History Main / OldManMurray

19th Nov '13 10:19:45 PM justanid
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A video game humor website popular with a significant segment of the PC gaming population around the late nineties and turn of the millennium. Noted for being unbelievably offensive and also unbelievably funny, this no-frills website (white text on a black background, a few screenshots and basically nothing else) was disproportionately influential, both in the world of game development and the world of internet comedy.

The site was co-written by Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, who formed a kind of hyper-offensive comedy duo comparable to [[PennyArcade other web comedy duos]] [[PointlessWasteOfTime of the time.]] These two were joined by a fictional third character, the site's time-traveling mascot, Marvin. Together, they tore apart bad games and lampooned the cliches and foolish design decisions that ran rampant in PC game design of the day. The site never took itself particularly seriously, and all information offered was understood to be heavily biased toward RuleOfFunny (see the Freedom: First Resistance review where the game loses points because Erik's monitor dies in the middle of playing, and he blames the game).

The site was surprisingly influential, with industry bigwigs such as Valve Software's Gabe Newell claiming to consider the site's opinion when designing a game. OldManMurray was also among the first successful humor websites, and had a broad-ranging influence. Many of the internet's most renowned comedy acts were contemporaries of OldManMurray (Seanbaby, Bad Candy, Fat Chicks In Pary Hats, etc.) or were directly influenced by the site (David Wong, current editor-in-chief of Cracked.com, claims to have started writing because of OldManMurray, and Tycho of PennyArcade has called Erik Wolpaw the greatest video game humorist of all time.)

Sadly, the site stopped updating in mid 2001, although [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com it remains online for archival purposes.]] (Note: Definitely {{NSFW}}.) The story does have a happy ending, though, as both Chet and Erik were hired on by Valve Software and have jobs writing in the games industry. Erik Wolpaw in particular has become something of a [[VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}} game dialogue]] [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} writing legend.]]

----

!!This work contains examples of the following:

* AccentuateTheNegative - But of course, this is an internet comedy review site
* AprilFoolsDay - On April 1, 1999, OldManMurray sold out to a Japanese whaling company and became [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/93.html Salaryman Murray]]
* AttractMode - As part of a series of articles on viking game ''{{Rune}}'', Erik comments on a picture that is [[RunningGag clearly not of either of them,]] claiming that the small child in the picture is Chet, and that he reviewed ''Rune'' "how Chet plays every game. He watches the attract mode, fiddles with his "eemcas" controller and squeals."
* BrickJoke - The site's longer articles were often intricately woven together with running gags, and something mentioned on Page 1 could come back to be a punchline at the end of Page 5.
* CatharsisFactor - [[invoked]] One of their favorite reasons to like a game. They once wrote that they didn't understand the general infatuation with thinking as recreation as a sign of intelligence, and that they want to play "the action man's ''[[{{Robotron 2084}} Robotron]]'' - a game like ''Robotron'' but with much less thinking."
* ConstructiveCriticism - Surprisingly offered up with some frequency, in between all of the hateful, hateful jabs. Gabe Newell was once quoted to the effect that his development team was instructed to think "What would Old Man Murray think of this?" and then get back to work. (paraphrasing)
* CrateExpectations - In fact, this site invented the infamous "Start to Crate" ratings system [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/39.html here]], calling it "the world's first completely unbiased review methodology". They assert that the first crate encountered in a game "represents the point where the developers ran out of ideas".
* DuelingGames - They actually stayed above the fray in the brawl between ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' and ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament,'' stating that they were both quality games (although Chet was annoyed at certain members of the Quake team's pissy reaction to non-perfect reviews).
* {{E3}} - The team did all sorts of weird stuff for E3 updates, most of which had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual show. They would claim to go on magical adventures with Dolemite or pretend to have been in a traveling band in the 70s.
* EasterEgg - In ''Quake III Arena'', the Old Man Murray logo is displayed on some monitors. Erik feigned outrage and claimed that they were going to sue, but he was obviously very flattered.
** The Old Man Murray front page is likewise displayed on most computer monitors in ''VideoGame/{{Postal}} 2''.
* EightPointEight - [[invoked]] One of Chet's pet peeves was developers throwing tantrums when they received only almost-perfect reviews instead of the perfect 10s they felt entitled to, likening it to a smart girl in high school complaining about getting a B+ on a test. Keep in mind that this was before metacritic and bonuses for review score aggregation.
* EldritchAbomination - A running joke is that Roberta Williams, creator of the King's Quest series of games, is actually some kind of horrifying super-Satan, responsible for all the world's suffering.
* FourPointScale - Chet makes a huge point of lambasting this during his review of ''Rune,'' pointing out all of the very high marks given in reviews that read like they didn't like the game.
* GagPenis - "Now, I'm not a big man. In fact, I'm a small man attached to a large man's penis..."
* GameBreakingBug - Ruthlessly called out in games like ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' and ''VideoGame/UltimaIX''.
* GameMod - The site was most active during the golden age of mods for PC shooters, so they actually reviewed several of them.
* GameplayDerailment - [[invoked]] All of their "strategy guides" for various games are more about dicking around, trying to get reactions out of the game's characters or other players than actually playing the game.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar - Obviously not a concern for the website itself, but Chet wrote a [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/758.html satirical article]] on how to properly do so in light of Paul Steed's bombastic public persona.
* IndieGame - Erik actually made a couple of them, ''Cratemaster'' and ''Alien Vs. Child Predator''. The latter actually got him a job in the games industry somehow.
* ItGetsBetter - Brutally savaged in universe in every review of a game that features it. They were definitely not fans of this idea, stating that since they already do awful work at shitty jobs in order to buy the video game in the first place it's a kind of insult to require them to do more work they don't like to get to the entertainment.
* MediaWatchdog - A feature wherein they were questioned by members of the Secret Service in the wake of 9/11 due to some of their... ''edgier'' jokes about harm to certain public figures. Much of the account is obviously fabricated, but how much is anybody's guess. We know that it was based on a real occurrence, and that's about it.
* MostGamersAreMale - They gleefully make fun of this attitude, and then go on to gleefully make fun of people who get too uptight about this attitude, in particular James Wagner Au, who had the audacity to call out the crassness of E3 Booth Babes while writing for Salon magazine in the days when they basically had a glorified pornography section.
* MurderSimulators - In one of the site's more oddly introspective pieces, in the wake of 9/11 Erik laments that, contrary to all of the hype and moralizing, he realized that video games had not actually taught him how to shoot a gun or do anything useful at all, and would not help him defend himself or anyone else in case of catastrophe.
* NoteFromEd - Both Chet and Erik would insert these into each other's articles from time to time, although Erik seemed to have more of a liking for it.
* ObviousBeta - Erik called out ''VideoGame/UltimaIX'' for being one of these, calling it "...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer..."
* PCVsConsole - Both Erik and Chet were primarily PC gamers while working on the site, reviewing PC titles almost exclusively. However, they both talked about console games from time to time and, in their review of ''AmericanMcGeesAlice'' they actually praised console games for having a very good grasp on action elements and many ways for characters to interact with the world instead of just shooting things and opening doors with keycards.
* RuleOfFun - Given the games they claimed to enjoy (notably ''GiantsCitizenKabuto'') and their general reviewing standards, they were big proponents of this rule. Everything doesn't have to make sense all the time or be super grim or gritty or crazy; just fun.
* RummageSaleReject - In their odd review of ''AsheronsCall'' they dress their character in as ridiculous a fashion as they can manage, just to creep out the other players.
* RunningGag - They had several, such as never posting a picture of themselves and instead substituting the most ludicrous pictures of other people that they could find, and treating Roberta Williams like the devil. They actually had to ''retire'' a running joke after Jason Hall made a decent game.
* RefugeInAudacity - Marvin's newsposts were renowned for being completely psychotic.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential - A lot of their "walkthroughs" for games turned into this sooner or later, especially their ''[=SWAT=]'' walkthrough, which just consists of shooting innocent people in the leg over and over while sending your own men in to bad situations to die.

to:

A video game humor website popular with a significant segment of the PC gaming population around the late nineties and turn of the millennium. Noted for being unbelievably offensive and also unbelievably funny, this no-frills website (white text on a black background, a few screenshots and basically nothing else) was disproportionately influential, both in the world of game development and the world of internet comedy.

