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Talking With Comrades
1. What got you guys into doing reviews?
IAN: Well, it actually started a couple years back, a friend of mine got me into watching the AVGN from 'cinemassacre.com'. Mr. Rolfe's looks into the dark past of modern gaming always made me think of the huge world of old games that may never be revisited even with so many reviewers already. Reviewing was, and still is, essentially a world open to anyone with a good sense of humor.
JACOB: My story for that is actually a little complicated. One day, I was trying to find a movie called 'The Thing' on Youtube (this was before the movie browsing option was added), and I ended up finding a PC game review of 'The Thing: The Video Game', by Noah Antwiler, AKA The Spoony One of 'spoonyexperiment.com' and 'tgwtg.com'. I really enjoyed his work, and I started to conduct my own reviews in my head whenever I would play another video game. I didn't film these because Ian, who I think was the guy who wanted to start the channel in the first place, had not been introduced to me yet. Then, my good friend Matt met Ian in a class at school, and Ian introduced us to the AVGN of 'cinemassacre.com' as well as other 'tgwtg.com' reviewers. From then on, it's pretty much how Ian put it. We figured, "Hey, we have a camera, some games, and a tripod. If those guys can do it, we can do it, too!"
MATT: We were fans of online shows such as the AVGN, Nostalgia Critic, etc...and we figured we should do our own shows.
2. Did you guys have any inspiration? I mean, was there a person or group of people who got you into reviewing media?
MATT: Again, AVGN and the Nostalgia Critic were pretty big role models.
IAN: AVGN, TGWTG, The Irate Gamer, and numerous other reviewers, as I stated earlier.
JACOB: My main inspiration was probably from Spoony, but as for all of us, I'd have to say everyone of 'cinemassacre.com' and 'tgwtg.com'.
3. Where did the name of your Channel/Production company come from? What I mean to say is, where did the whole Comrades, Russia, and all that originate?
MATT: Kind of obvious, but us being interested in Russian Culture, we took the common Russian address "comrade", and since there are three of us, thus, "Three Comrades".
JACOB: That's another long story. You might have to ask Ian about that, but my two cents on it is names like 'Three Friends Productions', 'Three Amigos Productions', or 'Three Pals Productions' just didn't sound catchy enough.
IAN: Every reviewer has a popular theme on his or her show. We realized the popularity of Soviet Nostalgia in modern media (i.e. 'Call of Duty', 'World in Conflict', 'C&C', 'Red Alert', 'Stalin vs. The Martians') and that many other reviewers avoided this joke platform. Recently, I've been learning about Russian history and found this whole theme ripe for the taking. I had been referring to Matt and Jacob as 'comrade', and the name 'Three Comrades' had a ring to it, and for those wondering, Comrade Ivan doesn't truly have anything Russian about him, I just based him off of the stereotypical Soviet conscript from 'Red Alert 3'.
4. What are your favorite video games or movies?
IAN: Video Games: 'Tetris', 'Pacman', 'Mindcraft', 'World of Warcraft', anything from 'Valve' Corporation, the 'Command and Conquer' series, 'Angry Birds', 'Space Invaders', 'Pong', most of the 'Mario' and 'Zelda' series, 'Red Orchestra', the 'Battlefield' series, and most 'Nintendo', 'Sega', and 'Atari' games.
Movies: anything by 'Monty Python', most 'Studio Ghibli' films, most George Lucas films, most Don Bluth films, 'Spaceballs', 'Enemy at the Gates', 'The 9th Company', 'Jaws', 'Talvisota', anything about WW2 and mosr parody films.
JACOB: For me, my favorite movies are: the 'Rocky' series, 'The Blues Brothers', 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', 'The Big Lebowski', 'The Thing', and 'The Iron Giant'. As for my favorite video games, I'd have to pick: the 'Halo' series, 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2', 'Call of Duty: Black Ops', 'Team Fortress 2', 'Tetris', 'Mortal Kombat', 'Tekken 5', and 'Portal 1 and 2'.
MATT: As far as video games go, 'Team Fortress 2' is AMAZING. Before that, I really enjoyed 'Star Wars: Battlefront 2'. As for movies, I really like sci-fi and action films, as well as movies adapted from comic books. 'The Dark Knight' in particular is amazing. I could list a whole bunch of others, but the list would be too long.
5. In a non-narcicissistic way, can you choose your favorite video you've done so far?
IAN: I had the most fun doing the drinking video, and it's actually pretty popular. It was one of the few videos where we could be ourselves on camera. I've also enjoyed the crossover videos we do with each other's mini-series.
JACOB: I'd have to say that I really love doing videos where all three of us are on screen together, namely 'The Gamer Rejects Episode 1 and 2' and 'Schmuck vs. Soldier: The Final Battle', although I did enjoy the 'Three Comrades Drinking video as well.
MATT: Hard to say, but I would probably say our first two 'Gamer Rejects' episodes. There was a large sense of pride in having filmed our first videos. Don't be mistaken though, I've enjoyed filming all of our videos.
6. Where did the names for your 'Gamer Rejects' Characters come from?
IAN: I believe Jacob came up with this to reflect our new-to-the-trade, little-known, independent manner when we first started out, being 'rejects' to the masses.
JACOB: The names for the Gamer Rejects characters were actually hard to come up with, for me at least. Ian wanted to have a character that was rather soft-spoken and sort of an all-knowing 'video game sage', and to balance out the personalities, Matt wanted to have a character who wasn't really knowledgeable of video games, who just wanted destruction and devastation. Which meant I would have to be a mix of these two personalities if I was in the middle. So, with the help of my fellow comrades, I came up with a sarcastic, indifferent movie critic who handles movie-tie-in games.
MATT: As in the names of the individual reviewers? It's linked to the personality of the 'character' that is portrayed. For instance, Ian's character, The Game Historian, has a great interest in antique video games. The Game Destroyer is obsessed with warfare and violence.
7. Also, who or how was your 'Gamer Rejects' theme song created? And did you also make the music in the background?
IAN: I wrote my part of the song as well as the chorus, and I let Matt and Jacob write their parts. The melody itself is a remix of a Russian folk song known as 'Katyusha'.
JACOB: The theme was actually written by Ian and I, and, no, we didn't write the background music ourselves. It's actually a techno rendition of an old Russian folk song called 'Katyusha'.
MATT: It's based off the Russian song 'Katyusha', and the music in the background is a techno-remix of that song. We did not create the music ourselves.
8. This question is for Ian. I personally think the best review on your channel so far is your 'Comrade Ivan' review for 'Portal'. Even though you didn't really discuss much of the game beyond the portal gun, GLaDOS, and Chell (although I guess you can't really do a review for 'Portal' without giving too much away), it makes me laugh every time I see it. But I digress. Do you have a review planned for 'Portal 2'? And if so, what can we expect from Comrade Ivan?
IAN: Why, yes, I have been trying to get out a review of 'Portal 2', and it may be out by the time this is published. I won't try to spoil 'Portal 2' in the review (which there will be a joke about) but there will certainly be gameplay and dialogue jokes. As for what the future holds, Ivan will be getting deeper and deeper into the games he reviews, and I will most likely review sort-of new games, that aren't as prone to spoilers like 'Fallout 3' for instance. Don't think his rivalry with the Schmuck will end anytime soon...
JACOB: WHAT!?!?!?! You prefer a rooskie over the good, wholesome American reviewer!?!?!?! What is wrong with you!?!?!?!?! (no offense intended)
9. This one is for Jacob. I'm sorry to choose Comrade Ivan over the Schmuck, but I do like your 'Taking of Pelham 123' review as a close second to the 'Portal' review. But I have to know, why has it taken so long for you to make a new video? And when will the Schmuck return? And can you give us a hint as to what he'll be reviewing?
IAN: I was waiting for this, Jacob'a reaction must be priceless, but I must agree, where has ol' Arnold been?
JACOB: It's mainly just been a lot of personal reasons. Unlike other online critics, we don't have the luxury of a lot of a lot of free time due to school and other extra-curricular activities, and filming, editing, and writing my own reviews for the Schmuck was taking up a LOT of time, and, in terms of importance, the videos weren't that huge for the moment. I decided to put the videos on hold, and that's where the Vlogs came from. I don't need to write the videos, and they didn't require much editing, so I decided to do those for a bit. As for his return, I won't spoil what he'll be reviewing, but the video is, in fact, the schmuck's biggest review yet.
10. This one is for Matt. Not to sound like a troll, but honestly, I'm a little confused about your Q and A videos. At first, you started out as the Game Destroyer, then you changed to a new character called The Pacifist. Why? Also, your show bears an uncanny resemblance to 'Ask That Guy With The Glasses' (much like the Schmuck bears resemblance to The Bum). What is the difference between The Pacifist and Ask That Guy?
