While it might not have been made readily apparent before, Frankie, Joseph Staten and I all sit near each other upstairs in a balcony/castle/tower overlooking the studio. It’s a placid overlook, and the perfect spot to view the vista of mountains of men (and a few women) that make up Bungie Studios. The result, of course, is that the three of us tend to play a game or two of multiplayer throughout the week – generally on Fridays, somewhere after beer-thirty.
Lately, Ske7ch, who works downstairs at the front of the studio, has been playing with us and a pretty steady series of 2v2 matches evolved. These matches generally follow on the heels of Frankie and I’s now-long-running series of 1v1 matches on a host of maps (some maps you’ve heard of some you haven’t). Now, when we ran a Beta Post-Mortem, Frankie interjected and faked a Joe Tung response which included the following: “Frank and Joe beat me and Luke at Double Team yesterday. Badly. I admire their skill greatly [Ed. note - paraphrased (Editor's editor's note: Frankie is erecting palaces of lies for you, dear reader)].”
The match Frankie is referring to was from our daily playtest sessions where Frank and cinematics dude and archduke of plasma grenades Lee Wilson did narrowly beat Joe Tung and I – we were playing on split screen and they each had their own monitors, you do the math. However, instead of including Lee Wilson as the victor, Frankie said Joe Staten was involved, looping Staten like an unruly bull to Frank’s rodeo clown, into what would eventually be known as Steaktacular.
After Frankie insulted us, I ran my mouth and bet the twin terrors that Tung and I could beat them in a game to 50 of Team Slayer, but the foolish hook I attached was that we’d beat them by 20 points, or we'd owe them a fantastic steak dinner at a real classy joint.
“You mean, if we get to 31 kills, no matter what your score is, we can just set our controllers down and we’ve won steak dinner?” Frankie asked.
“Yep.” I groaned. What had I done?
Nothing worse than what Frank had done in roping Joseph Staten into this mess. With the backstory out of the way, we can get down to the business of Crouching on Corpses on Wednesday.
New001 – Joe Tung
OMG SHARKS – Luke Smith
Deckard – Joseph Staten
Frankie – Frank O’Connor
There was heavy debate as to which of our maps to play on. But ultimately a warm-up FFA game, which had Joe Tung and I finishing 1 and 2 had Staten clamoring to play on Jub-Jub. The reason: Joe and I outscored them by a margin that if pro-rated to 50, would’ve had us buying them steak dinner. They felt confident. Crowds were gathering in the playtest room. Ske7ch and Charlie Gough came in to watch and could be heard throughout the match offering tips and telling Frankie and Joseph where we patrolled, but would it be enough? Frankie verbally warned Joe several times, that this was the exact wrong map to play on - pointing out my preponderance of sniper, power-up and other masteries, some of which may or may not include keeping a timer in my head of weapons and item respawn times.
Tone of Game: I’m Gettin’ Hungry
Team Slayer to 50
This is it. For all of the beef. Pre-game Joe Tung was talking about how he wouldn’t be “buying drinks, or steak for Frankie or appetizers or any of that blam!” Don’t you have faith, Joe? “Only in myself.”
Such a loner, Dottie, a rebel.
The round starts and Joe and I each pick up one of these new weapons. These are awe-inspiring cannons that fit in one hand, a fistful of death and head toward a power-up. Tung breaks off, racks up a quick double kill on the other side of the map and I grab a power-up.
“Luke’s whoring power-ups already, I hate him,” Frankie says. A few quick kills later and I see Joe getting suppressed in the B.S. room by two red dots. Still running around with the hand cannon of death and destruction, I crouch jump across the platforms up into the room, Two blasts, two melees and a “Double Kill” later – it’s 14-2 Tung and I.
Jaws everywhere in the room are agape, tongues are lolling.
Frankie and Staten rack up a couple of kills and suddenly we’ve been ported to a weird, seventh circle of Hell where 17-4 feels like losing.
Someone’s Bubble Shield is above me and their red dot is scampering toward the center platform. I take the lift and throw a grenade at the zenith of the boost’s arc; it sticks to Staten’s ankle, beeps and blows him apart. It’s 20-6. The gap is narrowing, sort of.
Frankie is running across the center platform, from below round after round from my Carbine fires at him. “What the hell, are you double-shotting with the Carbine?”
At 32-13, the tide feels like its turning. Staten has the sniper rifle and is laying semi-accurate, non headshot but-still-shield-evaporating fire, while Frankie runs amok with one-handed death cannon. At this point, if we trade kills and go 1:1 for the rest of the game, we’re on the verge of losing the bet. Tung knocks the sniper rifle out of Staten’s hands and watches his lil’ Spartan tumble to some horrible fate.
At 42-18, Tung logs a double kill as Frankie and Joseph exit a lift into his shotgun.
“I TASTE STEAK,” he yells.
And taste it, we will.
Here’s the stats:
Joe Tung: 28
Joseph Staten: 8
Final Score: 50-21
Tone of Game: Well-fed.
Team Slayer to 50
Originally we were going to play Steaktacular on NewMap001, but after the FFA game on Jub-Jub, team Owes Me Steak wanted to test their mettle on the Jub. Curiously enough when Ske7ch and I played Frankie and Joseph on NewMap001, our mistress was torment and death in our marriage of fail. For whatever reason, Frank’s unpredictable ninja-fu mixed with Staten’s fatherly guidance and repeated cries of “Frank, not there,” led them to regular victory. Caveats out of the way, here’s what shookdown when Tung and I braved Frankie and Joseph’s backyard.
Joe and I spawned on our “side of the map.” While heading into a lift, a power drainer knocked my shields down, and an opportunistic Frankie killed me with some Covenant Monstrosity. Nearly simultaneously, Staten rang a sniper round off of Joe Tung’s dome. We were down 0-2.
Knotted at 2, I reclaimed the Covenant Monstrosity, recorded a quick double kill and it was 4-2. Tung grabs a power-up, and heads off with the Sniper Rifle, the next time I checked the score it was 12-5 – us. This is just for fun, but if we somehow didn’t beat them by the Steaktacular margin of victory, there would be heaps of gruel-flavored excuses being made by Frank some to the tune of “we should’ve played on this map for the game that counted.”
Back they came and it’s 15-10, Frankie has seven of those 10 kills. After a few quick rallies Tung and I are up 22-11, and at 27-13, we’ve established map control. One weapon has been given a new detail, a light flashing off the end of it, which makes it a bit more obvious when someone is running toward, with a beacon of death glowing in their hand.
At 37-20, we only need to go 13-10 the rest of the way to at least win by the Steaktacular margin.
It’s 39-24 and we’re trading blows with them. It’s Ali versus Frazier, but one fighter only needs to stay standing in order to win, no matter what punches the other throws. We’re going to win; I just desperately want it to be by 20. Heads down, Needlers in hand, we rally.
45-27, the dream of +20 is a reality, and we finish the game going 5-0 a Sniper Rifle in Tung’s hand and a Needler in mine.
Joe Tung: 24
Joseph Staten: 13
Final Score: 50-27