I am really enjoying this series way more than I thought I would.
I’ve dropped you in the middle with this video because I didn’t enjoy the first few where they were working out technical issues. (Unfortunately it ends with some pretty nasty technical issues too). But once those stopped distracting from the game I really got into Gauntlet. It’s a beautifully simple game. Half the time you’re playing with the mechanics of the game, mechanics that would be called “broken” now-a-days. Shooting through walls, teleporting quirks, diagonal quirks enemies not updating if they’re not on screen, etc. All of these quirks were necessary to making the game work on the hardware of the time and learning and manipulating them became the “trick” to mastering the game.
The same is still true today, but on a much less comprehensible scale, I feel. Maybe it’s because I did BASIC programming in the day but I understood why enemies didn’t update off screen because it was amazing that that they were able to update one screen full of enemies at a time. Diagonals worked the way they did because X+1,y+1 was a bigger distance than X+1, Y+0 or X+0, Y+1, but discreet motion was just not an option. But in games now-a-days exploiting quirks feels more like breaking the game and cheating than they did back then.
Maybe it’s a comment on limitation’s effect on expectations. Maybe it’s just nostalgia. Maybe kids these days will look back on their Halo exploits lovingly and say that it’s just not right when a player “cheats” their way through a wall on a holodeck game. Who knows. Either way, this game makes me wish I could make a game like this and get away with stuff like that and have people go “eh, it’s just part of the experience.”