So I Promised You A Story
Gate Three. Oh, you lovely, brilliant, maddening gate three.
Tuesday night at 9pm, the official "pre-party" started in the #gunters chat room - the area we've carved out of the internet as our "Aech's Basement" from the book. We chatted, we talked, we spinned records in our turntable.fm room, we guessed at what it would be, we laughed at all the things we'd done to prep.
I had my notebook, my copy of the book, caffeine, a bag of Doritos, and some sugar in the form of Rainbow Nerds. I'd slept five hours that afternoon so that I could stay up all night and pound on this gate. I was ready. I was as ready as I was ever going to be.
And at like 11:58, I clicked on the gate, and it opened.
To beat Gate 3 and to win the DeLorean, you had to post a new world record high score in either Joust, Robotron 2084, Tempest or Black Tiger.
Verified by Twin Galaxies, recorded, etc. On an actual coin-op machine with the correct dip settings, everything.
We all just went "Oh, WTF?"
A few people immediately said "Yeah, I'm out." A few others started scrambling for listings of machines for sale in their area, or arcade listings to find a machine to practice on. Others fired up emulators just to see how good they could do in the first place.
I was disappointed - sure, I didn't expect to win. But this - I wasn't even going to be able to compete. But I also thought it was absolutely brilliant.
We sat in the chat room for about another hour, talking and thinking and plotting and it was totally a different attitude than it was after gate 2 - everyone HATED gate 2 for being a Facebook game, etc. This one? We all thought it was a brilliant, brilliant twist. We just knew we had no chance in hell of clearing it.
(As I said "I've seen King of Kong. I'd rather save up $25k and buy my own Delorean than ruin my life obsessing over a game.")
At some point between 1:00-1:30, someone logged into the chatroom as "JDH" and immediately identified himself as Ernie. Now, we'd been bugging him to log in that night to cheer us on, so we didn't immediately disbelieve him. Then he told us to check the gate again.
He'd added another game - beat the speed record for a perfect game of Pacman.
Not _much_ easier, but he said that he would be adding new challenges as time went on - new games, including some console games. And that he'd make a blog post about it eventually, but he wanted us to know first, because "You've brought my book to life in a way I never could have imagined."
To which I replied, "Thank YOU for giving us such a marvelous universe to play in, Ernie."
As of this morning, another game has been added - you can break the Joust Atari 2600 world record. Still have to tape it, still have to submit it to Twin Galaxies for confirmation - but that's a little more within reach - if you don't already own a 2600, they're like $50. Now, the skill required - that's different. But at least it's accessible to more people for trying.
He said that "the order the games appear in the book just might be important. That's a clue, guys." So everyone's digging through the book, picking the game mentioned that they think they have the best shot at, and starting to practice.
Me? Belth and I started working on Gunterpedia a little more in earnest, starting with the video games mentioned in the text. I still don't think I've got the kind of obsession and time to break a World Record in a video game, but I'm okay with that, really. As I've said all summer, the community of awesome gunters I found through this, the friends I've made, the fun we've had - that's the real prize, if you ask me.
(And I just love that he came into the chatroom and gave us a little boost, just like Og did for Parzival and company. This has totally played out just like the book, and it just amazes me.)
Posting this as the super rare public post, because I want to point people to it.