The site was co-written by Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, who formed a kind of hyper-offensive comedy duo comparable to [[PennyArcade other web comedy duos]] [[PointlessWasteOfTime of the time.]] These two were joined by a fictional third character, the site's time-traveling mascot, Marvin. Together, they tore apart bad games and lampooned the cliches and foolish design decisions that ran rampant in PC game design of the day. The site never took itself particularly seriously, and all information offered was understood to be heavily biased toward RuleOfFunny (see the Freedom: First Resistance review where the game loses points because Erik's monitor dies in the middle of playing, and he blames the game).

The site was surprisingly influential, with industry bigwigs such as Valve Software's Gabe Newell claiming to consider the site's opinion when designing a game. OldManMurray was also among the first successful humor websites, and had a broad-ranging influence. Many of the internet's most renowned comedy acts were contemporaries of OldManMurray (Seanbaby, Bad Candy, Fat Chicks In Pary Hats, etc.) or were directly influenced by the site (David Wong, current editor-in-chief of Cracked.com, claims to have started writing because of OldManMurray, and Tycho of PennyArcade has called Erik Wolpaw the greatest video game humorist of all time.)

Sadly, the site stopped updating in mid 2001, although [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com it remains online for archival purposes.]] (Note: Definitely {{NSFW}}.) The story does have a happy ending, though, as both Chet and Erik were hired on by Valve Software and have jobs writing in the games industry. Erik Wolpaw in particular has become something of a [[VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}} game dialogue]] [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} writing legend.]]

----

!!This work contains examples of the following:

* AccentuateTheNegative - But of course, this is an internet comedy review site
* AprilFoolsDay - On April 1, 1999, OldManMurray sold out to a Japanese whaling company and became [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/93.html Salaryman Murray]]
* AttractMode - As part of a series of articles on viking game ''{{Rune}}'', Erik comments on a picture that is [[RunningGag clearly not of either of them,]] claiming that the small child in the picture is Chet, and that he reviewed ''Rune'' "how Chet plays every game. He watches the attract mode, fiddles with his "eemcas" controller and squeals."
* BrickJoke - The site's longer articles were often intricately woven together with running gags, and something mentioned on Page 1 could come back to be a punchline at the end of Page 5.
* CatharsisFactor - [[invoked]] One of their favorite reasons to like a game. They once wrote that they didn't understand the general infatuation with thinking as recreation as a sign of intelligence, and that they want to play "the action man's ''[[{{Robotron 2084}} Robotron]]'' - a game like ''Robotron'' but with much less thinking."
* ConstructiveCriticism - Surprisingly offered up with some frequency, in between all of the hateful, hateful jabs. Gabe Newell was once quoted to the effect that his development team was instructed to think "What would Old Man Murray think of this?" and then get back to work. (paraphrasing)
* CrateExpectations - In fact, this site invented the infamous "Start to Crate" ratings system [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/39.html here]], calling it "the world's first completely unbiased review methodology". They assert that the first crate encountered in a game "represents the point where the developers ran out of ideas".
* DuelingGames - They actually stayed above the fray in the brawl between ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' and ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament,'' stating that they were both quality games (although Chet was annoyed at certain members of the Quake team's pissy reaction to non-perfect reviews).
* {{E3}} - The team did all sorts of weird stuff for E3 updates, most of which had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual show. They would claim to go on magical adventures with Dolemite or pretend to have been in a traveling band in the 70s.
* EasterEgg - In ''Quake III Arena'', the Old Man Murray logo is displayed on some monitors. Erik feigned outrage and claimed that they were going to sue, but he was obviously very flattered.
** The Old Man Murray front page is likewise displayed on most computer monitors in ''VideoGame/{{Postal}} 2''.
* EightPointEight - [[invoked]] One of Chet's pet peeves was developers throwing tantrums when they received only almost-perfect reviews instead of the perfect 10s they felt entitled to, likening it to a smart girl in high school complaining about getting a B+ on a test. Keep in mind that this was before metacritic and bonuses for review score aggregation.
* EldritchAbomination - A running joke is that Roberta Williams, creator of the King's Quest series of games, is actually some kind of horrifying super-Satan, responsible for all the world's suffering.
* FourPointScale - Chet makes a huge point of lambasting this during his review of ''Rune,'' pointing out all of the very high marks given in reviews that read like they didn't like the game.
* GagPenis - "Now, I'm not a big man. In fact, I'm a small man attached to a large man's penis..."
* GameBreakingBug - Ruthlessly called out in games like ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' and ''VideoGame/UltimaIX''.
* GameMod - The site was most active during the golden age of mods for PC shooters, so they actually reviewed several of them.
* GameplayDerailment - [[invoked]] All of their "strategy guides" for various games are more about dicking around, trying to get reactions out of the game's characters or other players than actually playing the game.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar - Obviously not a concern for the website itself, but Chet wrote a [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/758.html satirical article]] on how to properly do so in light of Paul Steed's bombastic public persona.
* IndieGame - Erik actually made a couple of them, ''Cratemaster'' and ''Alien Vs. Child Predator''. The latter actually got him a job in the games industry somehow.
* ItGetsBetter - Brutally savaged in universe in every review of a game that features it. They were definitely not fans of this idea, stating that since they already do awful work at shitty jobs in order to buy the video game in the first place it's a kind of insult to require them to do more work they don't like to get to the entertainment.
* MediaWatchdog - A feature wherein they were questioned by members of the Secret Service in the wake of 9/11 due to some of their... ''edgier'' jokes about harm to certain public figures. Much of the account is obviously fabricated, but how much is anybody's guess. We know that it was based on a real occurrence, and that's about it.
* MostGamersAreMale - They gleefully make fun of this attitude, and then go on to gleefully make fun of people who get too uptight about this attitude, in particular James Wagner Au, who had the audacity to call out the crassness of E3 Booth Babes while writing for Salon magazine in the days when they basically had a glorified pornography section.
* MurderSimulators - In one of the site's more oddly introspective pieces, in the wake of 9/11 Erik laments that, contrary to all of the hype and moralizing, he realized that video games had not actually taught him how to shoot a gun or do anything useful at all, and would not help him defend himself or anyone else in case of catastrophe.
* NoteFromEd - Both Chet and Erik would insert these into each other's articles from time to time, although Erik seemed to have more of a liking for it.
* ObviousBeta - Erik called out ''VideoGame/UltimaIX'' for being one of these, calling it "...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer..."
* PCVsConsole - Both Erik and Chet were primarily PC gamers while working on the site, reviewing PC titles almost exclusively. However, they both talked about console games from time to time and, in their review of ''AmericanMcGeesAlice'' they actually praised console games for having a very good grasp on action elements and many ways for characters to interact with the world instead of just shooting things and opening doors with keycards.
* RuleOfFun - Given the games they claimed to enjoy (notably ''GiantsCitizenKabuto'') and their general reviewing standards, they were big proponents of this rule. Everything doesn't have to make sense all the time or be super grim or gritty or crazy; just fun.
* RummageSaleReject - In their odd review of ''AsheronsCall'' they dress their character in as ridiculous a fashion as they can manage, just to creep out the other players.
* RunningGag - They had several, such as never posting a picture of themselves and instead substituting the most ludicrous pictures of other people that they could find, and treating Roberta Williams like the devil. They actually had to ''retire'' a running joke after Jason Hall made a decent game.
* RefugeInAudacity - Marvin's newsposts were renowned for being completely psychotic.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential - A lot of their "walkthroughs" for games turned into this sooner or later, especially their ''[=SWAT=]'' walkthrough, which just consists of shooting innocent people in the leg over and over while sending your own men in to bad situations to die.
[[redirect:Website/OldManMurray]]
27th Sep '13 6:25:50 PM Kapow
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* CrateExpectations - In fact, this site invented the infamous "Start to Crate" ratings system [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/39.html here.]]

to:

* CrateExpectations - In fact, this site invented the infamous "Start to Crate" ratings system [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/39.html here.]]here]], calling it "the world's first completely unbiased review methodology". They assert that the first crate encountered in a game "represents the point where the developers ran out of ideas".
16th Jun '13 1:16:32 PM Kadorhal
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* ConstructiveCriticism - Surprisingly offered up with some frequency, in between all of the hateful, hateful jabs. Creators/GabeNewell was once quoted to the effect that his development team was instructed to think "What would Old Man Murray think of this?" and then get back to work. (paraphrasing)

to:

* ConstructiveCriticism - Surprisingly offered up with some frequency, in between all of the hateful, hateful jabs. Creators/GabeNewell Gabe Newell was once quoted to the effect that his development team was instructed to think "What would Old Man Murray think of this?" and then get back to work. (paraphrasing)



