about the different subsets of Guards. What I mean by subset is the role they fulfill on the team. All subsets follow the general characteristics of a Guard, a high attack. However, there are traits that differentiate subsets. An example of this being how many enemies an operator can block. 

To start off, the first subset will be the assassins. Assassins are defined for having the highest attacks of any operators in the game. Even among other Guards, they reign supreme in terms of DPS. The drawback of this feat is that they can only block one enemy at a time. However, this doesn’t mean blocking one enemy is a bad thing, quite the contrary. Due to their single block capabilities, they are perfect for stalling or taking out a specific enemy. When deploying an assassin, they will engage their single target and all other enemies will simply pass through them. To assist in this role, most assassins have skills to temporarily raising their DPS, boosting their already absurd attack stat. When used correctly, a single assassin can take down a boss all on their own. 

Next, there are the AOE Guards. These Guards are notorious for needing a lot of investment before performing well. Like the name implies, they are able to attack multiple enemies at once. To be more specific, they can attack every enemy they’re blocking, usually two. The drawback to this is that they have the lowest attack of all Guards, which is why they aren’t good unless properly invested in. When you take away the attack of a Guard, they are left in quite an awkward position. They don’t have enough attack to properly qualify as a ‘Guard’ but not enough defence to be a Defender. What this means is that each AOE Guard is quite niche and defined by their abilities. An example of this is the operator Spectre. She is an AOE Guard and has a temporary immortality ability, making her excellent at defending chokepoints by herself. It is because of this one ability Spectre is highly regarded as the best AOE Guard. 

After AOE Guards, there are the Long Range Guards. Unlike other Guards, they have the largest attack range of any Guard subset. Most Guards can only attack in two tiles, but LRGs can cover eight. Like every other subset though, there are scarifies for this. In this case, if the enemy isn’t on top of the operator or one tile away, attacks are lessened by twenty precent. The silver lining to this though is that they deal magic damage and can hit flying enemies. I personally find this subset the most versatile, as the ability to dispatch flying enemies is quite a huge boon. The reason for this is as game increases in difficulty, there are less and less spot to place down your ranged operators. In some cases there might even be times when you can’t deploy range operators. In cases like these LRG or other units with similar capabilities are essential. 

Finally, we have the Art Guards. What this means, is that they trade in their physical damage for magic damage. Like other Guards, they still have a two tile attack range and can only be deployed on the ground. What makes this subset unique is the ability to take out enemies with high defence. In most cases besides the Art Guard and LRG subsets, the only classes able to deal magic damage are Casters and Supporters with a few exceptions. Make note of the fact both classes I just mentioned fall under the range category. Like I said before, tiles to place ranged operators become far sparser as the game progress. Without magic damage dealers enemies with high defence can be particularly troublesome. While both LRGs and Art Guards can take out high defence enemies, the latter are specifically tailored to do it. However, this trait make Art Guards incredibly niche and as of now, there is only one Art Guard released globally. 

Overall, Guards can be quite versatile. Although there are many kinds, they all serve the same role of DPS dealers. They won’t the first operator you’ll be deploying, but they will definitely be needed as the waves of enemies increase. Next time, I will likely continue this series by talking about Vanguard operators.  


For the past week or so I’ve been playing a game called Arknights, and today I want to talk about it. To start off, it’ll probably be best to explain what Arknight is and how I encountered it.

To summarize, Arknights is produced by Yostar, a China based company that produces apps for IOS and Android. Prior to playing Arknights, I was actively playing Azur Lane, another app of Yostar. During my time play Azur Lane, I joined a Discord server that’s made of people who enjoy playing games like Arknights and Azur Lane. By joining this server, I learned of the Arknight global beta. The app seemed pretty interesting, so I kept an eye on Arknights. It also helped Arknights was produced by Yostar, a company I know that can source good art and voice actors. At this point the rest is history, I waited for the official release and I’m currently playing the game. With that summery out of the way, I can start actually start talking about why the game is so intriguing. 

Arknights, is a combination of two different types of games. The first of these two types is tower defence. In tower defence games, you typically need to defend an objective with towers. The enemy travel down a predetermined path and you can strategically place towers along the route. On the other hand, the second type of game is strategy games. In these games, you place down units and control them by giving certain orders, examples being movement or special abilities. In Arknights, the enemy still travel down a predetermined path. However, you can place down your units or operators almost anywhere on the map. What this means is that unlike other tower defence games, you actually block the waves of enemies. In my mind, this adds another level of strategy. 

