It's weird to think of yourself as "the old guard" in something that's like 3-4 years old, but shit's changed for the better and worse. What will Let's Play be like in 2011? You can read all about it in my upcoming book - "Let's Read" subtitled: "2007 - the Year of the VLP" and sub-subtitled: "This is as meta as it gets." Ghost written by Stephen King and ProtonJon. On the back of the book jacket you will see a picture of me holding up a bunch of controllers while a camera is on me, and the wires are all tangled and I'm sorta shrugging as if to say "I think I'm in over my head here!!!"
In 2007, Something Awful user slowbeef, whose real name is Michael Sawyer, posted a video of him playing The Immortal with commentary over it. Numerous others followed him, thus creating the video Let's Play.note It should be noted that despite often being credited as the ur-father of the entire Let's Play phenomenon, slowbeef prefers to downplay his own role in the process, pointing out that several other Internet users did very similar things around the same time as him; at the very least, screenshot LP's on the Let's Play Archive have dated back to at least a year before he started out. In 2008, he along with fellow Something Awful user Diabetus created Retsupurae, a YouTube account in which the two make fun of the worst LPs out there, for which he has gained an even bigger following than his Let's Plays, which he still continues to do. Retsupurae also spawned a spinoff called Webcam Ward, in which the same principle is applied to non-gaming YouTube videos.slowbeef's Lets Plays can be found here,here, and here. See also Diabetus, who guest stars in many of his videos (and vice-versa sometimes).
During the Lets Play of Dead to Rights, he said that this was how "Slate Views the World" when the NPCs were all named "Target".
In their Dead Rights: Retribution LP, they interpret Shadow as a demon dog who can teleport, and Jack as an Unreliable Narrator telling his story in every single detail to Faith.
And the Adventure Continues: The final episode of his Metroid Prime Let's Play ends with him unwrapping the box to Metroid Prime: Echoes.
Angrish: Not as angry as the usual examples, but the beef's first encounter with kinetic orb cannons in Echoes completely destroys his ability to speak coherently; you can tell that the illogical nature of the device has hit a Berserk Button.
In the first Prime game, he's rendered incoherent for the better part of a minute when he takes the wrong route to the Omega Pirate boss fight, and traps himself on the far side of a locked door, through a Phazon-covered tunnel.
He lapses into infuriated gibberish a couple of times during the Grapple Guardian and Chykka fights.
Come-just di-ugh-HATE YOU! SO MUCH CHYKKA! HATE THIS GAME!
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In part 24 of Metroid Prime: Corruption, Zellus says "So, you have how many [energy] tanks? Eight? Nine? Eight? ... Ninety-eight?"
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Part 22 of the SD Snatcher LP, he interrupts a description of a game weapon to explain his shock at a guy reading a porn magazine in public right near him as he writes the LP at a bookstore.
Brief Accent Imitation: In the Metroid Prime series alone, slowbeef and guests come up with voices for Ridley, Amorbis, the Rezbits, and the Lava Clam. They also say that they're going to come up with a voice for Kraid.
Throughout the Prime LPs, nearly every time slowbeef encounters a new enemy, he says some variation of 'What the hell is this?'
From the same LPs, Diabetus has a habit of saying "Corruption!" in a funny voice.
Slowbeef, in general, will often say "God Almighty" when faced with a particularly trying or annoying obstacle, "Oh, fuck me!" when there's a sudden hazard, and "...so, there's that," when something absurd happens.
Slowbeef tends to add "...is the thing" to odd statements. For example:
(playing Dungeon World) "I've got this big serrated sword, is the thing." (watching Shadow Of Destiny) "To make up for Eike's lack of spatial awareness, he needs time travel, is the thing." (watching Phantasmagoria) "It's a kevlar spine, is the thing, they had them back then."
Diabetus: See, what you need is the T-R-E-A-T beam. slowbeef: The tit beam?
Chekhov's Gun: Early on in the Justin Bailey run, slowbeef asks Diabetus if he's played any of the Metroid Prime games, mentioning that he has Echoes but has never even unwrapped the game case. Two years later, he finally unwraps it at the very end of the first Metroid Prime LP.
