Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trolling Done Right

If you are not entrenched in Internet culture and all the memes and jargon it entails, it is quite possible that nothing after this sentence will make any sense to you at all- and really, you’re probably better off. But if you are the kind of person who understands why Philips CD-i Zelda is the cancer that is killing YouTube and who shudders whenever anyone posts that X Y is X, you may appreciate this tale about how some guys with a grudge, some talent, and a lot of time on their hands colluded to execute one of the most (literally) epic trolls in recent history.

Our story begins on Newgrounds, an online community where aspiring animators, programmers, and voice actors collaborate to create online cartoons and games. One of the most well-known personalities to frequent Newgrounds is Rina-chan, a GOTIS victim, USI-sufferer, and actress who has voiced “literally thousands of characters in online animated shorts, series and games.” She has done a small amount of professional voice work and formed her own association of Internet voice actors, the Voice Acting Club (VAC).

In early 2008, Rina-chan (a.k.a. RunkaChunk) collaborated with an animator called Kirbopher to create a terrible Flash animation called Brawl Taunts. The cartoon puts characters from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl (a sort of Nintendo All-Stars melee fighting game) into wacky situations and, for some reason, takes potshots at Sega- at least 8 years since that company ceased to be a presence on the console gaming scene. The jokes were uniformly unfunny, the animation uninspired, and like all awful things, it quickly developed a large borg-like following.

The first Brawl Taunts went over so well that Rina-chan and Kirbopher shat out two subsequent installments (More Brawl Taunts and One More Brawl Taunts), using a very familiar formula: Consecutive bad jokes with no relation to each other + puns + pop culture references + Internet memes = shitty Flash. Rina-chan’s already inflated ego loomed large over the Newgrounds landscape.

The undeserved praise that the masses heaped on Brawl Taunts raised the ire of Newgrounds user ChainsawDentist (he has since changed his username to Spazkid), so he and a couple of friends responded with Brawl 4, a spoofed fourth entry into the Brawl Taunts canon. It was annoying and pretty bad, but it also used unflattering real-life photographs of both Rina-chan and Kirbopher and directly mocked some of the bits from the original series. It should be noted that by most accounts Rina-chan is not fat in real life, and it’s likely the Brawl 4 guys were aware of this. They probably just made her look huge in the video for laughs... but with this artistic decision they were about to tap into a deep well of lulz.) Even though Brawl 4 wasn’t exactly good, it struck a chord with a quiet minority of Newgrounds users and gained enough user ratings to appear on the Newgrounds front page... which is how Rina-chan first learned of its existence.

ChainsawDentist took note and disappeared into the shadows, while Rina-chan teamed up with an animator by the name of Scoot on a completely new concept: Do a movie exactly like Brawl Taunts, but with characters from Capcom’s Street Fighter games instead!!!

Street Fighter Club soon debuted to great reviews from the unenlightened Newgrounds masses. Obviously Rina-chan hadn’t taken ChainsawDentist’s message to heart. She probably had no way of knowing that she had just awakened the sleeping dragon of lulz.

Over the next seven months, ChainsawDentist and a small team of comrades toiled in dorms and basements assembling a sprawling epic of a response to Street Fighter Club. Whereas all of the aforementioned movies, including Brawl 4, were collections of mini sketches with no narrative connective tissue, the new film was an action-and-dick-packed thriller that followed a pair of Newgrounds moderators who were willing to risk it all to prevent Rina-chan and her cabal of Voice Acting Club associates from uploading another terrible movie to the site. The character design of the moderators was inspired by the militaristic iconography of the newgrounds website logos, while Rina-chan and the Brawl Taunts/Street Fighter Club staff were cast as disgusting supervillains, each with their own traits or powers.

The Newgrounds boys. They are not prepared.

On July 7, 2010, ChainsawDentist’s magnum opus, Street Fighter Chode, debuted on Newgrounds with an adult rating for language, violence, and lots and lots of cocks. Despite the adult content, Street Fighter Chode was an instant hit, quickly appearing on the front page and garnering a 9.5/10 rating with hundreds of votes. So, sit back, relax, and put your goddam headphones on before playing this video, because while it is a thing of perfect beauty, it is definitely not safe for work.