Episode 1: Coming Out Swinging
Episode 2: Making Waves
Episode 3: On Thin Ice
Episode 4: Blind Sided
Episode 5: In the Crosshairs
Episode 6: Climbing the Walls
Episode 7: The Gauntlet
Episode 8: The Grand Finale
Episode 2: Making Waves
Disclaimer: The second episode of World Cyber Games: Ultimate Gamer™ was the worst sixty minutes in television history. I’m serious. As “competitive gaming”, it was even worse. Crappy show? Whatever. I can handle that. Exposing your phony narrative? Oh boy.
Your reading assignment for the day? Talk me into finishing the season. Seriously. This episode trashed the remaining fun.
2:45 – Justin: “I think you’re the first girl to win an elimination [challenge].” Yup. Keep pushing the message. I say we take a vote: “Can girls compete with guys at video games?” You girls can’t vote on this, though. Your biology can’t handle the political process.
3:36-3:43 – No. Scooby Doo and Captain Planet references are not “inside jokes”. They’re merely a blueprint for your horrible taste in cartoons.
4:06 – Joel: “The [first] challenge is on a mobile phone.” Calling it now: For this episode, over/under on how many times I say “god dammit so much” is five-and-a-half. This show is like that episode of South Park where Kyle discovers Family Guy episodes are “written” by manatees that move “idea balls” into a tube. “Challenge” plus “mobile phone game” plus “Samsung product placement” plus “freeware game”. God dammit so much.
4:09 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
4:11 – Joel: “The game is Hyperspace.” What is Hyperspace? I can’t find a Wikipedia page, it barely registers on Google. What do I learn? Free-ware. Yes. The show is that cheap. God dammit so much.
4:26 – Joel: “The stakes are huge.”
4:29 – “The player who wins this challenge…will automatically receive…”
4:35 – “…first place in the next real-life challenge.”
5:24 – A.J. won. Joel wasn’t kidding. The stakes were so huge that the length of this segment was ninety seconds. The length of in-game action? Twenty-one seconds. Because remember: Competitive gaming isn’t about watchable competitive gaming. It’s about…um…god dammit so much.
6:29 – Justin: “I see the water slide…hopefully I don’t drown. ‘Cause I don’t know how to swim at all.” This show is television-programming copy-pasta. Last season, one of the challenges involved rally cars. Front-runner Robert Paz (Prodigy X) couldn’t drive. We have another favorite with a basic survival-skill deficiency. Don’t worry. We’ll be revisiting this plotline.
6:50 – Hannah: “But this season, we are breaking out…the Wii console.” In the words of Homer Simpson: CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP…
7:03 – “And the game…is Wii Sports Resort.” Need proof this show is putting on a ruse? Eleven hardcore gamers are gunning for 100,000 dollars. A casual gaming stronghold is announced. The response is raucous applause. It’s like going to a chess tournament and finding out the preliminaries are being played with Monopoly.
8:22 – I won’t even try to explain the real-life challenge. I’ll just post a picture.
Confused? Good. Let’s move on.
9:33 – Bikinis? Because if two passions share the same cloth, it’s sex and video games. Right.
9:33 – A.J.: “I’m not going to comment about Faye and Rachel’s bodies, I mean, let’s, you know…they’re beautiful girls.” Good. Please don’t. I’ve seen the scary portions of the internet. I don’t want to know what objects you can fit in there.
10:25 – Kat: “When I first knew Justin didn’t have any experience swimming, I was a little nervous about him being on the boogieboard.”
11:04 – “Justin’s drowning!”
11:24 – Kat: “Justin’s drowning!”
11:27 – Justin: “But after a while I got the hang of it.” Ah-ha! Fooled you! Justin wasn’t really drowning! It’s just that this is terrible television! We need you to stick around! Jesus. Even the internet has a rule against faking death. Yes, that internet.
12:05 – Censored male ass-nudity. In my video game reality show? Yup. Nuthin’ beats that.