Chekhov's Skill: After he gets the X-ray Visor and Nova Beam in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Toffile pipes up to instruct him on how to use them together to one-shot kill certain enemies that have Phazite armor. Later, he encounters a Metroid Hatcher and is totally pissed off since he had so much trouble with the last one... until Toffile directs him to read its scan data again, which mentions its Phazite armor....
Cliffhanger: After defeating the Omega Pirate in Metroid Prime, Slowbeef expresses relief at his victory... just before the Omega Pirate falls and crushes Samus, cuing the hanger.
Companion Cube: Mr. Sunabouzu becomes very attached to "The Dynamo" in Metroid Prime: Echoes, which makes it all the more saddening when slowbeef destroys it in the next video. All for a Power Bomb expansion.
slowbeef: (Faces camera towards the remnants of the destroyed dynamo)GAZE UPON IT, MR. SUNABOUZU! Toffile: Oh, no! You bastard!! Vicas: How could you?!
Deadpan Snarker: As with Retsupurae, Diabetus fills this role in contrast to slowbeef's Hot-Blooded nature. But guest commentator Mr. Sunabouzu outshines him on that aspect, who always sounds deadpan. Even when excited.
Depending on the Artist: Guest commentators for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption have personalized Miis made by slowbeef. They are made without reference and almost certainly do not resemble the actual commentators.
He crosses the horizon in Lost Izalith in Dark Souls, when after slogging through a deeply unfun level, he's forced to kill his favorite NPC, Solaire.
Dies Wide Open: After coming across a dead Federation Trooper in Echoes, slowbeef wonders if Samus has a command for the typical action movie "close their eyes" thing. Vicas pointedly doesn't say anything, because that exact scene occurs one cutscene later.
Dissimile: In Prime 3, slowbeef attempts to compare Admiral Dane and Adam before guest Baldurk points out he's not like Adam at all.
Slowbeef: [He is] basically like the Adam of Corruption, I suppose. Baldurk: That bad? Vicas: He's less intrusive. Slowbeef: Oh, yeah, much less. This is like the second time I've seen him the whole game. Baldurk: So he's not really like Adam at all then. Slowbeef: (Laughing) Yeah, actually you're right.
Ensemble Dark Horse: invoked From Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Galactic Federation Marine Corps specialist M. Angseth, communications officer, Samus fangirl and late-to-the-party victim. Slowbeef holds her in high regard and continues to reference her many videos later.
slowbeef: (After failing to convince Diabetus that the Space Jump and the High Jump were distinct from each other) ...Angseth would've understood. Diabetus: Fuck Angseth. slowbeef: Angseth is the best! YOU SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH!
From the same LP, slowbeef tends to look at all its enemies with disdain. Except Rezbits. Even going as far as to ask whether they reappear in Corruption. And in the actual Corruption LP, he excitedly hopes aloud whether similar-looking enemies he came across were Rezbits.
Epic Fail: While playing Dark Souls, slowbeef fights the Bell Gargoyles several times with an un-upgraded halberd, and manages to nearly kill them several times. He upgrades it, goes back to challenge them again, and promptly gets destroyed by the first one.
Eureka Moment: Discussed after slowbeef has one soon after getting the Gravity Suit in Metroid Prime:
slowbeef: Man, this underwater doesn't mess me up anymore. I can get right back to that crashed frigate and... oh, I bet that's where I'm supposed to go now. (NGDBSS bursts out laughing) Ironicus: These are my favorite moments of the LP. slowbeef: These moments of revelation. Ironicus: Eureka!
Failed a Spot Check: Occasionally in his Metroid Prime LPs, he'll spend most of a video blundering around blindly due to missing something extremely obvious like a grapple point.
Foreshadowing: In the Dead to Rights: Retribution LP, after arresting Julian Temple, Slowbeef remarks: "Grant City's under martial law, right? So what are we gonna do? Go to the police station, kill everyone in it, and throw him in an empty jail cell?" No points for guessing what happens in the very next chapter.
Felony Misdemeanor: slowbeef's aghast reaction to finding out that General Ironicus is a sociology major.
Fun with Acronyms: In the videos with guest NGDBSS, Slowbeef and General Ironicus make several guesses as to what exactly said guest's name stood for.
