Xplay The Musical The Review

[GANNON] back in the before times people couldn’t 
watch game reviews on youtube; this was  
long before the days of people like the 
Angry Video Game Nerd or the   
Nostalgia Critic, long before the days of channels like 
Eggsnbaconbits (what the [ __ ] was that?)  
in these old archaic times a tv channel existed: G4
G4 was made by gamers, for gamers, and reported  
on all things video games. with great shows like 
Code Monkeys, American Ninja Warrior, Attack of  
the Show, and reruns of COPS, there existed a 
shining glittering gem of a series, and that  
series was called X-play. X-play would review video 
games that had just come out on systems like PS2 , 
Gamecube, Xbox and even the Dreamcast, and 
give them a score from 1 to 5 out  
of 5. These scores were what they gave us. 
These were the prototypical youtuber reviewers,  
except on cable tv in full half hour episodes.
And one episode was a full musical.
[Billy the Newsboy] Oh, thanks Mister!
Musical Episode! Xplay! Xplay!
[GANNON] when we talk about something like x-play 
the musical, you really have to understand  
the context it was made in to fully appreciate 
it, let’s use as a counter example the
Channel Awesome movies: If you tried to watch Kickassia

/> by itself with no knowledge of Nostalgia Critic,  
with no knowledge of any of the Channel Awesome 
video makers, this movie would make no sense at all  
(it probably doesn’t anyway) but i mean let’s be 
real, that movie is 10 years old and has aged like  
milk. But still, it had an idea. The idea of taking 
comedy internet reviews that sometimes included a  
wacky skits in them, and stringing it along into a 
two-hour adventure of a skit? that’s just wild and  
unheard of for the year 2010.
x-play of the musical 
came out in 2007.
The idea of taking a game review tv show and turning in into a half hour long opera with no real warning for this genre change
is in itself really hilarious. Let’s take a step back and 
just acknowledge that on a fundamental level: They turned a game
review show into an opera and it 
They turned a game review show into an opera?
funniest shit i’ve ever seen.
i’m going to get into the specifics of why it worked in a second
but to do so let’s break it down into its actual plot:
after all just doing music for music’s sake and not having a message or story to tell is childish 
pointless and could come off as just cringe
wait, the Nostalgia Critic did that in 2019? Why?
heh … “The Wall.”
no, okay, I don’t – I don’t care Brian, the “The Wall” is –
the is – is the peak peak performance of Doug Walker  
okay? I don’t care what anyone says.
a game producer hears about x-play and offers a deal to the hosts to make a video game based on whatever they want
and they do it only to find out that the game is bad. Summarizing the entire plot in one sentence makes it sound bad, but imagine what  
other movies and musicals are summed up as? Beauty 
and the Beast? a girl develops stockholm syndrome  
to keep her dad safe. Frozen? girl with ice powers 
does … no that’s it, girl with ice powers. i just need  
to explain the plots that people know what’s going 
on here when you’re watching these songs. The songs  
themselves are also way better than they have any 
right to be. Okay, so unfortunately we don’t have  
the names of the actual songs, but let’s go through 
them as we go through the plot.
[BUISNESSMAN] what’s this x-play  
you’re speaking of?
[BILLY] What’s x-play? why it’s only the best show on television!
[GANNON] “That’s x-play,” the opening  
to the musical. This is when the game developer 
finds out about x-play. This song needs to do a  
lot to accomplish what it’s setting out to do –
This song has to establish what x-play is in  
case a channel surfer just stumbled upon this show 
for the first time, and with the gaming developer  
overhearing and asking questions, it allows 
us to info-dump a ton of exposit ion very quickly
[DEVELOPER] Well, tell me more about this
“Adam Sessler” and “Morgan Webb” …
[GANNON] this song also introduces Billy, a character created 
for the musical. Billy is an old-timey news boy  
crying out “extra extra,” but also becomes the 
opening scene to each Act, this creates a running  
theme to show us where we are in the story.
