This week on The Retrograde, Mikey and Andrew whip out their worms and take a long, hard look back at one of gaming’s most bewildering mascots: Earthworm Jim!
We also spend some time praising God of War, getting pumped about the new Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay, and give parenting advice based on having no actual parenting experience whatsoever!
What’s better than a little sarcasm? Nothing, definitely nothing is better than a little sarcasm.
This, my friends, was an example of sarcasm in one of the various forms it takes.
Sarcasm can be used for many things, and in the world of entertainment it’s sometimes used to great comedic effect. Often its use by the protagonist is a way in which he or she can distance him or herself from the content being dealt with, and essentially take a far enough step back to serve as the closest conduit through which the audience can participate with the world.
But this tactic is often a risky one. While not enough sarcasm and too much context can make a story seem to take itself too seriously, too much sarcasm with too little context can create an air of apathy, or a world which doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Modern games akin to Ratchet and Clank, the Uncharted series, and a third example walk this line perfectly by managing a delicate balance of dense world building and detached wit.
This new-age “too cool for school” protagonist deftly winding his or her way through certain death isn’t a brand new tactic.
In the earlier days of gaming, several characters had attributed to them the same snark, be it the finger wagging Sonic the Hedgehog, the shades wielding Toe Jam and Earl, or a third example.
By modern standards, the lack of context may find a revisit of these characters lacking substance, leaving the world itself to fall apart in a stew of absurdity.
One such character is put under the sunlight-focusing magnifying glass this week to determine whether or not one of the grandfathers of videogame wackiness and satyre holds up when Andrew and Mikey Retrograde: Earthworm Jim.