Norfair Gargoyles Do Best, Samus Struggles
North Germany Distributes Bad Swastika Stickers
Nine Grunting Deadbeats Say So
News Gets Damn Better Sometime Soon
Naval Gratuity Does Boats Several Services
Nifty Grunge Destructive Bands Save Soldiers
Necromonicon Goes Deadly Before Sitting Still
They also say that Vicas stands for Varia Ice Cannon And Stuff
Slowbeef: Fuck you, Hideo Kojima. That is all that's left. That is all that is god damn left. I went through a god damn mirror maze to fight a robot in a panda suit. That's my life... that's... you... I'm broken, I'm broken. Good night.
Hidden Depths: Judging from this video, as well as his work on creating an unofficial translation patch of Policenauts, Slowbeef is quite skilled in the Japanese language, skilled enough even to know the distinctions between accents.
He also seems to be quite fond of philosophy. He brings up a small instance of Voltaire in Diabetus' Metroid: Fusion LP. He also countered the frustratingly terrible LPing of one Quadraxis14 by reading "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Metroid Prime videos tend to feature guest commentators who know far more about where slowbeef needs to go than he does. Particularly Vicas. This is lampshaded a few times.
Slowbeef: How much do I have to give you to just play this game for me?
Shadow in Dead to Rights, thanks to being a teleporting One-Hit Kill attack that steals the victim's weapon. slowbeef and Diabetus end up playing him up as even more badass and doing most of the work and thinking for Slate while he just bumbles around and shoots random henchman.
The description for the first episode of Metroid Prime when it was rehosted on Slowbeef's YouTube channel was "See how many things we do in this LP that we've made fun of on Retsupurae."
Idiot Hero: Slowbeef and co. tend to paint their player characters as this. A glaring example is the Snatcher LP.
(The main character walks into a church-like building with pews inside that has already been classified in-story as a church) Gillian Seed: What's this...? CherryDoom: "Looks like a church!" Diabetus: "What is this—A CHURCH?!"
Best Boss Ever: Thardus, any form of Ridley, Spider Guardian, Caretaker Drone, Dark Samus. invoked
Best Level Ever: Sanctuary Fortress. Remarkable in that it's the only level in the entire trilogy to elicit an overtly passionate response from slowbeef, yet hails from his least favorite game in the Prime series. invoked
Breather Episode: According to slowbeef in the last few videos of the Corruption LP, he saw the upcoming Dead to Rights Retribution LP as this for himself, since he had recorded the gameplay some time ago and all that was left was to watch and comment.
Slowbeef himself serves as a Trickster Mentor for Diabetus during the Fusion LP.
In Dark Souls: Red Mercer, as well as the fans, mentor Slowbeef on the tricks of the infamously hard game. Slowbeef's also mentioned that Diabetus is a huge fan of the game, and he can be heard typing to him over Skype now and then (probably about his progress).
Mood Whiplash: In Metroid Prime, slowbeef goes from marveling at the scenery in the crashed pirate frigate to raging at the Aqua Pirates abruptly.
Mundane Utility: Diabetus envisions Emperor Ing using his portal-tentacles this way. "Oh man, those Pringles are all the way over there..."
Never Trust a Trailer: Conversed in the Metroid Prime LP, when guest commentator Khad mentioned seeing one of the infamous Evony ads while watching the stream and how displeased he was when, sadly, there were no tits in the actual game.
Nostalgia Filter: Slowbeef admits that this may be one reason he's so fond of Snatcher, toward the end of his video LP of the game.
Now You Tell Me: Slowbeef discovered he could freeze Mogenar with missiles right as soon as he was about to die.
Slowbeef: The things you discover with 9 energy.
Offscreen Inertia: Slowbeef and Diabetus use, as a Running Joke, the idea that Ridley is still falling down the hole in which Samus fought him. Over a month later, when Samus fights Ridley again near the end of the game, they immediately conclude that Ridley just stopped falling, and the arena where she fights him just happens to be the end of the very, very long chute that Ridley's been falling down the entire game.
Oh Crap: His reaction to finding a scan in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes that said he had to find ten keys to enter the final area (one of which was already found for him, at least).
slowbeef: Energy, dark Aether, entry is... key - TEN KEYS?!!
In the first 10 minutes of Corruption, he finds he can shoot allies. 30 seconds later, he accidentally shoots someone, and he fires several more shots for the hell of it, prompting a turret to pop down from the ceiling.
