On May 11, 2004, Pure Pwnage released its first episode online from Toronto, Canada. Not long after that, this show-within-a-show became a global cult phenomenon that’s translated into 30 different languages (including Estonian and Faroese). A little too obsessed with World of Warcraft and Counter Strike, Jarett Cale (Jeremy), Geoff Lapaire (Kyle), and Joel Gardiner (Doug) play gamers who could be themselves in this popular farce on the tech/gamer lifestyle where fictional geeks vlog their geekdom.
The site is written in leet (l33t sp34k), the colloquial online language that’s half programmer slang and half IM vernacular that the characters are disturbingly fluent in. (For example, “Jeremy” explains how his vlog got started in this in-character interview with Absolute Insight: “1 day im liek ‘hey kyle y dont u stop filmin ghey stuf like that leaf falling n mebbe u could actualy b less n00b’ n hes all like ‘im a total n00b so i dunno what 2 film so pls help me jeremy’ so im liek ‘just film me then omg.. i pwn so much peeps will totaly watch it.”)
With a new episode once every couple of months, it’s surprising that Pure Pwnage has such a massive, active, and insanely dedicated fanbase. With episode titles like “Game Over” and “Teh Best Day Ever” and characters with names like fps_doug, it’s pretty obvious what the satire is all about. In low budget videos that last about 15 minutes on average, Jeremy improvs about uber chat skillz, tells girls how good they look in hi-res, and explains how much he owns you. I’m sorry, I got that wrong. He actually pwns you. (A phrase that is often said with a pelvic thrust.)
Episodes like “I <3 U in RL,” in which Jeremy and girlfriend Anastasia play separate games while in a single apartment, and “LANageddon,” in which Jeremy and Doug face off at a gaming tournament, are frightening pieces of faux cinema verité that have that wonderful combination of making you belly laugh and making you feel awkwardly sad about humanity.
In addition to the main show, there’s also an ongoing comic series and downloadable original music all in the same vein. There’s all kinds of extra content too, including an unofficial podcast and a listing for Pure Pwnage “gaming clans” so that fans of the show can meet and play in their favorite games.
The music video for “World of Warcraft is a Feeling” expresses everything that Pure Pwnage represents. It was made for the hilarious “Imapwnu of Azeroth” episode, in which Jeremy decides to buy Warcraft after a gamer’s lifetime of disdain for the game because he realizes Anastasia, the woman of his dreams, is a Warcraft addict and his newly-created character Imapwnu of Azeroth is his best shot at winning her heart.