doesn’t he sceam x-play? is that a joke? i’m stupid but  
he says x-play he doesn’t say extra
[GANNON] the song itself has fun energy includes 
all the easter eggs and references from  
the show in a colorful and silly way, having a 
nefarious character get all the information he  
needs from an over eager fan more than willing 
to explain every facet of the topic. It’s also  
no doubt how brian will end up 
giving away all of our secrets >:(
[DEVELOPER] ♫ That boy’s devotion can only mean one thing:
There’s money to be made, wherever little boys are known to sing ♫
[GANNON] having the cheerful music continue into the 
background of this nefarious soliloquy juxtaposes  
the two viewpoints perfectly. Hey do you know what 
“singing in canon” means? It’s when two singers sing  
the same notes but in a roundabout way (sort 
of like when people sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”  
but slightly out of sync with each other;
one person starts and then another person  
starts) and that’s what these two characters are 
doing at this point in the song! Except if you  
listen closely Billy the Newsboy is just singing 
nonsense words to show how silly the situation is  
[BILLY] ♫ La la la la laaaa ♫
this is not only a solid technique used for 
limited run time because it allows you to cram  
as much into a short timeframe as possible, but it 
also shows the acknowledgment that the creators  
know this is stupid, something Nostalgia Critic does 
not acknowledge! i’m going to try to stop comparing  
this to Nostalgia Critic, that was the last time i 
swear. Between the songs, the conceit of the show is  
that they’re reviewing the best game soundtracks
of all time, and sadly this was a time made before  
undertale came out or you know Megalovania would 
be on the list. Doo doo doo doo.
[CAMERAMAN] Great job that’s a wrap
[DEVELOPER] pardon me, Adam, Morgan, could i have just 
one second of your time?
[GANNON] “Dream of More” opens on a developer walking in on Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, the hosts of x-play, and here’s
where things take a drastic turn into both the symbolic and the 
allegorical. Plus, epic devil backup dancers! Okay so  
this silhouetted singing? pure Chiaroscuro. This 
dramatic lighting effect on singers as seen in  
film noir, or Corpse Bride i guess, plays on a lot 
of different tropes but also having that cut back  
and forth to him singing and dancing under the 
giant x-play logo hung in their tv sets symbolizes  
two different takes on his intents: In one sense 
the chiaroscuro effect shows his intentions from  
what they are: He is the man in the shadows; the 
back alley dealer ready to strike a deal; but on  
the other hand their name is already in lights, so 
his deal seems almost ineffectual from their point  
of view. This clashing perspective play with fancy 
song and dance is intentional on behalf of the  
writers to illustrate exactly what’s going through 
adam and morgan’s minds as this is happening
[MORGAN] ♫ I don’t mean to flaunt, but we get paid to play video games ♫
[ADAM] ♫ What more could we want? ♫
[GANNON] at first reluctant but by the end becoming 
hedonistic in their lofty dreams and goals
[EPIC DEVIL DANCERS] Don’t you ever dream?
[DEVELOPER] ♫ of more? ♫
[ADAM] ♫ I dream of more! ♫
[CHOIR] ♫ You dream of more! ♫
[MORGAN] ♫ I dream of more! ♫
[CHOIR] ♫ You dream of more! ♫
[GANNON] and hedonistic is definitely the word to use to  
describe the two dressed and typically 
roman attire requesting godlike powers
[MORGAN] ♫ Like laser beam eyes! ♫
[ Laser sound effect ]
[GANNON] at this point finding no need to hide his identity  
the devil takes his hat off 
to them revealing his horns  
a deal with the devil usually ends in disaster 
so everyone should know where this is going
[ DEVIL ] ♫ Sign your name ♫
♫ sign your name ♫
♫ sign your name ♫
[GANNON] the song is lulling,, it has a sort of 
hypnotic tone to it, with the major  
upbeats being suggestions from adam or morgan 
showing their high hopes. Act 2 opens with Billy  
the news boy’s cough getting worse and Adam 
Morgan showing concern for him
[MORGAN] that doesn’t sound too good.
you should get that checked out 
[GANNON] this is an important characterization for later
[DEVIL] Welcome to the Factory ♫
[GANNON] “The Factory” is an industrial workers song with a 
strong company performance this song has strong  
southern inspiration, large metallic metronome 
beats to signify the factory and one of the  
best choreographed scenes in the special.
Just following these workers as they pass  
a metal pipe to one another is enough to 
create the suspension of disbelief of an  
actual factory setting – in musical theater, 
showing small character work like this or  
having a limited background budget is 
not necessarily a bug – it’s a feature.
