Episode 1: Coming Out Swinging
Episode 2: Making Waves
Episode 3: On Thin Ice
Episode 4: Blind Sided
Episode 5: In the Crosshairs
Episode 6: Climbing the Walls
Episode 7: The Gauntlet
Episode 8: The Grand Finale
Episode 7: The Gauntlet
Who said I was finished? You were really hoping I was, weren’t you? Too bad. This blog is a dictatorship. And I am the will of the people!
3:19 – Kat: “Going into The Gauntlet™ now, it’s all about video games.” Poor Kat. She is going to be so disappointed. The Gauntlet™ is about video games, all right. But not really. It’s like waking up on Christmas day, opening the package, and finding an Xbox. And then it finally dawns on you: You received an Xbox for Christmas. Real downer.
3:43 – Kat: “[Yaz] went from PC to console and has dominated.” No shit. Putting a PC gamer in the Ultimate Kiddie Console Challenge is like watching a mixed martial artist in a boxing match. No, that’s not right. It’s like throwing a boxer into the cage. No, wait…
4:14 – Yes. Every player in The Gauntlet™ is going to get a montage. What’s that thing about “Show, Don’t Tell”? We are seven episodes in. We don’t need to hear how good these gamers are. If this show is doing its job, we already know.
4:46 – Good time to point out Jake’s week-by-week overall rankings: 4th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd. Sure, the scores are fudged. Real-life challenges do that. But still, respect.
5:24 – Joel! Go awayyyyy!
5:28 – Kat: “Oh my God. God dammit.” Poor Joel. Can’t even command the respect of gamers. And we’re tip-toeing the heads of furries when it comes to the Internet Chain of Command.
5:38 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
5:40 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
5:43-5:52 – Courtesy of Kat: THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
5:53-6:00 – Courtesy of Joel: THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
6:01 – Joel: “So tonight is a 3-D gaming challenge.” God dammit so much. Do I need to explain why a “3-D gaming challenge” in “2-D Television America” is stupid? Show, don’t tell, assholes!
6:07-6:10 – Courtesy of Justin: THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
6:15 – Joel: “The winner of tonight’s challenge will get what’s in this box.” Shit Joel, it’s The Gauntlet™. It’s a challenge that requires mental fortitude and stamina. What is the beholder of the box supposed to do with the remains of your dignity?
6:40 – Joel: “You’ll be playing one of the first digital 3-D games out there. It’s called Invincible Tiger. It’s a beat ’em up side-scroller where you battle your way through hordes of enemies…” This sums up the “3-D gaming is bullshit” argument. To celebrate 2010’s gaming revolution, we are playing 1985’s Kung Fu. Invincible Tiger has a 65 on GameRankings.* And really? I’m not a graphics whore. But neither is Invincible Tiger. You chose this game to sell televisions?
7:36-7:40 – Courtesy of Jake: THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
7:53 – Joel: “TV looks great, huh?” Go to hell.
8:43 – Joel: “From here on out, only your gaming skills are going to keep you in this competition.” But why, Joel? Maybe we can begin awarding points to the man or woman who sells the most Samsung digital televisons!
9:39 – Yaz: “We walk in finally to this huge warehouse…empty, dust, random sounds creaking…” What is this infatuation with empty warehouses? There is an entire fucking production team behind that camera.
12:31 – The only surprise is that they’re playing Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man is a superior title with superior artificial intelligence and a superior challenge level. Though I’m sure Midway’s bankruptcy has something to do with it, seeing as they owned the rights to the game. Or maybe the men and women behind this show are a bunch of casual-gaming clowns. That sounds more likely.
13:37 – Jake’s box has two quarters. Now this bears the question: At 11:13, Joel announced that the contestants will play the game for up to ten minutes or until their demise. Does Jake receive ten minutes for two playthroughs or ten minutes per quarter? Despite the importance of this crucial information, I’m going to gander and assume this will never be answered.
14:05 – Another thing: Modern Pac-Man machines allow you to input a code that speeds the game up. Regular mode is for pussies. Total. Pussies.
14:31 – Way to go, Rachel. Pac-Man glitched through the ghost and you still died.
15:39 – Isn’t it convenient how the camera is titled high enough that you can’t see the player’s score? Ultimate Gamer™: Where your gaming ability doesn’t matter…
15:55 – …not that we don’t know the performance of Jake’s first game, a very meager 25,620.
16:07 – They’re resetting the machine after each player is done. Not that forcing every player to gun for the current high score would add some intrigue.
16:54 – Good work, Justin. You finally won. It took you seven episodes, but you won. I do not expect this to happen again.
17:40 – The four male gamers finished fourth. I thought the Pac-Man was notable for being the first video game popular with female audiences?
17:51 – Anyone else getting a Thelma and Louise vibe here? It’s so cute when girls are looking out for each other.
18:46 – Whelp, you dead, Rachel. Sorry. At least you looked good in a bikini. What do you say about that?
My thoughts exactly.
20:09 – Kat: “I actually have a lot more added pressure at this point because I don’t think a girl has made it into the top three.” Allow me to be candid: You are a girl. According to the internet, show us your tits. This entire show has been a referendum on what male gamers think of the other sex. What pressure?
20:55 – Handcuffs. They’re going to play Forza while handcuffed. Yup. Or maybe Hannah has a thing for cuffs.
22:58 – Justin, channeling the John Madden school of commentary: “I started doing alright, and then everyone else just started going really fast.”
23:13 – I was fighting neck-a-neck with Jake…he spun me out and then I hear Jake’s voice go…”
Jake: ‘Yeah, spin your ass out!’
Kat: “…and I’m just like, ‘Oh my God’. I was gunning for Jake at that point.” Let’s copy-paste what I said during Kat’s introduction in the first episode:
Kat: “In the past competitions I did, I actually had a problem with a lot with the girls, ’cause it’s hard to understand how to compete with them without getting on their bad side.” She is telling the whole truth and nothing but. She was all “I PLAY TO WIN” and they were all “NO THROWS U COCKNOOB”. Yup.
For those of you merely reading along and aren’t watching the show, this is what actually happened: Kat tried to spin Jake out. Kat spun out. Really. Kat’s brain is the equivalent of a Fox News morning-cast. Her eyeballs are getting a completely different narrative than anyone else.
25:22 – Hannah: “Well…we have the results.” Oh, you know the results? Good. The five gamers who just competed in that race are very curious who won.
25:44 – Nice knowing you, Justin. You just got full parried by Forza Motorsport 3.
25:49 – Hannah: “Now if you recall I said the player that traveled the least distance by the end of this challenge would be eliminated. But that wasn’t the end of the challenge. There’s a twist.” wat
26:18 – Hannah: “Justin, you just got a second chance.” WAT
26:29 – Hannah: “For the second part of this challenge you’ll be playing Forza again, but things are going to get even more difficult.”
Look: Nothing in the first part of the challenge alluded to a “second part”. Not the pacing or editing of the show, not the body language of the on-screen personalities. I’m not saying the show is fabricated, but the “surprise twist” just benefited the gamer with the best credentials. I ain’t sayin’…I’m just sayin’.
26:43 – Hannah: “You will each be strapped into a straight-jacket.” Okay, I understood the handcuffs. But a straight-jacket? How you working that into the routine, Hannah?
27:36-27:40, 27:42-27:50, 27:52-28:00 – Now pictured: The worst ever use of Adobe Premiere’s “black-and-white horror” filter.
27:39, 27:42-27:47 – Finally, the human side of this production. A look at the randoms who make this a horrifying television experience. Though I must say, the brunette is kind of cute.
28:32 – Caesar: Luckily for me, I’ve got these spider-monkey legs man, so I just wrapped my legs around the steering wheel and just used the bridge of my feet for the gas and for the brake, and I was steering with my forearm, so I got it working pretty fast.” Do you hear this man? Real gaming is not about gaming. It’s about having attributes better used to describe NBA draft picks.
29:57 – Caesar: “I need to stay in the top four because fifth is going home.” Adding more fuel to the “Justin didn’t win so we’re doing this all over again” speculation: If fifth place is going home, why the hell did they play the first round?
Alright, enough of this.
33:44 – Joel: “We have combined your total distances from the first and second game.” This is the first time they have acknowledged “combined results”. Before you think I am going on a conspiracy binge: This entire medium is about fudging reality. Making things look better. It’s the show’s job to convince me it’s on honest terms. Not mine. The show is not doing that.
34:38 – Wong, I am disappoint.
35:42 – This looks like the setup for a really bad dating show. “Contestant number one: We’re on a video game reality television show and you’re looking for love. What failed sexual innuendo do you go with? Do you want me to play with your joystick? Or do you want to plug it into my USB port?”
36:14 – They’re playing a Splinter Cell game. Splinter Cell has multiplayer?
36:55 – Yaz: “And I said, ‘Oh crap, I’ve never played this game before.'” This is not a problem. If you’ve played one first- or third-person shooter on the Xbox 360, you have played them all. Based on what I can gather from the challenge, “use your abilities and cover to stay out of the line of fire” is nothing new.
37:09 – Joel: “You’ll be playing the game with only the reflections in the mirror to guide you.”
37:20 – Caesar: “This is gonna be so hard. And I immediately tell myself ‘You know what, everyone’s screwed, whatever. Get over it. Let’s go.”
39:51 – Kat: “Once the mirror starts spinning, if you’re not in cover, you could easily die.”
39:55 – Jake: When it starts spinning, there’s a gap where you can’t see your screen. It’s completely impossible.” Haven’t any of you played a video game with family members walking in front of the television?
40:23 – Kat: “Splinter Cell just gets you so zoned in to being the spy going around killing everything.” Uh, Kat? I get what you’re saying, but I think you have it wrong. The purpose of a spy is to get information and make progress through non-violent, covert measures. Spies aren’t “going around killing everything”.
40:57 – Yaz wins! Yaz wins! Theeeeee Yaz wins!
43:14 – I didn’t know Ultimate Gamer™ was in-tune with history. They’re using Richard Nixon’s re-election strategy: “I have a plan to win the war in Vietnam, but I can’t tell you until I’m re-elected.” Ultimate Gamer™? “I have a plan to tell you who won The Gauntlet™, but you won’t see it until the next episode.” Fortunately, the next episode is the last episode. And my personal gauntlet will be over.
Continue to Episode 8: The Grand Finale