AI: WARNING. HOSTILE WEAPONS DETECTED. PLEASE STAND DOWN. Slowbeef: Oh, shit! "Please stand down", you got it, I'm sorry! Okay!
He and the guests also often act like the episode just started after he dies, as if he would edit out the failure. He also never does. This extends to Diabetus' LP of Fusion as well.
During the Snatcher LP he did with Diabetus, the two liked to shout "SNATCHER" every time it appeared on screen, since the game capitalized every important key word.
Always struggling with the pronunciation of guest Mr. Sunabouzu.
The Dead to Rights LP provided a couple, most notably when Diabetus comments on one of the prison mini games and shouts "DEAD TO RIGHTS". From then on during the LP the would occasionally say "Dead to Rights" during ridiculous sections of the game.
This would extend to the next game, where the two would mutter "Dead to Rights" at the end of every video. Eventually they would say the phrase randomly during segments of completely unrelated videos, both regular LP and Retsupurae.
The prison level also gave us "speed level 4", from a speed bag punching minigame. Jack's speed level of 4 and his quest to attain higher speed levels were commented on throughout the LP.
slowbeef is quite fond of impersonating Edward G. Robinson's gangster persona for usually no apparent reason, yeah, see?
Head explosions were one in most of his LPs to the point when he asked in his old Snatcher screenshot LP why head explosions were always a recurring theme in his LPs, to which a gimmick account posting as Random Hajile replied with:
Random Hajile: Have you considered the possibility that you're a Scanner? Not my style, either way. I'll stick to Snatchers.
During his Let's Play of Revenge of Shinobi for the Hard Games Thread on Something Awful, whenever he came across something particularly lawyer baiting, Slowbeef would claim to have an email from Sega's lawyer claiming that said something is not what it appears to be ripping off, such as the picture of Joe Musashi on the title screen not being Sonny Chiba from Kage No Gundan or the flamethrower guys not being Rambo (even if they had the license, he's bald in later versions), and the Round 4 boss not being either Arnold Schwarzenegger or The Incredible Hulk even if he's a robot and turns green. Played with in two letters which apologizes for a poor representation of the state of Detroit, and another which asks people not to Let's PlayShining Force. Averted when he fights Web-Bat, the boss of Round 6, where said letter claims it IS Spider-Man (Since Sega had the license to make Spidey games at the time.) but the guy he turns into is certainly not Batman (And later revisions changed him to Devilman anyway.) and the dinosaur boss of Round 7 IS Godzilla ("Fuck it, it IS Godzilla.")
slowbeef: The whole game could have taken place in Sanctuary and I would have said it was the greatest thing in the whole world.
Stealth Insult: Occasionally, in his Super Metroid LP, slowbeef will bring up Windows Notepad and type out insults to his fellow commentators which are only visible to the audience while his partners remain blissfully unaware.
Diabetus after seeing the night club mini-game in the Dead to Rights LP asked slowbeef this:
Diabetus: "Is this like Metal Gear Solid 2 when you think Snake is the main character and after the first level it turns out to be a stripper?"
Later on in the same LP, Slowbeef refers to the 13th level as the "gooniest", due to its plot involving Jack chasing after a love interest even after she shot another love interest and then stole from him at gunpoint.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption manages to be the subject of its own LP only by barely edging out the mass quantity of harsh criticism of Metroid: Other M. Indeed, the first episode begins with slowbeef mid-rant about the game.
Diabetus: Do you feel like checking out the vast depths of Elysia? That came out really bad.
slowbeef: There's too much animation and not enough screwing. I know what I said.
Translation with an Agenda: After having railed against Yoshio Sakomoto for Other M in earlier videos, slowbeef translated his producer's log in Prime 3 as thus:
Hello, this is Yoshio Sakomoto! Itís not easy writing stories for Metroid considering my functional illiteracy. Honestly, I donít really like Samus, and I donít want you to like her either. I hate her and feel threatened by her. I will ruin this franchise. Iím just coming out and telling you. Fuck Metroid and fuck you.
Why Did It Have To Be Bugs?: Judging by his adventures in Dark Souls' Blighttown, he really doesn't like bugs. He sounds genuinely nauseated when he encounters the Egg-Burdened and discovers they're full of giant maggots.