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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #48: Gauntlet

When it comes to classic arcade games, it's hard not to include Gauntlet among the first rank. For a nerdy Dungeons & Dragons kid in the mid-1980s, this was the gold standard. Ghosts, treasure, magic, all of it. The best part was how simple and enjoyable it was to play with your friends. I don't know gaming history well enough to make any sweeping claims, but I suspect Gauntlet was one of the first if not the first multiplayer cabinet game, and one where that featured cooperative, contemporaneous play rather than turn-taking. That novel shared experience, along with the distinctly varied player characters, made Gauntlet a frequent favorite back in the day. Want to try your hand as the beefy warrior, the arrow-slinging elf, the sultry Valkyrie, or the timid wizard? Get your crew together and put all four of them in the dungeon! Work together to clear the baddies and get into fights about who took the gold instead of chasing down the last ghost. Such good times.

The real treasure in Gauntlet, which remains precious even now, is the collection of narrative voice-overs that made terse, judgy observations during the game, such as "You shot the potion!" or "Valkyrie is about to die." To this day, when I'm getting particularly hangry, I'm known to proclaim "Warrior needs food badly." Want a little piece of trivia I'm willing to bet you've never heard? That narrator was voiced by Ernie Fosselius. You don't know him, but hashad a long career in vocal effect work, including providing the sobs of the Rancor keeper in Return of the Jedi.

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