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Defunct Games Has Been Canceled
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 01, 2011   |   Episode 16 (Show Archive)  

   
EGM Issue 1
This is going to be the greatest birthday party of all time!!
It was exactly ten years ago that I first opened the doors of Defunct Games. It started as an excuse to play old games and defend forgotten game consoles, but it quickly turned into a full time profession. These days I'm playing through dozens of games a week, posting daily articles and keeping the flame alive. It hasn't been easy, but we've managed to make it through a full decade without causing serious damage to ourselves. At this point I'm willing to take any win I can get.

Part of what I like about Defunct Games is how we throw a lot of silly ideas at the wall and see what sticks. Over the years we've managed to come up

Just don't expect me to make a movie out of any of these canceled shows!
with a few great ideas (if I do say so myself), but we're not always that lucky. Sometimes an article doesn't work out or overstays its welcome, in that case we do what anybody else would do -- we put it out of its misery. The last ten years is littered with interesting shows that were canceled for one reason or another.

What better way to celebrate Defunct Games' tenth anniversary than to look back at my biggest blunders. Here are some of the shows we've had to cancel over the years and why they met their untimely fate. Some of these took too much work, while others were just plain bad. And like the killer in a bad slasher film, you never know when one of these shows will spring back to life and drown your slutty girlfriend.

After Thoughts
[ Show Run: 2006 - 2007 | Show Archive ]

Meet Jake, he's some random shlub who had no idea he would star in seven episodes of After Thoughts!
The Pitch: It's a show that makes snarky comments about other online video game-related shows. It's like The Soup, only with more Jeff Gerstmann and much less Wendy Williams. In each episode our hero (a recently deceased video game junkie) switches from one video game protagonist to the next. All along the way he makes snarky comments and plays some of the silliest clips we could steal.

What Happened? By 2006 I was looking to expand Defunct Games and broaden the site's appeal. I accomplished this goal by adding more video content to the site, hoping to attract gamers too cool to read two thousand word articles. I started simple, videotaping

After Thoughts was exactly like Talk Soup ... except there was never a hot female host!
the happenings at two local gaming events -- Game On and the Penny Arcade Expo). These two episodes are nowhere close to perfect, but they did give me the experience with video editing and voice over. More importantly, it opened up a new world of creativity.

Taking my experience with the live shows, I decided to move on to something more ambitious. My first target was Devil May Cry. My plan was to imitate shows like Talk Soup and Best Week Ever. I would run embarrassing video from other video game sites (usually GameSpot and 1up) and make snarky comments. And best of all, I would use Dante as my avatar so that I only have to do voice over work. The first episode was a little rough, but I definitely accomplished my goal.

Over the next year I would produce six more episodes. These episodes included games as diverse as Silent Hill, The Legend of Zelda , Crackdown and even those adorable Mii Characters. The episodes were fun to put together and taught me a lot about creating an online television show. Looking back at them now I see all of the mistakes I made, but we're talking about content that is five years old.

Like a lot of things, After Thoughts became too much of a hassle to put together on a consistent basis. In 2008, I decided to give the show a new life. Instead of going back to After Thoughts, I decided to start a brand new show called MEGATON. It has a familiar theme and the same sense of humor, but it was easier to develop and offered a more cohesive story. Best of all, it allowed me to demonstrate the skills I had learned from working on After Thoughts.

Chance of Renewal: 0% - As far as I'm concerned After Thoughts is dead and buried. It has been replaced by a better show that is easier to work on. But don't worry, the spirit of After Thoughts lives on in MEGATON. It has the same sense of humor and visual gags; it's an all-around better show. Expect new episodes of that to start running any day now.

The Notorious ABCs
[ Show Run: 2003 - 2004 | Show Archive ]

If I saved one kid from playing the horendous Athena Wonder Land, then it has all been worth it!
The Pitch: It's a 26-part feature that looks at every bad video game from A to Z. In each episode we would chronicle a group of terrible games for 8- and 16-bit systems. Each episode would fire cheap shots at these games until we exhausted the entire alphabet (and every bad game we could think of).

What Happened? The Notorious ABCs was originally conceived at the same time as I've Got Your Number, I always thought it would be fun to feature shows that dealt with numbers and letters. Back in 2003 I found myself playing a lot of really terrible games and unable to adequately vent my displeasure. The concept was intended to be therapeutic; however it quickly became more stressful than I had anticipated.

We got exactly two episodes in before I officially pulled the plug. Each episode would be named after a synonym for "bad" and would feature me unloading all of my hatred and aggression

Did you know that the name came from rap-inspired Sesame Street fan fiction? It was the war between the Notorious ABC and 1-2-3Pac!
on these poor games. The first episode was titled A for Atrocious and warned gamers about Air Cars and the horrible Action 52 cartridge. B for Bad was the same concept, only this time around it a bunch of Batman games to kick around.

The show ultimately ended when I realized that venting my frustration wasn't helping. If anything it was making me even more upset about spending so much time playing the worst stuff on earth. I also worried about the repetition, which was painfully obvious even with only two episodes. I feared that having 26 episodes of me bitching about the same thing might get grating after a while, and would ultimately be a big waste of time. I had to cut some deadweight and The Notorious ABCs had to go.

Chance of Renewal: 25% - I wouldn't mind taking another crack at this show seven years later. In 2004 I was only starting to experiment with content on the site, so to do it now would allow me to give it the sarcastic style it needed all along. Still, there are already a lot of shows on Defunct Games that require me to be a snarky jerk; perhaps this one can continue to stay in the canceled pile.

Newsphile
[ Show Run: 2002 - 2003 | Show Archive ]

Nobody does fake news better than Brooke Alvarez and don't you forget it ... she'll hunt you down!
The Pitch: It's like The Onion for video game fans. No, that's exactly what it is. It's literally The Onion but with video game related jokes. Seriously.

What Happened? There's a fine line between homage and blatant rip-off. Newsphile was the latter. I won't make any excuse for it; this early Defunct Games show was nothing more than me attempting to be like The Onion. While it's natural to look at the success of others when starting a website, I'm doubt I'm supposed to take the concept and run. I may not have stolen any of The Onion's material, but it was painfully clear what I was trying to get away with.

Looking back at it now, there is some strong material in each of the four issues. There are some funny jabs at Rez and fishing games in Issue 1. The second issue featured an expose on a man who fell asleep waiting in line for a Japanese Xbox. By Issue 3 we had added a

Without Newsphile this burning question would never have been answered!
classified section. And the final issue was a satirical look at the second Iraq War. There's some good material in each issue, even if much of it is dated.

It's easy to come up with a few jokes here and there, but I quickly discovered the grueling work that went into making Newsphile. There's something to be said about having other people to bounce ideas off of, but in 2002 the entire staff was comprised of me and my office chair. As a result I had to consistently come up with funny headlines, all while I was already hard at work on other taxing features. The end result was me pushing Newsphile to the side. It simply became too much work for its own good.


I still say this is a good idea!
For what it's worth, a lot of the ideas I had for future Newsphile episodes were tunneled into other projects. Popular shows like Guerilla Scrapbook, Worst Game Ever and Video Game Advice (Working Title) all came from Newsphile. Nine years later I'm still amazed that my horrible HTML code from 2002 still looks good. Oh the simpler times.

Chance of Renewal: 10% - I'm always a little surprised when I hear people request more episodes of the Newsphile. This is usually followed up by a long story about how they've been fans of the site for years and years. Sure it's a blatant rip-off, but a lot of the jokes hold up surprisingly well. I get the love and would really enjoy making another episode. But after so much time I feel like there's a lot of pressure. And the competition has been so good for so long that it's almost not worth doing at all. There's always a chance, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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