The 10 Best Retsupuraes
In 2007, Something Awful Forums user Slowbeef created the “Let’s Play“, a video (or a series of images with text) in which someone plays a video game and comments for the enjoyment of others. The idea is to present the game as it unfolds so that it presents readers/viewers with an experience similar to actually playing the game, but in a condensed amount of time. It differs from a speedrun in that it is generally not an expert playing the game; it can be, but more commonly it’s a complete newbie trying the game for the first time so you can see new sights at the same time as him, laugh at his mistakes, and (if you know the game better than him) yell at the Let’s Player for being so incompetent. It’s all in good fun.
Slowbeef played The Immortal for the Genesis/Mega Drive. Many enjoyed his efforts and his cryptic sense of humor. He started a trend that was followed by thousands of others who Let’s Played games from throughout history. And most of them sucked. The players, not the games. It’s hard to overstate how lesser the average Let’s Play is compared to the original. They became (and still are) full of bad recorders, incompetent players, self-aggrandizing dopes, shrieking simpletons amused by the dumbest things, LiveJournal/Twitter drama queens, and PewDiePie. After watching the millionth badly-made and ugly Let’s Play by an untalented moron, Slowbeef had had enough. Someone on the internet was going to make fun of them. Hard.
Retsupurae is a comedy duo–Slowbeef and Diabetus, with occasional guest commentators–who watch terrible Let’s Plays and ridicule them in real-time, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style, with the intent of raising the bar of quality in the field that they created. If nothing else, many butts have been hurt and many have laughed at garbage Let’s Plays with the help of these two. I present to you (according to my worthless opinion) their ten best videos. You don’t have to know the games being covered in order to enjoy the videos. Listen with headphones to hear every bit.
10. Let’s Play Sonic thhhhhe Hhhhhhhhhhhhedddddddddd Hedgehog ggggggggggggg
There are those who call Retsupurae bullies, saying that they are too harsh on Let’s Players who are just doing their best to make entertaining videos. That argument falls apart when you look at the horrendous dross that they typically mock and the lazy children responsible for it. Witness this Sonic the Hedgehog fangame video and realize that there are absolutely no standards for quality in Let’s Plays. Someone recorded this gobbledegook and thought it was worth sharing.
This Let’s Play (after finally starting a minute into the video) crawls along at a rate of about one frame per two seconds, making it literally impossible to understand what is going on other than that there is a blue thing lost somewhere in the pile of desktop icons and Steam chat windows. This is what Let’s Players actually believe: that without the tiniest bit of effort–probably not even looking at the video after recording it–that you will gain heaps of accolades and rake in that advertising dollar. This is the arrogance and short-sightedness that Retsupurae seeks to cut down, and they do so admirably.
This isn’t a one-off, either. Here are a few more examples of unbearably bad Let’s Plays with severe technical problems that even the dumbest Youtube superstar should have realized were unfit for public consumption. They are almost endemic. It’s no wonder Slowbeef is so mad at what he has formed.
Best line: “Welcome to my screenshot Let’s Play of Sonic.”
9. Pokemon LP Evolved Into… … Oh wow.
Imagine you’re a socially stunted teenager who likes Let’s Plays, anime, and horribleness. I don’t have to imagine it because I was just as dweebish as this guy, except we didn’t have ROM hacking tools in my day. We just had to rent Street Fighter: The Animated Movie and lament that it was censored to hell.
This elaborate fanfic presents some nerd with a screechy voice (omnipresent in Let’s Plays) talking to Pokemon characters on his Nintendo DS. Specifically, to name the girl protagonist Hilda and try to date her. He voices his self-insert, Hilda, and other characters in his mad quest to marry an anime. Then it goes on for twenty minutes while he compliments the imaginary legs of a Japanimation chick, has spousal arguments with her (himself) and finally gets into in-game Pokemon battles ten and a half minutes into his video. Then gives her advice while she (he) plays the game that he already knows top to bottom and still manages to be surprised by what happens at the early levels of the game. It’s foolishness on a colossal scale.
In February of 2013, Retsupurae uploaded three videos every day in what became known as “Retsublitz”. They capped it off with a by revisiting the same subject: seemingly the same lunatic, this time inserting himself into a ROM hack of a Fire Emblem game so he could tell a different anime girl that she was his true love. I don’t want to dig any deeper into that particular rabbit hole. That way leads to Tumblr and Fanfiction.net and other dark places.
Best line: “Gotta collect em all–all the personalities!”
8. How To Disarm A Bomb
Retsupurae have not forgotten their roots, and they still create Let’s Plays of their own. This is a series of flash games that I believe one of the pair played and recorded and the two of them watched it together afterwards for their commentary.
Ambition is a series of adventure games made in Flash and posted to Newgrounds in the early 2000s. Each one involves the player trying to talk characters out of bad situations, interrogate criminals, etc. The problem is that each one of them is uglier than an early Nintendo 64 game and less logical than Roberta Williams on valium. Take the first one for instance (video above); in this game you’re playing a cop with a stupid voice trying to calm down a suicide bomber with a differently stupid voice and none of the choices you have for dialogue make the least bit of sense. Like Phoenix Wright’s illegitimate thalidomide baby, the Ambition games offer cop stuff, confusing narratives, impossible situations, irritating characters, bad voice acting, and no idea what the right button to press should be. They are astonishingly pointless and nauseous to look upon. Therefore they are prime material for a ribbing.
The low quality of ever aspect of the games somehow adds up to something tolerable. The characters are memorably awful, the disgusting animation surprisingly endearing. There’s no reason for you to play these, but I’m glad they exist. But the most hilarious thing? Even more than the fact that every character looks like a different malformed fetus drawn by a different serial killer? The creators thought that the “techniques” used in the game could be applied to real-life hostage negotiations and the beginning of the first game says so explicitly. That’s funnier than anything I could ever write.
Best line (A madman’s review of an Ambition game): “GREAT WORK MICHEAL GIBSON, OR Mel Gibson
Great work, are you related to Mel Gibson in any way. If you are.. probally not, I like Braveheart, and the Passion. Anyways This GAME ROCKS!!!!!!!!! FREEEEEDOMMMMM!!!! now since i saw it kinda ok, not what i thought.”
7. That’s so Kaizo!
The original “Kaizo Mario” was a ROM hack of 1990’s Super Mario World that was designed to make it brutally, unfairly difficult. It was popular with masochistic gamers and spawned many imitators, one of which is this cheap, pointless endeavor in which some guy with a squeaky voice (noticing a pattern here?) barely exerted himself to copy-paste enemies in 1996’s Super Mario 64 and call it a new experience. Not only did he create a lethargic ROM hack, but he Let’s Played his own game. And sang over the music in it.
I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to review themselves objectively. It’s not wrong to examine your own work for places to improve, but it’s such an obvious conflict of interest to see the list of games you can play for the internet to see and then pick the one you did yourself. “Yes, clearly the best Mario ROM hack is the one where I put bob-ombs and flamethrowers into the starting castle of Super Mario 64, not one that someone actually worked on.” What’s more is that he Let’s Plays his own game badly, missing simple jumps, getting himself killed, state saving frequently, and irritatingly voice-overing his own in-game text. And that thousands will subscribe to hear more. This is what Let’s Players actually believe. Unfortunately, they’re right.
Best line: “I thought Mario was going to go flying towards the mouse cursor.”
6. Flawless Victory
Not every Retsupurae is about a Let’s Play. This one is video game related, though, and our heroes take us on a trip to the early 90s when it seemed every adult was trying to be cool to pander to kids in order to make money or make their cause known. (They would soon learn that selling toys to children is much more profitable than pretending you care about their feelings, but that’s irrelevant for now.)
It might be easy to take pot shots at poor out-of-work actors who are reduced to appearing in this after-school dreck, but Slowbeef and Diabetus are able to make it work. They’re both old enough to remember when this X-treme edutainment garbage was thrust upon gamers everywhere and they revel in the ludicrousness.
Best line: “Mortal Kombat and MS, together at last!”
5. Great Video Game Idea!
Retsupurae skewers a man named navgtr and his “Gaming in the Clinton Years” series of confusing maybe-parody-maybe-real reviews of mid 1990’s video games. In others he merely gives indefensible opinions (like not appreciating Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) but in this video he tops himself by giving an insane suggestion to Eidos about a new direction to take the Tomb Raider series (which we weren’t sick of yet at the time).
To be fair, this cripplingly dumb idea still might have sold enough units to satisfy the suits at Squeenix, unlike the most recent Tomb Raider reboot.
Best line: “We have a challenge to Eidos: in Tomb Raider 3, create a storyline in which Lara gets breast cancer. Imagine the drama of a vulnerable Lara Croft still persisting in her worldly adventures despite her illness.”