13:54 – Kat: “Justin was amazing. For someone who has never swam before, he was holding his own.” Uh, alright. It’s not like he could have drowned.
15:18 – Rachel: “The black Wii! It’s so sexy!” Something about never going back after black, or something. Ryan and Cesar win the real-life challenge. Both score Nintendo Wiis. I’m sure A.J. is swearing off-screen. Why? He won the mobile phone challenge. He got a mobile phone. I don’t care for Nintendo’s products, but uh, I want the Wii.
15:32 – Hannah: “Sebastian and Vanessa: You both are tied for last place, and hope you’re more coordinated with a Wii Remote than you are a boogieboard.” The fuck? To the person feeding Hannah her lines: Know how fat people go to baseball games to heckle the athletes? Yeah. Hannah is hosting the show because of her looks. I’ll go on a limb and suggest her gaming acumen is nil. She doesn’t have room to trash the talent.
15:57 – Hannah: “Your game for the Isolation Challenge™ is Basketball Three-Point Contest…” Oh. Goody. The Wii Sports Resort minigame where a proper jumpshot is useless.
16:01 – “…but for the two of you who find yourselves in the Elimination Challenge, you’ll be playing…Mario Kart.”
Story time, kids: Super Mario Kart used to be a solid competitive gig. Know how you won? You ran a better race than your opponent. The game had the physics engine to allow it. If you had the skill and the balls, you could hug the waistline of any track. And your items? Your Stars? Your Lightning Bolts? You didn’t score them unless you were choking on someone’s missile. Even the undodgeable Red Shell could be avoided with a properly-timed jump.
Mario Kart 64 changed that. Seemingly a ploy to sell the hilarious party nature of the Nintendo 64’s four-player hardware, Mario Kart turned into a clusterfuck. One exemplified by the Blue Shell, the worst-designed weapon in the history of video games. Seriously: You are in eighth place. You have seven people to catch. You need a rubber band. Your item? Hits the player who has, to this point, braved an outrageous combination of skill and luck to take the lead. Blue Shells are somehow worthless and punish the best player.
Mario Kart failed as an e-sport long before most dabbled in the notion of e-sports. Throwing money on Paper-Rock-Scissors is a safer bet than Mario Kart. Two players will now determine their financial well-being on the merits of that video game. Fun.
16:35 – “Wheels? Wheels…?” The editors cut off “Are you fucking kidding me?” The Wii Wheel was marketing and nothing else. In 1985, Nintendo packaged the Robotic Operating Buddy with the Nintendo Entertainment System. In America circa ’85, “video games” was taboo. And for parents that were worried the “Nintendo Entertainment System” may be a video game console, R.O.B. was the hook and sinker. The Wii Wheel is the same deal. “See, we’re not just a video game console! We’re family fun for grown-ups! Drive with your kids!”
18:04 – Knight to A6? That’s weak shit right there. Why not just play King to bend over?
19:25 – Anyone notice the contestants are using the Wii-Mote strap? All of them? Yeah. We’re supposed to believe Ultimate Gamer™ would put a contestant at the risk of drowning. The same show doesn’t want to be blamed when little Susan clocks the flatscreen her controller.
19:38 – A.J.: “…the Isolation Chamber™ is not something I’m worried about right now. What worries me right now is…Taco Night™.”
20:01 – Justin: “I think A.J. is playing the game very wrong. He’s drinking tequilas, not practicing as much as everyone else.” Wow. I’ve seen this before. Set IdrA to the side, and this is the story of every foreigner that has gone to South Korea to play StarCraft.
20:57 – Justin: “A.J. is basically a stereotype what people think gamers are. He definitely has the aspect of falling for any girl that’s nice to him.” Boom! That headshot? That rifle had a silencer attached. No, seriously. You might as well just said the man’s dick spontaneously combusts whenever it’s exposed to female flesh.
21:01 – So they have to play with the wheel. God dammit so much.
