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California Games - JonTron

California Games - JonTron

[Text in brackets = text not spoken but shown on screen]

Jon: <gasps> Oh my God! Summer's almost here! But I haven't lost my winter weight.

[Jon then looks at "his" bikini]

Jon: Ah! I can't look. Jacque, what am I gonna do to lose all this weight?

Jacques: Stop inventing and eating things like cheesecake pizza. 

Jon: Oh, that was in the past, Jacques. Cheesecake pizza's in the past! I suppose I should bring up your shortcomings as well. <eats a slice of cheesecake pizza>

Jacques: You're a regular Lucille Ball.

Jon: You know what I'm gonna do to lose weight?

Jacques: Actually go outside?

Jon: Naw! I've got an even better idea.

Jon (VO): Released in 1987 by Epyx as a follow-up to the popular Winter and Summer Games series, California Games was made to capture and emulate the rhythms of the sun-bleached Pacific coast.

Jon: If I first up, traffic on the 405 freeway! HOOAA!

Jon (VO): Epyx figured, "Why leave the comfort and shade of your own home to play in the hot summer sun?" Skating, surfing, BMX, and more, baby! This game had it all.

Jon: (with a frat boy ascent) Surf's up, dude~

[Jon pushes the skateboard with the game on it, then the NES literally takes it in.]

California Games (NES)


Jon (VO): First up, the Half-Pipe.

Jon (VO): Ah, the Hollywood sign. That's how you know they're not fooling! This is a real deal California skate park.

Jon (VO): The game just kinda throws you right in, no tutorial or breakdown on how the mechanics work. Frankly, I'm not getting anywhere by standing up here, time to dive right in!

[He falls.]

Jon: I have the feeling this is foreshadowing.

Jon (VO): I don't know what I'm doing, he just falls over every time and the skateboard just hits him in the head. Then it gives me cryptic tips on the bottom of the screen like, "Too late for kick turn." Well, how about you just teach me the turn first and we'll add the kick later? Because I can't even switch directions, he just sorta weeble-wobbles and then falls.

Jon (VO): Every now and then, when I pull off a move, it gives me random points. It's stuff like 156 skull and crossbones or 105 water balloon? At least you could give it to me in some terminology that makes sense like coconut 56, oh, now there's something a sensible person could understand.

Jon (VO): Oh, oh oh oh-oh, I got it! I'm-I'm gettin' it! Aw, I'm not getting it.

Foot Bag

Jon (VO): Let's move on to Foot Bag.

Jon: Foot... Bag. Well, that's my favorite Cali sport, I don't know about you. What do you like? Uh-STREET HOCK?

[FLAME EVERYWHERE on street hock, then it shows a man just standing there]

Jon (VO): Hey, uh you, uh, you got somewhere to be?

Jon: Um, ah-ah I'm glad you're here. I'll go if I'm disturbing you, I mean, I can take a hint.

[The boy continues staring at the screen]

Jon: Naw, go on, it's fine, I got a couple of waves I can ride-

Jon (VO): Now, I don't know who they were trying to fool here, but they shoulda called this what it really is: River Dance practice.

[The boy is actually playing hackey-sack instead of Foot Bag.]

Jon (VO): Oh, it's just, it's just hackey-sack. This is not called Foot Bag, it's called hackey-sack! Anywhere!

Jon (VO): Is that supposed to be the Golden Gate Bridge back there? Yeah, I know it's not actually gold, but it seems like it might have a case of the seasonal depression. And is that Alcatraz Island?

Jon: Oh, man! I mean, when I'm thinking of the beauty and majesty of California, the first thing- the first thing I think of is the maximum-security correctional facilities. Gotta see it!

Jon (VO): You can actually knock down this bird, that's pretty fun. Come on, get him! Get him!

Jon: Yeah!

Jacques: Wow. I'm right here.

Jon (VO): Yeah? Well, tell me what you're gonna do if I hold you like an ice cream cone. 

Jacques: I'm gonna squirm a little but not much. 

Jon (VO): Yeah, that's what I thought.


Jon (VO): Alright! Next event: Surfing. Let's ride those waves. 

[Jon gets a score of 0.2]

Jon: (whispers) It's like I'm really there.  

Jon (VO): This one's a bit unintuitive at first. You die instantly unless you push left on the controller right away. You press left and right to turn your guy, and I guess you're trying to get as many jumps as possible before the wave comes and gets you.

Jon (VO): If you don't come down at the same angle you went up, you'll fall behind the wave. It always cracks me up.

Jon (VO): See you later!

Jon (VO): Also, sometimes when you wipe out, a shark comes up and is like, "Hello there!" That is the cutest goddamn shark I've ever seen, I love him and he's mine now. Overall, though, there's not much to this one.  


Jon (VO): Next up is skating! Cool, like skateboarding? Oh, no, they mean rollerskating. 

[The girl on the screen falls flat on her face] 

Jon: Ha ha ha ha!

Jon (VO): Oh my God, come on! Really?

Jon (VO): This girl falls over everything! Cracks in the cement, tiny tuffs of grass in the sidewalk, sand particles.

Jon (VO): Oh, she made it over the chalk on the floor, gotta be honest, didn't expect her to clear that one.

Jon: They should give this game to sick patients 'cause I haven't had a laugh this good in a long time.

Jon (VO): Honey, I think maybe you should keep your day job. 


Jon (VO): Okay, BMX, something we all understand. Please, let this one be good, I mean, we've all ridden a bike before. 

[The guy riding the BMX just falls.] 

Jon (VO): Okay, except for this guy!

Jon (VO): Oh! Oh! OH! Oh! Almost lost gravity there, Kenevil Jr., that was a close one.

Jon (VO): Oh my god, I can't play literally a single one of these games. They're impossible to control, they're impossible to understand, I can't go 5 feet without eating shit.

Jon (VO): Yeah, not to mention, the game literally mocks you by giving you colorful commentary throughout. "Dorky", also, possibly dead, call an ambulance! "Try slowing down."

Jon: Oh yeah? Well, I got one for you! How 'bout you try hiring a real programmer! That'll get us over a few of this hurdles! Imma clip-clap like a horse! 


Jon (VO): Frisbee!

Jon (VO): I don't even know how to play this, what is this? Don't screw it up. Don't screw it up. 

[The character throws the Frisbee and it lands at their feet.] 

Jon: It's a perfect 10.

Jon (VO): It's a bit bizarre, you control both characters here, the one throwing the disk and the one catching it

Jon: So this is a game where you play catch with yourself? Hey, guys, chances are if I'm playing this in the 80s, I'm probably already a fat nerdy kid in his basement alone without friends. You trying to drive the point home or something?

Jon (VO): I'm gonna get it. I'm gonna get it. I'm gonna get it. Oh no, I didn't get it. 

Jon: So there you have it. Those were the games. I mean, it seems to me that this is a perfectly accurate simulation of California sportery - IF YOU SUCK!

California Games II (DOS)

Jon: But luckily for us, they made a California Games II. Let's see if they've since honed their programming skills. 


[The five characters just stand there in the title screen.]

Jon: You guys, um... you, uh, you-you guys all right?

Jon: Is someone, is someone behind me?

Jon (VO): "Let's drop in on a grommet."?

Jon: Ah, grommet. I used to say it all the time back in Cali. You couldn't STOP me from saying this word! Grommet this, grommet that! The fffffffFUCK DOES GROMMET MEA--

Jon (VO): California Games 2 gives you a slew of new sports to enjoy.

Hang gliding

Jon (VO): First up is hang gliding.

Jon (VO): So majestic.

[The girl just falls]

Jon (VO): Oh shit! You alright?

Jon (VO): Good god, how violent. You wouldn't expect that from this game.

Jon (VO): Turns out what you have to do is watch the windsock so you don't catch the wind in the wrong direction and fling yourself into a rocky doom.

Jon (VO): Come one, ah! Almost!

[The girl starts going out to sea, but curves back can crash back into the cliff]

Jon (VO): Hahaha.

Jon (VO): I guess you're supposed to drop these water balloons onto the target but I haven't been very good at it so far.

Jon (VO): Uh- Oh, all right there's no more targets over here.

Jon (VO): I'm glad they gave me silence so I can just sit here and contemplate the inevitable- oh!

[The girl splashes into the water]

Jon (VO): There I go.


Jon (VO): Let's pick the guy holding what looks to be a...surfboard.

Jon (VO): Oh! It's a helicopter game. Okay???

Jon (VO): What is going on here? Well, as you can see, they honed in on all the crucial California landmarks.

Jon (VO): Well, you got Hollywood Mount Everest back there, you got the San Francisco Bay area 10 miles away, and d- uh, d-dinosaur?

Jon: You know, the Los Angeles Dinosaur. The famous Los Angeles Dinosaur.

Jon (VO): I can't quite land this thing- Oh!

