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Film / Press Start

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"This is no game. It's a movie!"

Zack: Why'd you let him hit you?
Sam: It was his turn.

Press Start is an independent spoof comedy film produced by Dark Maze Studios.

It chronicles the adventures of Zack Nimbus, the 'Chosen One', Lin-Ku, an overly violent Ninja, and Sam, a woman warrior in a spacesuit. They set out to find the three ancient relics and battle The Empire ruled by the nefarious Count Nefarious Vile and they spoof more video games than you can count along the way. Featuring special appearances by game actors Daniel and Carlos Pesina (Mortal Kombat) and music by videogame composer Jake Kaufman (Contra 4). Made on a budget described as "spare change placed in a mayo jar," the film was well received by many video game websites. It even spawned an Animated Adaptation series which premiered on Channel Awesome, and a sequel, Press Start 2 Continue was released in March 11 2011.

According to the production notes (available in PDF on the website), the original concept by Ed Glaser was Videogame: The Movie! - like the Scary Movie series, only funny. It was written by Kevin Folliard. The truly great thing is that everyone involved in the movie has either worked on games or is a hardcore fan, so naturally the movie is Troperiffic. Plus, most of them are accomplished martial artists that raised the level of fight scenes in the movie. The incredibly low budget was worked around thanks to the extremely committed and versatile team.

So sit back, relax, and get ready for some cheesy video game laughs. Just Press Start.

Recap here: Recap.Press Start

Has nothing to do with book series of same name, thought it also has to do with video games.

This film provides examples of:

  • Beware the Silly Ones - Vile. genre-blind buffoon he may be, but he's a very tough final boss.
  • Brick Joke: Subverted - Zack's refusal to participate in the the Jackomo card game Side Quest is itself a Running Gag, but when Zack & Lin-Ku reach Vile & promise to defeat him, Vile asks if they have several powerful weapons & pieces of armour. Zack then asks how they could get that stuff, and Vile responds with "You have to do very the Jackamo card tournament."
  • Butt-Monkey - Johnson gets turned into a turtle. A turtle.
  • Character Level - Zack seems to be leveling up quite quickly in the beginning of the film. (He's a level 4 Swordsman!) In one of the later web-toons, his bedroom has a certificate mounted on the wall, congratulating him for making it to level 99.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: After Zack kills one ever mentions him, or the incident. Again. Ever. In any way. Even Sam, who actually liked Zippy, and ends up dating Zack, never brings it up. You'd think you'd care if your significant other killed your pet...
  • Final Boss, New Dimension - For the climactic battle, Vile teleports them all to a dark, featureless place because "property damage is only funny if it's someone else's."
  • Guide Dang It! - The final battle would have been MUCH easier on the heroes if only they'd done the Jackamo card game sidequest.
  • Hand Wave - When Zack tries to bring up the point that killing the current ruler of most of the world (evil or not) might send the world into a socioeconomic turmoil leaving it vulnerable to a dictator of equal or greater power, Sam and Lin-ku pretty much do this.
    "I think they'll be okay."
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath - Lin-Ku's cast page in the animated episode "Speed Run" calls him "ethically challenged".
  • Hyperactive Metabolism:
    • Zack eats a turkey leg Lin-ku finds on the floor to regain health. Revisited when he attempts to eat a medkit.
    • Lin-Ku also does this to regain health by eating Captain Psychodrive's heart.
  • Mistaken for Gay - Zack, unaware of Sam being female, mistakes her early affection for this. Later, when Zack and Lin-Ku wait outside the third dungeon and Zack shares this, Lin-Ku ends up mistaking Zack as gay.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast - Nefarious Vile. Seriously. Also, Captain Psychodrive.
  • Running Gag:
    • Lin-ku's ninja stars, Zack thinking Sam is a boy, the Shopkeeper, and Jackamo cards. Oh boy those Jackamo cards.
    • The Virtual Visor. It causes headaches.
  • Samus Is a Girl - Not to the audience, but to Zack Nimbus thinking Sam is a boy. Of course, the movie was specifically trying to parody the Trope Namer with this...
  • Skewed Priorities: Vile. Oh, Vile.
    Johnson: (crawls up to Vile, severely injured and bleeding profusely)
    Vile: (sigh) I've gotta go, Vlad. Johnson probably needs me to sign something.
  • The Chosen One - Played straight. Zack Nimbus is chosen by a prophecy from an ancient prophet.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch! - "Game over, you son of a bitch."
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself - Subverted and played straight. Lin-ku pulls this when fighting Captain Psychodri- I mean G. Foreman. However, Zack and Sam have no problem letting the murderous ninja do the fighting for him. Played straight when Zack tries to intervene in the fight, but Sam stops him.
  • Took a Shortcut - The Shopkeeper continually shows up wherever the heroes go. Including a secret passage Sam discovers by blowing up a wall. It gets lampshaded.
  • Warp Zone:
    • Zack and Lin-ku would've had to go through some terrible places to get to Vile's Lair. Instead, they opt out for one of these.
    • Referenced in the Animated Adaptation.
    Vile: Come, Johnson! We'll take the Warp Zone! * SMASH*
    Johnson: Sir, that was your Berry Blast Sports Drink.