[WORKER] ♫ Please Mr. Sessler, we need a break ♫
[ADAM] ♫ Sorry, no can do, we’ve got a game to make. ♫
[GANNON] it’s not always about the graphics, 
as long as it has soul. The whine of  
the factory workers juxtaposing Adam and
Morgan’s ridiculous commands shows two  
things; their power trip corrupting 
them and losing all their empathy, as  
well as the workers saying the game can’t 
take too much more of these lofty ideas
[BOTH] ♫ These are the things that we want in our game! ♫
[ADAM] ♫ Throw in another cutscene! ♫
[WORKER] ♫ But we already have one hundred eighty four! ♫
[MORGAN] ♫ A regenerating Health Bar! ♫
[WORKER] ♫ This game can’t take much more! ♫
*cough* No Man’s Sky *cough*
[GANNON] still though the industrial crescendo leading 
towards the end is done masterfully and ends with a religious allegory
[WORKER] ♫ The game is … Finished. ♫
[GANNON] brian’s not here to ruin it by talking about care bears so what’s this say when the x-play game shows up 
in the manger nativity scene looking like baby jesus  
on christmas, it um, something something 
Evangelion. i don’t know – look it’s not a 
Tidepool Orchestra video if you don’t talk about how something 
has a bible reference okay?
[ADAM] this is weird.
[GANNON] Before we get into act three we need to talk about 
how three act plays generally work. Generally  
speaking to make a good three act structure Act 
one is all set up Act two is when stuff starts to  
get real serious and Act three is when you have a 
crisis and then have to resolve everything i know  
i said i wouldn’t compare this to Nostalgia Critic anymore,
so i won’t, but let’s just say  
This musical GOOD, and him BAD. Act 3 begins with 
Billy the news boy collapsing on the ground with  
clumps of hair missing and adam and morgan acting 
above it all asking why no one is cleaning up the  
garbage around here
[ADAM] when are they going to pick up the trash around here?
[MORGAN] don’t they know who we are?
this contrasts how they act in the beginning of 
act two and demonstrates how far they’ve changed.
without the scene in act 2 showing their concern 
for billy this new over-the-top diva role might not have been so obvious
and that’s why it was good characterization. finally adam and morgan get to see the game they develop
and even the creators 
of the game wore them that they might not like it
[ADAM] well hold on don’t you want to play the game?
[WORKER] No, i’ve played enough already. Do yourselves a favor  
destroy it before it’s too late. Oh and your game 
only works for Dreamcast
[GANNON] They mention it can only be played on Dreamcast which
is a running jab at Sega that the show had for a while  
at this point but it’s a subtle joke and 
it’s aged pretty well all things considered  
the game itself is … well it wouldn’t be too out 
of place if it was on the Mayday_Maniac channel
by the way did i ever introduce myself? (i did in 
the Sans video if you don’t [ __ ] remember it ) 
[ARCHIVE GANNON] but how strong really is he
uh oops uh wrong channel
[GANNON] this Tidepool video is being narrated by Gannon the creator of
Mayday_Maniac, so if you like the things like a screaming 
red baby asking why his parents don’t love him
♫ LOVE ♫
♫ Me ♫
[GANNON] then you’ll love my life. It’s great, i just love  
when my dad beats me. Anyway Adam and Morgan are 
terrified of what their game has become  
and we get this cool song, “What Have We Done?”
