“From Both Sides” – My Time With Internet Drama.

Hello, my name is Jordan Hass. I used to get banned from message boards from shit posting as a kid (mostly spamming with multiple posts, instead of editing the original one) and I have been trying my best to be a funny person on the internet with absolutely no success.

Most of the time, I am a pretty chill person, as laid back as it gets. I enjoy video games, watching Netflix (Chill optional) and watching weird YouTube videos like whatever the heck this is:

Growing up with YouTube and being able to write, and even a tiny webcam, I was making a few silly videos on the side. I was happy entertaining people by commentating on TV Shows and writing about game shows. But I have a dark, shady past.

I was once, you guessed it, an internet troll.

To me, Internet trolling was kind of a silly thing, I felt it was a candid camera sort of situation, where you and a friend would goof around until a moderator cleans up the mess (I wasn’t partiularly fond of the goatse spamming, I was more in favor of the goofy kind of stuff like going to a Final Fantasy Message Board to explain my dislike for the series (because to me, it was boring, so I didn’t have to get in character)

Eventually, I even participated in those goofy YouTube commentary things, I talked over youtube videos like a Retsupurae, but I was mocking people dressed as anime characters (many of which probably spent months making the costumes for me to wonder “what’s with the yaoi”? Unaware, it was because I was learning about my bisexuality)

But doing this on the Something Awful message boards had a price – and that price was to make an apology video (I knew it’ll probably be commentated on, but I never ever played Gradius ever) and thus this video above is what you have.

It was the first time I ever felt depressed, like seriously depressed. “Nobody wants me here”. But then it was that day (same day as a nice 1-day probation) that it hit me – I’m doing the same shit to these people.

It was at that time, that I dropped that stage in my life, to begin my writing project on the internet.

Feeling neglected, I really wanted a place to write and give my goofy things, and because places like Reddit and Buzzfeed weren’t as big as they were now. I created a website called “Busy Street” (because Information Super Highway). It was supposed to be a skewer of internet culture, but at the same time, I was writing whatever I felt like writing that day. Anything from impersonating 90s video game articles to writing about stuff you can buy at Goodwill.

But what audiences really seemed to enjoy – was my talk on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.

Yes, the video above which came after I invited a dozen or so SA members to riff on a TGWTG video, would be the same dumb thing that people gravitated towards. At the time, I just started college, and it was a way to help with my anxiety, writing about stuff.

Originally, the idea was to just say that TGWTG was nothing more than “Irate Gamer” ripoffs, because at the time everybody was mocking Chris Bores aka “Irate Gamer” because he was doing the Angry Reviewing schtick (then again, in High School, I was angry reviewing Anime, so I guess I’m a hypocrite, whoops.)

I reviewed Kickassia, I reviewed Suburban Knights. I talked about a few reviewers and  called them all the teenage edgelord terms like “fag” “retarded”, etc. I was, for lack of a better word, not very nice. I got blocked by various reviewers, and I really do not blame them. I was really mean, and I never even knew the guys. We could have been good friends and not even know it!

But the site was Angry Reviewing the Angry Reviewing website (and just about everybody else who did that thing in the late 2000s), but I was surrounding myself with people telling me “how great it is” and “how honest I was”.

And while I was honest in most of my reviews – “it’s a character they play, they aren’t being who they really are, my big fear is people saying movie sucks because The Angry Movie Man said so instead of actually watching the movie to find out”.

I too, became a character.

I had to portray this man who was dropping these almost scathing heel-promos because of people like Welshy (who later included my likeness in a video, and somehow that wound up getting me an IMDb page, Not a single college project up there, but my face on a video, yes).

It was getting old on my psyche. I needed to stop. I did not want to damage these reviewers, the same way I was damaging the people in my commentary videos. It was one of those times when I wish I could just have said “look, you can like whatever, there is so many options out there” and instead wen’t “lol don’t like it don’t watch it is bullshit am i right? he he he”

I was poking fun at the personal life of an Internet reviewer named Noah Antwiller aka “Spoony” and his relationships and fandom. I never knew the guy, but you assume you do, because he makes videos. There are actual people who actually know him, and they should be the ones complaining about him, not some jackass with a low-end DSL line.

A ton of people mock reviewers and commentators, and that is I suppose part of the system now. Linkara says “Ad Block is ruining people”, but then we saw the rise of places like Patreon and Kickstarter and that eased some of the pain.

