A troupe of American LPers, the Freelance Astronauts are four goons who decided to try their hand at Let's Plays from the sub-forums of Something Awful. Within a couple of years, they have become some of the most popular characters of the forum, and one of the most famous LPers from the forum, even with many non-goon fans. They consist of four main members.
Maxwell Adams, leader and main game player/breaker.
They are also joined frequently by guests on Skype, commonly Drakkel, Irregular Hunter, Ashley, PlasmaMan, and retsupurae co-star Diabetus.See their stuff here, a list of the majority of the games LPed with links here, as well as their individual video accounts here,here,here,here,here,here, and one of the first games here (their stuff is spread out all over the place).Also almost every Saturday they have a stream at 9 or 9:30 (the time can and most likely will vary greatly) PM Eastern US time. You can watch it either on their site or on Ustream Or here!While most of the content on Viddler has been lost, a very awesome fan of the Freelance Astronauts known as "expjeans" has reuploaded all of (or at the very least most of) the videos onto his youtube account, for all of their fans to re-enjoy. The Internet Archive also has a collection of their videos here, with some of the lost Viddler content.In addition, there is a separate page dedicated towards a one-time gag of theirs, The Tale of Sephiroth Goku the Stampede.
The Freelance Astronauts provide examples of:
Action Girl: Dongs REO Speedwagon can look after herself.
Affectionate Parody: Despite all the vitriol aimed at anime, the jokes are aimed at specific enough targets to prove they're fans. Also, Maxwell has a Mii of Gendo Ikari.
A couple of listens to the "Sephiroth Goku The Stampede" sequence contains a lot of well-hidden references to several anime and anime archetypes, considering the whole joke is one enormous anime Cliché Storm. invoked
Maxwell: Fish girl, lost her voice and you need to put eggs inside of her.
Evek: Open wide...
Ferr: Wrong end.
Don't forget Asswings!
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!!: In their playthrough of Twilight Princess, the group distract Ganondorf in the final battle by dangling a fishing rod in front of him, which actually takes his attention away enough for Lonk to land a few potshots.
Maxwell also suffered from this during their playthrough of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City after obtaining the tiger-striped cab from the Kaufmann's Cabs missions, and planned to park it in one of his larger garages....before he lost interest and went off to roll an SUV through a window.
In the LP of Crysis Maxwell stops midsentence to chase some Kiwis.
Another in Oblivion when they find the body of their deceased comrade Tiny Archer, a Kvatch town guard they had shrunken using console commands who had a career in on-the-scene reporting.
pipes!(as Tiny Archer): There appear to be dinosaurs, bipedal dinosaurs coming over the ridge! Back to you Tom.
During the Tetris video, pipes! lets out one when Maxwell Adams gets two consecutive Tetrises and throws his board into a tizzy.
pipes!:(over all the laughter from everyone else)HOLY SHIT, NO! NOOOOOOO, THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED!!
Also Maxwell during the Kirby Super Star LP whenever pipes! turns him into another less useful Helper.
Maxwell: Ah-NOOOOOoooo I didn't want that!
Big "WHAT?!": Also in the Tetris video, pipes! yells out FOUR of these in a row when, after Maxwell gets a Tetris, his screen is filled and he loses.
BFG: The Astronauts' opinion of Killer7 improves considerably when Harman's gigantic wheelchair-mounted sniper rifle comes into play.
Black Comedy Rape: Frequently, particularly with the mummies/zombies in the 3D Zelda games, and has culminated in a priceless moment where Link cries afterwards. Also...
Ferr: They don't call me Jackhammer Custernote referring to Custer's Revenge for nothing.
Brick Joke: Maxwell reveals he stored a couple of military vehicles and helicopters in garages early on in the GTA: Vice City LP shortly before he spends two episodes dicking around in a flying tank. Many, many episodes later, he takes a tank out of one of the garages during a mission...
pipes!'s "YOU'VE RUINED CHRISTMAS!" when someone screws up.
pipes! loves to toss out "Aww, he thinks he's people", or some variation thereof.
Chekhov's Gun: A few do pop up now and again in their LPs, but one rather good example that actually worked surprisingly well was in their Vice City LP. At some point early in the LP, Maxwell stored a golf cart in one of his residences. Several videos later, the Cop Land mission pops up. Guess which vehicle they end up using to escape from the cops, on a 5-star rating, without getting totaled.
Special mention also goes to Apetit and REO Speedwagon.
Deep South: Expect a hurricane of southern stereotype jokes whenever Diabetus is a guest commentator or posting in the livestream. Most noticeable in the LPs of North & South and Power Stone (the latter through livestream comments).
Distant Finale: The end to the Astronauts' first Let's Play of Seaman had them warping ahead through a few years of in-game time (1,825 days, to be exact) to see what would have become of their two Seamen if they had been left unattended for that long. Cue one of the most depressing things they've ever filmed: the sign with the Seaman on it that makes up the title screen is scratched and desolate-looking. There are no Seamen in the tank, no eggs, no nothing. The terrarium which is used for growing moths is similarly bare. Even Leonard Nimoy, narrator of the whole game up to that point no matter what had been happening up to that point, abandoned them, the game apparently having nothing to say to the players after so much time passed with nothing but neglect. Ferr was freaked out enough to start apologizing frantically on the spot.
Ferr: You'll go to his door and knock, and he'll open it just a tiny crack and he'll be all bruised up in the face and you'll be like "Are you okay what happened?" and he'll be "I...I fell down." "Did F-Zero do something to you, do I...do you want me to come in?" "No no it's I...this house is a mess I...I have to go." (Beat) ...abusive relationships are hilarious.
The Faceless: Formerly Ferr; back in the New Year's Special, Ferr refused to show his face for the camera (he opted to show his hand — as a talking face). For the longest time, whenever there was fanart of Ferr, his face is obscured. He finally revealed himself◊ on the livestream party on March 12, 2011.
According to the Twitter feed, which acknowledged this entry, whoever posted that image didn't get the right guy. THE MYSTERY CONTINUES!
Giant Enemy Crab: One attacks and kills Dongs REO Speedwagon in the Oblivion playthrough after they decided to mess around with the scaling settings on a normal-sized crab.
GiantBullet BillFrom Nowhere: A fit of screaming, laughing, and then crying ensues when a colossal Bullet Bill appears out of nowhere and runs down all four Astronauts in a level of the New Super Mario Bros Wii Hackpack.
When playing a Japanese cooking-themed homebrew platformer in the intermission of their Wii Sports Resort playthrough, we get a bunch of wok-related puns when they fight a boss that they dub "Wok Man".
Maxwell: (deadpan, to pipes!) You're gonna go to Pun Jail.
Hypocritical Humor: Whilst playing a hacked out the ass file of Twilight Princess, early dungeon in the game:
Maxwell: Let's go ahead and break some sequence here. You open in with a lantern, like this. *Ker-turn into a human when you can't and set a spider web on fire to get into the dungeon* Nnnnah, I'm not gonna break it that badly. *Ker-gets on giant spinny top you can't get into until the fourth dungeon and flies away*
Sometime after Max begins using cheats in Vice City:
They recently began a new LP of Mass Effect, featuring the far-in-the-future descendant, Dongs Shepard. She is considerably better looking than her ancestors.
For those of you who are curious, the first streaming of the game featured Dongs as a woman. However, when it came up on youtube, the first hour of the LP was replaced by a different LP, where Dongs is some sort of Half-Of-Everything creature with no neck. Literally.
Logic Bomb: "Invisible walls you can walk through" from Master Quest.
Mad Scientist: Give Maxwell access to a character creator and/or game mod and he will invariably create some kind of abomination.
Overly-Long Gag: Let's Play Seaman Again - Day 14 Part 1 encourages would-be viewers with the caption "I know this great joke about sea creatures let me tell you". Those poor viewers had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
The Quiet One: Evek doesn't say a whole lot. A running gag of sorts in their fans is that he's planning to murder the rest of the Astronauts and take over the stream.
