(Topic ID: 109949)

Roadshow is NOT a linear game (analysis inside, come in and discuss)


By Ika

4 years ago



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  • 49 posts
  • 34 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by bigd1979
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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ROADSHOW paths.jpg

#1 4 years ago

I was looking to buy roadshow and looking reviews, opinions and stuff and the main detriment to the quality of this game seems to be the opinion that it is extremely linear.

If we define linearity by having to do same stuff in same order every time, I ran some numbers and found out that it is actually far from linear.

Some assumptions:

1) Longer path on adjustment is valid and you cannot travel from a city of one color directly to the city of the same color

2) I assumed that order of cities is like it is represented on the map on the playfield from right to left. I drew a small graph and I probably made errors on locations of some cities. It could change the number but not much, the order of magnitude of possibilities is defined by having 18 cities and connections among them. So if I am wrong in the depiction of the map, you can correct me and I will recalculate the path

3) Let's say that game is varied and different if you pass through modes in different order. I mean, Addams family has like 12 modes of which some are awards (extra ball, 3,6,9 million) and not real modes for playing and you start each mode in different order by changing them through bumpers. Nobody thinks of Addams Family as linear, but opposite - as modes making it very convoluted game. Unless you go for the bumpers before you go for electric chair on game start you always start in Mamushka very much like first choice on Roadshow is New York.

So, non-linearity is having a game where you play different cities in different order. We can give a number to non-linearity of a game by comparing how many different games you can play just by playing modes - let's see how many different paths are there to get to west coast cities.

I attach the picture with white, yellow and orange cities in my best effort to draw a map of the travels, they are titled A to R. I drew pink lines to show which is eligible next city from each other city.

for instance, let's say you had a bad game and got to Atlanta and then drained ball three in it. You could have gotten to Atlanta (C on the graph) through 2 different paths - one is by playing New York (B) and then Atlanta, and the other is by playing Miami (A). 2 choices is pretty boring aka linear so far. Let's see how the gamestates convolute by playing further.

ROADSHOW paths.jpg

I will find all possible paths of all possible lengths from points A and B to west coast cities P (Seattle), San Francisco and Los Angeles (R):

to A: 1 path. it is one of two starting cities

to B: 1 path. it is one of two starting cities

to C: 2 immediate paths: B-C, A-C === total 2 paths from beginning

to D: 2 immediate paths C-D, B-D === total 2+1=3 paths from beginning (B-C-D, B-D, A-C-D)

to E: 3 immediate paths D-E, C-E, A-E === total 3+2+1= 6 paths from beginning (B-C-D-E, B-D-E, A-C-D-E, B-C-E, A-C-E, A-E)

to F: 2 immediate paths E-F, D-F === total 6+3=9 paths from beginning (B-C-D-E-F, B-D-E-F, A-C-D-E-F, B-C-E-F, A-C-E-F, A-E-F, B-C-D-F, B-D-F, A-C-D-F)

to G: 1 immediate path from F === total 9 paths from beginning

to H: 3 immediate paths G-H, F-H, E-H === total 9+9+6=24 paths from beginning

to J: 2 immediate paths G-J, H-J === total 9+24=33 paths from beginning

to I: 2 immediate paths H-I, J-I === total 24+33=58 paths from beginning

to K: 2 immediate paths I-K, J-K === total 58+33=91 paths from beginning

to L: 2 immediate paths I-L, K-L === total 58+91=149 paths from beginning

to M: 2 immediate paths K-M, L-M === total 91+149=240 paths from beginning

to N: 1 immediate path from M === total 240 paths from beginning

to O: 2 immediate paths L-O, M-O === total 149+240=389 paths from beginning

to P (Seattle): 3 immediate paths M-P, N-P, O-P === total 240+240+389= 869 different paths from the beginning, longest path being through 12 cities, shortest path being through 6 cities)

to Q (San Francisco): 2 immediate paths N-Q, O-Q === total 240+389= 629 different paths from the beginning, longest path being through 12 cities, shortest path being through 6 cities)

to R (Los Angeles): 2 immediate paths N-R, O-R === total 240+389=629 different paths from the beginning, longest path being through 12 cities, shortest path being through 6 cities)

You can go three times through the country on 629+629+869=2127 different ways

I may have made some errors in the numbers, but the principle stands. If you are good enough, you can have 869 different games just playing modes (not counting order of starting multiball, flying rocks, wheel awards, bridgeouts or other). Remember that there is a mini effort to lock balls in west coast cities to start super payday which is not given by default at all, has to be earned.