I, myself, never owned a Patreon, because I am not that big of a name, I’ve tried to make pretty sure that when I drop and move on, that I leave everything behind, except those I really care about. I’ve had friends who have been with me for a decade and can tell you the story, and also the enemies who I’m sure will revise my point to say something else. (Also, sorry, I am not “playing the victim” to earn the shill-bucks)

So let’s just say that a nice group of people, famous for making Zoe Quinn’s life a living hell last year and helped create “GamerGate” that we’ve come to know and loathe (This isn’t an argument for/against gamergate, I wrote about that here)

And what they are planning on doing is simply posting pictures of myself and impersonating me and saying what I normally hear from people who graduated from Strawman 101 – call names and hope it works (now “Hipster” isn’t that bad, that was my personal blog, Hipster Jordan’s Garbage Emporium), but then you get into the “cuck” and “sjw” and all these weird red-pill MGOTW terminology and it’s kind of… awkward?

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The reason I am so confused is I really don’t understand why the sudden attack on me? Aside from the fact that most of these people have been “followers” of my work on BusyStreet, and that closed down half a decade ago… there really isn’t much I can think of that would piss them off?

Is it because I gave forgiveness to a person who was also a commentator mocking teenagers and children? And therefore “learned the error of my ways”?

Was it because I “became an evil Social Justice Warrior” because I actually believe in feminism, and maybe not being a shitty person to women online?

Or is it just because out of boredom, and all the targets you could possibly come up with – I am the one that deserves it the most… the “troll” that became good.

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I’m glad to know I’m somebody’s icon on skype for a conversation about Gamergate… Do people who are for the “ethics in game journalism” turned “EVERYTHING IS AN SJW CONSPIRACY TO MAKE EVERYTHING MORE ETHNIC AND GAY” actually know who I am?

Let alone, would they care?

I admit, it’s very scary, because I’ve seen the damage this behavior leads, and the lives it has ruined. But coming from a person who enjoys problematic shows like South Park, and believes that there is room in life for guns-a-blazin dude with hot chicks next to walking simulator 2016.

I just saw it as neo-conservatism vs progressiveness, because politics are always a hot button topic that’s ripe for arguments and drama.

And I know what many of the “victim blaming” responses could be.

“Well you shouldn’t have been on social media”
It’s how I keep in contact with all my friends from across not just America, but the world.

“Well you probably deserved it for all the shit you’ve done”
Probably, but what makes what’s going on right now any different than the shit I’ve done?

“You’re an SJW, why would anybody believe you”
The same reason some people believe Rush Limbaugh and tune-in every morning.

“Well Negative Publicity is Still Publicity”
Not if it’s to hijack twitch chats for live streams (I mean I get maybe 2-3 people, and if 10 people show up, I get the feeling there is a problem)

I know for a fact, barely anybody is going to read this. I’m a white, cis male being attacked on the internet because I am an easy target for a group of people upset that I wouldn’t want to get involved with a group who wants people with mental health problems to inflict self-harm or commit suicide on livestream.

The ones that would, do so because they love Internet Drama. I’ve been there too, even during this gator nonsense. So-and-so said this, such-and-such posted that…. and this, this is just one more of those, but it’s more personal, because it’s me and my reputation. It’s a very dangerous and sociopathic view of the world if you want people to be just as sad and miserable as you (“but i’m smiling” you might say, “it’s top kek” as you wonder why you have to pretend to be somebody you’re not just to get rid of the stereotype that nerds are losers and virgins)

I’ve become the very person I’ve mocked half a decade ago, and soon, I might end up being another face on the SJW “Boycott” Toteboard…

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Only difference is, unlike those people listed, I really don’t have that much of a talent in doing anything but taking selfies while eating ice cream sandwiches.

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I have no idea what’s coming next, but I know I’m going to start being a little more private on social media for the next few months because of it. Which is sad, because I pride myself on actually being pretty-open with everybody.

So if you see my stupid mug calling you a “cuck” or “beta bitch” or “james garfield”, that is not me… that is just somebody else trying to get to me!

And if I have stepped on your toes because of the stuff I’ve done in the past, I hope I can have your forgiveness. Sorry for being a jerk to you. We can all be creative together!

And if you’re part of the “We do not forgive/forget” crowd, there are dangers with Mob Rule.

I really hope that one day, we do end up “without Harassment” and when that day comes, we can literally “settle it in smash” (but then move onto lamer debates like Pirates and Ninjas) or maybe one of those Splatfests?

My final thought is that change is something that is a part of life, we grow-up, we rent apartments, we change jobs, and some of the shit that we used to like, we stop, like Third Wave Ska, or “that emo scene period”. And that if you focus too much on what has changed, you lose track of what you can do to adapt and change with it.

And now to go to my own “Safe Space” that I call “bed”, because I’ve spent a few hours writing this, and damn it, I am not going to bother edit this wall of text… I’m sure most of it is coherent.

REVIEW: Jackbox Party Pack 2

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Jackbox Party Pack 2 is the sequel to 2014’s Jackbox Party Pack 1, which contained Drawful, Fibbage, Word Spud, Lie Swatter and You Don’t Know Jack….

