Some Sound Advice
Submitted on 3-10-98
Hello fellow JezzBall addicts, I have been playing JezzBall periodically for about a year and a half and have become terminally addicted. I learned much of what I know by trial and error with the little "tricks of the trade" usually happening by mistake. Later refinements of the game were made with the help George Thomas (JezzBall wizard). He gave me the confidence to try a method that I stumble upon, but too afraid too try. See George Thomas's home page for description of his method. However, I must give you a word of caution. I would practice trapping the balls via sacrificing lives before trying his method. His method takes good timing and reflexes with a thorough knowledge of the "little tricks of the trade" before being successful.
Before getting into the details of my strategy, I guess I will give you a bit of my background. I am a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Since I work rotating shifts (rotates each week), I find myself awake while rest of the family is asleep. This gives me the opportunity to sit back and relax and play JezzBall. I am 42 years old and have two young children, 6 and 2 (see photo). My son is 6 years old and keeps me going for the record. You know how six year olds are... they think Dad is God. He thinks I have to break the record and be number 1.
My biggest problem in breaking the record is keeping the computer from locking up when my kids play their CD's. I got to 51 million before my computer locked-up. After a few weeks, I decided to try again before storm chase'n season arrives. Yes, I am one of those that roam the Plains in search for the large tornado. No! It is nothing like the move "Twister". I usually log about 4000 miles in the spring.
Well, I guess I should get back to JezzBall before I start spewing tornado chasing stories. I started a new game and got to 65 million when the computer locked up. However, everything locked-up except JezzBall. So I decided, to use my laptop for my other computer requirements and only play JezzBall on the desktop. I loaded my sons games on the lap top and let him play on it. About 2 weeks later, I finished the game with a score of around 125 million. However, since my computer was locked-up, I could not capture the screens. I had to take still photos. The high score has not been posted yet, because I have not received the photos back, that I must send to Webmaster-David Rich.
It took be about 6 months to become skilled at the game (reaching 5 million). I first started by building large vertical traps during the first 5 to 10 levels then decreasing the size of the traps as the levels increased. The width of the trap would be 2 and 1/2 grid boxes (setting a trap every 3rd grid line). Many people prefer setting horizontal traps. It really doesn't matter. After I would set traps, I would wait for a ball to come into the trap and then close it off. Remember, by setting a trap, you sacrifice a life. Additional details on how to set traps are on other home pages.
For about the first 20 levels, the length of the trap would be 3 and 1/2 grid boxes in length. From levels 20 to 35 (2 and 1/2 boxes in length) and from 35 to 50 (1 and 1/2 boxes in length). Using this method requires the knowledge on how to trim small portions of the grids in close proximity of the ball. This is very difficult to describe and will require experimentation on your part. However, I always place the cursor in the left or top portion of the grid to trim. This way you won't lose a life.
An interesting fact about this method is that as the levels increase, the better chance that balls will trap themselves. In other words, 2 balls will lodge themselves side by side in the horizontal (if building vertical traps). Vica versa for horizontal traps. I usually build at least 10 traps and then wait a little bit for the balls to trap themselves. This method requires patience as you need to judge when balls will be clear of the trap being set. This is especially true at the high levels with all of those balls bouncing around. At level 49, I usually had around 18-24 lives left with bonuses around 200,000 to 400,000. I usually had 3000-5000 game seconds left.
About 2 months ago, I adjusted my method by setting the traps via the Thomas method. It is done by setting the trap when you judge that a ball will hit the tip of your cursor arrow. For instance, if I want to build a vertical line up from my cursor, I have to wait for the balls to be free of the area, and also have to have a ball hit the downside arrow portion of the cursor. However, if you are building the smallest trap possible (1 grid box in size), you do not have to wait for the balls to clear the area you are building a trap. You cannot lose a life on the up end of your cursor if the trap is that small. This method sounds easy, but with balls changing trajectory at the last microsecond, your mind has to plot courses of balls, and your reflexes have to be quick. Sometimes there are so many balls around the cursor, that you just have to sit back and wait a little while for the right opportunity.
The reverse of this method will also work for building horizontal traps along the vertical walls. From about level 10 on, I set all of my traps this way. I start by building long traps as much as 10 grids long in the beginning (See Oklahoma method) and decrease the size rapidly. By level 25, I am building 1 grid box traps and extend their length one grid a time. Initially, I make them 2 grid boxes long and make the traps all the way across the vertical. By the time I am finished, some of the balls may have trapped themselves. Amount of trapped balls depends on the level. On the early levels (up to level twenty-something), you will find that you will have to trap the balls yourself. As the levels increase, the amount of balls you have to trap yourself decreases. Once I have completed the first row of traps, I build on the traps that are already filled. If the balls are refusing to traps themselves in sufficient number, I may trap a few and hope others trap themselves in the process. I continue this method until all are filled. One note, the length of my trap may increase to 2 grid boxes when the amount of balls decrease to around 15 or below. Once you get the feel of this method, you will quickly realize what you can and cannot do. I have practiced this method to the point that I usually only lose 1-5 lives at level 49. Your biggest problem is keeping your concentration up. On one occasion, I lost no lives. This yields a bonus of 730,000 with the maximum of 91% clear. It took me about 15 JezzBall hours to master this method. Once you have mastered this method, you can go on forever.
Feel free to e-mail me at: email@example.com.
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