Now, how can anyone call this game linear???

I will make analysis for comparing with TAF. This was done in a hurry, if you are interested, I will do it later.

#2 4 years ago

It's still linear as you cannot access let's say I, J or H before having played the prerequisites cities A, B, C, D, E for this cities (at best). It makes sense in a way as the goal is to travel in the US from east to west, but compared to a game like TAF, it's still pretty linear (and I like Roadshow).

On TAF you can start by any mode (yes it's pseudo-random as the lit mode change with pops), but you can still begin by THING multiball or whatever. Could you start different modes at the same time (stacking) in RS too ? I'm not sure, but it's possible on a lot of games and add to the "non-linearity" factor I guess.

It's OK to have modes that are a reward for having completed some earlier modes (think TABA in LOTR), but having all the modes in a more or less fixed order can be annoying.

#3 4 years ago

huh? my head hurts just looking at the summary you provided!

#4 4 years ago

I love me some Road Show. I'm a big sucker for neat toys and Road Show has some of the best!

#5 4 years ago

I can see the argument on both sides. I'm a Road Show fan, it's a great pastiche of Lawlor's games and charming in its own right.

-14
#6 4 years ago

Not to take away from your novel-length post, I'm sure you bring up a good point or two, but linear or not it's still a crap game. Strange because it is so loaded with toys and shots, but I just couldn't get into it. Was very happy to see it go after about 3 months.

#7 4 years ago

The big issue is having to start on Miami or NY EVERY game. The latter cities just don't get played as much. If every city was accessible at the start (except west coast) it would be a near perfect game. Add a wizard mode for completing all cities with it and it does become a perfect game.

#8 4 years ago

I owned RS for about 6 years. I really enjoy the game. I think it is a lot of fun. It is linear.

#9 4 years ago

I don't have a diagram to explain my question further so I will just ask it- How do I start with another city other than Miami or New York?

#10 4 years ago

Looks darn near straight line linear to me.

#11 4 years ago

Love my RS! Linear or not, and no its not "linear" in the truest sense. There are alternate routes as shown above.

#12 4 years ago

TAF is more non-linear game, with more choices from the beginning and modes can be stacked.
the point of this thread is not that the RS is complex exactly as TAF or more, because it isn't. The point of this thread that certain reputation of this game is based on feel instead of facts.

TAF actually has 7 modes, because Extra Ball, 3 million, 6 million, 9 million and Graveyard at Max are not really modes but awards on the mansion - you don't get to play anything in them, you get the value instead. Let's disregard those 5 rooms, you get them in any point of the game, they award something and then you continue playing.

if you go for tour the mansion you have 7 mode choices for first mode, 6 for next, 5 for next etc... totally you have 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 (it's called factorial of 7, written like 7!) = 5040 combinations for different game experiences based on which mode you played first. Stacking of modes not necessarily adds more because you STILL start one mode and then start the next one, it's just that you didn't wait for one to timeout before that. Stacking with multiball adds options, you can look it as another mode that is always available to started over and over again.

Roadshow isn't linear, it's just not convoluted so much in the beginning because some modes unlock some new modes (like mission levels on new star trek table). You don't start with 1 and head toward 1 while on the same path - that would be linear. You start with 2 and then get 2 or 3 choices along the way toward 3 different goals. Your journey can be 6 modes long or 12 modes long. Unique modes. And the journey branches out more as you travel more.

