EGX Rezzed is a cavern of knowledge and wonder. Distinguished veterans descend monklike into its depths, prepared to discuss topics as diverse as the psychology of game addiction, the design of fictional languages, and the financial viability of small studios. Some people, though, are too refined even for such rarified chat. Some people spent Rezzed goofing around in stupid local multiplayer games, hollering their own names and donking back tins of novelty soft drinks in the Leftfield room. Those people were the RPS Olympians, and they’re about to take a hard ninety degree turn into the first person plural, because they were staff writer Matt Cox, guides person Dave Irwin, and new section editor boi Nate Crowley.
Much like a fight with a chimpanzee, we envisioned the RPS Olympics as being short, brutal, and almost entirely bereft of reason. To that end, we identified three events which, between them, would probably test a variety of skills, and then decided on the simplest of scoring systems – in each event the winner would get three points, the runner-up two, and the loser one. Ten minutes after formulating the concept, and with not so much as a four-hour, sixty-million-pound blowout directed by Danny Boyle, the competition had begun:
Matt: Octopad Tetris – in which the classic stack ‘em up is played with eight control pads, each bearing a sole button – is meant to be about jolly cooperation. But there’s nothing Olympians despise more than teamwork. So we decided we’d each get a go, trying to play using all eight controllers at once. On maximum difficulty.
Nate: How did that go, again?
Matt: I didn’t get any lines. But then I sheepishly declared that a ‘practise go’ and proceeded to get one whole line.
Dave: I was up next, and immediately swept all eight controllers onto the floor like a toddler refusing a plate of spaghetti. In retrospect it was needlessly dramatic, but it did the trick: after an eternity of untangling, I had the only controls I needed: Left, Right, A, and Start. I positioned them in a way that made sense and, with much bravado, declared that I was ready to rumble.
Nate: But then you completely bungled it, didn’t you?
Dave: I drove my practice run into the ground instantly, as I got terminally confused between left and right. The real run would have been much better, only… well, I mixed up left and right again, and squandered it all. Two seconds later, my head was in my hands.
Nate: I’ve not really played tetris in years and to be honest I thought I was absolutely guff at it, but it turns out all I needed to excel, was to play at maximum speed on eight different controllers. In fact, I only even worked out the controls halfway into the second round. Honestly speaking, I was so good at keeping my cool under pressure and pressing loads of buttons, that I’m pretty sure I could be an astronaut.
Matt: Three lines. Nate managed three lines.
Event One Scores
Total Points after Event One
Nate: An utterly hateful game. Mostly because I was heinous at it.
Matt: Cake Bash is a game about abusive pastries. Sometimes they’re hoarding jelly beans while whacking each other within an inch of their lives. Sometimes they’re punching golden raspberries out of each other’s hands, all desperate to contribute to a horrible soup. Dave was annoyingly good at both.
Dave: Honestly, I was about as good as both of you. The problem was that it was so easy to convince you both I wasn’t winning, until the golden raspberry was in the bowl.
Nate: I think you credit me with too much agency. Even if I had seen you as a threat, I wouldn’t have been able to do much about it, besides continue to flail about in a blizzard of hundreds and thousands, staggering into your callous fists. Honestly, I got tired of these frenetic top-down brawlers around the time of Power Stone 2 on the Dreamcast.
Matt: I remember at one point I figured out how throwing worked, gaining me five glorious seconds of chucking crabs across the battlefield before you two copied me.
Dave: Wait, we could throw things?
Matt: FINE, apparently Dave can just waltz his way to victory without learning how a game works. Can we move on to Glurp now?
Event Two Scores
Dave – Three rounds won
Matt – One round won
Nate – Zero rounds won
Total Points after Event Two
Matt: Of course, our ludicrous competition had to end with Drink More Glurp, a very silly QWOP game about aliens completely misunderstanding the Olympics. It seemed fitting. And with the scores tied after two events, it was anyone’s game.
Dave: Truly anyone’s, it turned out. Because, when we got set up for this final event, we were casually joined at the controllers by a fourth, mysterious figure: a wildcard contender called Avery, who had just swaggered out of the crowd and decided to be in our Olympics.
Nate: Unfortunately, for drama’s sake, I had just decided to TRIPLE the scoring for the final event – the winner of Glurp, I had declared, would get nine points, the runner-up six, and the loser only three. It wouldn’t make any difference in practice, I had figured, but it would ramp up the tension.
Matt: But then Avery showed up. And because of Nate’s needless new rule, unless the surprise challenger came third or fourth, they would knock one of us three staffers off the RPS podium, humiliating us for eternity. This was a crisis.
Dave: But there was no backing down, and there was certainly no way we were going to work together to protect ourselves from this threatening outsider. It was time to compete.
Matt: I don’t know what planet the Glurpians come from, but I think Dave might be from there as well. He managed the first event – a sprint – in about 20 seconds, while the rest of us took at least twice as long. But in round two, Avery managed to throw a block so far that our gasp of outrage got the whole room’s attention.
Nate: Driven by terror of relegation, and desperate not to lose my status just a week into the job, I went into round three – the long jump – with the frantic energy of a rat fleeing a fire. Hissing the name of St. Jenkins through my teeth, I qwopped my heart and soul into the keyboard, and sent my Glurpian miles down the track. I won the round.
Dave: The fourth and final round was an odd one to say the least. The idea was to touch certain balls while they were glowing green, while bouncing haplessly around with a helium balloon strapped to you. Nevertheless, I prevailed, outballing Matt, Nate and Avery by some way.
Matt: With two of four rounds won, Dave had seized the day in Glurp, and had thus taken first place in the RPS Olympics as a whole. And with no Glurp victories to my name, I was in last place. But this was no longer where the drama was at. For you see, Nate and Avery were neck and neck at Glurp, with one win apiece. If Nate couldn’t beat the outsider in a tiebreaker round of hurdles, they would take second place, and overtake my total score – I’d be off the podium! I wasn’t worried though – I knew Nate would do whatever it took to defend my honour against the marauder.
Nate: Yeah, but then I completely fucked it, didn’t I.
Matt: You totally fucked it.
And that was that. Nate ballsed up the tiebreaker, Matt disappeared from the scoreboard, and a random member of the public became – objectively – the third best RPS staffer at videogames. Until next year, at least…