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Looking for volunteers for a comedy video game panel show!

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Hi guys, I’m looking for volunteers to take part in a podcast comedy show about video games and video game culture. It’ll be in the panel show format, a bit like a video game related version of the BBC’s Fighting Talk, or a podcast version of Have I Got News For You. If you’re unfamiliar with the shows, the essential premise is that a presenter and usually four guests discuss the week’s events, with the host asking the questions and awarding the points while the guests deliver the answers. It’s usually semi-scripted, with the participants knowing what the questions will be in advance so they have time to put together a good answer (this is more Fighting Talk than the TV panel shows), but the banter between the contestants between questions and during each other’s answers makes up the other half of the amusement value. The final product would probably be around thirty minutes long and ideally be released weekly, recorded over a five-way Skype conference call, but we’d have to see how funny it actually turned out to be. To that end, I’m basically looking to try the format out by doing a few practice shows that won’t see the light of day. This means potential panellists could try themselves out in a safe environment too. If you think you might be interested in taking part, it’s probably worth grabbing an episode of Fighting Talk (it’s basically a sports comedy show, so if you don’t know anything about sport in general and particularly European sport you might not get it, but you’ll still get a feel). As the show would involve answering numerous pre-written questions, with the two finalists having to ‘Defend the Indefensible’ by having to defend an outrageous statement that they’ve just been given for twenty seconds in order to decide the winner, having some basic comedy skills would be a good idea. If you want to take part, write answers to the two questions below and PM it to me. If you’ve got a decent wit/eye for a pun, you’ll hopefully at least be good at the scripted part of the show. We’re looking for intelligent and ideally controversial answers that’ll cause debate and set up other jokes as well as being funny, but don’t mistake being controversial for just being plain offensive. I do appreciate most of humour is in the delivery, so of course you don’t have to be side-splittingly funny on paper. Oh, and you'll need to be able to use Skype, obviously. A couple of sample questions (along with my sample answers – hopefully you can do better!): Q1) Having recently watched Bethesda treat the Fallout franchise with the same degree of tenderness and care as you might expect to receive from kicking a wounded wolverine, what do you think is the worst case of a game developer butchering a franchise? I’m going to name a game that I think is suffering from what I call Baldur’s Gate Syndrome, where the first game in the series is relatively cheery, colourful and upbeat, and is immediately followed by a sequel that couldn’t be much darker if it was buried inside the lungs of a coal miner. It’s Half Life 2. Sure, it’s one of the greatest games ever made, but it just didn’t feel like Half Life to me. The original was a cheerful game that had an intentionally B-movie plot, with scientist bumbling around and coming out with some hilarious lines given the situation they were in. Sure, pretty much everybody died, but the original Half Life was a brightly-coloured romp through a beautifully realised world that left you with a smile on your face. It was intentionally ironic enjoyment that didn’t take itself too seriously, the kind of vibe that Valve channelled so skilfully into Team Fortress 2. Then Half Life 2 came out, and I was left looking at the reviews and wondering what the hell had happened to the franchise. The main feature of the game caught my eye like a badly-placed coathook, the gravity gun. What was that about? The original Half Life had puzzles, but they were generally limited to jumping across holes or standing on boxes. Why did Valve feel they needed to enhance the franchise by totally changing the dynamic? Portal was a great, perfectly executed puzzle game. Half Life was an entertaining throwback of a PC shooter, not a glorified physics simulation. At the end of the day, Half Life 2 was a hell of a game, but it bore so little relation to the original that I felt betrayed, as it means I’m never going to get a proper sequel to a game I loved so much. Bring on Black Mesa Source. Q2) This week I came across possible the most appalling game premise in history, in the form of (and I kid you not here) the Super Columbine Massacre RPG. I...I’m not going to go into it in any detail, because it really is that bad and doesn’t deserve any further press, but it got me thinking as to what the other tasteless scenes that have made it into mainstream gaming culture. So, panel, what do you think is the least tasteful scene you’ve ever found in a game? Well, firstly, I think an honourable mention needs to go to Wolfenstein 3D. It was a great game, admittedly, starting the PC gamers’ love affair with mowing down hordes of Nazi scumbags, but it did have a few sketchy moments, such as levels appearing to be made up entirely of swastikas when viewed from above in the map editor. The worst, however, was undoubtedly the final boss – Hitler himself, wielding no less than four chainguns. A general rule of thumb to produce a tasteful game – don’t put Hitler in it. At least he wasn’t a playable character though, which means that it’s at least one small rung below Super Columbine Massacre. Anyway, the main prize in my book goes to an unassuming little 2D shooter title called Steam Hearts that was floating around for the PC-Engine back in the day. It was actually quite advanced for its day, and was famed for having a difficulty curve that resembled the White Cliffs of Dover. Or, rather, it would have been had it not been for the other feature you were rudely introduced to: once you’ve defeated a boss, your character gets down to the serious business of plowing her six ways till Sunday. The plot, you see, revolved around five female catwoman space captains who had contracted a mysterious space virus that had turned them evil and led them to attack their own homeworld. Thankfully, an antidote was quickly found, and, with the most gloriously flimsy writing possible it conveniently only exists in the semen of the hero character (which raises the awkward question as to what the researchers were doing when they discovered this). But anyway, rather than just, y'know, isolate the antibodies and find some method of injecting them into the infected enemies, he heroically jumps into his fighter, slams on some Marvin Gaye, and sets to work destroying the fleets of the aforementioned space captains so he can give them a good nobbing. But as if that wasn’t strange enough, he’s helped out by his sister, who joins in on the action with a disturbingly incestuous glee. Their parents must be so proud. Oh, and the girl has a penis.

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