The Jimquisition Reposition

When The Jimquisition first started, it was just me, a microphone, and a plain white background. I’d toss in a little picture-in-picture for emphasis, but the stark set and unscripted rambling were not particularly impressive.

It worked for its time. I cut my teeth at Destructoid, where low production value was all part of the charm. The audience enjoyed scrappy content, independent bloggers getting by on what they could cobble together. In part, it’s still how I operate, but when the show moved to The Escapist, that operation needed to evolve.


Doin’ Things The Destructoid Way

My debut at The Escapist was… rough, to say the least. I brought the unscripted, low-fi format to that crowd and was quite thoroughly torn apart. A lot of people criticized the set, which was just one guy yelling at a camera in a plain room (of course that would become an entire industry in certain areas of YouTube).

It took some experimentation, but to cut a long story short, the audience was eventually won over after I started making fun of how disliked the show was by emphasizing an egotistical brat persona, ignorant of the backlash he was receiving and truly convinced he was delivering enviable content that nobody could possibly dislike.

At the same time, the visuals of the show began to take shape. Backing up (or “failing” to back up) the ego was a cheaply fabricated cloth banner resembling the Norsefire aesthetic from V for Vendetta. My aim was to go for a cross between Norsefire and Killzone‘s Helghast, clad in black and red, delivering demagoguery from behind his lectern each week.

The show became a success shortly thereafter, quickly reaching about 100,000 views a week which was a solid bar to hit and consistently had me trading places with Moviebob for “Most prominent Escapist creator not named Yahtzee.”


Substandard Definition

While undergoing constant evolution and audiovisual upgrades, the core of The Jimquisition remained largely the same over the following years, up to and including my independent streak. The tinpot dictator look worked a treat – seeing a fat man with his flag and his lectern, stood behind his videogame toys with an air of self-importance was a fun and funny look.

Unfortunately, it stopped being funny when nazis got popular again.

I’ll spare us all a recounting of the ugly political climate we’ve found ourselves in, but it’s hard to deny we’re in an atmosphere where imagery even vaguely reminiscent of fascistic tendencies is hard to be seen as a joke. It was shortly after the inauguration of Lord Sunkist that I started to notice the questions surrounding my show.

“So, is he a nazi or not?” 


“We Report, You Decide!”

Now, I’m fully aware that a large sector of the discourse surrounding my show aesthetic came from concern trolls who saw this as just another point in their precious culture war. There are plenty of people who wanted to draw some perceived hypocritical distinction between my genuine political beliefs and the political beliefs of people who had finally grown beyond parody.

They were not the sole voices, and they weren’t part of the equation. I was much more concerned about genuine fans of the show who had started to feel understandably put off by the militant dictator theme. For the past year, these concerns have been prominently in my thoughts, and I wondered if there was a compromise.

One thing I promised I wouldn’t do is to change anything if I wasn’t 100% confident it was a better idea than what I had. Fortunately for me, I had a lot of ideas.

This is not the first time I’ve considered trying a different premise for the show. At various points, I’ve considered the obvious religious angle, a more rebellious than tyrannical demagogue, even a ludicrous Road Warrior style gimmick. Maybe they’ll all get a turn one day.


The Greatest Showman In Games Media!

The idea of some sort of pervert’s circus, however, is the one that I both loved and thought was superior. It allowed me to keep much of the existing branding, which was nice from a business standpoint, and seemed so much more reflective of what the show had become since turning into its own independent project.

My personality on the show had already grown less dictatorial and more affably eccentric, while characters like The Cornflake Homunculus and Jimsaw became popular but bizarre elements to the show.

At this stage, I’d like to officially state on the site that Justin McDaniel is The Jimquisition’s official art director. I hired him full-time after committing to the change, and his work has been essential. Very little of what I’m doing now could have been done without him, not to this quality.

In addition, if you thought this was all we’re doing for The Jimquisition, you’re wrong.