4. The Adventures of BillyMC
BillyMC is different from your usual egotistical LPer. There is an honesty, an earnestness to his playing that separates him from the pack of “click and subscribe” money-grubbers. BillyMC seems to genuinely enjoy making other people happy playing by video games and sharing them with the world. That doesn’t mean he is any good at them, though. He struggles to get through Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, a game seemingly far beyond his capabilities. He misses easy jumps, blindly runs into enemies, and spends hours on the same parts of the same levels.
Yet through his hard work and positive attitude, BillyMC has made a surprisingly enjoyable series of videos that have the guys hooked. They’re cheering for this lovable dork to beat this impossible game, laughing at his Garfield-level lameness and shouting “Awwww” in disappointment every time he stumbles into a pit. Near the end of the first video they’re literally chanting his name and cheering for him to drop Bowser into the lava. Yes, they still ridicule and jab at him (at times too harshly) like they do with everyone else they cover, but BillyMC has snared the hearts of Retsupurae and its fans, and that is no easy feat.
Look up any video of someone who got RP’d and you’ll see comments full of Retsupurae fans attacking them; look at a BillyMC video and you’ll see Retsupurae fans adoring him. It’s like when the battle-hardened soldiers in Apocalypse Now adopted a puppy.
Best line: [BillyMC’s phone rings and he leaves it in the video] “Who the hell’s calling you, the Nintendo tip line?”
3. Super Bummerman 2
This is the video that got me hooked on Retsupurae. LPer MuscleBomber2021 affects some over-the-top stereotypical jock diction while he plays SNES games and brags about how tough he is while he confuses different games as well as the English language. It’s a fountain of joke material.
Retsupurae catches onto his gimmick and does not give him any respite. Every time he flubs a word they take it literally and run with it. When he pronounces the word enemy as “amy” they concoct a story about how he’s trying to transform into a superjock to impress some girl named Amy at his school, but he’s so inept that he thinks playing Super Bomberman is the best way to do it. All the while, he insults the game’s brainless enemies and inserts more awkward pauses than the Nixon tapes. He’s inept in a completely different way than most bad LPers, and that makes him all the more memorable.
Best line: “Oh yes, here are my favorite sets of amies: the triple fudge-packers.”
Most of the LPers that Retsupurae likes to make fun of are either irritating oafs or loveable goofballs, but they present no harm to anyone. This one is different. The guy who made this Let’s Play is a genuinely terrible human being who torments and belittles his co-player throughout the video, boasts about his (nonexistent) expertise, and is generally crude and abusive to his nearly silent gaming partner, all for no gain except his own pleasure.
This is one of the better Retsupuraes; ridiculous enough on its own, enhanced through mockery, yet itself is not a dreary and unwatchable Let’s Play like the ones I listed in #10. Just one complete asshole, his pointless cruelty, and his victim. It’s like it’s 1991 and you’re playing Nintendo with your stupid jerk friend because he has the best toys, except this is saved on the internet for all to see until Youtube collapses into dust in 2028. Even the internet tough guys who constitute Retsupurae are confused at this man’s dickery, and it is endlessly hilarious.
Best line: “No, Tyler, that’s skill.”
1. Cornshaq baby please
This rapid-fire yakker must use an oxygen tank to funnel air into his mouth, because he does not stop talking for one second in the entire ten minutes. Cornshaq isn’t just a literal blowhard; NASA modeled their breath pressure testing machines’ highest settings after his abilities. The Micro Machines guy would probably tell him to relax and take an Advil. Cornshaq put court stenographers out of a job. So the Retsupurae guys get a lot of mileage out of this motormouth as they try to keep up with him. The entire video is sublimely beautiful, but the joke near the end that leaves the commentators breaking down in uproarious laughter and gasping for air in the vain attempt to just say something before the video ends is the crowning moment of Retsupurae’s history.
And–surprisingly–Cornshaq is quite good at the game. Are you sure he’s a real Let’s Player?
Best line: Just watch it.
Honorable Mention: Dark Seed, Dark Seed 2
The Beef and the ‘Betus slogged through these two utterly wretched adventure games that were made interesting only by HR Giger’s morbid artwork and the game’s general player-unfriendly badness. References to these two 1990s digital turds are used as shibboleths for Retsupurae fans who remember the pain they shared with the commentators who had to watch the junk unfold.