TAF starts with many choices and gets less choices as you progress toward tour the mansion because you spotted those rooms and less remain to be played. Roadshow starts with few choices and branches out to be more complex as you play on. You don't get to see everything as you start, you have to earn it. In TAF you can see every mode in 7 bad 15 sec games. All in all, Pat Lawlor is a genius.

To get toward any west coast city (any of the three) it's 2127 different combinations how to get there. It's up to half the complexity of TAF if not considering multiball stacking. Multiball stacking adds some more.

So, roadshow isn't 0 on non-linearity scale and TAF 100 points, it's more like TAF/TZ/some other game are 100, and roadshow is there at 30 to 50.

#13 4 years ago

whatever helps you sleep at night

#14 4 years ago

Many people like to over-generalize. Roadshow is some what linear, which goes with the theme of what you are doing.

- If there was only 1 path of 6 cities -> the game would be completely linear.

- The designers added 3 paths to 3 final cities and have jumping across paths to overcome this.

This makes the game somewhat linear, but not anywhere near completely linear.
A code update could make it completely random, but that would sort of destroy the idea of traveling cross country, which many don't care about. I think it's fine as it is, but see the benefits of either method. It would be great to have the option in the adjustments

Hopefully we can someday get a Road Show 2.0...
- Super Wizard Mode
- Random modes
- User replaceable music! - I would put in Lynyrd Skynyrd to keep the country vibe

#15 4 years ago

Roadshow is a good game. Lots of game there for your money. Makes sense from rule standpoint going east to west how they did it. But, had the modes been randomized completely, would have made the game better. My same complaint with WCS94 tv awards.

#16 4 years ago

It may not be completely linear, but still gets very boring seeing the same modes over and over in generally the same order. You don't see much of the west coast stuff very often, but ALWAYS see the east coast stuff every game. I owned it for over a year and its and awesome, awesome game. That said, after a year it just got so I didn't even want to touch it. Not too much random about it. I think at the time I had 3 games, if I had owned more like 10 games at the time probably would have held onto it. Would have looked sweet next to my Funhouse.

#17 4 years ago

if TAF has "only 7 modes as the 3/6/9 millions and EB aren't really modes", what can be say about RS? there are at least three "modes" where you have to bash the bulldozer...

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from Rossz:

if TAF has "only 7 modes as the 3/6/9 millions and EB aren't really modes", what can be say about RS? there are at least three "modes" where you have to bash the bulldozer...

So...it has 16 instead of 18? 15 not counting the trading post one.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from Rossz:

if TAF has "only 7 modes as the 3/6/9 millions and EB aren't really modes", what can be say about RS? there are at least three "modes" where you have to bash the bulldozer...

Sorry, but this comment doesn't make any sense

- getting 6 million points -> obviously not a mode - nothing started - no timer
- hit shot X for 30 seconds for big points -> YES this is a mode (used in 90% of DMD games)

#20 4 years ago

I own RS and quite like the game but let's not argue over the semantics of the word linear. Any game where you have this many modes and you constantly have to start in one of two cities - IMHO is for purposes of a pinball discussion, fitting of the description "linear". One of the reasons I do not play it much is because I am sooo tired of the Taxi Driver. If the cities were varied (other than West Coast) it would be a great game. It is a game of progression and any time players always have to start the same way it will get old in a home-use environment. Can't save your progress like a video game so it can get old.

It has fantastic toys, great theme integration, a great feel (lights, shaker) and a creative ruleset but gets bogged down with the "linear" aspect of it's progression.

#21 4 years ago

Oh a rules discussion. Let's go.

A couple notes or clarifications on the OP... TAF doesn't always start on Mamushka, it's random between Itt and Mamushka. So that helps a little bit (yes they are both frenzy modes). RS you always start on NYC, which sucks because if you do the "proper" thing and go for the skill shot, you're always starting with NYC as your first mode. Only if you tank the skill shot do you even have a remote shot at starting Miami first.

