Over its historical multi decade run South Park has tackled a many number of subjects, from the topical to the totally random. With that, though, has come plenty of outright hits and some abysmal misses.
This latest South Park season, for example, has been an oftentimes uneven affair, with a few instant classics and some genuine duds. But the real story surrounding this season is how far the writers have dipped into gaming culture, poking fun at topics like Oculus Rift, free-to-play gaming, and Magic the Gathering.
As the season came to a close last night, South Park continued its satirical look at one of the biggest topics in gaming right now: Let’s Play commentary. Last week’s episode introduced the storyline, which featured a surprise appearance by YouTube celebrity PewDiePie, and this week’s closed things out with a typical South Park meta twist.
While we won’t spoil how the season wraps up since we encourage any gamer to watch the final two episodes, we will say that PewDiePie does return with a bigger role to play. Obviously, if the producers were going to get one of the highest paid YouTube celebrities on their show, they were going to give him a little more airtime than that.
Overall, South Park Season 18th will go down as a memorable one if only because of the relevant (to us gamers) topics it covered and poked fun at. Plenty of shows have tried to use gaming related topics as jumping off points for storylines, but South Park chose subjects that are a bit more niche. Granted, the episodes can still stand up on their own, but those familiar with the Let’s Play community or Oculus VR will get much more out of the storylines.
It’s no surprise, though, that in a year when South Park released another video game – and a good one at that – they tackled some video game relevant topics. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have said many times before that they are gamers, a sentiment that was abundantly clear in their approach to South Park: The Stick of Truth. It’s only once you are a part of gaming culture and familiar with its tropes that you can understand how best to parody them in a way fans will enjoy.
And that’s ultimately what South Park’s 1 season and The Stick of Truth; deliver enjoyable episodes and gaming experiences. In fact, South Park: The Stick of Truth was our favorite game from the first half of 2014 and is still a strong contender for our top 10. Needless to say, those who haven’t seen these most recent South Park episodes or played The Stick of Truth are highly recommended to go out and do so, provided they actually find the property amusing of course.
What did you think of the gaming-related episodes of South Park this season? Would you like to see the show tackle more topics like this?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina