"Now appearing on TV Tropes, it's Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb!"
X-Play — the end result of what happens when a Sketch Comedy show meets a video game review program — became the only show to survive the TechTV/G4 merger intact, one of the last two original shows on the network prior to its Esquire makeover (alongside Attack of the Show!), and one of the highest-rated programs on G4 until its end.The show started in 1998 on ZDTV as GameSpot TV; Adam Sessler co-hosted the show with Lauren Fielder, then with Kate Botello after Fielder left. When ZDTV became Tech TV in 2001, the show became Extended Play; after Botello left the show, Sessler hosted the show by himself. TechTV filmed the show at San Francisco's Metreon arcade until 2003, when the show became X-Play, Morgan Webb came aboard to co-host, and the show received a brand new studio. The change to X-Play also marked the beginning of the show's focus on game-related sketch comedy alongside its reviews.After G4 purchased TechTV in 2004, it retained X-Play, and even though G4 basically left the show intact — a fate far better than all of TechTV's shows and most of G4's shows received — the show's focus shifted on a frequent basis for the next few years as G4 went through a severe case of Network Decay. The show eventually ended up as a half-hour version of G4 before the merger: it ran down the latest gaming news stories, showed previews and reviews for the latest games, aired interviews with different industry personalities, and even ran a hints segment called "Cheat". (A half-hour show by the same name did the same thing on G4 years ago.) The sketch comedy also disappeared, for the most part, but had more to do with the show's former head comedy writer, comedienne/comic nerd Blair Butler, becoming an on-air personality for G4.On 26 April, 2012, Adam Sessler abruptly left G4, so Blair Herter took his place.On October 26, 2012, G4 announced that it would cancel both X-Play and Attack of the Show! at the end of the year before undergoing its Esquire makeover. The show ended on January 23, 2013 alongside Attack of the Show with a finale that had been taped a month before.
X-Play contains examples of the following tropes:
Badass Longhair: The Golden Mullet Awards that they've been doing since 2004 to honor the worst games of the year. It was named in honor of Aquaman, the standard in which all bad games were based on.
Also used as a form of Stylistic Suck for the intern training video which has clearly not been updated since "Like a Virgin" was a number one hit.
Enforced Plug: Once an Episode, after reviewing a 3-star game, Sessler and/or Webb would try to segue into a plug for GameFly.com's game rental service. Some of them were funny, but not all of them worked. Later the segment plugged a future program for G4 which would invariably bomb. Near the end of the Tech TV era, they were forced to plug G4's award show, G-Phoria on occasion, and mention that it's brought to you by EB Games and Jeep, even though they hadn't moved to Los Angeles to be with them yet. In addition, Sessler and Webb's appearance at G-Phoria on July 31, 2004, was their first time as G4 employees, just two weeks after the final San Francisco episode was filmed. Their first appearance, ever on G4, was two months ago, on May 12, 2004, during that channel's E3 coverage.
Fanservice: They frequently point out these instances during reviews to make a joke about them. They also occasionally do skits focused on it, such as one about the history of breast physics in video games.
Fashion Dissonance: Adam's loud striped shirts early on, which he admitted made him look like a worker at a hard candy shop in response to a letter where the writer said they were so ugly they made his genitals run away.
Flanderization: Sessler on Extended Play was a perfectly reasonable man. When X-Play started up, he turned into a complete buffoon with a near psychotic hatred of anything anime related. He has shifted right back in the 2008 retool.
Four Point Scale: Averted — Their review system is deliberately balanced to include all spectrum of games and to be as helpful as possible. They have condemned the use of most other scales because of the tendency for most games to fall into the same ranking. Near the end of Sessler's tenure on the show, they introduced half-star ratings under the reasoning that they felt they were giving too many perfect scores. However after going to Revision3, Sessler stated that the half-star ratings were introduced out of the control of the hosts and review staff after the 2011 holiday break by network management looking to pacify a certain game company and to get the show more influence on Metacritic.