In the 2015 release, you have 5 games, including a return to Fibbage, and no You Don’t Know Jack, whaaaa?

If you want a TL;DR Review – all the people who received advanced copies (From Last Tuesday to Monday) are the ONLY people who will get mileage from this, otherwise, it’s only worth it if you have a HUGE video game stream turn out. (or a large group of friends)

And now let’s go through all the nooks and crannies of the games.

Fibbage 2 is a simple game, similar to baulderdash, or any real quiz show. You get a funny statement about a true fact. “Be sure to visit so-and-so place for the _____ museum” and on your cell phones (or laptops) you can write down a blank that is very misleading (or close-to) the correct answer. Once everybody answered, or time runs out, you must pick “the truth” (the correct answer) for points. If you’re wrong, the points go to another player. But this time around, Fibbage 2 offers “The De-Fib-ulator” which makes any one question a 50/50 gamble.

I think the de-fib-ulator is a nice idea, but unfortunately when playing with it, doesn’t give it that much risk, and when I used it, was spent on the correct answer and a comically wrong in-joke answer. It’s a step back, but they do offer an “audience vote” for a thumbs cup (for the funny answer).

I enjoy the idea of the funny answers, but the problem with Fibbage is that there are two ways to play it.

You are serious about your Fibs (The name of a dog should be “Rover” or “Spike”)
or You aren’t serious and just want to have fun dumb answers (The dog is named “John Cena”)

So while last year’s is fun, you might have some fun with this installment too, more questions is always better, and there isn’t so much repeated statements compared to last year’s, especially on Final Fibbage. But would love to see it turn into more “episodic” play in future installments like YDKJ, which is also hosted by Cookie. (It’s a “Good”)

Ear Wax is Jackbox’s take on Card’s Against Humanity or SFX Quiplash, a statement is given in Quiplash form, then on the mobile phones (which is the controller for all these games) they pick from an assortment of different SFX that only they can choose, it’s all randomized (so like CAH, the “deck” is shuffled to the players, in the form of SFX). One player is the judge and picks from 3 prompts, the others must make a great sound package of two tracks…. then they play them in order.

While it’s a funny idea, the pacing of the game is verrrrrrry slow. The SFX do not immediately go one-after-the-other there is a 1 second pause with minor record scratch kind of ruins the punchline for many jokes. And while it’s a great use of multi-media to make a card-like party game, it is also one of the few games that just gets boring after a couple play-throughs, It only goes up to 8 players, but does come with “AUDIENCE VOTE” as well. (It’s a “Meh”)

Bomb Corp. is the game I played the most, because it comes in 1 player mode (and goes up to 4), it’s a mix of “Keep Talking and No One will Explode” and “McPixel” where you have to cut wires based on logic puzzles (if X is blue, cut the Nth wire). And some of the variety changes in the game as you progress. It’s quirky, and stands out as the only game featured that’s for low number of players AND without an audience feature. If you’re not good at logic puzzles, it’s really not a game for you, and after a while (when you defuse all the bombs) all that’s left is The Grind, which I feel is the best part of the ENTIRE Jackbox Party Pack this year. (It’s a “Good”)

Bidiots is a game people say is like the South Korean reality show “The Genius” (because it’s logic, mixed with sabotage) Each player is given two prompts to draw, and then given $3,000 to buy art in “auction” format. Each phone is also given personalized information about the art being auctioned off and who possibly made it. (“Rainbow is worth $2,300”) but unlike last year’s “Drawful”, it isn’t as comical, you’re kind of just sitting there hoping to buy the most expensive art pieces and make sure others pay more than it’s worth.

The problem with Bidiots is the random luck element of the pricing. In each purchase, the artist gets 50% of the price (so if the auction ends at $1000, someone gets $500) and that means that artists ultimately could lose simply because they didn’t get a fair share of the art, (two players art could be worth $3,000 and end up getting 2000-3000 bids, ending with a player getting an xtra 2k 3k over others who wound up with $800-$1200 pieces).

It’s not that confusing – buy low, hope it’s worth high, read the texts for info. But I would have enjoyed a Drawful 2 along with Bidiots, the idea of naming the pieces was one of the best parts of Jackbox 1, but this time around, that comedy is scattered. (It’s a “Bad”)

Quiplash XL came out in March, and I was so excited to play it… until I realized I am not a big-time stream person. Quiplash’s main draw is two players answer prompts (like CAH) with something funny, and then you vote. The problem is, I am not a big-time famous youtuber nor a famous Twitch streamer, so in any given day, I might only have 6 or 7 people playing. That doesn’t make for fun quiplashing. Especially if the audience vote matters a lot in the points-earning process. If you have 3 friends, do NOT even bother playing Quiplash, this is supposed to be a game for LARGE parties, and that’s not including the 8 player ones the original Jackbox was meant for. This is a game for “Twitch Streamers” and the DLC (which came out last month BTW for $1) is included in this package.