When asked this question directly by the stream during the Bomberman LP, he deadpanned "Probably".
And when asked a later question on if he would kill either Ferr or Maxwell, he deadpanned "Probably both".
Possibly "definitely" during his slow rage buildup in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, caused by being a deadly combination of a) the only one actually trying to play properly rather than screw everyone else over and b) the second-worst player behind Ferr.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Because of job opportunities, the Astronauts have had to move away from one another, leaving Maxwell and Evek the only two left. They do come back for holidays though, which is when they record full LPs.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon getting a tiny mushroom in one of the New Super Mario Bros Wii episodes, Maxwell immediately bolts off, leaving the other three to die.
Almost done by Ferr at the end of Chapter 6-7 of Majora's Mask. After an hour of trudging through two Spider Houses, the group is understandably sick of scavenging for Gold Skulltulas. So when Maxwell skips forward to the second day and reveals that the prize changed from a wallet upgrade to 50 rupees, Ferr throws off his headset and proceeds to storm out of the room. He realizes Max made a state save on the first day, though, so he comes back.
Ferr: Hey, there's some powerups out in the middle of the desert. I bet we can get them and they won't be boobytrapped. In fact I'll just have my knife out when I pick these up. (Beat) Oh. See? Nothing happened. (enemies approach) Uh oh...
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The poor Secret Service agent in JFK Reloaded - after being put down with a bullet to the ankles, he's then shot multiple times.
Too Soon: During the Prototype LP, while battling a boss with a super attack...
Maxwell: Oh hey, it's shooting the shockwave of death! Get the hell out because it's got a one-hit-kill.
Russ: Those are always fun.
Ainsley Mctree: It's like 9/11, but worse...
(Laughter and groaning)
Russ: TOO SOON!
Ainsley Mctree: I feel bad now. I should go.
Too Dumb to Live: Maxwell turned Leon Kennedy into this during their LP of Resident Evil 4. He constantly refused to heal until Leon was nearly dead, generally resulting in Leon dying a few hundred times (and when his inventory was full of healing items, to boot.)
Trash Talk: Pretty much the only reason you would ever watch the Tetris Smackdown video is purely because of Pipes! magnificent bullet train of trash talk.
Walking Disaster Area: Maxwell Adams and Blueswearshoes in Online Co-Op on Saints Row 2. No matter where they go, no matter what happens, chaos and destruction follow them. Even walking into a strip club results in them getting mobbed by a gaggle of pimps. Also an attempt at shopping in a store lead to a game of toss the civilian and an ambush by cops.
Ferr cannot be trusted around any kind of beverage, as a) he'll end up with the beverage on him in some fashion, b) he'll hurt himself with the can or bottle it's in, or c) both.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Doomisland, a fairly regular commentator to the Majora's Mask LP, has not been in any other videos since, and besides from one off-comment joke about it by Maxwell in a later LP, has not been talked about.
Referenced on the website's "About" page:
doomisland came to play Majora's Mask with us, and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. We miss him.
pipes!: I do a lot of dumb, trivial internet shit and still hang out on SA a lot. Ferr got into improv comedy and makes a lot of people laugh in real life. Evek works for a school district and is perfectly happy to dink around with computers for kids, and Maxwell is in the process of playing through every game in the Steam library.
World of Chaos: Their use of console commands to grow and shrink various characters (among other things) turned their Oblivion playthrough into this trope.
Worth It: In the NSMBW Let's Play, pipes! gets on a Yoshi and repeatedly attempts to swallow Maxwell and spit him into a pit. Maxwell escapes by wall-jumping to safety. Eventually pipes! just swallows him, jumps into the pit, killing him and losing the Yoshi. Cue pipes! yelling out "Ha-HA! Worth It!"
You All Look Familiar: While lost in Majora's Mask, Maxwell thinks that all Zoras note and their doors look the same. Ferr calls him out on this.