23:17 – Last year, I threw a hissy-fit when the opening week Isolation Chamber™ (a Rock Band score duel) featured televisions that were not calibrated for video delay. You’d think this wouldn’t happen again. Note the delay between Vanessa’s input and the screen. But right, they’re the World Cyber Games™ and they’re the Olympics of video games so they know what they’re doing!
23:19 – Seriously: Nintendo must have had a talk that went something along the lines of “USE THE STRAP OR I WILL CUT YOU”.
23:20 – A.J.: “I’m actually really excited that we’re playing this because I’m really good at Wii Sports Resort and so the odds of me going to Samsung Stadium are ridiculously low.” You may want to pay attention to this.
25:22 – Sebastian is in last place. Weren’t you supposed to specialize in sports games? I guess this is just haters hatin’, bruh.
25:47 – Jake finishes in first place. Wow. Wooooooow. They are phonying results.
Let’s explain. Purely on what’s presented, it’s unusual that Jake’s third-place/second-place outing would trump A.J.’s first/second showing. Last year, the contestants played a four-on-four Halo 3 deathmatch. It was easy to dissect the montage and discover they were making up the kill counts as they went along. But the fix wasn’t related to scoring. Daniel Kim (DevilsAlastar) was thrown into elimination simply for being on the losing team in both of that episode’s segments. It was bullshit. This time, scoring is everything.
During the Wii Sports: Resort Isolation Chamber™ montage, the scores of Jake, Yaz, Rachel, and Kat are revealed at 23:34, 23:47, 23:58, and 24:07. When you stack their final scores against the results, this is what you end up with:
So uh, yeah. The show doesn’t like A.J., they spent an entire segment hyping his lack of work ethic, and they’re going to make him pay for it. Even if he did score his way into first. Because you can’t have nerds win at video games. That wouldn’t befit the company message.
28:01 – Yaz: “A.J., Jake says that you don’t know how to play Mario Kart Wii.” So do these people actually practice? Or do they simply dick around and debate who is going to elimination?
30:21 – Wait a second: Did they actually just cut to a commercial break without playing a single commercial?
[Checks time. Thirteen more minutes? Oh, Christ.]
32:10 – Yaz: “You could have saved yourself if you had practiced a little more basketball.”
32:18 – Justin: “I think you took your position for granted.” See? Time to pour on the phony narrative. A.J. could have saved himself from elimination if he had worked a bit harder. No. He did fine. It’s that your scoring system is less transparent than a Blizzard matchmaking system. You don’t want your audience to know how you’re coming to conclusions. This show is doing an incredible job of burying the sympathetic characters. For some reason, I wasn’t supposed to root for Kat. Because she had “way too high of a gamer score”. Then, I’m not supposed to root for A.J. because he “slacked”. Whatever.
32:52 – Sebastian: “Pound for pound, I’m the better racer…pound for pound, I’ll take him out.” What the hell is this? The ESPN Talking Point Generator? Peyton Manning can’t win the big one because Michael Jordan would have never let this happen?
36:13 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
36:29 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
39:43 – Joel: “Sebastian trying to catch up, picks up a Blue Shell which can automatically take out the first-place driver.” This show has basically been a referendum on how to piss me off. It really has.
40:10 – Sebastian: “This is what I do! This is what I do!”
40:22 – Joel: “Will the [Blue Shell] reach him? Oh, incredible! The shell takes out Sebastian! A.J. flies past him for the win!” God dammit so much.
40:57 – Joel: “This will probably come down to who can stay on the track!” This is what happens when you gimp players with an inferior control scheme and let them embarrass themselves on cable television.
42:23 – Sebastian, I would not be celebrating that. Not that playing with a wheel is indicative of ability, but half the people in that audience could have put on a better show than you did.
Conclusion: Terrible episode. Terrible games. Terrible challenges. Exposed your rankings as a farce. Not a knock on the gamers or the hosts. They’re holding ship and collecting paychecks. But there’s a production crew that does not know what the fuck they are doing. And in this economy? They don’t deserve jobs. Not in my America.
See you next week. Maybe. Talk me into it.
Continue to Episode 3: On Thin Ice