a classical lament archetype which segues into  
a soliloquy from the game itself singing love 
me love me why don’t you love me what’s like
[XPLAY GAME] ♫ L̵̞̄o̷̱̒v̷̫͊e̷͈̽ ̴̥̊ṁ̶̺e̵̢͐ ♫
♫ L̴o̴v̴e̴ ̶m̵e̷ ♫
♫ W̷̼͊h̷̻͒y̴͍͊ ̶͔̾d̶̘͒õ̴̰n̸̲̈́’̷̲̃t̵̥́ ̴̗̄ỹ̷̬ö̵͇ú̵͔ ̵̦̃l̸̙̓o̷̞͐v̴̘͝ẻ̸̩ ̸̙͠m̵̼̉e̷͓͝ ♫
Ĺ̶͓Ȏ̵̼V̶̢͋E̴̞͘ ̸͎͒M̵̥̋E̷̬̓ ̸̠̓ ̸̮̄ ̷̊ͅ ̴̢̂ ̵̫́L̵̡̀O̸̟̾V̸̱̿Ẽ̷̤ ̴̭̍M̸̯̔ È̸̼
W̵̧̉H̸͎̀Ý̶̼ ̴̠͌ ̷̩͊ ̵͉̈́ ̴̻̀D̸̜̉O̷̓ͅŅ̸͠T̶̳͊ ̷̱͗ ̷͖͝ ̶̩̇ ̴̦́Y̵̯̿O̶͎̊U̴̥̿ ̵̛̰ ̸̱̈ ̵̦̐ ̵͕̅L̷̝̑O̸̟̿V̴̩̆E̴̙̍ ̶̹͘ ̸̄ͅ ̷̯̒ ̸̭̽M̶̗̈́E̶̪̚
[GANNON] adam and morgan then kill the game, 
pulling the plug on a toilet’s peak  
also literally they they pulled 
is this an abortion reference?
the final act shows adam and morgan 
returning to their old selves by  
billy the news boy’s hospital 
bed to find him dying of cancer  
[DOCTOR] young billy was on his way to a 
full recovery until he played this  
[ADAM] oh billy
[MORGAN] we’re sorry we didn’t mean to scare you 
[ADAM] or give you cancer
[MORGAN] adam we didn’t give  him cancer
[ADAM] we didn’t?
[MORGAN] did we?
[GANNON] the doctor insinuates that they gave him cancer with  
their terrible video game but he was coughing 
back in the overture so i don’t think that’s  
quite true the devil ends up getting a 
ton of money through a legal loophole  
and adam and morgan have no choice but 
to review their game a one out of five
♫ To the X-play game ♫
♫ a shame it came one hell contrived ♫
[GANNON] one out of five is the finale to the musical 
and shows the two of them rating every aspect  
of the musical from the backup dancers to the 
camera crew on their classic one to five scale  
which ties back to us in the beginning of their 
character arc you know what that means right ? 
hero’s journey. damn it. X-play the musical 
actually follows the hero’s journey really  
well or at least a simplified “Dan Harmon” eight 
part structure – 1. adam and morgan are in a game  
review show as we see in the opening song as 
well as them on stage in their first scene  
they review games. 2. the devil tempts them 
with a game facing their likenesses creating  
a new desire that wasn’t there before this moves 
them to 3. an unfamiliar situation where they  
start making the game and demanding more and more 
until 4. they changed entirely into superstar  
divas who no longer care about billy’s health 
or well-being 5. they get the game made but  
6. the game turned out to be a Mayday_Maniac video
please subscribe. 7.they destroy  
the game and return to their old selves but 8.
now they’re better people for their experience  
fact this musical follows the hero’s journey 
the three-act structure model and the songs are  
all pretty good it’s a testament to the talent 
and craft that went into this. It’s just a shame  
that even though all that and a million dollar 
budget didn’t get this episode any more views  
or praise than any other episode of the show, 
now X-play the musical is just a footnote of a  
footnote of a time before internet reviewers made 
it big and it came out when i was two years old
[ADAM] ♫ Well I give our Audience a 5 out of 5 for Obedience
for sitting through this entire episode ♫
that’s impressive
♫ sitting through this entire episode ♫
[GANNON] we here at Tidepool Orchestra  
give x-play musical four out of five thanks for 
watching i don’t know you could just put these  
[ __ ] anywhere in but um he actually did too 
sorry doug walker did two musicals he did one  
um with the nostalgia critic before it was 
like his first like movie i think i don’t  
know it might been but that was the reason 
why he wanted to quit was because he i can’t  
oh yeah i’d look it up but um he made he made 
one before the wall like really early on like  
like the like before the 2010s i don’t 
think probably not but you know whatever um
and it was the reason he wanted to quit 
because it was because he thought that he  
yes les miserables maybe i um no 
it was moulin rouge yes wait what  
i i do okay never mind um but i came over 
what it was but he actually wanted to quit um  
doing the nostalgia critic because of that 
because he was like oh i’m never going to  
be able to top this so i’ll just stop now it might 
have been moulin rouge i could be wrong about that  
but anyway um yeah just put that in whenever 
and make it not as bad as what i’m saying

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