A major flaw is discovered in Pirate Paradise: A code error has allowed players to promote their crew members endlessly instead of having a limit based on their experience, and some players have developed very powerful crews that are more like small armies. Scott establishes a transitional period for several weeks before the correct ruleset takes effect, during which players promote and fire some of their pirates in order to satisfy the new limits, gaining a full refund on the spent gold coins. Only one player, Russ Wilhelm, opts to keep his over-promoted crew, knowing that he will not be able to promote again for possibly years. With crews restored to reasonable levels, competitive fairness is largely restored to the game.
To make the most of Celebrity Goo Game's fifteenth birthday, Scott recreates seven previous page layouts stretching back to the game's simple origins in the late 1990s, into a more complex blue period in the early 2000s, and through its evolution into a wider red layout the late 2000s. Each design is visible for 24 hours only, on another day of the Quindecennial theme, which features five young celebrities all approximately the same age as the game itself. The project creates by far the most elaborate custom layout that any individual theme in Celebrity Goo Game has enjoyed.
The passing of beloved film critic Roger Ebert is discussed on Tragic Comedy as it is everywhere online. The occasion makes Scott think about Thorough Movie Reviews, which were a product of Scott's love of movies and love of plain, honest, funny, and life-affirming criticism, both of which were the direct result of enjoying so many of Ebert's reviews and other columns in the years prior. Well before Ebert's death, Scott had already come to regret one particular mention of him on the site: Among the harsh and foul-mouthed early pieces written for Thorough Movie Reviews, a 2001 page called "Fuck You Roger Ebert" complained about Ebert's review spoiling the entire plot of Sean Penn's The Pledge, including the final scene. Scott's shame at being so churlish about a man he liked and respected made him quietly delete that particular page from the archives long before the entire feature was eliminated.
Out of the blue, Scott is called by one of the celebrities previously featured in Celebrity Goo Game, who is unhappy about an ugly distorted photo of her face appearing online. She accepts Scott's assurance that the game is all in good fun and no personal criticism was intended, but she still wants all specific information about her removed from the site, and the corresponding pages scrubbed from search results. Scott agrees to help, removing the images and working with Bing and Google to get the pages de-indexed as quickly as possible.
At long last, Scott publishes the project that has taken him most of 2013: A full redesign of Funeratic that makes it compatible with mobile devices, plus other upgrades like subscriptions integrated with every page and improved photography around the site. The project began in March 2013 as a redesign of Tragic Comedy that Scott originally called "Spring Cleaning" because he didn't expect it to take more than a few weekends, but the scope grew to encompass the entire site. The project went through three complete overhauls of the code base until Scott finally settled on using the popular Bootstrap UI library developed by Twitter, which made the development process faster instead of slower, and gave the site an appealing if somewhat generic look. Even upon launch in October 2013, many individual pages remain in need of overhaul, giving Scott plenty more to do in 2014.
Just as Scott is gearing up for a two-week road trip, which will include an engagement party with his fiancée Kelly Lee to be attended by Funeratic members Jackie Mason, Lori Lancaster, and Matthew Preston, the site decides to take a vacation of its own: Over a period of several days, Funeratic becomes less and less stable, refusing to generate some images and load some pages, cultiminating in a twelve-hour outage on November 14. This happens right in the middle of Celebrity Goo Game's fall tournament, disrupting the competition and forcing several goos to be struck from the record after some players had already solved them. Because Scott has to devote an entire weekend to reconfiguring the site and moving it to a new host, he is forced to shelve plans to change the goo game's format to something Japanese for the following season, and "temporarily" gives up regular additions to Pirate Paradise that never get back on the same schedule again. Scott has to continue to monitor the site daily during his trip, but the crisis does pass and the players remain supportive and understanding, even as Justin Woods beats them all again in the goo tournament to claim his amazing seventh victory.
June 14, 2005: Competition in the now-daily goo game becomes so intense that victory seems a privilege reserved for a few dedicated experts, especially Mike Eberhart, Russ Wilhelm, Megan Baxter, Jerry Mathis, Elliot Farney, Denise Sawicki, Todd Brotsch, and Steve West. Read more...
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