Unfortunately, the enemy is this game are pretty typical. They have weakness and advantages, but they aren’t anything you wouldn’t see in other tower defence games. However, what really drives the amazing map system is the operators or units. In the game, there are eight classes Vanguard, Guard, Defence, Medic, Caster, Sniper, Support, and Special. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. However, I’ll like make another video going into each class at a later date.

What we need to know now is that each class has their own role and can be broadly split into two categories. Vanguard, Guard, and Defence operators can only be placed on the ground. Meanwhile, Medic, Caster, Sniper, and Support units can only be placed on high ground unless stated otherwise. The only exception to this rule is Special, because certain operators in this class and bypass the restriction. The game does indeed let you place operators almost anywhere on the map, they just restrict certain operators to certain terrain. 

Overall, Arknights is a complex game that involves a lot of strategy. In the future, I hope to talk about all the class in depth and explore their uses. 

What is Gender Bending?

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I thought it was about time I continue this series. This week, I’m going to be talking about gender-bending in manga and anime. A term some may be familiar with but other not so much. 

In its purest form, gender bending is exactly what it says. In most cases, there is a character that gets his or her gender switched. However, people masquerading or controlling an avatar of the opposite gender can also fall under gender-bending. A very simple term compared to previous ones. The reason I didn’t cover this term earlier is because gender-bending isn’t unique. It’s something that’s has been thoroughly explored, but I feel the Japanese play around with this concept more often than others, hence why I’m talking about it here.  

So, what does gender bending add to a story? So far from what I have seen, there are two flavours of this. The first is that the gender-bend is integral to the plot, meaning the protagonist gets gender swapped more often than not. The second is that the gender-bend is not integral to the plot, meaning a one off or supporting character gets gender swapped. In this blog, I’ll be ignoring the second category. Most of the time, the gender swap is just an aspect of the character and adds to their complexity. Other than that, their gender swap doesn’t really effect the overall story besides when the plot focuses on it. At that point, it’s more like the supporting character temporally assumes the role of the protagonist, because it’s their story arc. My point is, that if an author decides to put gender-bending into their story, it either holds a really significant role or none at all. Gender-bending isn’t something you can just touch upon, instead it’s something the author builds upon. Regardless, in either case the author will end up focusing on the gender bending at some point. 

Now, the question becomes if gender-bending is so important to the plot, what’s the plot? In my experience with gender bending, each story adds their own twist. Almost none of the manga I’ve read has what I could consider identical plots with a fresh coat of paint. However, this won’t mean I can’t list some more general trends of how gender-bending is used. 

The first trend, is usually getting their original body back. In stories like these, for whatever reason, the protagonist looses their original gender to due to an incident and must find a way to get it back. The inciting incident can be super natural in nature or completely sci-fi. That is reason this trend is so broad, if I narrowed the conditions down any further it could hardly be considered a trend. A good example of this trend is Ranma 1/2.

The second one, is what I call adapting. For these stories, the protagonist can no longer get their body back. Instead, they must now adapt to their new body and live out the rest of their life. Due to the slightly boring nature of this type of gender bending, it is most often seen in romance scenarios. For example, one of my favourite manga uses this kind of scenario. It involves two childhood friends. They are both male and one of them has a fear of girls. During their second year in high school, one of the males get turned into a female due to an irreversible disease. I personally just found the plot really intriguing, it lead to so much character development between the two friends and their eventual romance. 

Forth, is a rather short one I call VRMMO. Personally, I consider this more of an extension of the first. Basically, in this plot there is usually a VRMMO involved. In this MMO, the protagonist controls a character of the opposite gender, more often than not for comedic purposes. Notable examples of this are Prince 1/2 and Only Sense Online.

Finally, the last trend is hiding gender. Like trend number two, this one usually involves heavy amounts romance. In stories like these, the male or female lead needs to crossdress for whatever reason. Examples of some of the more popular reasons are to join a gender specific club or to join a certain group. For this reason, the hiding gender trend is usually associated with the sports and drama genres. Regardless of the reason for their joining, the crossdressing lead eventually falls in love for one of the other club members or their coworker, depending on the situation. In the end, the crossdressing lead ends up playing a dangerous game of hiding and pursuing their love, which is fun to read most of the time. Compared to other forms of gender-bending, this trend is much more grounded in reality.

Overall, I hope the explanation I gave was satisfactory to those who didn’t know much about the topic. Although gender-bending is fairly well known topic, I feel there are plenty of ways to explore it. Personally, I find it a shame that there aren’t more good gender-bending stories out there. Next time, I’ll probably cover the terms I mentioned weeks ago, Yaoi and Yuri. 

Semester Two Grade 11

Exams have just finished and second semester is just around the corner. In this blog, I’m going continue a tradition that’s been happening since grade 9, summarizing all my courses and what I think of them. 

The first course I have is media arts. Out of all the courses I’ve had previously, I think media arts is one of the more enjoyable subjects. From my previous experience with media arts, the course taught us how to use photoshop, cameras, and the history of art trends, examples being cubism and dada. Speaking personally, the camera projects didn’t really interest me and I primarily chose this course for the other two areas. Working with photoshop was really fun and I can see it being a useful skill in the future. As for the history of art trends, I find enjoyment learning about the past. Overall, I’m interested to see what I learn from the course this year. 

After media arts is english. Unlike my electives, I didn’t have a choice as english is mandatory. However, I have enjoyed previous english classes, and don’t find it as intimating compared to subjects like math or science. My biggest problem with the course is likely going to be the reading material. Most of the time, there will be at least one book I don’t really enjoy that is a mandatory read. Basically, the enjoyment I get out of this course is directly correlated to how interested I’m into the material. From what I hear, the Shakespeare book we’re going to be reading is Othello. Unfortunately, unlike Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth, I haven’t really heard of Othello. Due to this, I not really going into the subject with the same enthusiasm I’ve had in previous years. However, I can’t wait to see what we do this year. 

Next, I have is technological design. Unlike the previous two subjects, I can’t really talk about my past experience with the subject. However, I have heard a lot of good things about the course. From what I can tell, instead of building stuff like in construction, we’ll be looking at how technology can be applied. For example, instead of building a wall like in construction, perhaps we’ll be looking at how the techniques we used could be applied on a grander scale. I also have the feeling, we’ll be doing a lot of technical drawings. Besides that, I not quite sure what else we’ll be doing, for now I can only speculate.

Finally, the last course I have is chemistry. In all honesty, I’m not looking forward to this subject. I was never the best at the sciences and I’ve heard the chemistry teachers aren’t the best either. We’ll likely, be looking at more chemical reactions and stuff of the like. After asking my friends, they have also said chemistry is really hard. All in all, chemistry will likely my biggest problem this semester. 

Overall, I have a pretty good feeling about this semester. I’m interested in almost all the courses I got, besides chemistry. However, I’m just happy I even got the courses I wanted this time around. Last year, when I was in grade 10, I got stuck with a few courses that I didn’t really want. I just hope I get good grades for the second half of my grade 11 year. 

Winter Break Plans

In a few days, the winter break will begin in earnest. This weeks, blog will detail my plans for the break. 

The first thing I plan to do, is to finished the photo project I’ve had going on. I had set it aside since the beginning of the school year due to my already hectic schedule, and now that I have time, I’m going to finish it. I’m planning to allocate three days to this endeavour, and as long as nothing else comes up I think it can be done. I will most likely see it as a school project and pull long hours. Most of it is just reorganizing, cross-referencing, and adding text.

Next, I really need to start my physics project. Last time I had to create a launcher and before that a rattrap car, this time I’m task with creating a rollercoaster. In reality, it’s less of a rollercoaster and more of a marble run, but still a daunting task none the less. I plan to use bristle board as the main track, but I’m not quite sure as to what I want the supports to be. If it’s too fragile, it won’t be able to support the coaster. Unfortunately, the more stable I get, the harder the material is to work with. Previously, I planed on using cardboard. However, after working with the material in my last two projects, I have come to release how messy it can get. Anyhow, I wish to get most of it done by the end of the break. 

Third, is my unit 3 compute science project. Like a previous I’ve done before, we are trying to recreate a Pokémon style battle game. The player and Ai will each take turn trying to lowers each others HP. This will repeat until one of them reaches 0. A simple concept, however, there are extra features that complicated it a bit. Unlike last time, we will be applying new knowledge. For example, in grade 9 when I created a similar project, I didn’t need to create a party system. That is a feature the teacher wants implemented this time, after learning about arrays. I already have an idea of what I want to do, I just wonder if I have enough time. 

The fourth activity I plan to do, is just general relaxation. The school, year has be lively to say the least. Since the beginning of September, I haven’t really managed to think about anything other than school. In addition, it also feels like assignments are coming out of the woodworks. However, this is just my opinion. In any case, some rest and relaxation would be nice. 

Overall, this has been a short blog. I want to talk about more, however, if I did there wouldn’t be enough time to accomplish all the goals I have laid out. Unlike previous years, I have a general idea of what I want to accomplished during the break. In fact, I’ll be amazed if I even get to rest at all. 

RGSS Play: The Greatest Show

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to go see the RGSS yearly play. In this blog, I will share my thoughts and how they could have improved the play. 

First, I think it will be best to give a short summary of the play. Most of the plot revolves around a circus and three characters, two siblings and a doctor. Basically, the circus is having financial troubles while the doctor wants to run them into the ground. Eventually, the circus makes a come back by making their show more grander. However, this hot streak is foiled by the doctor when she sends orphans to sabotage the circus. When the circus realize how much collateral damage could happen, they need to decide what to do with the orphans. The brother of the two siblings wants to let them go as not to damage the circuses reputation. On the other hand, the sister wants to keep the orphan and not throw them back out on the streets. In the end, the circus splits and each sibling goes their own way, taking their part of the circus with them. Eventually, the brother begins to loose his grip on his part of the circus and realizes money and fame isn’t everything. In the last scene, he runs back to his sister and the circus is reunited. That is a general summary of the play with no subplots included. 

In my opinion, it is not a bad play and if done right could be quite entertaining. However, I have a few problems with it. To start off, the timing feels very weird. The play was 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is already very long for a play. In that time, the circus was split at the 1 hour 45 minute mark. What this meant was that the rest of the play, climax, resolution, and everything else had to fit in 45 minutes. After the intermission, everything just felt rushed. My second gripe revolves around the romantic subplot. In the play, there is this playwright and actor that had a relationship in the past, but separated after the playwright placed his social status and parents opinion above his girlfriend. The whole point of this subplot was to reignite their relationship, a very basic romance subplot. Unfortunately, they messed it up with really bad timing. There just wasn’t enough time to flesh out the characters and make me care. My third problem was just the all the technical mess ups. I don’t know how other the plays went, but I could see a lot of fumbling. For example, during one scene, the playwright and sister were spinning on this table and would both raise a glass afterwards. Unfortunately, during the spinning the playwrights glass fell off the table, making him do a weird transition into raising the glass. Finally, there was the musical numbers. I’m already not really that big into musicals and this experience didn’t help that fact. It was fine, just really uncoordinated in some numbers. I found when there were more people, there were always more mess ups. Personally, I found the solos and duets much more entertaining, even if some of them didn’t even fit the theme of the play.

To address these problems, I feel the people participating need to take it more seriously, meaning they actually want to act. I know from experience that even if you hate preforming, you need to do it for the marks. However, this just leads too bad acting. I’m not accusing anyone of intuitionally dragging the play down, but a smaller more enthusiastic cast would help. Second, narrowing down the plot. The romantic subplot was okay, it just felt so rushed and shoehorned in. To fix this, I would personally mesh it together with the main plot. Instead of having a brother and sister pair run the circus, maybe a couple instead? For example let’s call the guy A and the girl B. After the circus begins to gain notoriety, A plans for a proposal only for the doctor to ruin everything. The split of the circus could still happen, however, now with the add twist of B ending their relationship due to his pursuit of money and fame. This could leave A heartbroken, leading to a decline in sales and leading him to become even more heartless. With the performers beginning to realize A has lost it, they begin to leave one by one. Now all alone A begins to realize his mistake and rushes to B’s performance like in the play. If done this way, we could still have an entertaining plot and even a romantic proposal at the end. As an added benefit, it would also mean they could cut out the playwright and actor almost completely, leading to more time. However, this is just how I would have done the play. 

Overall, I think the play had its moments. I like the idea, it just could have been executed better. Would I like to see it again? Not really. I feel like it more comparable to those recitals for students, it’s mostly for friends and family. Like I said before, the people acting need to be enthusiastic about it. Forcing people to do something they don’t want to is just disaster waiting to happen.