George Wood was part of a 90's TV show called Flights of Fantasy, hosting a series of game reviews retroactively known as Gaming in the Clinton Years. This show will go down in history as one of the worst examples of professional video game reviews.
This is George Wood.
Hi, George Wood.
He and his sub-show, Gaming in the Clinton Years, were turned into YouTube semi-celebrities by the Something Awful goon squad Retsupurae, who after discovering and mocking one of his GitCY clips, couldn't help but keep coming back to it. There was certainly no shortage of things to mock about the show. The reviews, when they're not just outright getting aspects of the game completely wrong, are often schizophrenic; it's not uncommon to see a review where he heaps glowing praise on a game for almost the entire length of the review, and then out of the blue goes "Seriously, don't play it. It's terrible." Whenever you see George Wood on screen, he's not so much moving his mouth to speak as the various muscles that move it are fighting a cage match over control of his face. And whatever passes as jokes on the show feel more like they were written by a man who watched his parents get brutally murdered by a clown and has now dedicated his life to forever ridding the world of humor.
Sadly, non-profit video game organization NAViGATr (which somehow translates to National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviewers, and whose logo resembles the world's most frustrated atom) who first unleashed this abomination upon the internet, eventually released another clip of George Wood practicing for a speech at one of their video game award ceremonies, delivering such classic lines as "I'm your morning Wood with an overactive Wii," while looking like he'd just been beaten in a back alley by several boxes of hair dye. Then at the very end, a bombshell was dropped: George Wood died all the way back in 2006.
So now it's 2010, and it's about time Cracked paid tribute to this bastion of terrible video game journalism. And what better way to do it than to mock him even more?
The ending is an important part of a video game, even for largely plotless games. The player puts forth a lot of effort into trying to beat the game, and they expect something worthwhile for their troubles. Finally getting to see the ending to a hard as hell video game can feel like an accomplishment in and of itself. So of course, when somebody decides to start including the endings to the video games they're reviewing, it's natural to get irritated.
Mario rescues Princess Peach!? THANKS FOR SPOILING THE GAME, YOU ASS!
Okay, so maybe spoiling the ending to a game whose basic premise is "The princess has been kidnapped by turtle-dragons! Are you a bad enough plumber to rescue the princess?" isn't really going to ruin the enjoyment of said game TOO much, but it isn't just endings that are spoiled. More than a few GitCY reviews turn into full scale walkthroughs spoiling every aspect of the game, and how to beat every single level and boss, to people who potentially might not have WANTED to be told about every damn thing they're gonna see. After all, why play a game yourself when you can have some guy in his 50's play it for you while cracking jokes that make the jokes on Laffy Taffy wrappers seem like comedy gold?
Still, at least he kept the spoilage to platformers and action games, and didn't spoil things like the ending to Final Fantasy 6, or Chrono Trigger, or Earthbound, or Aeris' death in Final Fantasy 7.
To be fair, even if many GitCY reviews turn into full-blown walkthroughs, at least the walkthroughs are helpful. Take the review-through of Super Return of the Jedi, for example. Cringe though you may at Wood's pronunciation of "Taatoon" and "Malenium Falcuun", at least he provides some decent strategies for getting through the levels and beating the bosses.
Then you get to the Rancor, and his sage advice is "You're going to die."
Dammit, where a heavy steel door when you need one?
Well, that's kind of defeatist, isn't it? Not a word of encouragement, not even a "You're going to have a lot of trouble fighting the Rancor with Luke and probably won't win, but here's a boss strategy anyway in case you have the balls for it." Just "You're fucked. Have fun."
Okay, maybe he'll be a bit more optimistic in another review. How about Death and Return of Superman? There's some explanation about the controls, some neat attacks you can pull off, and then. "The first two bosses are easy, but after that, you'll die."
At least he keeps his pessimism in check in his Joe and Mac 2 review-through. Until the final boss, that is, where he finally starts expressing his doubt that you're going to win. He doesn't even last that long for Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose, getting only partway through the final level before finally going "Hopefully you'll succeed, if not oh well." And that's not even getting into "GoldenEye on hard mode is impossible. Don't even try."
Jesus, no wonder he keeps spoiling all those video games. He thinks you're a pussy, and you're never going to beat these games yourself, so he's going you a favor.
George Wood looking down on his audience with contempt.
Tomb Raider's Lara Croft is famous for two things: Having a huge rack, and shooting things and raiding tombs while having a huge rack. The plots of the first two games are fairly simple: Here's a tomb. Go raid it. Oh and there's a corporate executive/cult leader doing what corporate executives/cult leaders do best in these games, which is be power-hungry dicks.
Okay, first my lunch appointment, then create a new master race of mutants, then it's time for the monthly budget meeting.
There was a lot of room for improvement for the plot of the third game, and in his review of Tomb Raider 2, George Wood apparently had the answer for the continuing adventures of Lara Croft and her "front-loaded anvils." Something that would make Lara's character more meaningful. Something that would "shock, stun, and move" the gaming industry.
Something like breast cancer.
Sexy, sexy breast cancer.
According to Wood, "We love Lara, but it's time the industry had a big shock for a change." Oh, that'd be a shock all right. You might expect us to make fun of this, but this is just what the industry needs: Lara fighting her way through ancient Mayan ruins in between chemotherapy sessions, and celebrating her victory over the evil CEO of the week who tried to use the ancient Cursed Staff of Mumm-Ra Or Some Shit to gain ultimate power by going shopping for a wig because her hair is starting to fall out. If Eidos plays their cards right, they might even get a Lifetime Original Movie deal out of it.
All it needs is an irrational hatred of men and it's good to go.