Gamer Chick: Morgan Webb; from the very beginning, she's been accused of being chosen just to be eye candy and not really a gaming fan, despite her never ending insistence to the contrary.
A God Am I: "Who is this 'Bob' of which you speak. I am Thor-Axe the Impaler." in Splinter Cell: Co-op Theater.
Gonk: Sessler very reluctantly reviewed some sort of Disney Princess activity "game," where you could not only make a bloated prepubescent princess, but slap your own face on it. When he did so, the results earned some Ominous Latin Chanting.
Hilarity Ensues: For some reason, one of the swag items advertisting Crysis 2 to the media was the infamous Shake Weight with the game's logo screened onto the handle. The hosts decided to use it on one episode for any prompter read they did and Blair really seemed to love it...
Hypocritical Humor: When talking about Marvel: Ultimate Alliance in his Best And Worst Comic Book Videogames segment from 2007, Roger the Stan Lee Experience said, "Look at all my little creations running around learning to work as a team. It's just like Jack Kirby and I envisioned all those years ago. And when I say Jack and I envisioned, I mean I envisioned."
If I Had a Nickel: "But first, we start with World War II; oh, if I had a nickel for every time I said that, I could finally afford to buy myself a pony."
Ms. Fanservice: Webb. She's been accused of being solely this, and not really a gamer, since the show's inception. Parodied in one episode where Sessler wore the outfit she wore in her Maxim shoot.
Murder Simulators: Addressed from time to time, usually when a controversial game is released that that Moral Guardians are claiming is one. The show's position, of course, is to either parody of deconstruct these claims.
The Musical: Two actually. The first is a tribute to the viewers of the show called On the X-Play Board... which makes fun of viewer reaction to the scores certain games receive and their responses on the G4 message boards. The second was a full episode musical about Sessler and Webb getting an offer to make their own video game which of course turns out to be a disaster. It's actually pretty funny.
The irony is that they ALREADY had their own video game on the X-Play page. It was a side scrolling beat 'em up where Webb uses her fists as a weapon, Sessler uses Slippy the Fish as his weapon.
Webb: (about 50 Cent Bulletproof) So why was this game even made? Cash, my friends. Cold. Hard. Cash.
In the review for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, "In what should be the most badass moment of the entire game, you're reduced to slowly rotating a faraway ship into some arbitrary position so you could slowly pull it a couple of feet down before fending off a wave of TIE Fighters. Then you do it all. Over. Again. This isn't even interesting, let alone awesome.
Averted, however, while reviewing the PSP game that is based on 300.
Splinter Cell: Co-op Theater. "When America needs a hero...when freedom stands alone...when justice needs to be upheld, there's only one place to turn. Through the cover of night, America's top agents will defend our liberty from those who wish us harm. Let us join Special Agent Bob and Secret Agent Steve: two of the finest official unofficial Splinter Cells."
And within Splinter Cell: Co-op Theater is its own show within a show (within a show), Grabnar The Wanderer.
Small Name, Big Ego: Parodied in-universe. A skit had Sessler tackling problems in the form of an RPG random encounter, in one of which the enemy was a bouncer at a club, and Adam's attack was to say, "Behold my celebrity," (which fails).
Troll/Flame Bait - Certainly, they do seem to get caught up in the flame wars they so heartily make fun of sometimes. At some points, it seems they forget that they are at least ideally supposed to avoid bias in their reviews, which tends to fuel the problems with the Unpleasable Fanbase even more. Yes, a lot of fans are unreasonable, but it doesn't help when you give them an excuse.
Video Game Movies Suck: Addressed in-universe. They've talked about this topic several times. They once had a segment called "I Have a Dreamcast" in which they describe how they would ideally like films based on games to be but then describe the ways the ways they will inevitably end up sucking.
We give this TV Tropes page two presses of the "random" button...out of five.