Game Informer's Replay, or just Replay, is a weekly webseries run by the gaming magazine Game Informer. The purpose is to revisit older video games from previous generations and play through them for about thirty minutes while the cast of the episode discusses the game. Often, a second segment is attached to the video; these segments usually focus on games not worth their own episodes. The second segments are usually more varied in nature and change format regularly.
The series started on January 17, 2010 and is still on going. An episode has been posted every Saturday without fail, with the occasional mid-week episode or bonus episode depending on what the circumstances are.
To give a brief history of the show: in early 2010, Game Informer editor Dan Ryckert was working on a retrospective of the Twisted Metal franchise for the magazine. At the time, the magazine and website had just gone through a major redesign a few months earlier, with a host of new editors (Dan included) and equipmment brought in. The plan was to expand the website's video content, however at that point, they had only started a podcast. One day, as Dan was working on the feature and discussing the series with fellow editors, executive editor Andrew Reiner got the idea to record the conversation over gameplay footage. Andrew, Dan, and fellow editors Tim Turi and Nick Ahrens then went to the new podcast room, carted in a TV and a Playstation, and recorded their first episode. The rest is history.
During it's four year run (so far), the series has gone through a couple changes. Most notably are the evolution of the episodes through three different video editors. At the start, Dan Ryckert was the video editor, putting together many of the tropes to come in the series. Within the first year, he was replaced by Ben Hanson, who was Game Informer's first dedicated video production employee. In 2012, Ben was replaced by the current video producer, Jason Oestreicher. The differences between the three are noticeable the further the show progresses.
Currently, Replay is in Season Two (started in early 2012). While the first season consisted of the main segment followed by a Replay Roulette (a game picked at random), Season Two introduced new second segments. These include: Stress Test, which features an editor (usually Tim Turi) trying to beat a notoriously hard section of a game; Reported, which usually looks at games that have suffered from No Export for You in the United States (where Game Informer is based); and You're Doing it Wrong, which features editors taking turns playing certain parts of beloved games but in a different way than normal. A newer segment, Moments, looks at sequences of certain games that have gained notoriety for being either prolific of the time, or completely ridiculous. A couple one-off segments exist too; including Replay 2048, where the cast pretends that they're in the future, playing games on current generation video game consoles (and is currently their biggest Old Shame), and Replay Real Life which features editors facing off in real life sports (which some fans have been asking back for awhile).
While the cast has included most editors working at Game Informer at least once (and beyond), there has been a definitive main cast since the beginning. At first, it consisted of Andrew Reiner, Tim Turi, Dan Ryckert, and Phil Kollar. When Phil left Game Informer, he was replaced by editor Jeff Cork. As of May 31 2014, Dan Ryckert has just left Game Informer as well, with no clear intention of what editor will eventually replace him.
Lastly, while Replay is a weekly show that looks at glimpses of older titles, a long form called Super Replay exists. Basically Game Informer's version of a Let's Play, Super Replay goes through an entire game, an hour per episode. Usually, one editor plays the game while the other three make commentary on the player's gameplay, but this hasn't always been the case. For the past couple years, a competition called Super Replay Showdown has been held where editors compete against each other, each fighting for a game they want to do a Super Replay on. Past winners of this competition include Half-Life, Ninja Gaiden on NES, and SNES RPG SoulBlazer.
Originally intended as a look at the best, most beloved games, both Replay and Super Replay have become just as known for their Mystery Science Theater 3000 brand comedy and the humor that comes out of the awful games they sometimes play. With the success of their surprise Super Replay of the obscure PlayStation horror game Over Blood, the show has spawned a Facebook group entitled "I Watched the Entire Overblood Super Replay". The editors of the magazine often interact with fans on here and sometimes take suggestions from fans.
Game Informer's Replay provides examples of:
- A Cappella: Some of the editors are known to start singing made up songs or their best renditions of their favorite songs on cue.
- Butt-Monkey: Every cast member gets made fun of to an extent, but Ben Hanson and Dan Ryckert are easily the most abused. Also Phil Kollar, but only after he left the show.