On modes vs awards... You can make that argument, but if you want to be really fair, you have to consider all 3 West Coast modes the same because your SOLE PURPOSE is to start the wizard mode. I have never even ONCE given a crap about whatever the rules might be for the 3 west coast modes because Super Payday is your goal. Nothing else. Also you can throw out Albuquerque because that's not a mode either. Someone really wanting to be feisty would argue about how much of a mode a one-shot deal is like the gunfight and Atlanta (yes I know you can 2x or 3x Atlanta, but most people rarely try that), but I won't bother you too much there.

Now linearity... It sure is a nice diagram you posted, but the fact remains that RS is a simple loopless directed graph. Yes you have a couple choices as to how to proceed, but you're not getting to any of the left modes without doing a bunch of the right ones first. TAF and most other mode-based games are pure undirected graphs and by definition have no linearity whatsoever.

This does get into a discussion on breadth vs depth though. TAF is extremely broad and extremely shallow in terms of mode accessibility, whereas RS is extremely narrow and quite deep. I do not think RS makes a very good design from a casual player perspective. TAF gets the casual benefit of pulling the plunger as hard as possible and effectively getting a "random" mode at start. On RS, you get a choice of 2.

Some people will like RS's structure better (I'm presuming you're one of them)... And not every game should/needs to be the same, etc. But there's far more entertainment value to be had for MOST people with TAF-style modes than RS-style modes.

#22 4 years ago

This topic would make a great thesis for someone working on a doctorate degree…nice work. I very much enjoy the time and thought you put into it analyzing it.

I had RS for about 3 months. Not being full of PinFu, I got tired of playing New York, Miami, New Orleans, Ohio, and Chicago. Gotta play them every time, no matter the path outlined above. Was very excited when I got to past them. Then ticked off as heck when I had to go back through all of them again to try and advance again. They get old, real fast. At least for me anyways.

I do give a thumbs up for RS, but its just not for me.

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from Squeakman:

It may not be completely linear, but still gets very boring seeing the same modes over and over in generally the same order. You don't see much of the west coast stuff very often, but ALWAYS see the east coast stuff every game. I owned it for over a year and its and awesome, awesome game. That said, after a year it just got so I didn't even want to touch it. Not too much random about it. I think at the time I had 3 games, if I had owned more like 10 games at the time probably would have held onto it. Would have looked sweet next to my Funhouse.

I had mine next to Funhouse. Rudy is still here

#24 4 years ago

I agree RS is more linear than most but mode progression is common in all DMDs, meaning you don't get to mode "y" without completing one or more prior modes first... i.e., there is always a path to follow to get to a wizard mode.

#25 4 years ago

Ok Keefer, maybe you can do some re programming for us on RS in your spare time?

Wasn't RS really designed that way so people would keep plowing more quarters into it on location (of course "on location" was all there was back then for the most part). I don't mind adding that extra ball myself with the game continue button!

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don't mind adding that extra ball myself with the game continue butto

I've always considered using the continue button as cheating. When I had Roadshow I turned the continue button off.

#27 4 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

The big issue is having to start on Miami or NY EVERY game. The latter cities just don't get played as much. If every city was accessible at the start (except west coast) it would be a near perfect game. Add a wizard mode for completing all cities with it and it does become a perfect game.

I'm a huge fan of RS, and I agree with this completely.

RS *is* linear in terms of what is stated above: starting with 1 of 2 cities every time.

#28 4 years ago
Quoted from Squeakman:

I've always considered using the continue button as cheating. When I had roadshow I turned the continue button off.

Well I'm not playing against anybody so I guess I'm cheating myself? That's ok then.

#29 4 years ago

Thanks for the interesting and detailed analysis. I love my Roadshow and have owned it for maybe 8-10 years. That being said if I get more pins I have to move something and it pains me it could be RS. I have a small usable basement.

It is the only pin I have set on 5 balls. It would drive me crazy not to get past Chicago and most likely with 3 balls I would play NY, Miami, Atlanta over and over again maybe add Nashville, New Orleans and Ohio. I love Minnesota with the frozen people.

