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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 Chinese character for Failure. Since the launch of the original channel, several Retsupurae accounts run by other users have been created.
Retsupurae was created by slowbeef, a Something Awful user and moderator known for making some of the first Let’s Plays released in a video format. In 2008, slowbeef came across a Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 walkthrough video shared on the forums. Finding the video to be amusingly bad, slowbeef teamed up with fellow Something Awful user Sinix to film a satirical commentary reminiscent of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the short playthrough of the Nintendo game. The video was greeted with warm reception on the Something Awful forums, in part due to slowbeef’s role as a prominent figure in the growing Let’s Play community. The response quickly inspired slowbeef to create a YouTube channel for these videos.
The channel was initially known as “Retsupray” (not to be confused with the later 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 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 January 2014, the channel has more than 86,000 subscribers and over 46,283,000 video views.
As of January 2014, Retsupurae has more than 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook and over 13,900 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 actually appreciated the parodies, including SSoHPKC (shown below, left) and John CandyFortyFive (shown below, right).
Even though the riffs are perceived as abrasive by detractors, slowbeef insists that the videos are simply made in fun, and that no ill will toward the original uploader is meant by their commentaries. Because of this, both slowbeef and Diabetus have expressed distaste for when fans swarm the original video to post negative comments against the uploader. In addition, slowbeef has taken videos down on the occasions that the original uploader requested the videos be removed in a respectful and reasonable manner.
Webcam Ward was a spinoff of Retsupurae that was created in response to YouTube removing Retsupurae videos containing real-life footage of the users that were playing the games. After striking a deal with Something Awful founder Lowtax to create his own series exclusively for the site, slowbeef decided to expand his horizons to making fun of webcam rants found on YouTube, regardless if they featured video games or not.
Many of the videos guest-starred a user by the name of Khad, and Diabetus eventually started appearing on the show. The show’s last episode aired in October 2010, featuring a video involving Christian Weston “Chris-Chan” Chandler. Though slowbeef claimed that he wanted to take a break from the series for a while before eventually returning to it, there has been no indication that the series will continue.
In the Autumn of 2009, slowbeef began posting reaction videos to flash games and movies found on Newgrounds under the name Retsufrash. As of January 2014, there are 45 standalone Retsufrash videos. Furthermore, several playlists exist on the channel that are dedicated to various flash series. Among these are horror game Arise (shown below, left) and adventure game Trapped (shown below, right).
On March 27, 2010, slowbeef and Diabetus held a livestream to raise money for additional editing software. Though the stream itself was not recorded by either Retsupuraer, excerpts have surfaced due to the efforts of dedicated fans.
The stream was notable for featuring a segment where the Retsupuraers commented more upon a game itself instead of the actions of the commentator. This would eventually lead to the creation of another form of parody: Wrongpuraes.
Wrongpuraes are specifically dedicated to riffs on longplays, or extended playthroughs. The first one, Last Alert (shown below), was made in 2011 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 2014, there are 35 videos on the playlist for Wrongpuraes that last for two episodes or less, in addition to having another 17 Wrongpuraes with their own playlists.
One day, Diabetus had the idea to record conversations with him and slowbeef concerning matters regarding their personal lives, the work that they parody, and simple discussion of other video games. The podcast series launched on June 27th, 2012 and went on to feature a wide variety of guests and a number of theme songs. A blog was set up with audio of these discussions. In addition, a fan has compiled all of the discussions on a separate channel. Following the Retsublitz (see below), slowbeef mirrored all of the podcasts onto the main channel. The podcast went on hiatus for a long period of time, though it returned in late 2013, updating on a weekly basis.
On the first weekend of February 2013, slowbeef decided to record a handful of videos with some of the occasional guests that appeared on the show – 6 videos uploaded in under 48 hours. When Diabetus caught note of this, both he and slowbeef decided to impose a challenge upon themselves to see how many videos they could create before the channel’s fifth anniversary, which happened to be at the end of the month. This “Retsublitz” typically led to the creation of roughly 3 videos per day for the remainder of the month. Most of the videos can be found in a playlist , though some were removed by request and are only available through mirrors. The Retsublitz ended with a restatement of Retsupurae’s purpose, several special thanks, and a riff of a ROM Hack (shown below).
