"Warrior needs food — badly!" . It's better than hearing "Warrior... is about to die!" . This being a diorama based on the 1984 Atari arcade game Gauntlet. The game is an endless “dungeon romp”-like “hack-an’-slash” where four players can cooperate in an attempt to survive the eternal waves of evil creatures they meet while exploring a massive, never-ending dungeon. Each player earns point for killing monsters and collecting treasure chests. Other collectable objects include keys; which open up locked doors, magic potions; which clear the screen of enemies when used, and food; which adds to a player’s health. A player’s Health determined how much damage he or she could take before the player died. Multiple lives were non-existent in the game. Instead, players were prompted to insert a coin before death, this added seven-hundred health points to his or her character and allowed them to continue playing.
Here is my diorama depicting both the game characters, and the players who are controlling them. Originally I was just going to build the in-game scene by itself, but while finishing that section of the diorama I got the idea to also build a section of an arcade, linking the game characters with players enjoying a good time of chillin’ with each other and wasting good coinage on digital entertainment.
I really tried to faithfully re-create a scene that resembled the original game really well. I think I did pretty well, too. The only thing I was really disappointed in was the fact that I had to use skeleton minifigures instead of ghosts. In Gauntlet you fight a lot of bed sheet-wearing ghouls, but since I don’t have a single ghost minifigure in my possession, I had to substitute skeletons instead.
Four seasoned adventures. Four champion-warriors. Four, fully armed, monster massacring machines. Remember the old days of gaming where it was chic of the main characters to wear colorful clothing, whether or not it was actually practical in any way? Who cares about whether it would be helpful in real life, that’s why it can work in a video game!
Anyway – Player 1’s name is “Thor the Warrior”. His theme color is red and he’s a hulking brute of an adventurer, armed with an ax and lacking a shirt. Seriously, I’ll always remember how he of all the characters, was the only one tough enough to go topless. I always wanted to follow suite in my own life of adventuring but before I ever actually attempted it, was informed of how hideous that could be for the people having to live with me… whatever.
Thor, or Warrior as he is more often referred to, decided to jump right in and attack the enemies that were dirtying this section of the dungeon with their presence. I guess he wasn’t aware of his health being as low as it was, because now the game’s background telecaster-dude is loudly announcing that “Warrior needs food badly!” I always liked announcers in games. Be it the Halo franchise, the Unreal Tournament games, or even Gauntlet that deep, throaty voice gives it such… such charm!
Actually that phrase "Red warrior needs food badly!" was named the third best game line ever in the January 2002 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. I always rather liked that quote, myself actually… heh…
The reason an ax is sticking out of one of the skeletons is because in Gauntlet at any time you pound on the attack button your character will throw whatever weapon they are holding in the direction they are pointing. The silly thing is that you don’t retrieve the weapon; another one just sprouts out of your hand. Chalk it down to old games and the fact that only having one weapon would make game play of this kind really difficult and probably pretty lame, but I still think it’s a funny thought. Anyway – the idea was to make it look like Thor just tossed an ax at the skeleton before turning to run towards the food and his only chance for digital survival.
But enough talk about Player 1, it’s time we moved on to Player 2! And you can just spy her through all the carnage she’s causing. Her name is “Thyra the Valkyrie” and she’s a bit more lustrous than Thor. Her theme color is blue and she fights with a sword and shield. Most art I’ve seen, as well as the game itself, depicts her in fantasy apparel that would afford her little to no protection in a real battle. But I guess the game creators figured that if Thor didn’t need a shirt, Thyra could go romping around dungeons baring cleavage, legs, and a fair amount of her midriff… meh… I mean I’m all for impractical garments on video game characters, heck, that’s the whole idea! But a lack of clothing on female characters? That’s just downright ridiculous.
I guess in that aspect my purist minifigure isn’t a very faithful rendering, but whatever. I wasn’t about to make decals for only one fig. I guess it would have been nice to have her more blue in color. Anyway, Thyra doesn’t wear a helmet in game, but I thought it made my fig look more Valkyrie-like and I liked that.
Valkyrie is really the only character that the whole “throwing of weapons” thing looks silly with. I mean, Thor could very-well have an unlimited number of axes stores in his pants (As revolting as that idea may be…) but Thyra fights with a sword and shield… that doesn’t really warrant her a good reason to throw her sword, but whatever.
Thyra was always one of my favorite characters. She was just so cool! The only thing that would have made her cooler is if she had wings on her character model. I don’t how the game-makers would have fit that in, but it would have been downright awesome!
Player 3’s name is “Merlin the Wizard” and his theme color is yellow. Since Yellow IS and always will be the color of LEGO® minifigures’ bare flesh, I decided a more appropriate color for my fig would be the new-ish sand-tan color. He's kinda’ more gold in the game anyway. But yeah, Merlin might not have a had a very original name for a wizard, but his staff tossed fire-balls at his enemies, which is pretty awesome. It also made sense, since he could always just summon another one and fire again which was not nearly as silly as Thor’s and Thyra’s attacks.
I made sure that my Merlin minifigure was blasting a monster with his magic, ‘cause that’s the whole idea. And while in the game your characters don’t ever have a visible action where use the keys, (Once you tag them they pop into your inventory until you walk close to a locked door, where the door and the key disappear.) I figured it would be cool to have one of the characters wielding an instrument of unlocking dungeon doors.