We have new umbrella shows, a new on-site community, and at last a fucking site redesign finally nailed down and planned out for unveiling over the coming year. It’s taken ten years in this business, but thanks to Justin’s contributions, I feel I can finally make real every ludicrous (and occasionally good) idea I’ve ever had.


The Clothes Make The Man… Or Approximate Man In My Case

The corseted hat isn’t custom made, but it took me weeks to find one. Every time I located a site selling one of these in the right colors, they were long gone by the time I got there. Fortunately, I managed to track one down just a few weeks ago. It’s all leather, it’s got a little pocket I could keep very small things in, and I basically adore it.

Cute Monster Props made the Jimquisition cane. This is something I’ve wanted for years. While I always imagined a cane topped with a “J” to evoke The Riddler, we weren’t sure yet if we’d be changing the backdrop to something without a logo, so I wanted the full emblem.

I became aware of Cute Monster Props after seeing articles about their impressive Breath of the Wild Spirit Orb (as seen in the last Jimquisition). Even though this was shortly after my infamous review and there was a chance this obvious Zelda fan would tear my throat out, I contacted them and they were more than happy to bring my idea to life.

As you can see, their work was fucking impeccable.


As I’ve Had To Warn Friends Already, It’s Not Got The Structural Integrity For BDSM, Sorry

Now, everything mentioned here I was 100% confident in. I knew the hat and the cane would work. When it became obvious that the backdrop could lose its fascistic connotations by utilizing the red “rays” Justin had created for our animations, I knew that would look great. The LED lights on the lectern were last minute but cute, and I figured they’d go over well for as silly as they were.

The music, however, is the bit where I was panicking. Even if Jim’s Big Ego is a band name sent from Heaven.

To make one thing perfectly clear – the musical change was not spurred by any previously mentioned concerns. In truth, I’d been considering a musical switch even longer than I’d thought about the other stuff, but I never felt confident enough to do it, especially during the show’s current unheralded momentum.

This changed when “Stress” was tossed up on my Spotify recommendations list.

To understand why I’d suddenly throw caution to the wind and change an iconic (real iconic, not Ubisoft iconic) song, you need to understand how hard I can fall in love with a piece of music. That’s why Drill Queen’s “Born Depressed” was ever used in the first place – I heard it once, fell instantly in love, and needed to utilize it.

For the first time in many, many years, that sudden and clawing need was back.

To me, this song has everything – it describes both who I am as an actual person (I really am quite addicted to stress, it’s the way that I get things done) and the Jimquisition’s heightened version of that person (“Everybody’s thinking ’bout me!”). As well as that, it was energetic and fun with a brassy sound, perfect for my direction, and I could visualize its use in my work vividly.

Fortunately, the song’s received a great welcome so far, and even those who miss the old song are largely accepting. It’s certainly a better reaction than I could have hoped for.

By the way, if you’ve never heard Jim’s Big Ego’s “The Ballad of Barry Allen,” check this shit out. I’ve become a massive fan of the band since discovering them.

It’s obvious that, to some, the show just isn’t the same without Drill Queen.

Like I told Justin before the change though – if the show’s success was hinged on a theme tune, it didn’t deserve to be a success. If The Jimquisition falls apart because I stopped using Drill Queen, then clearly I hadn’t been producing a good show all these years.

That said, however, one can’t be too flippant about changing things on a platform where people like their content familiar.

This episode marks the first time I’ve ever had to think like a businessperson just as much as a creative person, which is a weird feeling for me. I’d been sitting on the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered topic for a while. It didn’t need to be timely, and it was perfect to keep in storage to assure the audience that the show was still the same at heart.

Similarly, I knew I wanted an Oh, Ubisoft! or Fuck Konami News segment to retain that familiarity. Plus, I really wanted to get that light color change in there.


Who Could Argue With More Homunculus To Boot?

I think warning the audience ahead of time turned out to be a prudent move. I was worried about overselling the change, but I knew that some of the alterations needed people braced beforehand, so I risked making things sound too dramatic in order to get the word out ahead of time.

Anyway, I’ve just spent over 1,500 words talking about myself and my show. It’s called The Jimquisition for a reason, but now’s a good time to wrap this bit of self-indulgence up.

To close out, I’ll loop back to what I mentioned earlier – the new Jimquisition isn’t finished.

The flagship show is aesthetically ready, but we’re currently researching another camera upgrade to finally get out of consumer grade and into the pro stuff. There’s only so much I can do about audio (the problem is largely acoustic as opposed to technological) but it’s something I will continue to struggle with or possibly bring in more help for.

There are going to be seasonal shows also presented under the Jimquisition umbrella but aren’t The Jimquisition. These ones will actually last longer than The Sterlist too!


Justin Decided To “Frame” Our ‘Shops On The Show. Good Call!

Our immediate next project, however, is this site. As well as continuing to upgrade and improve the commenting system, we’ll be switching servers, Justin has an amazing new look for the site mocked up, and we’re finally going to replace the loss of my Ask.fm page with our own community tools. Look for that coming soon.

And thank God for me.

Ed Bobincheck
Guest
Ed Bobincheck
My only current criticism is the overall lighting look. It felt REALLY dark, and a lot felt hidden in the darkness That said, love the new brand style. The biggest thing I always remember is how when I first watched The Jimquisition, it was the start back on the Escapist. I hated it. Then I eventually gave it another shot, and thought it was brilliant. It felt like he had read my criticisms and evolved his show to resolve them. Very happy with the growth and changes, recently become a backer myself, and excited to see more Jim Fucking Sterling… Read more »
Teddy
Guest
Teddy

Wow turns out I’ve actually already heard The Ballad of Barry Allen and absolutely adored it years ago, so thank you for helping me rediscover the band!
Also I love the new look and wait to see all the new content 😀

Jamie
Guest
Jamie
When I first saw the new intro, I got a Howard Stern vibe. As some of the other people here have mentioned, it’s more of a Freak Show feel, which is backed up with some of your off-the-wall, sometimes random comments (DILDO?). Someday I’m going to become a part of your Patreon to help with the growth of the Jimquisition Brand and to thank you (and also God) for your commitment to entertaining and informing us for a good while. P.S. FucKonami. It’s E3 next week and I’m not looking forward to their bullshit. P.P.S. Also not looking forward to… Read more »
Major Grimbly
Guest
Major Grimbly

Really liking the new look! I’m not really when to get upset by an aesthetic change, but I was curious to see where you were going to take it. Was not disappointed. The cane and corseted top hat are fantastic.

Fred Davis
Guest
Fred Davis
Oh cool peak behind the curtain. only real “complaint” (new theme song is great so stop worrying) is that the “corset hat” isn’t really visible as such in the videos – in person the black on black straps are likely really cool looking but between the lighting and the nyctophilic adjustments of Youtube the straps are invisible and it just looks like a weird top hat with red bits at the side… which in turn fucks up its outline with a prodominantly red background. Can’t really come up with a solution to the problem though short of haberdashery – maybe… Read more »
Liam
Guest
Liam

Good article, Jim. I appreciate you going into the reasons why you went for all these changes, even though you didn’t have to. Looking forward to the new shows!

Pudriggg
Guest
Pudriggg

Loving the changes, the new site layout still wastes like 60% of screenspace on my pc but w/e

Justin McDaniel
Admin

Oh no, the site layout hasn’t been changed yet. But it will be, and we’re planning on better use of screen real-estate.

TheSprawlComic.Com
Guest
TheSprawlComic.Com

Things get stale without change. I love the Drill Queen song, but I love the new song, too. Funny how that works. Also, all the new graphics and flare look slick. Keep preaching the good word and making me laugh while you do it and I’ll keep watching.