During the Retsublitz, slowbeef decided to contact a fan on the Facebook page known as Longfellow. Longfellow was allowed to select a video that he and slowbeef could make fun of, so Longfellow decided on a Super Mario Kart Let’s Play. The video was welcomed as a change of pace for the channel, and slowbeef allowed more fans to commentate on videos.
In the middle of 2013, Diabetus recorded a stream of himself playing Super Mario All-Stars and called slowbeef on as a guest. The latter revealed that he was taking an ironic interest in video game Creepypasta, starting by delivering a Dramatic Reading and critque of Sonic.EXE (shown below, left). After finishing the story, slowbeef read another two on the stream, and saved another three for a later stream that Diabetus took part in. Though slowbeef’s commentary on the stories was met with positive reception, these actions were criticized as taking the focus off of Diabetus. Following this criticism from fans, slowbeef decided to start a series where he would read and make fun of these Creepypasta stories on-camera (shown below, right). The videos were eventually given their own playlist.
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 4,000 subscribers.
Some time in 2008, proteus4994, slowbeef, and Diabetus came across a video that allegedly aired in the 1990’s on the video game show Flights Of Fantasy, 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. The videos themselves could be found on a channel hosted by NAVGTR, an association dedicated to archiving video game reviews.
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 Country.
“Donkey Kong Country is truly perfect. If you do not get this amazing new generation of Donkey Kong 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’s protagonist developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Years after the last George Wood parody was posted, both slowbeef and Diabetus attended a NAVGTR panel at the Penny Arcade Expo out of curiosity. They had a casual conversation with the CEO that revealed that George Wood was not officially affiliated with NAVGTR at the time that he made his reviews, though he did join up with the company some time later. The CEO eventually found out that they were both associated with Retsupurae, and noted that he greatly appreciated their parodies.
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 humorous to the commentary that hadn’t already been said previously or said by their fans.
On March 30th, 2009, slowbeef and Diabetus posted a video parodying a then-unknown YouTube user by the name of SirRonLionHeart. He spoke in an extremely flamboyant and outgoing way about any of his actions, even during the mundane sidequests that occurred in his extensive Let’s Play of The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Though both commentators expressed disdain with the player’s excitement, dismissing it as a gimmick (shown below, left), Chip Cheezum and General Ironicus posted a more positive commentary over another one of SirRonLionHeart’s videos (shown below, right). Due to the attention garnered by these videos, the number of subscribers that Ron had skyrocketed. Ron was one of the few YouTube users that benefited greatly from the parody, and his channel currently has over 10,000 subscribers.
In 2009, Christopher Bores (better known as “The Irate Gamer”) created a video investigating a purportedly haunted tower in Ohio (shown below). Though the Retsupurae channel was under fire for some content violations (that were instated after the original videos had been uploaded), slowbeef teamed up with Khad and decided to upload a parody questioning the video’s authenticity. Bores eventually found the parody and requested it be taken down, leading to the channel getting another warning and subsequently earning a suspension from YouTube. Though the video has not been re-uploaded by Retsupurae, copies of it exist on other channels.
This incident led to the creation of a backup channel, “Retsuplay”. Both slowbeef and Diabetus expressed disinterest in making new Retsupuraes following the shutdown, uploading new videos much more infrequently than before. However, due to the actions of a fan, many of the channel’s various content violations were revoked and almost all of the content that was previously lost had been restored, leading to the duo to decide to continue the series. Diabetus made a video concerning the announcement and told fans that new content would be posted on the reinstated channel (though the video has since been deleted). The alternate channel has not been used ever since.
The Nostalgia Critic
On September 6th, 2011, internet comedian Doug Walker (performing as the Nostalgia Critic) created an in-character Let’s Play of the NES game The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare. The video was quickly met with a negative response from Walker’s fans, who claimed that his commentary over the game was largely repetitive and innefectual. The video became one of the lowest-rated episodes in the series, scoring a 5 out of 10 on IMDb. People in the Let’s Play community requested that slowbeef and Diabetus make a video riffing on the LP, which was released two days later (shown below).