#30 4 years ago

For as much shit-talking as there is here, I think someone should sell or trade me a Roadshow. If it's anywhere near as "bad" as Popeye, I'll love it.

#31 4 years ago

I owned RS and Funhouse. I realize I'm in the huge minority here, but I actually like RS a little better. Never really thought too much about whether or not RS was linear, because I just liked the challenge, variety and found it well done. My son and I had many enjoyable hours on it. Only let it go after regretting I only have room for 3-4 pins.

Weird thing is my son absolutely hates FH and I couldn't get him to play it when we owned it. It's one of his least favorite games. Yet he loves NGG which has the taunting Gofers, is also a Lawlor pin and ins some ways I think gophers taught even more than Rudy. the I was surprised his reaction to Rudy was so negative. Not creeped out just hates him..

#32 4 years ago
Quoted from indybru:

I love Minnesota with the frozen people.

"Look Ted, it's frozen people!" That makes me laugh. "Oops!"

#33 4 years ago

Roadshow, top ten. Widebody, two talking heads, two plungers, comedy, three flippers, etc.....I miss mine.

Edit:4 flippers

#34 4 years ago
Quoted from pinstor12:

roadshow, top ten. Widebody, two talking heads, two plungers, comedy, three flippers, etc.....I miss mine.

Correction 4 flippers ....

#35 4 years ago

Oops, stand corrected!

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from pinball_keefer:

Now linearity... It sure is a nice diagram you posted, but the fact remains that RS is a simple loopless directed graph. Yes you have a couple choices as to how to proceed, but you're not getting to any of the left modes without doing a bunch of the right ones first. TAF and most other mode-based games are pure undirected graphs and by definition have no linearity whatsoever.
This does get into a discussion on breadth vs depth though. TAF is extremely broad and extremely shallow in terms of mode accessibility, whereas RS is extremely narrow and quite deep. I do not think RS makes a very good design from a casual player perspective. TAF gets the casual benefit of pulling the plunger as hard as possible and effectively getting a "random" mode at start. On RS, you get a choice of 2.

wow! legendary Keith Johnson commenting on my thread! thank you, sir. I really appreciate what you and Lyman Sheats are doing for the pinball, keep up the supreme work!

as for graphs:

yes, RS mode state graph is a simple directed graph, simpler than TAF. Now, loopless or loopy? If a graph is illustration of a possible route for choosing modes, TAF graph would have to be expanded into different one with also directed connections and loops wouldn't be allowed since you can't play a mode twice, once it is played it is off from a mode choicelist for that game. If it is only the representation which mode could lead to which one, then undirected connections would be ok (they wouldn't represent a possible path within one game). Still it is a much complex graph than RS.

#37 4 years ago

For me it is quite simple, linear or non-linear, country music getting on peoples nerfs yes or no I don't care about all of that because I am to busy having fun while playing my roadshow

#38 4 years ago

The country music is actually quite charming.

As for the linearity debate, RS is indeed quasi-linear, which is not a bad thing if you like the idea of earning your way through to see the whole game, it gives you another purpose by keeping some modes away from you.

#39 4 years ago

The only more linear games are RFM and Pinball Magic.

However, even with RFM, you can select between six modes to start from.

#40 4 years ago

I don't need a graph to know that Roadshow is linear. Just own one for a month and get sick and tired of the New York cabbie mode. That said. I love the game. Unfortunately it just grinds on you over time from lack of variety. If there was a random mode start similiar to taf where the pops change the city then it would be a much better game IMO.

3 weeks later
#41 4 years ago

What about all of the other things that you can do on roadshow besides the traveling state modes. Spin the Wheel (tons of rewards on the wheel by the way), Falling Rocks, Blast Zone, Bridge Out Looping, Talk Radio, Get to the shelter which is a nod to whirlwind, Lock balls for multiball and of course multiball itself for jackpots and an awesome hokey country music bit. Also the challenge of just trying to get balls into Reds mouth. That right there is tough since there isn't any official modes for doing that. You have to time out her talking bits to a shot from the upper flipper. It always feels good when you are able to drop a ball in her mouth. *Gulp* "Hey!" There are times where I don't even bother traveling the states because I enjoy doing all the other challenges instead. To each their own but Roadshow is much deeper than what some folks give it credit for.

