I don't get many opportunities to play games at PAX. I'm not complaining about it, believe me. But I'm not gonna cut lines, or whatever. I lucked out once at the Dreadnought booth, though, because I had watched it in stunned silence for so long that the place I was standing had become the head of the line. No shit, that is a real thing. Pay attention to this game.
(There was an Irish dude behind me I talked to for a second, and he pronounced "Th" with the hard T I heard in Dublin. I asked him about it, and he said that he only spoke that way because the way he actually speaks nobody can understand. I asked him to give me an example, and he was totally right. I couldn't parse it at all: I didn't know where the words started and ended. I had been to towns in the Republic where Gaelic was their "daily tongue," but I don't know if this was proper Gaelic or if it existed in some state where it was deeply informed by it. Anyway, that was a high point for me. Thanks for coming to the show.)
Along with my ADC Morak Cavanaugh, we were part of some kind of social media blitz for Gauntlet where we played the game with MC Frontalot (new album!) and Jesse Cox presumably in order to activate Twitter and/or trend a hashtag. In reality, having a scheduled time to sit the fuck down and play a game was rad all by itself - but we were surprised at how much we liked it. It started to gel when I figured out it was by Arrowhead, the crew behind Magicka - it was felt most keenly in the Wizard, who isn't just a model swap but uses their button presses to dynamically generate different types of elemental spells.
The original Gauntlet is, like other games in its doomed strata, largely about eating children's money. Things are happening on the screen, but as MC Frontalot correctly observed on the couch once the first quarter is in it models free to play mechanics flawlessly. So, how do you make that again? One of the more Genius reinterpretations of the Old Ways is Pac-Man Championship, by the game's original creator. It succeeds by enforcing harsh time pressures, which recreate the "fun stress" of those games. It makes them a race, essentially. The new Gauntlet cleverly does the same thing in the mode we played, turning it into a rigorously scored, semi-cooperative race from Death.