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Retsupurae is a YouTube series dedicated to parodying mediocre Let’s Play walkthrough videos. The channel’s name stems from the Engrish pronunciation of “Let’s Play” with its logo utilizing the Japanese character for Failure. Since its launch in 2008, several other Let’s Play parody accounts have been created.
Something Awful user slowbeef, who was already known in the community for creating one of the first Let’s Play videos in January 2007, made the first parody after coming across a Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 walkthrough video shared on the forums. Finding it to be amusingly bad, slowbeef teamed up with another Something Awful user Sinix to film a satirical commentary reminiscent of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the short playthrough of Nintendo game. The video was greeted with warm reception on the Something Awful forums, inspiring slowbeef to create a YouTube channel for these videos.
The channel was initially known as “Retsupray” (not to be confused with the backup account “Retsuplay”) and slowbeef enlisted other Goons from the Let’s Play subforum to help add commentary including proteus4994, Dave_O, Psychedelic Eyeball, Cherrydoom, Voidburger, and Diabetus, who has since co-starred in nearly every video and even hosted several of his own. The videos typically satirize common themes of Let’s Play web series, including bad video or audio quality, singing along with the video game’s music, deliberately exaggerated commentary, demonstrating a walkthrough with little-to-no-experience at the game, spouting memes for no reason or redundant gameplay footage. Shortly after Retsupurae’s creation, Something Awful user ResearchIndicates created a video explaining the purpose behind the channel.
Though Retsupurae was greeted with some praise on Something Awful, a number of YouTube users initially expressed disdain for the group’s critical videos. Many of these users were fans of the people who were riffed on, with some incorrectly stating that the Goons never made LPs of their own and Youtube was the original source of all LPs (shown below, left), and others making empty death threats towards the channel (shown below, right). Sometimes, the creators of the riffed LPs attack the videos, usually in the form of flaming in the comments. This first account was eventually suspended and slowbeef launched the second channel, “Retsupurae” on February 28th, 2008. As of March 2013, this channel has more than 64,000 subscribers and more than 33,000.000 video views.
As of January 2013, Retsupurae has more than 7500 likes on Facebook and nearly 9000 followers on Twitter. In addition, slowbeef and Diabetus also maintain a Formspring accounts where they answers questions about the series in addition to more personal inquiries. There is also a fan-run single topic Tumblr dedicated to supporting their videos as well as a Social Justice group against them, calling their commentary “hateful mockery” with evidence of transphobia, homophobia and support of suicide, though a handful of Goons and Tumblr users alike have questioned the authenticity of the blog. Interestingly, a handful of YouTuber Let’s Players who have been riffed on have appreciated the parodies, including SSoHPKC (shown below, left) and John CandyFortyFive (shown below, right).
In 2009, slowbeef began posting reaction videos to flash games and movies found on Newgrounds under the name Retsufrash. As of January 2013, there are 48 Retsufrash videos including horror game Arise (shown below, left) and adventure game Trapped (shown below, right).
Wrongpuraes are specifically dedicated to riffs on longplays, or extended playthroughs. The first one, Last Alert (shown below), was made when Diabetus ran into slowbeef while on a business trip. The most popular among these videos is the Wrongpurae of Darkseed 2, which has spawned a considerable amount of in-jokes and fanart. As of January 2013, there are 18 videos on the playlist for 1-2 part Wrongpuraes, in addition to having another 11 Wrongpuraes with their own complete playlists. Currently, two Wrongpuraes are in progress: King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride and I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream.
Diabetus had the idea to record conversations with him and slowbeef concerning matters regarding their work and other video games. This podcast-style series launched on June 27th, 2012 and went on to feature a wide variety of guests and a number of theme songs. Though not all of them still exist on the channel, a blog was set up with audio of these discussions. In addition, a fan has compiled all of the discussions on a separate channel.
Before the original channel was shut down by YouTube, Retsupurae came across an enthusiastic, yet paradoxically timid LPer known as BillyMC. After parodying his earliest video, the commentators decided they they actually liked his personality, to the point that halfway through their second parody, they outright start cheering him on. They quickly changed their tune and began to describe BillyMC as a Chuck Norris-like figure (while still making light of his inability to play Super Mario All-Stars: The Lost Levels skillfully). Billy has since earned over 3,000 subscribers.
George Wood’s Commentary
Some time in 2008, proteus4994, slowbeef, and Diabetus came across a video that allegedly aired in the 1990’s on a video game show , reviewing Mega Man 8. The group frequently made fun of the narrator’s false enthusiasm and outlandish statements, eventually deciding to riff on thirteen more of his videos. Commentary provided by Wood evolved into two separate snowclones within the channel’s fanbase. The first was taken directly from one of the early videos, noting Wood’s passion for Donkey Kong.
“Donkey Kong Country is truly perfect. If you do not get this amazing new generation of Donkey Kong Country madness, you are stupid. Yes, I know it’s insulting, but that’s also the truth. If you’re a true video game fan, you will not hesitate in the slightest bit to buy this piece of gaming history.”
The second appeared in Wood’s review of Tomb Raider 2, where he posted a challenge for the developers of the series:
“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 on her wordly adventures despite her illness. It needs fleshing out, no pun intended, but we guarantee the gaming world would be shocked, stunned, and moved by the effort to make Lara’s character more meaningful.”
When Retsupurae riffed on this review, Diabetus and slowbeef reacted with shocked laughter at Wood’s proposal, and put up a sarcastic Pink Ribbon photo after Wood’s commentary was finished. Fans later would alter it to describe outlandish scenarios where other video game characters are afflicted with terrible diseases, such as Minecraft Steve developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Before the Retsupurae team discovered George Wood’s infamous commentaries, they saw a Let’s Play of Super Mario 64 done by a boy with an egregiously thick British accent, who the duo compared to “the British equivalent of a Leprechaun”. Like BillyMC, they quickly took a liking to his upbeat and quirky personality.
After spoofing George Wood, slowbeef and Diabetus Retsupuraed ElectricalBeast again, amused by his original storyline that they compared to Fanfiction, and the pair were eager to find out how his story ended. Unfortunately, ElectricalBeast’s emulation files were corrupted, leading to a long hiatus, much to their disappointment.
On December 25th, 2010, ElectricalBeast uploaded the final episode of his Super Mario 64 Let’s Play. Since the video was uploaded, several fans requested that the Retsupurae team revisit ElectricalBeast one last time. When a Twitter user asked about the video on a Retsutalk episode, both slowbeef and Diabetus turned the opportunity down, claiming that they felt they could not add anything to the commentary that hadn’t already been said.