I felt that while Quiplash is a very comical game, it’s a game that when it reaches “The Last Lash” (a low-scoring final) you only want to play it a few more times. CAH worked because of people who aren’t crafty or hilarious, however, Quiplash is superior in that it requires that creativity. I can’t fault the game for being almost unplayable with low audiences, but more or less, it’s for twitch users and youtubers with huge audiences to vote and stream. (It’s a “Meh”)

FINAL SUMMARY

Jackbox Party Pack 2 offers 5 interesting games for the low price of $25 (that’s like $5 per game) and includes the return to the fan favorite, Fibbage. However, many of the games offerings requires almost a large audience base, which doesn’t make it a “party” it makes it a “twitch game”. While that means Jackbox has cornered the market with that genre, it means that video game “party games” are pushed away with this release.

You will have fun with this game, you will smile and laugh and have a good time, and that’s what Jackbox is all about, but most of the time, you’ll feel lonely and depressed, because the only way to really play it is on someone else’s twitch.

So my conclusion is buy it if you want to play Fibbage with friends at a party some time, but if you are curious about playing it, just hope to god someone on Twitch is playing it and you can join-in. Otherwise, just buy it and stream it and hope you have the audience to get players.

Not a single game in here is awful, or terrible, they are all fun and unique in their own way. But you do feel like that guy who had a “hang-out” party with a few friends having drinks, and the next door neighbors have invited the entire town and they showed up.

Maybe next year, we will see more Fibbage and some more creative ideas, but gearing it to the Twitch market, and in a way, focusing on “games like Cards Against Humanity” did more of a disservice to the party pack, than last year’s variety of games like Word Spud.

There is a way to disable “audience mode” and there is a “family filter” you could have if you want to play with your younger brother, which is fantastic. If there was a percentage rating for this game, I would give it a clear 7.5. but we don’t give number reviews, it’s simply out of is it good or bad or whatever, and this time around, some are good some are whatever.

BUT BE SURE TOSUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW AND RATE AND COMMENT AND I DO VIDEOS EVERY MONDAY FRIDAY WEDNESDAY, EVERY OTHER THURSDAY, AND SUNDAYS WHEN I AM NOT HUNGOVER FROM A SATURDAY STREAM WHERE I DRINK WITH MY FRIENDS YOUTUBER AND YOUTUBER2

MEH RATING

JORDAN’S E3 EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE

I really enjoy E3, it’s like getting a marathon of every new video game coming out this year. However, this time around, I don’t know, I kind of call it “apathy” when it comes to E3.

Every year, I’d make vlog and article and bingo card talking about E3, and while I am still doing that on Twitter (@jordha). This time around, it just feels, less special. Why should anybody give a fuck what I have to say about video games? you have a million tweets about this right now. LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE EXCITED FOR FALLOUT 4!

To me, everybody right now is tweeting or streaming or writing about E3, what makes me stand out over this? Absolutely Nothing.

Now, I’m not going to call it Jealousy, because many of the people who are famous for writing about this stuff are probably more professional than I am, or they have a much bigger audience than I do. I’m a person who used to be famous, and TeamSmooch is my new favorite thing to write, that and Tabletop Simulator mods, but I digress.

I sat through the Bethesda conference, Nintendo World Championships, Microsoft AND EA, and all I could say to all of them was – “yeah, this is E3”.

Maybe I’ve just become more cynical, but so far, every conference has just become boring in my opinion, seeing trailers to games isn’t as exciting as it was. And as much as I enjoy video games, I know “it’s not my living”.

So here is a list of things about the press conferences so far and what I have seen…

Nintendo World Championships was pretty suffering to watch, Kevin Pereira, while a great host, and deserves credit, going from G4’s Pulse to Attack of the Show to Let’s Ask America to Hack My Life to now telling Egoraptor to get the fuck off the stage is interesting. However, I was confused by the contest and it’s proceedings, the “UNDERGROUND” stages are interesting ways to redeem fallen contestants, but at the same time, I didn’t care for Ball Blast, and splatoon is all over twitch right now, it’s a fun shooting game, but at the same time – I feel like I’ve seen just about every game. I think people being referred to by their usernames “MiniWheats” for instance, was really really really awful, and is one of the biggest reasons I hate e-sports. But ultimately the saving grace was the finale – Super Mario Maker. The competition was trying to play these devilish challenging levels, and it looked like a TON of fun. This is the sort of game where you’ll expect to see people get fake-angry at for views. Different styles and amazing puzzle solving makes it a great game.