Player 4, my personal favorite of the four playable adventurers is “Questor the Elf”. His theme color is green (My favorite color…) and he’s armed with a bow and arrows. He also happens to have one of the coolest hats ever. It’s like a Robin-Hood hat, which is downright awesome!
Questor was the fastest character of the party, and thus whenever I played as him I was always able to grab the most loot and get the highest score. I’d also always grab the keys and potions, thus making it impossible for the other players to be able to survive any length of time without my aid. Yes – I am an annoying cuss of a vidjo-gaemer. As the internet meme goes: “Deal with it.”
Shiny… Nom-nomz! Look at all that sparkling loot! No wonder Questor is leaving the fighting to his companions. Hey – at least he’s taking the initiative to use them as a diversion, instead of just running headlong towards the goodie-bag. ‘Sides, I’m sure he intended to turn around and use his new position to their party’s mutual benefit, anyway!
Here’s a nice overall picture of the dungeon scene. I really liked how it turned out as a whole… maybe a tad crowded, but that couldn’t be more faithful to the arcade game the scene is based off of!
And here is a nice overall picture of the arcade side of things. I never actually played Gauntlet in an arcade and in its original form. I never so much as heard about the game until decades after its creation when Midway released a package-like collection of arcade games in an Xbox Game titled Midway Arcade Treasures. Of the twenty-four arcade games featured in the collection, none received as much admiration and attention by me and my siblings than Gauntlet. Hours we spent together slicing Ghosts to pieces and collecting 8-Bit treasure chests full of digital loot.
To be fair, though, I was never really much of an arcade guy, anyways. I mean, I only played Pac-Man once in an arcade, and that was at a bus-stop. Arcade gaming was never a big thing to me, I guess.
But these guys seem to be enjoying themselves! I mean, you can almost feel the joy embodied in those LEGO® minifigures… I mean, can’t you feel the joy?
I tried making each player resemble the character they were playing in the game. It was fun imagining what this rambunctious bunch would be like in a real arcade. Probably more fun than real arcade goers…
Player 1 is a hardcore gamer. Wearing a red sweatshirt, he plays to win and win only. Since he asks that he gets his entire paycheck in quarters, it makes it much easier for him to promptly spend it all on games. He screams and tries to keep control of his character for just long enough to collect the health power-up while hearing the phrase “Warrior needs food badly!” blast from the arcade game’s well-worn speakers.
The guy in the blue suite is Player 2. He doesn’t even have to try very hard to win every game, but win them he does. He’s a natural gamer, the kind of guy that gets better simply by playing and that never shows as much as a hint of emotion while video-gaming. Under that lack of seriousness, though, is a skilled warrior, and one who is capable of dishing out some major digital p*wnage.
What’s a nice girl like that doing with those total nerds? Player 3 is a casual gamer and just plays to have fun. She isn’t concerned about winning or even getting a high-score, she’s simply content to be in the company of her friends, no matter what game they’re playing. Arcade games aren’t exactly the kind of things she’d spend her money on, lucky for her, her friends don’t mind paying for her anyway, as well as preferring to have as many players playing at the same time.
The fanatic gamer is the guy who is so into the game that he’s on top of the machine. As he pushes the joy-stick to control his character and collect that treasure chest that will give him the highest score on the game, he presses his face close to the screen in anticipation. Whooping and hollering in excitement, the real world disappears from his grasp as he submerges himself in the digital world that stretches out in front of him. Actually – this guy’s character is based solely on my own. I’m such a nerd. But seriously, I get really excitable while playing video games. Even repeating “It’s just a game!” to myself doesn’t help.
I’m constantly reminded why I don’t build city whenever I try my hand at building city. It just doesn’t feel city enough… I think the dungeon half of this MOC is the stronger half.
Another arcade visitor shoots a disapproving look towards the rambunctious party of gamers, their yelling and noisy laughter completely robbing him of the concentration he so needs to win. He would never allow himself to so much as touch one of those grimy videogame machines! Such entertainment wreaks havoc on one’s brain, transforming it to nothing more than mush. He turns back to the claw-machine, intent on winning that coveted My Little Pony plush-toy. For his sister… He’s trying to win it for his sister!
Little Timmy saunters by. Will it be a gum-ball for him or another go at that police chase game? Such a hard decision! He stares at the bunch of gamers who are all making quite a ruckus. He figures it’s something he won’t understand until he’s older, but such loony behavior makes him wonder if he even wants to grow up.
Mmm. Blue-Berry, Strawberry, Green Apple, and Lemon… What kind of fool drops his Orange, Green Apple, and Cherry flavored candy on the floor? Such insufferable idiocy!
*Beep* *Bop* *Boop* *Bap* *“Do not shoot the food!”* I can almost hear the game as I think about it. Heh.
And a final picture of all the character and their players. (Left to Right.) Player 1: Thor the Warrior and the hardcore gamer Player 2: Thyra the Valkyrie and the natural gamer. Player 3: Merlin the Wizard and the casual gamer. And Player 4: Questor the Elf and the fanatical gamer.
NOTE: I originally built this MOC as a contest entry for a video-game LEGO contest over on the Saber-Scorpion's Lair Forums. It won first prize against a lot of great entries, which was pretty awesome.
NOTE Also: MOCpages had a crash some time ago and most of my more recent stuff got screwed up pretty badly. This MOC was one of those posts. So if the text isn't lined up with the right photo, bugger off! I tried to get it back together as best I could.