So… I did a thing, O readers.
As promised, backstory, for anyone who is coming to this from the Anne-dom instead of somewhere else online. I enjoy watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube, and through this have become a fan of three channels in particular: StephenVlog, StephenPlays, and MalMakes.
StephenVlog, as you would expect, is a vlog kept by a guy named Stephen. He’s been chronicling his life in video form since November of 2009, and began StephenPlays in 2011 to make use of his long-time love for video games. Stephen studied film in college, and it really shows. Both his vlogs and his Let’s Plays are quality work, a lot of fun to watch, and definitely recommended by me.
MalMakes is a video game art channel run by Stephen’s wife Mallory, who painted the originals of the throw pillows currently on my couch (below is a photo of Buddy, my big Lab, posing with some of her work). She also frequently acts as Player 2 on StephenPlays, whether the channel is covering an outright two-player game or just one where it’s fun to see differing play styles from episode to episode.
Last year, Stephen and Mal covered a fairly recent entry in a VERY famous game franchise (think red- and green-capped siblings who do a lot of princess rescuing). However, this game, unlike many others in the same series, supports up to four players, so they invited along their long-time friends Alex and Hayley.
The resulting Let’s Play was a cross between hilarious and bizarre, as all four players started renaming and redefining the characters to suit themselves. Stephen even created T-shirts with the new character names on them, and Mal did a painting of her renamed princess in fire-throwing garb, which also became a popular shirt.
Yesterday, for reasons I do not understand in the least, I was inescapably plotbunnied by this particular twist on a well-known world, and by the people who created it. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… LarryVlog.
And yes, I do know I’m nuts.
Larry gazed into the camera as the red recording light flickered on. “Hello,” he said solemnly, “and welcome to…” He frowned and glanced to his left. “What day is it again?”
“It’s Shroomnoteday,” said the blonde, ponytailed woman sitting on the other end of the couch, toasting a marshmallow over the flame she was holding in her hand.
“Thank you.” Larry returned his attention to the camera. “Welcome to Shroomnoteday. You may be wondering, who is this strange electrician? Why is he so tall, and why is he wearing green?” He panned briefly down his lanky length to exhibit his stylish overalls, then brought the focus back to his face. “Well, I’m here to answer those questions. My name is Larry, and this is LarryVlog.”
He settled more comfortably into the corner of the couch. “You might think I look a little familiar, and I’ll admit, I’ve been in a few games in my time. But I’m not the really famous one in the family. That’s my cousin Barry.” He grimaced a little. “And yes, I do mean that Barry. The guy from Super Barry 46, who has to run around an art gallery and try to fix the lights before he gets stuffed inside the statues. And Super Barry Moonshine, where he drives through the woods for hours without his headlights on.” He frowned. “Barry never did tell me what was actually going on there…”
“Don’t forget Super Barry Milky Way,” chipped in the woman, turning her marshmallow to toast its other side. “Where he spent all his time critiquing his favorite candy bars before setting them up in death-match cage fights.”
“True, true.” Larry nodded sagely. “And if you’re really old school, you might even remember Super Barry RNG. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s fourteen hours of Barry rolling a D20 and trying to predict what number will come up. It’s a classic for a reason. I do recommend it. But.” He straightened up a bit. “You might be wondering what I have to do with any of this. I didn’t appear in those games, after all. And why might that be? Because…” He rotated the camera in his hand until he was filming an enormous beanbag, on which a black-and-white feline was vigorously washing a long-suffering brown tabby’s left ear. “I was right here, where I am now. Behind the camera.
“Well, as of today, I’ve decided I’m tired of hiding.” Larry returned the camera’s focus to his face. “I’m going to turn that sucker around and say loud and proud…” He puffed up his chest. “I’m Larry, I’m scary. Get used to it.”
“But you’re not scary,” said the woman with decisiveness.
“What?” Larry frowned at her. “Well, some people think I’m scary.”
The woman snickered. “Some people like who?”
“Um…” Larry hesitated.
“Exactly.” The woman popped her marshmallow into her mouth and grinned.
“Oh, that’s right.” Larry refocused the camera on the woman. “Pesh, meet the viewers. Viewers, Princess Pesh.” Pesh waved to the camera with the hand not currently full of fire. “She probably looks pretty familiar too, since she’s been in just about every Super Barry game ever.”
“Not that I get a whole lot of screen time,” Pesh said around her mouthful of marshmallow. “I show up for five seconds at the beginning before somebody kidnaps me, and then I get ten more seconds at the end once I’ve been rescued.”
“Yes, but there’s a reason for that,” said Larry earnestly. “You can’t be onscreen all the time. You’ve got too much to do behind the scenes.” He turned the camera back to himself, gesturing with his other hand. “All those statues Barry’s running from in Super Barry 46? Pesh made those. Same with the giant candy models from Super Barry Milky Way. If it’s an art object, and it’s in a Barry Cousins game, Pesh probably had something to do with it.
“Now I know what you’re thinking, viewers.” Larry waggled a finger at the camera. “You’re thinking, but Larry, isn’t Pesh Barry’s love interest? What’s she doing on your couch? Well…” He drew the word out. “Honestly, that whole Pesh and Barry thing? That’s just marketing.”
“The PR department thought it looked weird if this electrician was always trying to save some princess he wasn’t even in love with,” Pesh added from her end of the couch. “So they’ve been teasing me and Barry as a couple for years. And who do they have you hooked up with again, Larry? Isn’t it Emily the Sports Princess?”
“Yeah, it is.” Larry nodded. “Now let me just be clear here. I like Emily. She’s a good friend. A little loud, but a lot of fun to hang around with. But my best friend, for real and forever?” He grinned down the couch at Pesh. “Sitting right over there. And we made it official about seven years ago. Got married on the beach, moved into another castle, adopted some cats. That’s our boys right there. Charlie and Johnny.” He rotated the camera briefly to document the ongoing wrestling on the beanbag.
“Doesn’t quite fit the whole hero and princess theme, does it?” Pesh twirled a string of fire through the air. “Probably why you’ve never heard about it.”
“So now you may be wondering, viewers.” Larry looked quizzically into the camera. “If Larry and Pesh are a thing IRL, who’s Barry been hanging around with all this time? Did he take Brenda back?”
“He better not have taken Brenda back.” Pesh shuddered. “She’s insane and I am not dealing with her again.”
“You don’t have to deal with her again. Because that’s not who he’s with.” Larry smirked. “Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves. My cousin Barry’s longtime romantic partner is actually…” He stopped, holding up a finger, as the doorbell rang. “But there they are now. We’ll hold off on the dramatic reveal until you can see it for yourselves. Thanks for watching LarryVlog, and let’s meet back next time, shall we?”