Thursday, July 21, 2011

Swingers: Best Video Game Movie Scene Ever?

I watched Swingers the other day for maybe the fourth or fifth time. I really like Swingers. Its one of those independent films done on a shoestring budget with a bunch of talented unknowns that gets everything right.

Its just so money.

I think one of best parts of Swingers, at least from a 30-something video game blogger's point of view, is the scene where they play hockey on the Sega Genesis. The scene (watch it here) gets everything about 90s gaming by poor 20-something guys exactly right.

Its got:

-Use of instant replay to taunt opponent after goal;

-A visibly annoyed third guy waiting his turn to play;

-Complaints shared by all parties present about how the new version of the game doesn't allow fighting;

-One guy demonstrating how to make Gretzky's head bleed to the third guy, possibly because he feels bad about the fact that he isn't getting to play;

-Use of the old "un-pausing the game while the opponent is distracted while paying for pizza" routine;

-A fight breaking out over the use of said routine;

-Embarrassing the guy who goes to the door to pay for the pizza with lurid sexual innuendo;

-An insanely messy apartment complete with Reservoir Dogs poster and foosball table.

I think the reason I like this scene so much is that it is exactly the way I remember playing games in the 1990s. I'm always going on about how nostalgic I feel for the 80s on this blog that I sometimes forget how awesome the 90s were.

This, for example, is the apartment I lived in from 1998 to 1999 (room-mates faces redacted to protect the innocent):
Pretty much exactly the same type of place as the apartment in Swingers where they played that Genesis hockey game.

At first, we only had an NES, but a couple months after moving in my room-mate (on the left) bought a Nintendo 64. That changed our lives forever. The three of us, and friends who'd drop by, would just play that thing for hours, drinking massive quantities of beer, fighting, and generally just trying to annoy the shit out of each other. But, you know, in a friendly guy way.

After a few hours of that, we'd head out to the bars in town and not come even remotely close to picking up any women.

Ah, how I miss those days.

Anyway, I've been reading about how little money the makers of Swingers had when making the film. They had to film it in actual people's apartments just using whatever was lying around. I guess that is the reason that scene looks so authentic: it actually is just somebody's apartment. I also like the fact that at the time the film came out the Genesis was already old news and not the latest console.

If the film had been made with a big studio budget, they'd have screwed it up completely by making the apartment look clean, and they'd have been playing the newest game (and not allowed to say anything bad about it because they had some sort of product placement deal with the maker).

It would have (ironically) been much closer to the scenes in the Break Up where Vince Vaughn is playing the PS2, which are just blah.
Above: not the best video game movie scene ever.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Anyway, anybody else got any favorite video game movie scenes?


  1. If you had asked me that question without making this post, I would still have said the scene from Swingers. What a great film it is! :)

  2. Yeah Simon!! Swingers high five!

  3. Dude, you are so money and you don't even know it ;)

  4. "And you got these fucking claws and these fangs, man! And you're looking at your claws and you're looking at your fangs. And you're thinking to yourself, you don't know what to do, man. "I don't know how to kill the bunny." With *this* you don't know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean?"


  5. Haha, I love that scene! :) I also like it when they move on to a new party and Winston says "Yeah, this place is dead anyway" every time :P

    This is such a great film. As you mention, it's all the more impressive given the meagre budget. Did you see 'Made' which reunited Vaughn and Favreau? It's not nearly up the genius of Swingers but I still enjoyed it.

    The only other 'game in film (or TV show)' scene that I can think of right now that makes me laugh is in Friends when Joey and Ross are playing Twisted Metal on the PlayStation when Joey's hot girl roommate walks in and Ross sunddenly throws down the controller and shouts "No Joey, I DON'T want to play PlayStation!". Chortle! :P

  6. I'm a 90s kid, so while I do have fond memories of playing NES (mostly failing terribly at CastleVania and not totally understanding Tetris), my fondest gaming memories come from SNES, N64 and PSX.

    Ah yes, days of switching between playing Donkey Kong Country and Mario while interspersed with breaks to watch Nickelodeon. Good times indeed.

  7. LMAO @ "Yeah this place is dead anyway."

    I did see "Made" and had the same reaction. Not a bad film, but it just didn't measure up to the high standard of Swingers.

    I don't remember that episode of Friends, but that does sound pretty funny:) Speaking of Friends, I did enjoy the episodes with Favreau as Monica's boyfriend who gets into ultimate fighting.

    Hmmmm, I'm having trouble thinking of other funny video game scenes too. Michael J Fox playing Wild Gunman in Back to the Future 2 comes to mind, but that scene isn't really funny in itself.

  8. Nate - good times indeed! I guess someday you'll look back on the 00s the same way I look back on the 90s! Enjoy these years, they really are the best:)

  9. Yeah, Favreau is most amusing as the UFC 'fighter'. I wish he was a bigger name as an actor, he makes me laugh :)

    There's a few good video game references in Futurama, do you watch that?

  10. I haven't watched Futurama since the first season (like 1997 or 98)? Do they still make it? I've kind of lost track of most TV shows since moving to Japan!

  11. While the movie was not that great in and of itself, Fanboys had one of the most accurate video game playing scenes I've ever seen in a movie: Set in 1998, everybody's gathered around playing four player Mario Kart 64 on the correct controllers AND with the actual sound effects in the game. I remember the back and forth was really accurate, trash talking about using lightning bolts and blue shells and the like.

  12. Zach - interesting, I've never seen Fanboys, but I'll have to check it out just for that scene. Mario Kart 64 was, along with Goldeneye and Wave Race, the game my roommates and I played the most. It was the perfect multiplayer game for guys who wanted to annoy each other. Three red turtle shells, oh the three red turtle shells - the thought still brings me a feeling of great satisfaction.

  13. Regarding Futurama, it ran for four seasons, then got cancelled, then returned in the form of four straight-to-DVD movies, then recently returned to the TV screens properly with a new season. Hopefully if will carry on for a long time :)

  14. Ah, I see! I might go look for it on DVD at my local shop. Its a long shot, but they might have some of them. I remember enjoying that first season!

  15. Mallrats also has a great EA hockey scene with the character Brody and his girlfriend. It's awesome

  16. Zen Lunatic - I'm going to have to watch Mallrats again, I've totally forgotten about that. Ah...the 90s.