Bethesda was the first conference, and it was mostly Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 4 and DOOM. Elder Scrolls Online looks like just about every MMO in the last few years, but it’s ELDER SCROLLS so it looks nice. But it’s not my cup of tea, I’m sure it’ll be just as big as Warcraft before quickly falling off to having just niche gamers playing it. Fallout 4 was the big deal of the event because it’s Fallout. A 1950s style suburban neighborhood in Boston gets a-bombed and Cogsworth is your charming hilarious robo-butler, and there’s a dog. And you can customize things. But by the end of the presentation, I felt like I got everything I needed to know about Fallout 4 – including price and release date (this year, no surprise) and finally Doom. Doom looked… like the Sonic 2006 edition of Doom. Glossy monsters, the same “rip off limbs and mouths” animation six or seven times. It should be early development, for next year (which I believe is the case) and then something was brought up – GAMERS ARE APPLAUDING VIOLENCE on twitter. And to me, I just groaned and went “of course, it’s E3”. A war was brought up about violence in video games, during a time when we should be celebrating video games. Fallout 4 you shoot people with guns, but you can play as a woman (or a male in a dress) and to me, that’s progress. That’s the stuff to fight for in this bizarre industry.

Microsoft had this virtual reality headset for Minecraft and if I gave my kids that technology it would break within 5 minutes. The “HoloLens” looks very interesting, but considering the success of the Kinect, I have no idea what we are up for. Then you had your usual HALO, GEARS and OVERHYPE game (guess this years “overhype the game so it loses all interest” is Fallout 4) and the only things that made me excited were the controller and the Rare collection for $30. Also – the ability to backwards compatibility 360 games. I wonder if it’s the same backwards as 360 was to the original Xbox which was “only a few games and then we get sick of it”. It gave me a headache and felt the most “Gamer Bro” than previous years.

EA had a dancing zombie and a long sports focus, I was really really upset. No Skate 4? Come on! Mirrors Edge, a game that I had been wanting for so long is almost here – but the trailer made it look SO BORING. And I have no idea why, I enjoy the parkour and disarming of Mirrors Edge, but the voice over made me sleepy, but at least it has a proper villain. AND HOOP GAWD. But Star Wars : Battlefront looked interesting.

Ubisoft is going to make a new South Park Game, and a sword fighting game called “For Honor”, and sure… okay. They showed the division, but what I was most excited about was a Trials Fusion pack where you drive monster trucks. I saw a shitty assassins creed cosplayer and a crappier Jason Derulo impersonator. Trackmania is coming to console and it looks good. And also Assassins Creed Syndicate is their Ubisoft game to promote… and Tom Clancy.

Sony decided to promote Star Wars and Call of Duty with montages, also they announced Shenmue III (for kickstarter) and a Final Fantasy VII remake that everybody wanted for a good… whenever that godawful Advent Children movie came out. My good buddy Johnny V hyped up Disney Infinity 3, which almost made me forget about Lego Dimensions for a good three minutes and then I saw Devolver Digital montages, and No Mans Sky and Dreams showed off “imagination” for games, and planets that nobody will ever ever visit.

Square

Nintendo

The Culinary Game Show

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about AMBUSH game shows, and why I loathe them so much. I’m back once again to talk about another genre of “game show”, the culinary game show.

Cooking Competitions aren’t anything new, we’ve seen bake-offs on television since the days of black and white, with the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest , now considered the Pillsbury Bake-off in 1949 on CBS.

But modern shows would start sometime in the 1990s, when Food Network had a show called “Ready, Set, Cook” ,known to many from the UK as “Ready Steady Cook”, the original.

Ready Steady Cook was a simple premise – two teams, a chef and an amateur cook, work together to make a dish in under a budget. They are judged and the winning dish gets a small prize of kitchenware.

It’s not dramatic but the “ticking clock” that appears in most game shows is present, and that becomes the premise for about 90% of all cooking competitions.

YOU HAVE X MINUTES TO MAKE…

and, like ambush game shows, they come in many flavors, and tastes.

One of my all time favorites was the original Iron Chef, the Japanese classic in which one well known chef would take on their choice of three “Iron Chefs”, skilled in a different style of cooking. In the show, both participants have 60 minutes to make dishes with one “secret ingredient” that will be featured in all dishes. The dubbing was campy with a guy saying something along the lines of “Squeeze-on” or maybe “Paison” and state what is going on in front of us such as “THE IRON CHEF IS USING SQUID INK TO MAKE ICE CREAM” to the delight of a dubbed actress going “oh wow tasty”.

When Food Network picked it up, it was a cult classic, and then you saw Bobby “I only do food competition shows” Flay get involved.

