Aside from boasting cute, easy-to-follow illustrations, this video presentation from The Escapist Magazine dares to ask a question tantamount to blasphemy in the more traditional corridors of the gaming business:
“Why are almost all of the games this industry has ever produced combat-based?”
The video goes on to make a valiant case for designers using some of the same methods and mechanics that make fighting games possible and incorporating them into games where conflict is resolved through, say, rhetoric or persuasion — conversation.
“Imagine playing Anthony or Brutus in the forum, swaying the populace, and deciding the fate of Rome after Caesar’s death? Is that really any less exciting or engaging than your standard, meaningless combat sequence?”
I’m pretty sure I know how the average, jacked-in gamer with “Black Ops” on the brain would answer that question, but I take the narrator’s point. Remember the first time you played Katamari? It’s refreshing to find yourself immersed in gameplay not centered around shoot/melee/crouch.
Still, I wonder whether the folks at the Escapist are vastly underestimating the simple, broad functionality of violence: Who hit who first and who hit hardest? It’s easy to determine whether the player is winning or losing in a combat simulation. Conversation, persuasion — these things, on the other hand, are naturally more nuanced, so gauging success becomes more difficult. Yet, if you apply a hardcore set of parameters, well, then it just doesn’t feel real.
Jonah Ray, Nerdist podcaster and future resident of the Satellite of Love on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot, is motoring across the country as part of a new travel parody show on SeeSo. And “Weird Al” is coming along for the journey.
Hidden America with Jonah Ray takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to tourism travel logs as the comedian visits and fumbles through cities like Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Denver, and Austin. Along the way, Ray will meet up with Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader “Weird Al” Yankovic, Randall Park, David Koechner, and more.
Check out the trailer below. For more “Weird Al,” be sure to catch the premiere of Comedy Bang! Bang! season five on June 3rd at 11P.
How much is Jaws a part of our culture? Over 40 years after its release, it’s still prompting parodies that get laughs. To get you ready for IFC’s Memorial Day Shark Half-A-Day Marathon, check out our favorite spoofs of Jaws from across pop culture. Want more? You’re gonna need a bigger list…
1. “Mr. Jaws,” Dickie Goodman
Released just a few months after the movie’s debut on June 20th, 1975, this novelty record spent ten weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #4. In one of the earliest examples of sampling, comedian Dickie Goodman spliced in snippets of pop songs to answer interview questions with the Great White himself.
2. Jaws II (Land Shark), Saturday Night Live
It took only the fourth episode ever of SNL to establish one of its iconic recurring bits and play into the hysterical fear of sharks that Jaws prompted. A big punchline of this sketch: A sequel to Jaws! Who in 1975 could imagine such a thing??
3. “Jowls,” The Carol Burnett Show
Exactly one week after SNL spoofed Jaws, Carol Burnett and company did their take. Looking back now, what’s most amazing is that network TV allowed a sketch to go on for eleven minutes.
4. Mad Magazine
Mad Magazine/DC Comics
Even Jaws wouldn’t want to take a bite of Alfred E. Neuman in this issue from 1976. The comic inside spoofed the movie with a musical version -– an idea that took off over 30 years later.
How many times has this happened to you? You make a legendary movie, you see people parody it, and you want in! That’s the unlikely scenario that led to Jaws director Steven Spielberg making his own spoof as part of his 1979 war comedy 1941. How authentic did Spielberg get? Yes, that’s Susan Backlinie, the original lady in the water from Jaws, meeting up with trouble in the moonlight yet again.
One of the greatest disaster comedies of all time sets the tone for hilarity with its opening sequence. Even before the title appears, you know you’re in for a movie that winks at its place in film history.
7. Back to the Future Part II
1989 brought us this blockbuster sequel making fun of blockbuster sequels, as Marty McFly finds himself in a futuristic 2015 showing Jaws 19. While the actual 2015 came and went with Jaws only having three sequels, Universal treated fans of both movies to a trailer for the film that might have been…
Kevin Smith was one of a generation of filmmakers influenced by Jaws. Many of his films contain references to his love of the original film, but only Clerks has the salsa shark.
9. Giant Killer Shark: The Musical
Why should live theater be without a spoof of Jaws? Just because of the risk of a massive lawsuit over intellectual property infringement? That may help explain the please-don’t-sue-us title of Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, which debuted in 2006. Just to drive the point home: the action takes place on and around Copyright-Protected Island. Scary!
10. Bill Murray’s Jaws Love Theme, SNL 40
The star-studded SNL 40th anniversary special marked four decades since the debut of SNL and of Jaws. It featured not one but two references to the movie, with Bill Murray as lounge singer Nick Ocean singing the love theme from Jaws we never knew we were missing. (He reprised the song at the event above.) Later, the Land Shark himself appeared on “Weekend Update.” Jaws: The gift that keeps on giving laughs.
Spend Memorial Day with IFC’s Shark Half-A-Day Marathon featuring “fin facts” from “sharks-pert” Jason Alexander!
It’s out of the guilt-ridden frying pan and into the shame-filled fire as Marc travels down to Florida to visit his mother Toni (Sally Kellerman) in last night’s episode of Maron. And if matriarchal angst didn’t deliver enough pain — does it ever? — Marc also had to deal with Toni’s annoying boyfriend.
Here are the 5 funniest GIFs from last night’s Maron episode, which you can watch right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.
1. Things were tense, to say the least.
2. Marc acknowledges his feminine side.
3. But also shows he’s from the street.
4. On the other hand, urban fashion statements are lost on him.
5. But at the end of the day, the treatment is clearly working.