- DVD Commentary: Sort of. Released as an April Fools joke, the crew recorded an episode of them giving commentary on one of their old episodes. It's synced so that, with headphones in, the new commentary plays in one ear while the old audio plays in the other.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first episode was supposed to be a retrospective of the Twisted Metal series on the original PlayStation. As a result, this episode looks at the first four installments of that series as well as the game Critical Depth and Rogue Trip. The usual two segment formula was established in the second episode.
- The first two episodes, the ones for Twisted Metal and Bushido Blade, include a "Rewind" symbol on their picture icons, falling in line with the first season's intro which featured a scratchy rewind sound. These, as well as any other ties to VCR technology were done away with by Season 2 when it was realized that these allusions made no sense.
- Five-Man Band: The usual cast is made up of this:
- The Leader: Andrew Reiner. Also Big Brother Mentor. Not always a player on the show, but he is very much the mastermind, often leading the show's production. Due to his long history in the video game industry (he started at Game Informer in 1994), he often also acts as the wise one.
- The Lancer: Dan Ryckert was a cross between this and The Big Guy. Known as "The Father of Replay" among fans (since he posted the first episode), he is just as important to the history and development of the show as Reiner. He is also one of the more charismatic cast members, and definitely the show's Anti-Hero, having referred to himself as a "Heel" on several occasions. His ability to be Too Dumb to Live is played up for laughs. However, with his departure, someone will be filling this spot.
- The Medic: Tim Turi is a cross between The Smart Guy and The Chick. Despite having a strong competitive streak, Tim is often the one determined to keep the peace among the cast of an episode, acting as a mediator on several occasions. He is cited as being the "most nerdy" of the cast members due to his love of video game music. Once trained to be a cop.
- Phil's replacement, Jeff Cork, has taken the mantle of also being The Lancer crossed with the Team Dad. This due to his simultaneous egging on of Dan's Sneaky Guy antics and his older age than many of the other cast members. Possibly has the most Hidden Depths of any cast member, having previously worked as a fireman.
- Sixth Ranger: Usually taken by either Ben Hanson or Jason O, the members who more than often than not just act as video producers. They're not always acknowledged on the show despite being in the background, making sure the recording goes well. Hanson has become known as the Team Pet and the go-to Butt-Monkey when Dan is around due to his perceived weirdness and peculiar interests by the other members. On the other hand, Jason has become known as The Voice when he isn't in an episode as a cast member. This is due to his habit of telling the editors to do something without the audience knowing, as well as his interjections that the audience can hear.
- No Export for You: Video games that have been subject to this are the subject of the Reported segment, such as Rhythm Heaven for the Game Boy Advance. Also the reason they did a blind Super Replay of the sequel to OverBlood; the curiosity about it was too intense to ignore.
- Non-Answer: Another character quirk of Dan Ryckert is to answer questions in this way. If he were to asked how a game like Perfect Dark played today, he might answer "it plays like a thing like other things from this time". Causing the ire of other cast members, he has been called out on it several times. Notably during the Replay of the Nintendo 64 game based on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
- Recap Episode: Not an episode really, but between seasons one and two of Replay, a list of the cast's ten favorite episodes was released, along with a viewer's choice and a podcast talking about how the show got started, where it went, and where it was going.
- Special Guest: Over the years, the show has had a few guests like Frank Caliendo and Riff Raff, along with people in the gaming industry like Randy Pitchford.
- In addition, though not famous, Tim Turi's mom has appeared on a Replay, as has Dan Ryckert's father, Paul.
- Too Dumb to Live: One of the highlights of the series was former cast member Dan Ryckert's ability to tell embarrassing stories about himself (or have stories told about him) while he takes all criticism thrown at him in stride. Stories include:
- Purposely ruining his eyesight as a kid by wearing glasses to the point that he can't see without glasses.
- Thinking that egg whites were actually the shells of the eggs, then trying to fry up the shells of several eggs in order to eat them.
- Eating things, like giant pastries and endless amounts of candy, despite knowing that doing this could very well kill him.
- We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Has happened a couple times, most notably during during their Sonic Adventure episode during the Blue Stinger Replay Roulette segment. Arguably a reason they eventually played the game for a Super Replay.
- This has been cited as a reason why an episode may be canned and redone at a later date. Not that it stops the cast from bringing up these episodes once in awhile anyway.