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.

Neto Houraisan
Member
I think what I like the most about the aestethic change is that it feels natural. Going from an exentric dictator to a showman with a circus full of all the weird shit he likes is very much like something Jim Sterling the character would do, since he is all about the spectacle and having all eyes on him. Plus, it retained enough familiarity to make the change not too striking. Also, the theme tune grew on me already and it fits the show pretty well (though it’s not as appealing to my taste as Born Depressed). Overall, liking it… Read more »
Caspar K. Zed
Guest
Caspar K. Zed

All good, bruh. I speak for the masses

Sarklor
Member

There’ll be a spot in my heart for the Drill Queen intro/outro, not gonna lie.

But I bloody loved the new intro, and frankly anything that gives Jim more opportunities to dress up as ringmaster of a perverse freak circus is a Good Thing. This should be an interesting ride.

Tactical Hotdog
Member

Can’t say I’m too huge on the new theme tune, but meh, maybe it’ll be a grower. Everything else is spot on, the hat and cane in particular are phenomenal.

darkalter2000
Guest
darkalter2000

No velvet gloves?

James Dunham
Member

New score is great. The design is also a breath of fresh air. Well done sir.

John
Guest
John

I noticed a serious lack of giant dildos, I hope it was coincidental…

SmaMan
Member
I like the ch-ch-ch-changes. I’ve been on board since the early Escapist days, and I think things were due to get shaken up, as it were. As far as your audio issues, and I have no idea what you’re doing now, but have you considered just using a wireless lavaliere mic? You don’t have much background noise to worry about at your lectern. (you can keep a shotgun mic handy in case) Clip it onto your collar, hide the transmitter somewhere on your person, and have the receiver going straight into your equipment. On my show we use Sennheisers both… Read more »
SilentPony
Member

So is Chip getting an upgrade too?

Chris
Member

Of course not. It was his fault that the show needed an upgrade to begin with. God damn it Chip.

SilentPony
Member

Poor Chip. Dude just can’t catch a break…

Mesothelioma
Guest
Mesothelioma

Chip’s dead. His memorial toilet is shown in the intro. RIP you incompetent buffoon. Maybe now you’ll finally SHUT UP!

SmaMan
Member

If you look closely in the new intro, seems he’s been given a memorial porta-potty.

Isaac
Guest
Isaac

Can’t tell you how happy I am for you and us. This show has become something very special and I am glad that you are intent on keeping up evolving and improving it even if it takes change. War, war never changes. The Jimquisition does. And that’s good.
Your content has been very influential on me as video game enthusiast and me as a person. From your politics to your persona to your opinions it all resonates with me, and I will always adore you for that. Your my #1 Boglin Boy, keep on doing what you’re doing.
Luv,
Isaac

Pete Whalley
Guest
Pete Whalley

I don’t often pass comment, being a fairly passive sort of a fan. For what it’s worth though, I really dig the new circus look and that hat is majestic as hell. Keep doing what you do Jim, and while you’re at it I could go for some more “Jim won’t give Ian his VR” shenanigans. Please?

Bloops
Guest
Bloops

A plain black coat is a poor match for that magnificent hat though.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I don’t know if you actually read these Jim, but I wanted to make a note. I genuinely do like the change that you are making to the show, but adding the instrumental versions of Pink Floyd and Cee Lo Green were personally distracting to me. Those are famous songs, and as I was watching the show, the lyrics popped into my head. Meaning I found it harder to pay attention to what you were saying. I’m all for making your music in the show more diverse, but if you could pick less intrusive songs that would be great.

tekHedd
Guest
tekHedd
Jim, I think it looks good. Audio is much better these days, too. That’s good, because your voice, your beautiful voice is the single most important thing in the whole show. I maintain that you should have an EV RE20 mic for all of the non-lavalier voiceover work. Large diaphragm condensers like the rode are good for reproducing detail, but can emphasize harsh edges in the male voice. For singing I’d probably go with a ribbon mic for, but for your voiceover work the RE20 would be my first stop. I’d send you one as a gift, but as it… Read more »
Isaac Allan
Member

I believe there’s always room for parody criticism of hard-right politics (see: Stephen Colbert’s “Stephen Colbert” character), but I totally understand wanting a change, especially when the focus of your show is games. Sticking with the old theme could easily take away from the focus.

I’m a fan of the show and look forward to seeing what’s new. I also just realized the Cornflake Homunculus looks a lot like a new character on Twin Peaks. I’m going to go ahead and just assume that’s on purpose on David Lynch’s part.

ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
Guest
ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Jim already does parodic criticism of hard-right via FistShark Marketing tho

MaliceDaFirenze
Member

I know you changed the comments to this new system because of Disqus ads, but God I dislike it. Why can I not sort them by popular?

Isaac
Guest
Isaac

I think this is supposed to be a temporary solution while they sort out a better one.

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

Also, couldn’t help but notice the new intro includes the phrase ‘they changed it, now it sucks’ …was that an intentional anticipation subtly hinted at there for the show? 😉

Remember though for camera work, 30fps is more cinematic.

Juhn
Guest
Juhn

Oh hey, I’ve been a fan of The Ballad of Barry Allen for years, but I’d never listened to the rest of their stuff and didn’t realize the new theme tune was by the same band. Thanks for prompting me to do so, Jim!

PirateYoghurt
Guest
PirateYoghurt

Nobody expected the Circus Jimquisition!

Wow, seeing an old shot of you in mirrored glasses makes me remember how much I appreciated the switch to red tinted glasses. I gotta say that I like the new aesthetic of your show, though I didn’t like the new theme tune too much until I heard it in full. Now I’m on board!

Secuda
Guest
Secuda

Not sure about the lightning, but i liked the staff, it fit like a glove.

Jeff Lamberton
Guest
Jeff Lamberton

Didn’t read the article, show is shit now, 8/10.

lol, For reals, it’s a new coat of paint and freshens things up.
I didn’t read the article yet, have to mow the lawn, but just wanted to say that that cane is very fancy. I want one.

Marvin
Guest
Marvin

Thanks for the detailed explanation! Interesting to see all the thought that went into this; makes me appreciate it more, actually.
Really looking forward to what else is coming.

Tony Clark
Member

Love the changes, Jim. I totally get why you felt the need to shift away from the Norsefire theme. Fucking Nazis ruining everything for ages now. Drill Queen was hard to see go but, knowing you, it’ll probably pop up for the end credits after a particularly clever or stinging final line delivery.

George Morgan
Guest
George Morgan
The song has really grown on me. Because I immediately downloaded the album and listened to it ten times in a row. I instantly fell in love with Drill Queen and now Jim’s Big Ego, and I’m thrilled that they’ve got so much music to be a fan of. I guess I came to your stuff reasonably late (early last year) and think I missed the fascistic overtones, because your persona felt overall more natural than some others, but recently with the newer characters and things a grotesquerie makes much more sense. Overall I think it’s a good re-jig. Keep… Read more »
Dragongelf
Member
As a long time follower (since your Escapist debut) I can safely say that I am here for the show, not the theme song. While I will miss “Born Depressed” I don’t think it’s fair to say that “Born Depressed” initially grabbed me as an iconic (no not Ubisoft iconic) theme song. This song will grow on us as “Born Depressed” did. The show will grow and “Stressed” will become iconic through your work. Give it a year (or a few months) and people won’t be able to think of the Jimquisition without thinking about “Stressed” in the same way… Read more »
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