The Animated Adaptation provides examples of

  • And I Must Scream - The Dark Mages have no mouths. And they certainly won't have mouths once they're frozen into a pillar.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - Vile doesn't mind that you've shot fireballs at him or knocked a statue on top of him. He only cares that you've altered his crayon drawings his blueprints.
  • Art Evolution - Compare the art and animation in "Poker, Mon" (particularly that of Reptillor) with any current episode. There is a decent amount of improvement which will hopefully continue.
  • Big Damn Heroes - The other Resistance members show up to save Zack, Sam and Lin-Ku in "Golden Axed".
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Belfast.
      Belfast: After twelve seconds we sent out a search party. (Beat) Us.
    • Also, Vile.
      Vile: I can't tell you how much fun I'm having, Vlad! Did you know I get to torment these people forever!
      Vlad: Yeah, that's the general idea.
  • Creator Cameo - Aside from the fact that writer Kevin Folliard plays the voice of Lin-Ku, director Ed Glaser appears as an employee of the Vile corporation, and later as the ultimate game designer, God.
  • Dissimile - "In a world much like our own... except with monsters and robots and anthropomorphic animals..."
  • Early-Bird Cameo - Princess Xanna of Press Start 2 appears on a newspaper in the first episode of season three.
  • Elaborate Underground Base - Locations are captioned. One such location? "The Underground Lair of Count Nefarious Vile". Strangely enough, it looks more like a Death Mountain.
  • Forced Tutorial - The gang gets stuck listening to one when trying to acquire dragobos. Instead, they use its convoluted nature as a Logic Bomb against attacking robots.
  • Limited Wardrobe - Played straight for most of the cast, but sort of averted with Lin-Ku, whose outfit is always the same but whose color often changes. Of course, this is a relatively subtle shout-out to the palette-swap ninjas in Mortal Kombat, as Lin-Ku is sort of based on the idea of an MK style ninja, rather than any one in particular.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • Lin-Ku's standard approach to problems. For example:
      Lin-Ku: You know, I almost wish I hadn't broken our grappling hook disemboweling that troll.
      Zack: That was a forum troll!
      Lin-Ku: I said "almost".
    • And in the movie:
      Lin-Ku: Wait! I know these guys! Don't kill them!
      Zack: Did you say don't kill them?
      Lin-Ku (visibly uncomfortable): Yeah, I know. It felt weird.
  • Oh, Crap! - The entire Resistance in "Endgame (Part 2)".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vlad is clearly based on Castlevania's Dracula, has an apparent affinity to bats, and flat-out states that his moat is meant to keep out vampire hunters. But he has blue hair, lacks a mouth (maybe he talks telepathically?), refers to himself as a "dark lord of chaos" rather than a vampire, and can conjure lightning bolts out of nowhere. At this point, he seems more like a lich than a vamp.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil - Pretty much every good character, since being a video game hero usually entails killing the bad guys. In particular, Trenton Belfast refuses to consider making peace with evildoers, and Lin-Ku is downright bloodthirsty.
  • Super Drowning Skills - Very subtly lampshaded in "Pit Fallout" (it's a quick comment that's quite easy to miss if you're not paying attention).
    Sam: Besides, the blaster would incinerate the crocodile's mouths and then what would we do? Swim?
    Lin-Ku: Good point.
  • Take That!: Trenton's copy of the movie Wishmaster, which reads "You'll wish you'd rented Leprechaun instead."
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy - God spends his time hanging out in Heaven playing games and ordering taking out. He only intervenes when Vile's actions in Hell start messing with the cosmic balance.
  • Too Kinky to Torture - Trenton gets blasted by chaos magic repeatedly during a raid to retrieve an oracle. He claims it "started to feel good after a while."
  • Vice City - The City of Freedomsville which is visited for one episode. Lin-ku falls in love with the free-for-all nature that rules the place and chooses to stay behind to begin a life as a crime-boss. Until next day where he, to his disappointment, finds out that that killing off the other crime-bosses have caused the citizens to reclaim their city and turned it into a peaceful Utopia.
  • What the Hell, Hero? - Sam calls Lin-Ku out on his Anti-Hero tendencies before kicking him off the team.
    Lin-Ku: Hey, I didn't mean for Zack to...
    Sam: Save it, you're out.
    Lin-Ku: What?, I botch just one mission and I...
    Sam: It's more then just that, everyday you tread the line between hero and thug. I just don't know what side you'll end up on anymore.
    Lin-Ku: Listen we won the day like we always do...
    Sam: We got lucky Lin-Ku but you weren't there when we needed you.
    Lin-Ku: So I got a little carried away, next time...
    Sam: There is no "next time" Lin-Ku, you have to learn to trust your partners. The bloodiest path isn't always the best one. Next time someone needs your help, don't turn your back on them. Take that advice.
  • Xanatos Gambit - Vlad creates an Evil Knockoff of Zack to go and try and kill him. Seems a pretty straightforward and easily foiled plot, right? After a brief (and stupid) Spot the Impostor moment, Zack kills his double and that's that, right? Wrong. Remember one of the rituals to unlock one of the gates of Hell? "The hero that killed Vile must spill his own blood on the altar". Evil!Zack is still Zack, so no matter what the outcome was (Zack killing evil!Zack or Evil!Zack killing Zack), the ritual would be fulfilled.

Press Start 2 provides examples of

  • No Export for You: Parodied - The film's tagline states that Press Start 2 is "Press Start 4 in Japan".
  • Punny Name: Press Start 2 Continue
  • Sequel Hook: Vile is transformed into a Jackomo card, and promptly takes over the world of the Jackomo, declaring his intent to use his new army to take over his own world... As soon as he finds a way to get back there.
  • The Other Darrin: Sam's original actress, Lauren Chambers has been replaced by Jennifer Zahn. They get around this by having Sam keep the helmet on.
  • You Look Familiar: The new shopkeeper is the brother of the shopkeeper from first film. Lin-Ku lampshades this.