MATT: The Pacifist was an idea we conceived after we uploaded the first episode of the show. We figured I should have a persona different from the one I use in the Gamer Rejects, as with Jake and Ian. The whole idea is pretty much a split personality. Ask the Pacifist was inspired by Ask that Guy with the Glasses, just as the Schmuck was inspired by the Bum. As for the differences, TGWTG is a high-class intellectual whereas the Pacifist is devoted to peace. Also, no offense taken. A troll would say something like "ur sho iz teh suk" or something like that.
11. Another question for Jacob. What is the difference between The Schmuck and The Bum?
JACOB: Ok, this is a controversy I've wanted to clear up. If you look in the video description and in the credits of the first Schmuck video (a review for 'The Expendables'), I mention that I was making the video as a send-up to the 'Bum Reviews' of TGWTG.com. I never intended to make another video after that, but the video became popular in school, and on the channel very quickly, so I decided to make more videos. In terms of difference, there really isn't any, which you can mark up as plagiarism, but not really, because I was originally doing the videos as send-ups. Referring to his return again, the new schmuck videos will be different from the Bum reviews, to avoid anymore comparisons.
12. What exactly is the meaning for your 'Three Comrades Songs #3: Anthem of the SFR of Tetmadrja'? What exactly is 'Tetmadrja'?
JACOB: Ian probably knows this answer. All I really know is Tetmadrja is the name of a country we made up out of land near our houses. Basically, Tetmadrja is a fake micronation.
MATT: It's a fictional country we created. Its name is composed of various video game titles, as well, if you break it down. Like 'Tetris', 'Metroid', etc.
IAN: This actually was more or less buildup for a parody of the movie Reds where we establish a nation in the little Lehigh valley in an October style revolution, development has stalled but its a goal for the future (in other words we need more people) Tetmadrja is said nation and this is its anthem.
13. This one is for Ian and Jacob. Jacob, in your Schmuck review for 'The Last Airbender', you made a joke where you curse out 'capitalist pollution corporations'. Yet whenever you are onscreen with Comrade Ivan, you call out Ivan's communistic ways and seem to support industrialism and capitalism. Talk about mixed messaging. I know this is extreme nit-picking, but would you care to elaborate on this paradox?
IAN: To be honest I finally thought Ivan's influence of iron enlightened Mister Arnold, but this was before Ivan's first video there rivalry was embryonic by all means and all the schmuck had to listen to was the three comrades, homeless guys are fickle I imagine. Perhaps Mr Boyer could provide further information?
JACOB: I actually don't have much to say about this one. I can't really explain the reasoning. I guess I was trying to establish the Schmuck as a communist originally, to make him live up to our channel name. When we started the rivalry between Ivan and the Schmuck, I guess we needed something to make them hate each other, so we made them extremely opinionated about their government ideals.
14. This one is for Matt. I almost lost it when I saw The Pacifist pull out a drink that's literally called 'Peace Tea'. Where did you find 'Peace Tea'? And can you tell us what it tastes like?
MATT: It mainly depends on the flavor. Like the yellow can in the video that I use was more or less a lemon tea, while the red can that Ian is seen drinking tastes fruity. There's also a green tea version, but they all taste equally good. If you need a comparison, it basically tastes like 'Arizona' iced tea, only not as sweet.
JACOB: If I may, I was the one who originally found 'Peace Tea' in a gas station. It was pretty cheap, so I bought a few cans and gave them for Matt to try, and we decided to make it The Pacifist's main prop, instead of the pills.
15. What are your least favorite video games and movies?
JACOB: I would have to say for movies, I hate anything made by Uwe Boll (with the exception of 'Rampage'), lazy animated children's movies, and low budget horror movies. I actually have a Vlog planned for the final part of the list, so i won't elaborate more on that. As for video games, I don't really have a least favorite video game, with the exception of a lot of crappy NES games, and 'ET' for the Atari 2600.
IAN: Video games: any early Full Motion video game (Sega CD games for instance), Cheap Facebook games and blatant rippoffs of really good games, but most other games I'll find some reason to like.
Movies: movies only created for a popular trend/character (i.e. Fred or the Justin Beiber movie)
anything by the company Golden Films, anything by Vídeo Brinquedo or other knockoff producer for that matter, Bartok the magnificent, Battlefield earth, Ferngully and The Secret of Nimh 2.
MATT: Video games: There aren't really any video games that I seriously dislike, with the exception of 'ET' for the Atari 2600, but at this point, I don't really need to tell you that that game is bad.
Movies: Again there aren't any particular movies I dislike. Except for generic, lazy, and tasteless rip-offs that occasionally come along. Oh, and I also have a hatred for the 'Baby Geniuses' movies.
16. In the end title card for 'The Gamer Rejects Episode 2', you said '...the Game Historian's true identity is revealed!' Can you give us a hint to what his 'true identity' is?
