Rooster Teeth Studios already has one of the most successful shows on Blip.tv, if not the web series world in general, with the long-running machinima series Red vs. Blue. But the empire goes far beyond that with original shorts, comics and podcasts — plus, a whole new other show, one that takes on the world of video games from an entirely new perspective.
The seven-episode series Immersion, hosted by Burnie Burns with assistance by Griffon Ramsey, features Geoff Ramsey and Gustavo Sorola as crash-test dummies discovering how specific video game tropes might work in real life. Launched last November, the first season explores important issues like the realism of video game inventory systems and whether or not eating food will really restore health points.
From its use of elaborate dummies to test scenarios to the mannerisms of its hosts, Immersion‘s debt to the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters is very clear. However, I’d never call it a rip-off, because the Rooster Teeth team has taken that foundation and built upon it extreme levels of video game nerdy: Crew members are referenced as monsters from Doom, time and care is put into replicating costumes from Soul Caliber, and when testing the average person’s zombie-shooting skills, the on-screen graphics directly mimic those from the Left 4 Dead series.
Honestly, the empirical value of these experiments is pretty much nil; making two guys drink all night to “lower their health” and then making them eat a bunch of random food items until they throw up has nothing to do with the scientific method.
But it really doesn’t matter, because it’s just a whole lot of fun. The stunts and gags are bring with them a delightful slapstick element — the side-scroller episode, just to pick one, brilliantly combines classic Nintendo tropes and pratfalls. Everyone involved has great chemistry and timing, and Ramsey and Sorola are just naturally funny people, something I learned when I interviewed them at Comic-Con this year.
Ultimately, it’s a well-produced series that wouldn’t look out of place on any cable channel, except for the part where — at five minutes each — the episodes are pretty perfectly paced. I’m not necessarily sure what it is about video games and web video that make them work so well together. They just do.
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