[The helicopter crashes into the top of the mountain]

Jon (VO): That's no good.

Jon (VO): Uh, excuse me, is the point of this thing to fly a helicopter to the top of a mountain, and chill with a hot babe?

(Unsettling music)

Jon (VO): Well, I can't really fault anyone here, this is perfect game design.

Jon (VO): What you're actually supposed to do is drop yourself off at the top of this slope and start snowboarding down. Uh, this is California Games?

Jon (VO): Why am I snowboarding with a view of both the desert and the Golden Gate Bridge? Both in the same view. From a snow- from a mountain- a snowy mountain.

Jon (VO): Yeah, somethings telling me they didn't do their research here. Except for the dinosaur because, like I was saying, that really was spot-on.

Jon (VO): After a while you get out of the snow and hit the grass so it's like you're actually going down a mountain. It's kinda interesting, honestly.

Jon (VO): Then, eventually you get to a snowboard half-pipe and this time you can actually control it, which is cool.

Jon (VO): It's too bad they didn't figure out how to program a clock yet, though, 'cause that would've been really helpful. But they're getting close!


Jon (VO): Wave-racing is wave-racing. It's pretty cool for DOS but pretty basic. Not much to say about this one.


Jon (VO): Next up is bodyboarding, I guess.

[The guy just runs and falls]

Jon (VO): I don't know why he decides to fall from the dock like that, I guess to get a head start into the ocean?

Jon (VO): Your job is to catch the wave. This is already a step up from the first game because it actually tells you what to do.

Jon (VO): As for understanding how to control it, well, you're still on your own there, buddy.

Jon (VO): I have no idea what I am doing. This is impossible.

Jon (VO): Oh-no! There goes grandma.

[Both the player and grandma disappear at the game over screen, none returns but the surfboard. Accompanied by the depressing music, Jon feels guilt and regrets, going to confront in front of the mirror at his toilet, thinking this is all his fault getting the player killed.] 

[Suddenly the silly music kicks in again, and causes Jon not able to be serious.] 

Jon (VO): Oh my God, I did not edit that in. If you wait long enough the silly music starts playing again. Really? Did they not think about how that might, you know, ruin the moment?  


Jon (VO): The last game is a skateboarding game.

Jon (VO): As you can see, you're only allowed in this scene if you have a severe disregard for rules and other people's property.

Jon (VO): Oh, and all our favorite Cali phrases are here, too. Such as: "The most smooth", "Raaad", and sw- ohhh... s... ["swood"?]  

Jon: They just couldn't stop me! I'm goin' all up on the rooftops! Swood this! Swood that! {lies back, the controller drops to the floor} Just fuck it, you know? I don't give a shit, it's a fucking show. {pulls the light to him} What’s the fucking light? 

Jon (VO): "Vertical Hunger." Yes, absolutely, because horizontal hunger [is for GROMMETS!]

Jon (VO): Ugh, jeez, these graphics. The screen leading into the game looked better than the game itself.

Jon (VO): What the hell? This is the worst looking game by far. All the other ones had decent graphics.

Jon (VO): You know, this looks worse than one of those games that came pre-packaged with Windows 95.

Jon (VO): Whoops! Looks like I fell off the pipe. 


Jon: (laughing) I died! For real, funeral and all. My god, these people are really affected by this. That must've been one swood guy.

Jon (VO): I came here for fun in the sun, and all I got was a bunch of depressingly amateur sports people and a lot- a lot of uncalled for death. Just gratuitous death. We would've been fine without it.

Jon (VO): Rest in peace, my bronzed-skin babies. Rest in peace. 

Jon: What did I just play? What- What in the name of all that is holy did I just play? I wanted to have fun, dammit, for real this time. And all that happened was that I got sad.

Jon: You know what, I don't need no stupid game to tell me how to have fun, I'll do it all on my own! 

[Jon picks up his skates, his skateboard, and his helmet, then the video jumps to him riding the skateboard with the helmet and skates on. He laughs manically as he sits on his board and rides down a slope.] 

[Music : The Doors: Riders on the storm.]

Jon: Gotta call this Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!

{ advertisement}

Jon: Thanks for watching and supporting the show. This is Spaghetti, and have a nice day.

[Spaghetti flies off of Jon's hand]

Jon: Oh, jeez! What the f-


Jon: But to keep-

[Jacques squawks]

Jon: But to keep the show - But to keep the show free and-

[Jacques squawks]

Jon: But to keep the show -

[Jacques squawks]

Jon: Are you fucking serious?

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