Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, December 05, 2021

Last month, a news story about the late commercial revival of New York State’s legendary Erie Canal brought back childhood memories for me.

No, I’ve never ridden the old Canal; never even been near it, unless Albany counts. But in elementary school, one of the history-dripping folk-song standards they drilled into young students’ minds (at least, back in the ’70s) was “Low Bridge, Everybody Down (The Erie Canal)”.

Let’s all sing along:

I’ve got a mule, and her name is Sal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
She’s a good ol’ worker an’ a good ol’ pal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.

Low bridge, everybody down!
Low bridge, for we’re comin’ through a town!
And you’ll always know your neighbor,
You’ll always know your pal,
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

Catchy little ditty. Of all the detritus that was indoctrinated into my third-grade skull, this is one of the few musical pieces that managed to stick. Even now, 30 years later, I’ll run the opening lyrics through my mind at random moments. Don’t ask me why — maybe something about the special kinship that only a man and his mule can share.

Probably because it’s infected my consciousness so much, I consider this tune to be the most quintessential New York theme around. Loads better than that “New York State Of Mind” crap that Billy Joel’s made a career out of.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/05/2021 12:46:43 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Pop Culture
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bounce this
Despite its relatively powerful videogaming capabilities, my personal preference for games on my iPod Touch is toward simpler, retro- or retro-inspired titles. That’s my preference for videogames in general, but especially for the iTouch, as the device itself is too small to comfortably interactively play anything reeking of cinematic-like complexity.

Which explains why I just bought Classic Qong, a blatant Pong clone. It doesn’t get more retro than two straight-line paddles and a bouncing dot, accompanied by blip-blip-blip sound effects!

What really sold me, though — and persuaded me to part with 99 whole cents — was the game description the developer provided on the game’s App Store page. I’m reproducing it here because, given the bit-for-bit similarity to the original, I’m sure Atari will be invoking its intellectual property rights and cease-and-desist this little gem out of existence soon enough:

We all know Pong - it’s fast, fun and addictive. And back in 1972 it was ahead of its time with:

- Ground breaking 1 bit graphics
- Crisp functional block based artwork
- Ability to count your score for you
- Revolutionary two player mode
- Anti theft: too bulky to want to take anywhere

But sadly, now Pong comes in many flavours of flashy graphics and bizzare gameplay. In fact, some have gone so far that they are no longer fun.

With ‘Classic Qong’ you’ll get a much closer rendition of the original pong. Goodbye flashy graphics, hello satisfying gameplay that you can actually take with you in your pocket…

Play anywhere where there’s someone to play against:

- Boring lectures
- Dull meetings
- During christmas dinner
- Outside
- Inside
- During your wedding ceremony (this may have undesired effects…)

It’s not exactly Madison Avenue-grade copywriting, but it gets the job done. This is a great example of how a persuasive description tells a great story, peppered with sarcastic humor and nostalgic sentiment, to sell a product. If more of the developers putting up stuff in the App Store took the time to write something like this, they’d see their sales triple, at minimum.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/05/2021 12:12:09 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Videogames, iPod
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