Because he was on an actual Iron Chef, it was only a matter of time before Food Network would make him “Iron Chef” in their version – Iron Chef America.

Iron Chef America, followed the same format as the original iron chef, but most if not, all of the chefs had at one point or another a show on The Food Network. Instead of the Chairman being considered the host, it was the “commentator”, which was beloved Food Scientist Alton Brown… who later got involved too, but more on that later….

Bobby Flay is the master of the “Culinary Challenge” where competes, and here is some of the shows he’s done.

  • Beat Bobby Flay – where chefs compete against each other and judges decide who faces Bobby Flay, in the most promotional tie-in to Food Network ever, from hosts to judges to flay.
  • Throwdown – where Bobby Flay comes to you and ambushes you into cooking a better thing than him, always your specialty. I imagined he jumps into a KFC and goes I CAN MAKE A BETTER FRIED CHICKEN THAN YOU!
  • Bobby’s Dinner Battle – where he challenges people to make dinner better than him, in a studio!
  • 3 Days to Open – not really a game show, but Bobby Flay shows up and does kitchen nightmares before the restaurant even opened.
  • Worst Cooks in America – a reality show where he tells people who often burn fish that they suck at cooking fish, only to compete with another food network personality, and well you get the point.

What I’m trying to say is that most Food Network shows are terrible, only because they have a revolving platform of “personalities”, but they are so integrated into every show, you can’t tell which is which.

On any given show you’ll have, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, Duff Goldman, Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sanchez and don’t forget, Sandra Lee!

Anyway, so there are so many Food Network competition shows, and they get really difficult to tell from one another, but most of them follow the “countdown” method of each round eliminating one person, so 4 chefs become 3 become 2 become 1.

You have shows like “Chopped” which given a basket of random ingredients have to make a dish with all of them in it. The worst is “chopped”, the last one standing each round gets $10,000

Then you have Xtreme Chef which was like Chopped, put EXTREME because it was DANGEROUS everything was based on a SPOON (which would later be on The Taste) with the same premise.

Then you had SWEET GENIUS where people made desserts in the same countdown with “sweet twists” in each round to make things difficult, with once again $10,000.

Then you have CUPCAKE WARS which involves making cupcakes in a countdown format with a $10,000 prize.

Then you have FROM DUFF TIL DAWN, which involves… oh wait, no countdown, just two teams making a cake based on a theme for a golden wisk.

and then you have my favorite, and sometimes least favorite, Cutthroat Kitchen…

Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton “I hate Unitaskers” Brown, is a show where four chefs compete against each other… in a countdown format, against a clock to win a top prize of $25,000.

The catch? During the competition, the contestants can use their money in an auction to “sabotage” the other players dishes. Something as simple as making a hamburger is difficult if a chef has to use stale sesame seed buns, for instance.

Alton Brown came across as “nice” when it was on Good Eats, but on this show, he comes across as a jerk, not just to the chefs, but to us, the audience. But he is the innovator of using dowels as rolling pins and using fans to make beef jerky, so why not having people cook on nothing more than an easy-bake oven (I’m not joking, that was a sabotage once)

Whoever is “the last man standing” keeps any money they’ve won in the game, it could be the full $25,000 or it could be nothing but glory.

But what about other networks? There were so many to pick, UPN had Iron Chef USA (but we don’t speak about that, it’s terrible.) and Bravo had the always enduring TOP CHEF, but we are going to talk about Hell’s Kitchen.

In the UK, Gordon Ramsay already had a reputation for getting angry and throwing food around, because of a documentary. In the US, it all started with “Hell’s Kitchen”, in which chefs compete against each other, and in teams to determine who will end up winning $250,000 and work at a restaurant (sometimes as head chef, sometimes as just a glorified line cook)

It’s a cult-like show with different things fans of the show enjoy from “YOU DONKEY” to the mumbling of “THE BEEF WELLINGTON IS RAW” and “THE RISOTTO IS BURNT” and shouting at just about every contestant to “GET OUT” in each season…. then the play-up the eliminations which made for a great Key and Peele skit.

So why the appeal for these shows? Clearly you’re not going to learn how to make any of these dishes. But I feel it’s the need for a “ticking clock” and the stressing of a food being burnt/cold making any difference. They sound delicious and stuff you’d try, but ulimately, you’ll probably never be able to try any of the dishes…. unless they were “On the Menu” (another competition series)

As for what is my favorite food competition show?

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Food Fighters was a simple show – you have 5 dishes, you have 5 chefs, for each chef you beat, you get money (5K, 10K, 15K, 20K) and the 5th dish is worth DOUBLE a possible $100,000. The judges are five random people that aren’t food judges and they get to vote on their favorite dish each time.