* EasterEgg - in ''Quake III Arena'', the Old Man Murray logo is displayed on some monitors. Erik feigned outrage and claimed that they were going to sue, but he was obviously very flattered.

to:

* EasterEgg - in In ''Quake III Arena'', the Old Man Murray logo is displayed on some monitors. Erik feigned outrage and claimed that they were going to sue, but he was obviously very flattered.flattered.
** The Old Man Murray front page is likewise displayed on most computer monitors in ''VideoGame/{{Postal}} 2''.
6th Jun '13 9:43:21 AM EarlOfSandvich
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* GameBreakingBug - Ruthlessly called out in games like ''{{Daikatana}}'' and ''UltimaIX''.

to:

* GameBreakingBug - Ruthlessly called out in games like ''{{Daikatana}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' and ''UltimaIX''.''VideoGame/UltimaIX''.



* ObviousBeta - Erik called out ''UltimaIX'' for being one of these, calling it "...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer..."

to:

* ObviousBeta - Erik called out ''UltimaIX'' ''VideoGame/UltimaIX'' for being one of these, calling it "...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer..."
2nd Jun '13 2:01:11 PM EarlOfSandvich
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* DuelingGames - They actually stayed above the fray in the brawl between ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' and ''UnrealTournament,'' stating that they were both quality games (although Chet was annoyed at certain members of the Quake team's pissy reaction to non-perfect reviews).

to:

* DuelingGames - They actually stayed above the fray in the brawl between ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' and ''UnrealTournament,'' ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament,'' stating that they were both quality games (although Chet was annoyed at certain members of the Quake team's pissy reaction to non-perfect reviews).
9th Feb '13 2:21:53 AM supergod
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* AdventureGame - Their scathing piece on [[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/77.html Gabriel Knight 3]] as regards the "death" of oldschool Adventure games, as well as a couple of rather cruel pieces on Roberta Williams. Their ultimate summation is that the genre (as it existed) died of ''suicide.'' All these years later, this is one of the pieces on the site that still gets circulated.
5th Jan '13 12:34:17 PM SeptimusHeap
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* DeadBabyComedy - See the above Holocaust humor.
15th Dec '12 2:19:10 PM Makoyi
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* RainbowPimpGear - In their odd review of ''AsheronsCall'' they dress their character in as ridiculous a fashion as they can manage, just to creep out the other players.


Added DiffLines:

* RummageSaleReject - In their odd review of ''AsheronsCall'' they dress their character in as ridiculous a fashion as they can manage, just to creep out the other players.
7th Jul '12 11:50:07 PM Shrikesnest
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* EightPointEight - One of Chet's pet peeves in-universe was developers throwing tantrums when they received only almost-perfect reviews instead of the perfect 10s they felt entitled to, likening it to a smart girl in high school complaining about getting a B+ on a test. Keep in mind that this was before metacritic and bonuses for review score aggregation.

to:

* EightPointEight - [[invoked]] One of Chet's pet peeves in-universe was developers throwing tantrums when they received only almost-perfect reviews instead of the perfect 10s they felt entitled to, likening it to a smart girl in high school complaining about getting a B+ on a test. Keep in mind that this was before metacritic and bonuses for review score aggregation.



* GameplayDerailment - In-universe, all of their "strategy guides" for various games are more about dicking around, trying to get reactions out of the game's characters or other players than actually playing the game.

to:

* GameplayDerailment - In-universe, all [[invoked]] All of their "strategy guides" for various games are more about dicking around, trying to get reactions out of the game's characters or other players than actually playing the game.
7th Jul '12 11:49:27 PM Shrikesnest
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* CatharsisFactor - In-universe, one of their favorite reasons to like a game. They once wrote that they didn't understand the general infatuation with thinking as recreation as a sign of intelligence, and that they want to play "the action man's ''[[{{Robotron 2084}} Robotron]]'' - a game like ''Robotron'' but with much less thinking."

to:

* CatharsisFactor - In-universe, one [[invoked]] One of their favorite reasons to like a game. They once wrote that they didn't understand the general infatuation with thinking as recreation as a sign of intelligence, and that they want to play "the action man's ''[[{{Robotron 2084}} Robotron]]'' - a game like ''Robotron'' but with much less thinking."
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.OldManMurray