We were watching some high level tournament play for Smash, as one does, and while I’ve played tons of it I got the sense like I did with its predecessor: there is a whole other game here that I didn’t know about, and may not even be able to see.
It exists in a visual band I need a fanciful visor to perceive. I’ve played it the same way you would Theatre Sports or something - Whose Line Is It Anyway, let’s say, against a backdrop of brutal slapstick. Literal props, many of them hilarious, fall from the sky to spice up each scene. That’s “my” Smash, for lack of a better term: it’s a party game I play with three other people. It’s nothing like what the true aficionado plays: my win condition is not getting Fourth Place. I have fun every time I play it and I always see something new. Occasionally, very occasionally, I get a sounding of its true depth. I like knowing its there but I’m afraid to explore it.
Nintendo does this often - it might even be the core of what they do. They make approachable games whose first impression rests atop a subterranean complex of frightful sophistication. Except Mario Party. I don’t think that one works in this metaphor. Mario Party is all fondant and no cake. Splatoon and Arms constitute the House of Mario wading into established genres and, in at least one case, figuratively vandalizing them. Gabriel is much more adept at finding the other game than I am, and occasionally he takes me along for the ride.
You might recall Waffles, Inc. - a behind the screen collaboration between myself and Dungeon Master To The Stars, Chris Perkins. With it, we combined our Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team game with Chris’ Dice, Camera, Action croo for hijinks aplenty. During that fateful weekend, we also recorded a top secret, Alpha level clearance, two-part podcast called the Waffles, Inc. K’thrissmas Special. It’s fucking bonkers, and you can get tender links to parts One and Two at the links I just formulated earlier in this sentence. It’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever done, and we came up with all of it completely live.