Friday, September 7, 2007

Nasty Monkeys

A few weeks back while we were watching Ninja Warrior on G4 (the gaming network), my son and I saw commercials for another show on the network. The show as an animated one called Code Monkeys which debuted earlier this summer, and just from the commericals I could tell this was not going to be something I'd even think of allowing my eleven year old son to watch. The brief spot implied the tone of the show - crude, irreverant, and oh so adult. Last night I actually managed to catch the show (new episodes come on Wednesday nights at 9pm). This is an MA14 marked show, and my initial impressions from the commercial still held true.

Think of this in the same family as South Park and Little George cartoons on Comedy Central. Same kind of satiric stuff. But, since this on G4 after all, it contains a lot of humor poking fun at the video game industry (mostly of the past).

The show is about the programmers working for a computer gaming company in the early 80's. What I found intriguing was the fact that the show appears to actually be done with classic computer pixel animation, in lower resolution. It actually looks like one of those classic computer games like Zac McKraken and Maniac Mansion that came out from LucasArts, or like the earliest versions of Leisure Suit Larry. There is an info bar along the bottom of the screen that changes as the episode goes. There is a status bar along the top, indicating character health, items they are using, etc. And the sound effects are straight out of the classic blip-bloop-blop sounds of old time computer games. The feel of the show is spot on (take it from this old-old school gamer who was there playing gems that looked and sounded like this in the early 80's).

And, in fact, the show has a lot more in common with Leisure Suit Larry than just the look. As I said, this show is crude and adult. There is language (some of it bleeped out), there are alcohol and drug references, there are racial references, and there are sexual references (including some blurred pixelation nudity). As an adult, I can recognize the humor and the satire in all this. And, yes, there were times when I shook my head too thinking "oh, this is so wrong...". But, like any good accident, you can't turn away as you slowly drive on by.

I'm certainly willing to give it another viewing though. Hey, any show that can get Gary Gygax, the creator of AD&D, to do a voice cameo (as himself, naturally) is worth checking out again. If nothing else, the show reminds me of those good times in high school hanging out with my best friend John, playing all these wonderful classic computer games on our Commodore-64 computers.

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