#42 4 years ago

I always go for this when starting a game of RS. Give it a shot, great challenge and a huge bump in points:

1. At start of game, have falling rocks qualified as soon as possible (but don't shoot it). This is done by hitting a lit blast zone 3 times. Use the left loop to light blast zone. I usually do this during the NY cabbie mode.

2. When cabbie mode is done, make sure atlanta is the next city. Qualify next city as soon as possible (without using left ramp which would hit falling rocks)

3. Start Atlanta. Avoid that blast zone! Hit the bunker. When it comes back out, hit the magic standup. This bumps up the hurry up value (to around 40 mill or so, I forget).

4. Shoot falling rocks, and then land the first reward (5x blast value)

5. Hit blast zone which is worth over 200 million. Woohoo! Great start to your game and a thrill when you pull it off successfully.

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from jooky:

I always go for this when starting a game of RS. Give it a shot, great challenge and a huge bump in points:
1. At start of game, have falling rocks qualified as soon as possible (but don't shoot it). This is done by hitting a lit blast zone 3 times. Use the left loop to light blast zone. I usually do this during the NY cabbie mode.
2. When cabbie mode is done, make sure atlanta is the next city. Qualify next city as soon as possible (without using left ramp which would hit falling rocks)
3. Start Atlanta. Avoid that blast zone! Hit the bunker. When it comes back out, hit the magic standup. This bumps up the hurry up value (to around 40 mill or so, I forget).
4. Shoot falling rocks, and then land the first reward (5x blast value)
5. Hit blast zone which is worth over 200 million. Woohoo! Great start to your game and a thrill when you pull it off successfully.

Brilliant! Time to hit the game room!

#44 4 years ago

I agree that Road Show isn't strictly linear. But there is a certain linearity that makes it frustrating to play the early modes most of the time and rarely see the later modes. That and the inability to stack the modes is a shame.

These decisions make sense given the game was designed to be noob-friendly and encourage buy-ins.

It's still an awesome game. The array of shot choices available to you at any point makes it a lot of fun. And earning the extra ball via Flying Rocks is incredibly addictive. I miss mine.

#45 4 years ago

Roadshow is a journey across the country.

It has to begin somewhere.
It has to end somewhere.

I think of it like episodes in a tv show or something. It even has modes that relate back to other modes that you've played. (Taxi driver>monster truck >old west)

Now as for how you get from A to Z... That's where the depth comes in.
Do you purchase souvenirs?
...keep or sell those souvenirs when given the choice?
...spin the wheel?
...go for Construction mania?
...use Hidden target to spot mode hits?
...attempt the Flying Rocks mini skill game?

As Red would say: "Lots more to do!"

Full Discloser: I love RS.

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from MrDo:

It even has modes that relate back to other modes that you've played. (Taxi driver>monster truck >old west)

This is a great point. Also Albuquerque would be a dumb mode to get early on if they were entirely random. There is definitely a unique charm added to this game by virtue of the linear nature.

1 week later
#47 4 years ago

Roadshow is one of my absolute favorites. I enjoy it even more than most of my other games, including TZ, TOM and AFM! RS deserves to be ranked higher than 44 in the top 100. Please everyone, go and rate the game here on pinside and on ipdb and put what you said here into the ratings. Let's raise RS's ranking!

#48 4 years ago

Yea I was thinking of trading of selling but it has so much going 2 heads , 2 plungers, 2 diverters, 4 flippers need I go on lol and so many modes with the wheel and blast zone for flying rocks probably more than most pins especially for the era

#49 4 years ago

Also whats the deal with the super skoll shot ? How can you not hit a switch before shooting the store? Also construction mania has a amazing light show

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