The British gamers and comedians behind Consolevania have quietly closed down their cult-classic internet video series.
A short five years and 22 episodes ago, a merry band of Scottish men sought to entertain the videogaming masses by bringing their unique brand of comedy to the internet culture. Their creation, the video series Consolevania, became exactly the kind of successful show for which any web celebrities could hope.
Founders Robert Florence, an ex-writer for the BBC comedy Chewin’ the Fat, and Ryan Macleod first distributed the show by hand on CDs before slowly releasing it onto BitTorrent to allow easier public access. Years into the project, the duo began spreading the show across direct downloads and its own YouTube channel.
Based around reviewing, previewing and laughing at console and PC games, Consolevania‘s cast of characters grew to include nine actors playing recurring roles ranging from Shigsy, a goofy sock-puppet Shigeru Miyamoto impersonator, to John Gacy, a controversial child-molesting murderer who hosted the children’s reviews and fan mail. These dark and quirky characters helped the show attract the active internet audience that promoted the show into the mainstream.
With their rising popularity, the Consolevania crew scored a sponsorship deal with PC maker Alienware and signed a television deal with the BBC. The 34-episode television show, videoGaiden, had a three-year run featuring three seasons of short, ten-minute sketches.
On January 13, 2009, team member “RAB” uploaded the final episode of the show, abruptly ending another one of gaming’s great web successes. Although less popular outside of Europe, its digital distribution network reached into the computer screens of fans worldwide. I’m reminded of the day when machinima pioneer Red vs Blue ended, or, as Consolevania forum poster Twan described, “I feel the same as when The Golden Girls ended.”
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun )