Video Game High School (VGHS) is the best television show to never air on cable
or Netflix. The first 2 seasons are on Netflix in the US. This web series comprising of 3 seasons is out on YouTube thanks to the people who donated through Kickstarter and the creators on RocketJump. The 3rd and final season, unfortunately, will be coming to a close this Monday. I actually purchased the entire season a month ago on RocketJump.com after the first episode came out, but waited a month before writing this piece. Laziness! This show is perfect for bingewatching, here’s the link to get started. If you have actual work that needs to get done then don’t click on the link! This show is addicting.
Video Game High School is set in a world where the gamer mentality has been embellished to the extreme. What if gamers were the stars? What if everyone watched video games as much as they watched football, television, and movies combined? So like StarCraft in South Korea, but everywhere. Professional video games are the most popular form of entertainment in the world, there’s vending machine pizza, people drink sodas out of wine glasses and the most promising students get to attend the prestigious VGHS, where kids learn to play video games instead of history or math. Pretty much every kids dream.
The pilot for the first season starts with an announcement from the President, only to be cut off to show us a “Frag Highlight,” aka video game highlights. It’s silly, it’s great, and it’s how the final season starts as well. There’s a monster energy drink corporation high school because that’s how the world works here apparently. This show regularly goes from high school wackiness to intense military operations and has lines like this – “I’ve seen these 2 cats meow, and it’s about to be a fancy feast tonight. “ This is one of my favorite lines ever, touché person who wrote this. Have I demonstrated the atmosphere this show gives off yet? It’s crazy, it’s exciting, it’s fun.
This may have some of the best special effects and editing I’ve seen and it’s better than many shows on cable. It’s amazing what they can do with their budget and that’s mainly why I purchased the season, I could have waited, but it was outta respect. Most of the stuff I see on YouTube, at least professional channels, have HD quality videos, but this has 2160p. I didn’t even know quality went this high. It may be better than real life, it’s definitely better than my terrible vision. Por qué mi visión tan malo?! The video quality is a million times better than my Spanish and grammar. I’ve had a post production job before and I appreciate how much effort goes into video editing, these guys do a ton of work. And it’s all free on YouTube!
This show reminds me of The Office, it’s ironic because The Office was located in one of the most mundane settings in the real world while VGHS is the exact opposite with flashy video game scenes and a beautiful high school campus. The Office was a character driven story with silly character designs that bounced nicely off each other with moments of seriousness mixed in. VGHS works like that as well, specifically during this 3rd season when the show becomes more dramatic, but with better CGI and cuter girls.
Everything in VGHS is really bright and inviting, which works great juxtaposed with the gritty Call of Duty like environment. I can feel the energy from the actors and everyone involved in production having fun. There are behind the scenes clips of every episode that I would recommend watching to understand what I’m talking about. The video game graphics are great, but it’s shown throughout the series that the amazing game graphics are generally in the characters head, but that’s how the players perceive themselves in the game. There are some sweet car races that could just as easily fit into the Fast and Furious franchise and no one would blink an eye. Tokyo Drift was a bad movie, I’m just going to lay that out here, but it could be improved if we splice the footage from this show into that movie. The costume designs are great, I loved what all the kids were wearing. I would love to wear Ted’s clothes in real life, the dude is a classy dresser.
The story follows Brain D, the straight man in a sea of ridiculous characters, and his adventure through VGHS. I think he was the kid that played the little brother in Freaks and Geeks (it’s not him), another great show to watch. He has chipmunk cheeks and his hair style changes every season, but does a solid job as the lead.
I love the good natured and naivety of Asian sidekick Ted Wong, but this character explores a wider range of emotions during the final season and I think the actor did a great job. Thanks to Ted’s character we get of bunch of racing scenes, so thanks Ted!
This made me realize that there aren’t many Asian actors in Hollywood. Not including martial art Asian actors, I can think of Ken Jeong, Harold from Harlod and Kumar, and Ken Watabi, who may only have a career thanks to Christopher Nolan. George Takei is somehow still relevant, but he hasn’t been in anything for years. Does Keanu Reeves count? The Avengers has a whole bunch of diversity, but I don’t think there was a single Asian character in there. We really need more Asian actors out there, get on that Hollywood. Then again I can’t name a single Native American actor.