The video was met to more mixed reception compared to other Retsupurae videos, with detractors claiming that the commentary seemed to be composed more of personal attacks against Walker instead of parodying his content. Both slowbeef and Diabetus stated their displeasure with how their own commentary turned out on their Formsprings, and eventually noted that they did not hold anything against Walker personally on Retsutalk.
Incidentally, Walker himself has admitted that he personally felt that his own video was a disappointment and apologized to his fans for it. He would later go on to provide a retrospective as to why he personally thought the video went badly.
In 2012, slowbeef and Diabetus expressed interest in doing a parody of the increasingly popular YouTube user PewDiePie by popular demand. Though they stated that they had interest in making the parody, they were also ambivalent to go through with it due to concerns that the video would anger PewDiePie’s fanbase, which would potentially cause a substantial flame war. In addition, there were concerns that uploading the video could put the channel at risk due to some of YouTube’s policies. PewDiePie eventually gave them a seal of approval in the form of a letter to slowbeef.
The duo claimed that they wanted to do something special with the parody, so they eventually decided to call on their own fanbase to post comedic reactions to clips of PewDiePie’s content. The resulting video was called “Adults React To PewDiePie”, which was released on October 14th, 2012 (shown below, left). A “worksafe” version of the video (cutting out various reactions alluding to drugs and violence) was released the following day (shown below, right). Both videos were met with largely positive reception from the YouTube community and harshly negative reception from a majority of PewDiePie’s fans. Due to the controversy surrounding the video, “Adults React” became the most watched and liked video on the channel in the span of a few days.
Following the release of the video, fellow Retsupuraer General Ironicus posted his own interpretation as to why the video gathered the praise it did, as well as to give a critique to PewDiePie’s fanbase. In addition, slowbeef and Diabetus held a podcast discussing the fallout of the video, opinions concerning PewDiePie himself, and special thanks to those who contributed content. A follow-up podcast discussing Retsupurae-related news, as well as a couple of corrections to the previous podcast, was also posted shortly thereafter.
Eventually, the parody would warrant a response from PewDiePie himself:
Pretty funny I’ll admit! :)
But seriously though, have you never heard: “If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it”?
Actually never mind, keep watching! Your extra views gets me extra cash!
This message generated negative responses from both PewDiePie’s fans and Retsupurae’s fans because it implied that he was only concerned with money. In addition, a number of users that watched the video were appalled by his frequent use of the word “rape” as a punch-line, eventually leading to his decision to stop making rape jokes. PewDiePie would later create a video apology for his comment, as well as an apology for any offense taken to the jokes related to rape (shown below).
During the Retsublitz, slowbeef and Chip Cheezum commentated over a Let’s Play of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty by DarkSydePhil (shown below, left). The video was uploaded to slowbeef’s channel, but when Phil threatened to take action against the channel, slowbeef removed the video while Chip Cheezum quietly reuploaded the video to his own channel.
Later, satisfied by the warm response generated by “Adults React To PewDiePie”, slowbeef requested that fans send in videos of themselves having trouble doing simple things in real life as a way of making fun of Phil’s struggles with simple tasks in the games that he plays. After whittling down the best of over 200 responses, slowbeef uploaded the parody “A Day In The Life Of DarkSydePhil” on October 3rd, 2013 (shown below, right). Following this, slowbeef and Diabetus discussed the video Phil’s responses to parody and Phil in general after providing thoughts on Harvester, a game they had finished a Wrongpurae of.
That Guy With The Glasses – The Nostalgia Critic: Let’s Play Bart’s Nightmare.
That Guy With The Glasses – Doug Walker’s Commentary For “Let’s Play Bart’s Nightmare”.
That Guy With The Glasses – Doug Walker’s Commentary For “Let’s Play Bart’s Nightmare”.
General Ironicus’s Tumblr – Ironicus Reacts To The General Reaction To ‘Adults React To PewDiePie.’