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Let’s take a trip, shall we? Back to a time when the Internet was young, Google barely existed, people laughed at the notion that Apple could do anything cool, and web series didn’t really exist yet. That time was 2004. It seems crazy to think that a mere eleven years ago, things that we take for granted – things as simple as regularly updated content on YouTube – were mere figments of our imagination.

However, there was one group of people whose forward thinking helped change the way that we consume our content. Targeting a very specific group of people (gamers, and more particularly, Command and Conquer: Generals players), Jarrett Cale and Geoff Lapaire managed to make lightning strike with their mockumentary brainchild, Pure Pwnage. Following the exploits of the self-proclaimed “greatest gamer in the world,” Jeremy (teh_pwnerer) and his brother Kyle and best friend fps_doug (Joel F. Gardiner), Pure Pwnage presented its viewers with a strikingly funny and completely genuine sendup of video games and the people who play them.

Now, nearly seven years since the release of the final episode of the web series (and five since the conclusion of the entirely too short lived TV adaptation), Cale, Lapaire, and Gardiner are almost ready to release a feature-length Pure Pwnage film. Having successfully funded the film through an Indiegogo campaign that met its goal within 20 hours, the first trailer has finally been released.

While exciting, all of this begs the question: why should we care about a movie based on a web series made more than ten years ago? Well, dear rear, let’s find out.

1. It’s funny as hell

It’s pretty much impossible to overstate how funny Pure Pwnage is. Not only are Cale, Lapaire, and Gardiner avid gamers, but Cale initially wanted to pursue a career in standup comedy. Taking his penchant for joke writing and combining that with an acerbic takedown of the kinds of people found on the gaming forums of the time – notably CNC Replays – Cale’s Jeremy is precisely the stunted, socially awkward stereotype that many associated with those who played video games in 2004.

Taking this a step further is the introduction of Gardiner’s fps_doug in Episode 3. Riffing on the incredibly hyperactive stereotypes associated with those who played CounterStrike, Quake, and Unreal Tournament, Doug was the kind of character who would destroy keyboard after keyboard for suffering a single death.

And he can dance all day, just try to hit him!
And he can dance all day, just try to hit him!

2. It’s made with love

It would have been really easy for Cale and company to take the stereotypes present within their show and allow them to run wild, creating bitter caricature instead of tender satire. It’s clear from the opening moments of the very first episode that these folks love video games and the people who play them, and do everything in their power to keep things positive. This ranged from shutting down an angry character who thought that games caused real-world violence to incorporating fans into the show on a regular basis. Although Jeremy and Doug are hardly perfect, there’s almost never a moment in which you’re not completely, 100% on their side.

Jeremy and Doug, with Dave (far left) and Anastasia (far right)
Jeremy and Doug, with Dave (far left) and Anastasia (far right)

3. The legacy

Remember how we were talking about the time before the web series? Well, Pure Pwnage pretty much changed all of that. Despite the fact that the show was targeted at an incredibly small audience and had absolutely no advertising outside of word-of-mouth, the show still managed to attain and maintain a massive audience. With each episode having over 3 million downloads (accounting for who knows how many views), the number of people exposed to Pure Pwnage was absolutely unreal.

What this did was show that it was entirely possible to use the Internet as a content distribution model. Rather than being confined to the major networks, cable, premium channels, or the cinema, it was now possible to produce content on less than a shoestring budget with borrowed cameras, edit, and release. Add in merchandise sales, and you’ve got yourself a nice little model right there.

4. The other legacy

Affecting the way that people use the Internet to distribute content and paving the way for the likes of Freddie Wong and RocketJump is one thing, but Pure Pwnage also managed to have a massive impact on its audience. Jeremy and Doug both had a number of catchphrases, and these began to proliferate within the online gaming space. So if you’ve ever heard a 12-year-old yell “Boom, headshot!” rest assured in the knowledge that they weren’t even really conscious when that phrase was first screamed over and over again.

Needless to say, the prospect of finally being able to see these characters once more interacting with each other, cracking jokes, playing games, and humiliating each other in victory, is incredibly exciting.

What do you think? Are you excited about the Pure Pwnage movie? Were you a fan from back in the day? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Keith Mathias

The author Keith Mathias

Keith is a writer and photographer living and working in the Baltimore/DC area. Every once in a while, he'll put down the controller to pick up a book or simply bask in the light of the silver screen. Formerly of VideoGameWriters.com, you can read his thoughts on the DC music scene at WAMU's Bandwidth.