Jenny Matrix may have been the reason I first got hooked on this show. She’s a total babe, don’t worry the actress is older than the high school character she portrays so it’s not creepy at all! Her character is so cool, she plays video games and she’s a girl!, and she’s a million times hotter in her army gear, in her normal clothes she’s only stunning. Thanks to this show I’ve discovered girls holding guns is pretty hot. It’s refreshing to see a strong unique female character that’s the leader of her team and not just some love interest for the protagonist – also the two actors are married in real life. That’s crazy.
I love Ki Swan’s mannerisms. I was watching the Addams Family, not the best movie out there, and realized she acts a lot like Mrs. Addams. I have no idea if the actress watches the Addams family or was trying to act quirky, but I would bet anything she loved that show growing up. Her eccentric attitude grew on me and she reminds me of Luna Lovegood, I think these two would have been great pals if they met. Now I can’t decide which character I like better, her or Matrix. I’m just saying that’s the cutest Abe Lincoln I’ve ever seen, 4 score and 7 years ago she’d still be a cutie. Ki shines in the final episode as a team leader and her fast thinking helps the group get out of a ton of tough situations.
It’s interesting how important the parents are to each character, except protagonist Brian D whose parents are nonexistent. Calhoun acts like a father figure sparingly, but he’s mostly there for comedic purposes. We see Jenny’s complicated relationship with her mom as a coach. I think her speech during her mom’s award wonderfully gave us insight on that relationship. It was a great piece of written dialogue and acting. That relationship evolves a little more during the 3rd season, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Ted’s one way relationship with his father made him constantly seek attention and love. Freddie’s washed up douchebag persona as a legendary Guitar Hero player was ridiculous every second he was on scene and I loved it. Ted finds much better companions in his friends at VGHS. Ki’s father always pushed her to be a great game designer and I think her weird persona could derive from her parent doting on her.
5 Second Film star Brian Firenzi stars in this show as the Law.They have some weird funny videos and here’s 20 of them. He’s ridiculous and doesn’t look a bit like a high schooler, but every character in this show looks old for high school. It’s sad how much of a diminished role he had in the final season as I thought he had some of the funniest lines and antics. He’s one of the writers and producers for the show as well, so I’m not sure why he did this! He has an amazingly funny scene in the season finale, which helps ease the pain of his diminished role, but I missed his Season 1 elitist persona and Season 2 insanity.
The guy who plays DK is an amazing side character. He’s the most over the top character in an already ridiculous world, he’s like the mad hatter in Alice in Wonderland. I almost fell off my chair when I heard this actor’s normal voice. I knew he was hamming it up for the character, but there’s a huge difference. Great job by him.
Epic Meal Time star joins this show as tough Dean Calhoun. I’m not sure if he’s a more toned down version of his Epic Meal Time persona or if it’s the other way around, but I love the character. Heck I love all the characters. His facial hair gets more insane each season, but the actor becomes more comfortable on screen and is able to become funnier. In his office he has this plaque that says “it’s all about the game.” Hey that’s the title of this article! I probably should have named this Video Game High School Review, but this just sounds so much cooler. Here’s a clip of him from Epic Meal Time, don’t watch if you’re hungry.
Video games, cute girls, funny lines, great visuals, just binge watch this show and thank me later. Support RocketJump’s future projects, but the chapter on VGHS is closed, there are rumors of an animated series but I don’t think anything is confirmed yet. This was a great series, but at the end of the day, it’s not all about the game. It’s about the people who play them. And the people who watch them. Thanks for the smiles.
Spoilers for the Finale
I loved the Napalm Bowl. Yeah it was a contrived way to get all the characters to play in a FPS finale, but it was a perfect ending for this show, although I wish it never ended! Video Game College anyone? I liked how they all didn’t suddenly become good at the FPS game and instead used their strengths in their games to contribute. We got to see Calhoun be a total badass, Ki and Ted got to show their chops in FPS, and we even got more Duchess scenes. Why wasn’t she used more?! I only wish we got to see more badass Law in this final battle, but comic relief Law was pretty good. The Barnstormer brother meltdown when they lost the match may have been the silliest thing in the entire show, but okay, glad to see VGHS didn’t get turned into a mall.
Season 1 ended with the 3 together. So it’s fitting that it ended with them together in Brian’s room. The bullies from the first episode also have a cameo that was nice to see. I’m a little upset that Jenny and Brian D didn’t end up together, but I think the ending is open-ended enough that they’ll meet again in the pros. I like to think that the 3 stayed best friends forever playing video games in Brian’s house, with Jenny stopping by to join them.