You don’t really learn how the food is made, just the ingredients, but you at least get to see something that has not just an in-house rival, and a ticking clock, but something that isn’t a food network countdown format, and prize money that might actually make a difference to an amateur cook.

 

REVIEW : BEAT THE BRAIN

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BEAT THE BRAIN is on BBC 2, and is a game show in which a team of four friends or family or whoever answer Brain Teasers in the hopes of winning up to £3,000. It is hosted by John Craven (Newsround) and Josie Lawrence (Whose Line) is the voice of the Brain.

Each round, a section of the brain is shown –  Logic, Memory, Orientation, Observation, Language and Multitasking. And two “games” are pulled from that section. The team captain chooses a team member to solve these puzzles/games on behalf of the team.

A sample is shown, then three puzzles show up, some of them timed (45 seconds) others untimed. But they get progressively more difficult. Each puzzle that is correct adds 3 seconds to a bank (incorrect answers cost nothing), so 3 puzzles in 2 games means 6 chances to build 3 seconds (18 seconds). This repeats with a new zone and two new games in Round 2, 3 and 4.

Once all 4 players have played their game, and won up to 72 seconds (done in my head, because math is great) They enter the final round.

In the final round each player will need to answer TWO puzzles, randomly selected from the show today. If they can answer all 8 in their time banked, they win £3,000. But if they fail, they can keep playing, but they will be losing £25 a second (2 minutes, also done in my head). Until they complete all the challenges. The games in this round are done in a more faster pace, almost like you are watching Logical Puzzle Wario Ware.

It’s a really clever format, and is a genre of game show that barely gets touched – the “thinking puzzle”. America has had Brainsurge and Idiot Test, but UK tried with things like The Brain Box and Sudo-Q. Which were met with falling into obscurity. I think the challenges and categories are smart. I think there are maybe 3 or 4 in each of the 6 categories, and with only 4 shown in each episode, gives it a nice variety.

But where the show crumbles, isn’t necessarily the British end game trope of “losing all the money at the end game” (because at least in this show, even if you screwed up royally, you could still possibly split £25 among the 4 people, that’s like a pint each!), where it fails is on the banter between Craven, “The Brain” and the contestants.

It’s a show that’s dark and serious, yet everything about it screams lighthearted. It felt like BBC wanted to have their own version of “Countdown” in 2015. But the banter is always, always full of cringe. The show has just as much as an episode of US Jeopardy banter, which is to say, quite a few anecdotes that make you go “Huh wha?”

There is no competition, much like Decimate, the show is simply “you vs the studio”, and you have a team that’s rooting for you. However, the end game is great, because it borrows from a modern Italian classic, Avanti Un Altro! In which in the final round, you have a set amount of time, but if you fail, it starts ticking away money until you complete it or fail. This is the same way, but your banked time in the puzzles are the lee-lay you have to beating the game, and these are pretty accessible games to play, and yes, you CAN play these at home.

The best part of the show is the ability to play along, and the variety of the games provided, and the end game isn’t confusing. This is a show where there might be a guaranteed payout of at least £100 if done correctly.

But the worst part of the show is the inability to really give “The Brain” more room to have more lighthearted fun. Craven does that sparingly throughout the show, but not enough to give the contestants any personality aside from “Oh he likes to skateboard”, and the set is really not a fit for this show, it’s not that serious of a program by any means. But where it faults, it makes up for in pacing of the games and puzzles.

GOOD RATING

Please no more ambush game shows…. please?

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When Cash Cab debuted in December 2005 it was a bonafide it. It was a fun show that was one part taxicab confessions, and another part quiz show that was a hit for Discovery Channel. 10 years later, and there seems to be an abundance of ambush game shows, and when does it end?

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There are so many game shows in the world, and many of them, I would say I enjoy. But there are a good chunk that I would safely say I hate and many I despise. Some are because they demean contestants (“Trashed”) others because they are boring (“Lie Detectors”) and others because they are complicated (“Blank Check”) and others because they are Lazily Developed.

I get that we need to see more game shows and that “reality is hot” (because it’s cheaper than getting a studio). But most of the time, the premises are pretty much “The Only Game Show That”.

I’m not kidding, that’s like 95% of most game show pitches, at least those that I see as pitch films and sizzle reels. It’s also what 95% of game shows open with (Including Jeopardy, which was used as a faux-controversy “The only game show that gives you the answers”)

But now it’s “The only game show that takes pl ace in a _____”) and you name it, it’s happened.

