Ever wondered what it would be like if your beach holiday could turn into Far Cry 3? There is a popular Youtube channel that can show you. FreddieW (Rocket Jump), by Freddie Wong and company, is a channel dedicated to bringing you violent and clever visual comedy that parodies the video game and film industry. It’s a channel run by video games enthusiasts and filmmaking experts, for games enthusiasts and film-watching experts. But then, what youtube channel isn’t? Well, this one.
Actually, I lied. Rocket Jump Studios are the makers of the famous Medal of Honor Cat video. With over twenty three million views, it’s one of their biggest videos ever. It’s no secret that the internet, and therefore Youtube by extension, was invented for sharing cat-related humour. Though Rocket Jump aren’t all about cats and gimmicks, they’ve made their six million strong cult following by producing weekly video shorts that are designed to be quick viewing and highly shareable.
Rocket Jump shorts involve a range of techniques, from choreographed toy car racing to high quality digital manipulation. The subject of the videos is almost always humorous, although the humour is niche and targeted specifically at the video game playing, action-film loving community. Occasionally a Rocket Jump video serves as a showcase of good film making without a trace of humour, with stunning visual spectacles and intensely choreographed fight scenes that qualify as genuine examples of the styles that Rocket Jump is known for parodying. Rather than undermining the usual humour of the shorts, these more serious examples highlight the studio’s high quality of production, in a way that the channel’s usual comedic approach may otherwise detract from.
The Rocket Jump style plays on Hollywood and Triple-A video game clichés to produce a bizarre but easily recognisable standard of humour, parodying recognisable figures from both artistic mediums. Some of their humour can range on the farthest side of bizarre; I like it, but that doesn’t mean that you will. However, most of the more cunning shorts are accessible to anyone with enough foreknowledge to recognise the characters, or the character archetypes involved.
Freddie and the gang have been known to hit wide of the mark, and the humour in some of the shorts is a little too personal to consistently appeal to their wider audience. This is probably a side effect of their original commitment to weekly productions. With work commencing on the third season of their excellent web series, Video Game High School (VGHS), which depicts an extrapolation of modern day video-games into a future where game playing has become the basis of all culture, Rocket Jump have announced that they will no longer be continuing their tradition of weekly shorts. It is time to break out the crying face emoticons, people of the internet.
Actually, this new development is probably for the best. A Kickstarter pet project that reached $273,725 within the 30 day pledge period (more than three times the amount asked for), VGHS is easily Rocket Jump’s best collaborative work to date, and their time is well spent on it. It features an excellent standard of acting, a more accessible style of humour and the characters and stories are both surprisingly compelling. According to Wong, besides freeing up time for the production of VGHS, the intended payoff of spreading out the Rocket Jump shorts is an increase in the overall standard. Sadly, this may herald the end of the cute and highly shareable clip in favour of longer and more dramatic live action scenes, but the exchange still means that Rocket Jump is probably more deserving of your subscription than ever.
You can check out some more of Samuel’s work on his personal blog.