Jon Skinner
Guest
Jon Skinner

I love the design minus the hat, corsets have been ruined for me by those goth lolita girls who wear them wrong just to push up their boobs, plus they just kind of seem played out by this point.

Tony Clark
Member

Aw, but the hat needs the corset. Otherwise, it’d be all over the place.

Hira
Guest
Hira

CHANGE?! /flamethrower
Liking the new look and music so far, and looking forward to see what else you have in store.

Drake Warnock
Member

Giving us a heads up before the changes was definitely the right call. I was really excited for this episode just because I was curious to see what Jim was going to do.
Also the bit in the intro with the graffiti saying it sucks was great.

OverblownEgo
Guest
OverblownEgo

I’m really liking all the changes so far. I can’t deny some lingering nostalgia for the way things were but going forward it all seems to be for the better. The new look is clean, the song is good, and the new animations are lovely. Same great Jimquisition with some bold new packaging. Well done all around.

Cynthia McGarvie
Member

Aside from the fact that “Lord Sunkist” made me grin like the maniac that I am, I completely understand why you would second-guess the aesthetics of your production. Back in the days of Geocities, I came up with a satirical commentator named Kulturviltur Intifada. Thought that was a cool name at the time. Simple black background and white text. And a Halloween skull that I found on a clip art site. Then, a literal Nazi posted his approval. That sucked the joy right out of it.

Justin McDonald
Member

Jim, have you considered using the old theme as the theme for the secondary Jimquisition episodes you have to do on rare-ish occasions? I mean, the new song is perfectly fine, but it would give you the opportunity for kind of a cameo of the old song for fans who are perhaps not as fond of the new one and miss the old one. Just a thought. Obviously, if you’ve already got a plan in mind for the secondary theme go with that.

darkmage0707077
Guest
darkmage0707077
Was really nervous about the changes when you first announced them, but I’m glad you did as, since you mentioned, it helped me prepare myself. And I absolutely ADORED the send-off for Drill Queen at the end; really helped emphasize the demarcation of the series aesthetics, which eased my tension a lot. And I love the new circus theme. Not only does it better fit the main show’s current feel, but it also better connects with the “Come see the Freak Show” feeling of some of your side projects, your Steam Greenlight Trailers being foremost in my mind. If this… Read more »
greg ellis
Guest
greg ellis

The new song will take a minute to get used to. All fun and games though.

Stephen Mc Devitt
Guest
Stephen Mc Devitt

A pervert’s circus, indeed.

Peachy
Guest
Peachy

My only issue with the changes is that your set feels too dark now that the banner has been changed. The bright red really helped brighten things up.

Riley Holt
Member

Fantastic stuff, Jim. I enjoy the new intro (had to pause it a few times to catch all the references, which were great), and as I’ve said, the music didn’t catch me the first time, but I love it now. And the band name is… well, perfect. 😛

Tim
Guest
Tim

It’s all good Jim! Keep up the great work!

Richard
Guest
Richard

Been following you for awhile and enjoy your work. Thanks for your time and making me laugh. In short I appreciate you! Good luck with the change Jim I think it’s safe to say we are excited to see what’s in store.

Kornok
Member

New design is amazing, big props to Justin for doing a fantastic job.

Ruth
Guest
Ruth

I must confess, Jim, after listening to the lyrics of the new theme in greater detail, I was seriously considering emailing you to ask if you were okay physically and emotionally – as much as we love you and thank God for you, we don’t want you to be under stress and “nervous” and feel like “everybody’s out to get you”. This post has put me a little more at ease, at least… just, don’t overwork yourself, okay?

Potato Sack
Guest
Potato Sack

I’m fine with the new show stuff, the only thing I’m not a fan of is the opening song, hopefully it grows on me. If not it really doesn’t matter since it’s like 15 seconds of a free show I don’t pay for and there are more important things to worry about in life.

Marc G.
Guest
Marc G.

Keep it up Jim! I’ll watch your show no matter how many foods you become! Also that cane is sick!