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Cash Cab was the only game show that took place in a Taxi. Pumped! was the only game show that took place in a Gas Station. The Game Plane is the only game show that takes place in a airplane. Win, Lose or Pawn is the only game show that takes place in a Pawn Shop. Hair Jacked is the only game show that takes place in a Hair Salon. Pontoon Payday is the only game show that takes place in a party boat. Instant Cash was a Canadian Game Show that took place in a Mall ATM. The Wiener’s Circle took place at a Hot Dog Stand. Labor Games is the only game show that takes place in the Maternity Ward. Repo Games was the only game show that took place in a Repo (and also at the home.)

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And then there is the secondary version of this, where “The Game Show comes to you”. It happened on Nick At Nite with Bet The House where contestants can win prizes, or risk losing items in their home. (Like trashed without the “trashing”). Or Opportunity Knocks in which families can win stuff as they make a giant block party out of everything. Or even something like Hidden Agenda in which a person can win money for convincing their partner to do stuff  that’s a “dare” in their ear.

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That’s right, then you have the “hidden camera” ambush game show. Which is supposed to be one part practical joke show, and another part game show. Like Deal With It which is so far the only format like this, that worked. In which a best friend or partner would set-up a friend and do things that are despicable or annoying and if the partner can “Deal with It”, they can win up to $5,000. Which is essentially the game show Money From Strangers where there were contestants forced into doing things but if they were caught or kicked out, they lost. There were game shows like this before, such as Oblivious in which a practical joke character would ask trivia questions to unknowing contestants, while things happened or Game Show in My Head in which Joe Rogan would tell contestants what to do for $50,000 or even Boiling Points in which if contestants would not lose their temper at actors, they could win $100, then there are things like Wicked Offer coming soon which has the same premise as it, couples work together to make friends and family annoyed and suffer in the hopes of winning money. Or trying to memorize what happened, as was the case of the GSN flop Instant Recall.

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Which brings me to the final “Ambush” style show – the “on the street” format. We have Billy on the Street and Broke-Ass Game Show. Both of these shows actually are ambush, but the game is less important than the actual show.

Billy on the Street is about Billy and “The Street”. Billy plays a characterized version of himself, angry and frustrated and almost like a child cranky because he didn’t get enough sleep. His most famous game is “for a dollar” in which he ambushes people on the street and “for a dollar, who gives a fuck about maroon 5?”. It’s a comedy show, but in the mind of Billy, it’s “a game show” (which it’s loosely)

Broke-Ass Game Show is more sketch-based than Billy, but instead of being loud and abrasive. The hosts are more friendly, and trying to be lighthearted. Instead of many other ambush game shows in which contestants have to suffer through graduates from the actor’s workshop in their first year on tv doing skits, or having to humilate their friends and family, they play mostly lighthearted games for money. Sometimes they have skits (like going through a security gate for money or sitting in a line for money) other times they do little humiliating things (like wearing goofy outfits and dancing), but these contestants are more “up for anything” than “panicked” like Billy.

As much as I enjoy these two shows, I fear that the future of “the game biz” will be loitered with formats like this, because hey, if it worked twice, we need to try it again. Ambush Game Shows, however, are veryyyyyyyyyyyy verrrrryyyyyyyyy miss. I get the “cheapness” in terms of budget. But as a game show, it’s generally always lackluster, the format is boring but to make it “exciting” it’s taken out of a studio. That’s about it. That’s how you make it “exciting”.

Which is why I am about to faux-pitch a few “ambush game shows”

TACO TRUCK TRIVIA – The only game show that takes place on a food truck, would-be foodies have to answer pop culture and food & drink questions. But be careful, they might have to eat something disgusting if they’re wrong.

MONEY LIFT – The only game show that takes place on an elevator, contestants have to answer true or false questions. But be careful, if they get one wrong, they have to take the stairs!

WORKOUT WINNERS – The only game show that takes place in a fitness gym, contestants have to test their brawn and their brain in games on treadmills. But be careful, if they are wrong, they might have to do more push-ups!

UBER VICTORY – The only game show that takes place in an Uber. Contestants must answer questions determined by social media through their uber driver host. But be careful, if they are wrong, they get kicked out.

GROUNDED – The hidden-camera game show in which teenagers do wreckless things to their parents for money. Hosted by this comedian from VH1’s Best Week Ever.

I’m looking forward to seeing these in all of your upfronts. And I’m here if you need me, or Contact Me for Better Ideas

Jordan’s Therapy Session (4/29/2015)

I ramble into a microphone for MORE than an hour about Konami, E-Sports, The Bruce Jenner Interview, Nepal Earthquake, The Briefcase, Apple Watches, A question regarding The Avengers : Age of Ultron, ABC’s Wipeout, WWE Network’s Newest Shows – Unfiltered, Culture Shock, and Too Hot for TV and Being Hated for “Being an SJW” all while looking at Giant Bomb in the hopes the Big Live Live Show : Live is Archived.

Be Kind, Rewind.