We all have our favorite games. We play them, talk about them, and insinuate that anyone who doesn't like them has sexual intercourse with other men. George Wood was like that, too. He had such a raging hard-on for Donkey Kong Country, it makes you wonder how bad his sex life must've been, since he probably couldn't even get it up without the soulful, erotic sounds of the King K Rool theme playing in the background.
The Barry Manilow of the video game world.
It's glaringly obvious in his DKC review, where you can tell about halfway through the review that he's thrown objective reviewing out the window and is just sucking as hard as he can on that do-okay, bad mental image.
The donkey show continues with Wood responding to a pre-rendered swordfish with a cartoonish "WOW!" courtesy of five minutes in Windows Movie Maker, Wood imploring you to "PLAY IT LOUD IN STEREO, DUDE!", and a sudden and meaningless transition of a guy in a Donkey Kong outfit beating his chest, which I have a sneaking suspicion could be George Wood himself showing it off to his coworkers and proudly proclaiming that he'll only make love to a woman if she wears the suit, to which his coworkers laugh nervously and go stand on the other side of the room.
After that comes George Wood's most iconic line:
"Donkey Kong Country is truly perfect. If you do not get this amazing new generation of Donkey Kong Madness, you are STUPID! Yes, I know, it's insulting, but it's also the truth."
DAYUMN! I think I'm gonna need to go to the burn ward for that one! George Wood just flat up called everyone who doesn't like Donkey Kong Country an idiot right on public TV. And now it's on YouTube, so he can join the ranks of all the immature, thin-skinned people who can't stand anyone talking trash about their favorite video games. Except that he's a professional video game reviewer, saying shit like that in a professional environment. Can you imagine what it'd be like if more people in the industry started acting like that?
"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your trash talk about WoW with that dick in your mouth. Also, you're gay."
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and when Bill Clinton's term ran out and he was replaced by everyone's favorite president, they couldn't exactly keep calling it "Gaming in the Clinton Years." Not without staging a coup d'etat, anyway.
Or making a call to Doc Brown.
Okay, so the review clips were retroactively named Gaming in the Clinton Years, but there isn't a single George Wood review after Clinton left office, as if George Wood went "Welp, that's it. No need to review anymore games. After all, none of them will ever come close to my precious Donkey Kong Country." while seductively stroking the game cartridge.
Instead his last appearances were in the 4th and 5th annual NAViGaTR awards, where he and equally unfunny co-host Don Risher (who is apparently baffled by the phrase "Oddworld: Munches Oddysee,") duke it out to see who can make viewers change the channel the fastest (when they're not saying that Dante came from Viewtiful Joe instead of Devil May Cry,) while a completely uninterested and possibly doped up on valium narrator rattles off game names and wishes she could've gotten a better job.
Why anyone would want to disassociate themselves from a guy who can shred a fake plastic guitar with his teeth like this, no one will ever know.
When you think about it, though, even with all the name-calling, spoilage and general unfunny crap, George Wood still had this strange charm to him. Like a retarded puppy dog who keeps running headfirst into walls. Here's hoping he's up there chilling with Jesus now, who's probably rolling his eyes and going "Look, will you PLEASE shut up about Donkey Kong Country already? And get that cartridge out of your pants!"
Over the last several months NAViGaTr returned to uploading new George Wood-related material to their YouTube channel. This time it was of George Wood luring people down to his basement to play a ripoff of 'Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?' called 'Who Wants to See My Derreire?", where the contestant answers video game and movie-related questions, and if he wins, then he gets taken into the back and George Wood apparently shows him his ass.
"Join us next time with special guest Chris Hansen!"
This game show built on sexual harrassment and pedophilia is constantly intercut with the same advertisement over and over, telling the viewer about this big fundraising Halloween cosplay party on a cruise ship they're planning, where the proceeds go to help cure breast cancer (HA!)
Oh, and apparently George Wood's ghost will be haunting the ship.
"Breast cancer? Man, fuck being dead, I am so there!"
Just in case you're the least bit skeptical about this claim, though, NAViGaTr shows that they're bound and determined to make sure he's there, even if it means digging up his corpse and reanimating him.
But of course, after all those years of rotting and being covered by dirt, naturally he's going to have to take a shower, and while he's in there he might as well start complaining about all those damn kids making fun of him.
Fortunately, that little kid catches onto the inherent blasphemy going on here, and beats the reanimated George Wood to death while he wonders where his weed is and asks for constructive criticism about his Super Mario 2 review.
Also, in case you haven't noticed, apparently before he died, George Wood's soul was transferred to an incredibly shitty puppet. Sadly, NAViGaTr fails to explore this surely fascinating Chucky-esque interim event, instead returning to his continuing adventures in becoming a registered sex offender via game show.
This bizarre freak show does bring up an interesting thought, though. What if George Wood isn't dead, and this whole thing was simply an inept attempt at a Kaufman-esque practical joke made by NAViGaTr. It's certainly worth thinking about. After all, the alternative is that George is really dead, and the people at NAViGaTr are being horrible, horrible, exploitive douchebags of the highest caliber.
What is going on here? What are people going to find when they gon on that cruise? George Wood stepping out from around the corner, rubbing himself sensually with a Donkey Kong Country cartridge going "Oh man, I got you guys so good!" while everyone is too nervous and squicked out to respond? Or are NAViGaTr going to dig up his corpse again and move him around with a series of wires and pulleys like in Weekend at Bernie's?
Dude, it's George Wood. No one will tell the difference.
The world may never know.
Except we totally do, because here he is talking about President Obama.
"Uh...it's not really me! It's a ghost! Ooooo, where's my weed?"