The combination of gaming and television is an untapped market right now; it’s not very often you’ll turn on your television and see a television show focusing on gaming. Sure, maybe a CSI episode will focus on a murdered video gamer every now and then, but they barely touch the surface of the gaming community. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a TV show that dedicates each and every minute into helping you get into the mind of a gamer. On the internet, you’ll find a slew of internet web-series’ that delve deep into the gaming community, whether it’s a show that uses actual video game footage as its basis (Red vs. Blue), a mock-u-mentary type show involving a camera following around a gamer as he goes through life (Pure Pwnage), or following the lives of an online internet guild (The Guild). Each of these shows were immensely popular on the internet as gamers from everywhere tuned in on a regular basis to watch new episodes. For some reason, the internet has been a much easier place for video games and television to breed, creating hilarious, poignant and unique stories.
However, one of these three shows has catapulted to the forefront of television. The show “Pure Pwnage,” created by Geoff Lapaire and Jarrett Cale, follows a gamer named Jeremy (played by Cale) who’s obsession with gaming overtakes every other aspect of his life. His gamer tag, “the_pwnerer,” is more popular than his real name, and while he's famous in the gaming community, his fame in “RL,” or real life, is less than stellar. His brother, Kyle, follows him around with a camera and documents his life for a film class he's taking. The show is filmed like a documentary, but there are heavily fictional aspects of the show, including Jeremy's ability to use “micro” not just in gaming but in real life (for those of you who aren't entirely sure what “micro” is, it seems to be short for “micro-managing,” meaning a gamer can manage multiple fronts or characters in a game at once, particularly in a Real Time Strategy game like Zero Hour).
The show's premise is basic, and along the way, you meet many of Jeremy's acquaintances who admittedly steal some scenes from the star of the show himself: there's FPS Doug (played by Joel Gardiner), an off-the-wall, hyperactive guy who's obsessed with FPS games (that is, first person shooters, which are games in which you see through the eyes of the guy who's shooting the gun, like Halo, Half-Life or any Call of Duty game). His grasp on reality is... well, it's difficult to tell if he actually has one. At times, he can seem serious, and there are other times when he is insane to the point of wondering whether or not psychotropic drugs are involved. There's also October, a girl who works at a local LAN center and seems to have a crush on Jeremy, as well as Tyrone, a guy who plays Call of Duty on occasion with Jeremy.
Fans of the internet web series may be upset with the new and improved version of Pure Pwnage; the show is much more fast-paced and finds Jarret Cale acting more hyper than normal and talking faster than he normally does. People who loved Dave, the quiet yet hilarious character from the original series, will lament upon learning he's nowhere to be found. However, the show does a great job of taking the gaming community and turning it into something that everybody can understand. There are the rare occasions when the show descends into territories that are difficult for the normal viewer to understand, the viewers who aren’t familiar with the gaming lingo. Either way, the characters are interesting enough to carry the show, simply based on their personalities. FPS Doug is insane; combining real life with gaming life, he has difficulty differentiating between them. Jeremy, who’s clueless himself, has a better grasp on reality yet still brings the laughs on a consistent basis. Even Geoff Lapaire’s character, Kyle, is funny, despite being stuck behind the camera for twenty minutes. The writing is also excellent; while the show does follow the somewhat tired documentary format that The Office, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family have been using, they make up for it with some great quotes. Doug provides most of the laugh-out-loud moments, whether it’s when he decides to wear sweatpants while gaming (which ends up being an awful idea, due to his tendency to get… well, let’s just say over-excited) or when his anger gets the best of him, resulting in the destruction of various Rock Band instruments.
The gaming community is an untapped topic in television, and hopefully Pure Pwnage can continue to grow and prosper. After all, besides a few web-series, a South Park episode and the occasional parody, we haven’t seen television’s true potential when it comes to focusing on video games. Pure Pwnage is an example of a group of friends coming together, taking an original idea and following through on it. The first season is currently airing on Showcase, which is, unfortunately, available only to citizens of Canada. However, while some of you may be wondering whether or not my focus on a show only Canadians can watch is a waste of time, fear not: you can find the show on Youtube to stream. The show will also be appearing on purepwnage.com soon; the original web-series is available for streaming as well, for anybody who has not witnessed the phenomenon that is “The pwnerer” and his group of friends.
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