The Passion of the Sessler

Webcomic maven Eric Burns has posted this little essay over at Websnark.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a regular Xplay watcher (it was Extended Play at the time), but I thought it was an interesting synopsis.


Who is Eric Burns and why should I care at all what he thinks?

I watch the show. It’s fine. Everyone involved seems to put a lot of good work into it. I hope they don’t change anything and continue to have fun with it.


I don’t understand the preoccupation with denying Morgan Webb’s attractiveness, or qualifying it. If I were not currently with an attractive and loving lady, I would very much date Webb (see also thread entitled Nanaca Crash). She seems like a nice friendly person who can read cue cards properly, so why shouldn’t she be on the show? I’ve never gotten a vibe off her that she thinks she’s too good for a gaming TV show or that she pushes the sex angle to the forefront, and no I don’t think posing for a magazine counts.

And furthermore, I was promised “The Passion of the Sessler”, but not only do I not get Sesslerian scourging, I find out that he’s not only not suffering, he’s supposedly coasting, an indication of comfort. Boo!

I give this weblog entry from a “maven” I’ve never heard of one…out of five.

I don’t always like every skit, and I do kind of agree with the complaint about Sessler sometimes going a wee bit over the top with the dork act, but in general it’s harmless enough that I merely press fast-forward on the Tivo remote to get to the good bits.

All the rest is just extras before and after the reviews, which are still just as useful to me as they were before.

XPlay is the only show on g4 I watch with any regularity… it isn’t actually offensive. It didn’t earn a season pass, but my tivo records it pretty often as a suggestion.

I’ve watched “X-Play” since it was Gamespot TV… the article is a bit harsh, taking off again/on again type flaws and generalizing them to the entire series. Sure some skits are extremely lame, but others are funny and even inadvertantly informative (who knew the Gamecube was the “toughest” console?).

If you wanted to generalize, you might say the show tries too hard. It’s just too much sometimes and you come away thinking the content wasn’t all that informative overall. Seem to review the same type of game over and over again cause they can easily make a skit out of it (how many reviews of Karaoke games do we need to see?). There was a stretch there where every episode had some anti-Bush slam in it just to be cool or edgy. At least they don’t pick up game controllers and pretend to play anymore.

I like the show, mostly. I agree that Sessler hams it up too much, and it is getting very old now. I thought the episode of “games that make you feel funny” was a little disturbing, like hearing Michael Jackson give a review of the new Rugrats game.

PS. Can we see Morgan in some skimpy outfits like the chick on Filter? That show Filter sucks ass but she’s nice eye candy.

PPS. Every show on G4 sucks except X-Play because the male hosts are painful to watch and listen to. I miss Leo and his stalwart… I forget his name. Also the TechTV show with the gadget reviews was good, with the asian dude and the nice lookin indian lady.

I too haven’t been overly happy with Xplay lately. The comedy within the reviews has gotten a wee bit out of hand. Plus I really wish they would find someone more qualified to do the lighting than the guy from the Sears accross the street. However it isn’t horrible by no means.

I am so glad Screwed is over and done with. Leo’s sidekick was Patrick. And the indian lady was Sumi Das who was the babest of the of the babes on TechTV.

I mostly agree with the article. The show is still watchable for the reviews, but I wouldn’t mind if they swapped out the staff. I liked the old incarnations of both Sessler and Webb. Sessler being the modestly geeky ‘every man’ that gamers can relate too, and Webb being the mysterious girl next door you’d only occasionally get a glimpse at in TSS. They seemed genuine. Now Adam is playing the role of a more spastic Napolean Dynamite, and Webb is a wannabe diva.

The only show on G4 I watch regularily is Icons. Check it out sometime, it’s a documentary-lite about the, well, Icons of gaming and their impact on the industry.

The show got worse “with the move to California?”

Pssst… San Francisco is not a seperate hippie country, its also part of California.

Obviously I don’t agree with much of what he says. I do think several of the comments in this thread are valid criticisms, because they’re clearly comments made by people who have watched the show and have a reaction to it based on what it is currently. This guy’s screed reads like all the sad and/or angry mail we get from people who are mostly upset that we’re not TechTV anymore. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a “bring back Kate” comment in there. Most of the displeased mail we get is of that nature, or people pissed off about some political joke we made. I swear, we spoil the ending of Million Dollar Baby and make fun of Ray Charles, nothing. Even use the word “Bush” in a review and you get five angry emails with “y’all” in them. :roll:

I’m a bit in the middle of it, but I really don’t see a whole lot of difference between the SF version of the show and the current one as far as content goes. It’s 80% the same crew, and we’ve consciously tried to keep it steady in the quality department. There have been times we’ve been concerned there’s been too much straight game review going on and not enough “X-Play” to it, even.

It’s not going to be everyone’s idea of a great show, of course, but I think it’s good. I’d watch it if I didn’t work on it. All his doomsaying about the end of the road is fairly uninformed, though. Everyone’s actually rather excited about some of the stuff coming up in the next six months.

Not that it matters, but for demographic purposes…

I am 35, still like fart and dick jokes as well as smart humor, and it is too un-funny for me. Sessler’s goofballedness is way too far on the Dork end of the spectrum for my tastes. I used to watch it as some of the people above as it was worth it for the reviews. I go back occasionally and it seems more trouble than it is worth to wade through. Webb is good at it and comes across well on the show. However, I do not see her as “The hot gaming chick on X-Play” as others seem to find her.

Then there is also what could be blatantly obvious…maybe I should face the fact that I am old and the show is not aimed at me. :)

If you’re not 18-34, television doesn’t want you. :)

Is there a difference in the humor/goofballness from the SF to LA days, or do you think you just outgrew the show/came to your senses?

Every now and then (not so much anymore it seems), G4 shows an old X-Play and I do think there is a difference. The humor IS the same type of humor there is now, it’s just less. Less is more, they say. The humor in the reviews was much more pointed. Now reviews are just one large gag at times. A gag every 2 seconds doesn’t make something funnier. Heck, I imagine some of the slightly older X-Plays had reviews with barely any gags. I think the funnier reviews are the ones that make fun of the game’s mechanics (like terrible AI, an easy target I suppose) than having a talking Arnold head.

As for the emails after mentioning Bush, I’m not surprised. As I said, I’ve watched nearly every new episode since Gamespot TV and for sure since Adam and Morgan were together. All of the sudden there was a stretch of episodes that tossed in a Bush slam. One I recall was in some review or preview of Neo Contra that seemed so out of place (other than riffing on Neo Con). While you may say no one is looking to X-Play for their political discussion, the reverse holds true. I’m not watching X-Play to hear how much Bush hate there is on the west coast. Show me cool shit in games please.

Has Tommy Tallarico ever gotten any praise from anyone?

God I hope not.

But I know that’s not true. He has a cult that loves him.


What’s wrong with Tommy?

Any examples? I’m not trying to be confrontational, I just want to know some recent non-gag heavy reviews you thought were well balanced segments.

While you may say no one is looking to X-Play for their political discussion, the reverse holds true. I’m not watching X-Play to hear how much Bush hate there is on the west coast. Show me cool shit in games please.

Oh, but it’s right there. :)

As I said to another viewer recently, if Kerry were in power now, we’d be making fun of him, too. I’m with Lewis Black: “My problem is not with Republicans, my problem is with authority.”

Well, you do have to raise an eyebrow when someone gives The Guy Game an 8/10. Or maybe it was an 8.5. :?