JACOB: I'll let Ian tell you about this one, too.
IAN: Lets just say its based of a sudden character transformation in the beginning of the next game we review I've been fiddling around with animation.
MATT: All I can say is you will have a rather 'fowl' opinion of his secret identity...
17. Do you guys get recognized off camera?
MATT: Well, yeah, by the friends and family, and such, but not anywhere else.
JACOB: Several times, actually, but that's nothing to brag about.
IAN: Occasionally it happens, but for now I can keep my identity safe...
18. Your latest video, an new show entitled 'Three Comrades Drinking', seems to be a relatively new and fresh series. What made you think to review soda? It seems ingenious to me. And can you give us any other drink names that you'll be doing later?
IAN: To put it simply we've got drinks from far and wide some we cant even identify a flavor or some of the ingredients, our inventory grows larger by the week.
JACOB: Again, this was inspired by TGWTG.com. The Cinema Snob, aka Brad Jones does a regular series in which he drinks obscure drinks and expired drinks from the 80s and 90s. So we were mainly inspired by that. It's basically how Ian put it, it was just a way for us to get out of character and do reviews while still remaining funny. As for what we'll be doing next, we have a lot of foreign drinks, just look at Ian's list of drinks, and a few other soda's that were picked up while Ian and I were on recent family vacations.
MATT: This one was loosely inspired by the "Brad Tries" mini-series on TGWTG. Jake provided me a whole list of drinks we should try in our next video. Right now, I only remember a Japanese soda of some kind, and a 4 year-old can of Coca-Cola.
19. This is another question for Ian. Another one of your latest videos, as well as another new show, entitled 'What Will Bullets Do To This???' seemed like a really extreme step up from what you'd been doing up to this point. I mean, you guys went from Nerf guns, to Air Soft guns, to shooting actual guns. It seemed like a rather dangerous and unneccessary step up just for comedy. Why did you decide to make this a show?
IAN: That's a good question, the idea was that a host of shows based on destroying household items with machines is a trend on Youtube, with series like "Will it Blend" or "Is it good idea to microwave this?" I did "What will Bullets do to this" as an experiment, its not likely to have many future installments or be continued at all if its not popular, in normal videos the prime armament of the three comrades will be limited to Nerf and Airsoft of course.
20. In your 1-year anniversary video, Jacob, you mentioned that..."we are welcoming a few new reviewers to our channel, as well as opening up another show idea...". We know the new show or shows are the 'Three Comrades Drinking' and 'What Will Bullets Do To This???', but who is joning the three of you on the channel? And what would they be doing? And technically doesn't that mean you need to change your name from 'Three Comrades Productions' to 'Five, Six, Seven (etc.) Comrades Productions?
JACOB: Not to give too much away, but right now, we have 3 new reviewers: Brandon Bauder from the 'Three Comrades Drinking' video and Brynne McMurchie from 'What Will Bullets Do To This???' will be joining, as well as an unseen person as of yet, but his name is Couper Godleski. Brandon will be conducting in-depth video game reviews, Brynne will be conducting reviews for recently released books, and Couper will be doing reviews from every random piece of media news. Not much else can be said, but they will be joining in the near future. Oh, and some of our other characters may have family members joining the channel as well...
21. This question isn't as much as it is for the article as it is for me, but I honestly feel bad that I didn't find you guys until your 1 year anniversary, but I must say, after seeing your work, your 1-year anniversary video actually does make me a bit teary-eyed when I think of how much you guys did. Is it the same for you three?
MATT: Well, it's nice to know that other people really care for us. I wouldn't say we're teary-eyed, but we're all very proud of what we have done.
IAN: I know just what you mean. It's a great feeling reflecting on a good years work. We're glad to see you're appreciation.
JACOB: Oh yeah. I actually don't get so much 'teary-eyed' as I do happy that we've been around for so long or having done so much stuff. I can't vouch for Matt or Ian, but I just get happy whenever I see it.
22. And, finally, what can we expect for the future on 'Three Comrades Channel'?
IAN: Why actually we have a lot in the making, we're on the cusp of lifting the curtain on many new videos of ours, including new members as well as continuations of our segments new and old.
JACOB: As for the future, you can expect a forecast of awesomeness!!!! Seriously, though, a lot of bigger, better expansions off of our current videos, as well as our first feature length movie, but we won't reveal too much of what will be happening there.
MATT: The third Gamer Rejects episode is due to come out sometime soon. We are also going to film and upload another drink video within the next week. Of course, we've got new reviewers you can expect to see sometime soon.