South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack

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South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack

There are hardly any South Park games released on home consoles nowadays, but back in the late nineties a trio of titles based on the show were developed.

There was an FPS (South Park), a racing game (South Park Rally) and a party game (Chef’s Luv Shack).

Despite the difference in genres, they all shared one common trait – they were all at their best when played with friends.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

It isn’t just a recommendation that you play Chef’s Luv Shack with friends though – but almost a requirement.

Set up as a quiz show, the game has you competing with up to three other players in order to gather the highest number of points (or dollars) at the end.

It’s as shallow as a puddle in terms of modes, with no dedicated single player option (you can choose how many rounds you play, from 2 up to 8 – and that’s it) but fortunately the main body of the game is enjoyable enough.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

Each round consists of a few quiz questions and a mini-game. Questions fall into certain random categories, such as ‘people who eat people’, ‘aliens, assholes and anal probes,’ and ‘DNA holes.’

Sometimes questions are simple, and other times they’re purposefully random – making answering them a gamble. Getting one right wins you 500 points, and getting it wrong deducts the same amount.

You have to press a buzzer to attempt to answer the question as well, which inevitably makes thing very frantic indeed if there are several contestants.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

There are some variations to break up the question and answer format, such as the wheel of fortuitousness (where if you land on a certain section you get a points bonus or are allowed to play an extra bonus game) or a pressure round – where if you get enough questions right a huge anal probe/drill is rammed up Cartman’s…well, you can guess where.

As you might expect, the mini-games are where the most fun is to be had, and most of the challenges are incredibly simple but perfectly suited to simultaneous competitive play.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

‘Asses in space’ is an Asteroids clone for example, and has you destroying as many rear ends as you can before you lose all your lives. It’s easy to pick up, and with more than one ship on the screen things can get joyously messy.

A game that requires button mashing is ‘Eat this,’ which has you taking part in a pie eating contest. You have to press A and B to eat the pies, and the d-pad to get rid of the empty tins, and if you can get a rhythm is enjoyably hypnotic.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

One other example is the Game & Watch inspired Scuzzlebutt, which has you moving left and right to bounce falling water balloons off a trampoline onto a tree (that’s on fire and has scuzzlebutt trapped on top of it).

Although each game is basic, they each have a slightly different concept or control scheme behind them, and there’s enough of them to stop the game from getting dull too soon.

It goes without saying that you have to play it in short bursts to keep it fresh though, but brief plays are what it’s seemingly been designed for anyway.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

The game still holds up fairly well today as well – for two main reasons.

One is that the basic graphics actually depict South Park fairly accurately, and secondly there’s very little out there quite like this, even today. Sure, there are slicker quiz game experiences – but none of them have the cast of South Park.

The game admittedly isn’t as funny as the show, but there’s more than enough here to satisfy fans.

South Park - Chef’s Luv Shack - N64

Overall, the anarchic nature of the show is well suited to the party game format – and if you’re a South Park fan this is an essential purchase. It’s fairly cheap nowadays as well.

South Park

SouthPark

I wanted to do a review that had something do to with Thanksgiving even if it was a stretch and behold I found South Park. Published in 1999 from Acclaim this first person shooter features your four favorite characters from the show all voiced by the original actors, but sadly there is little else than that to mark as a bright spot for the game.

south_park_fps

The story is that a comet is heading towards South Park and apparently that has caused all kinds of crazy things to happen. From evil turkeys to living toys it is up to the boys to stop them. Now first off, the game at the time looked great and that is most likely because it was not too difficult from a programing standpoint to turn the 2D paper characters into 3D. Along with the bright colors of South Park the game at the time was a visual treat.

south park game turkey

During the single player campaign you are treated to cut screens featuring original dialog from many South Park notables including Chef who gives you your “mission briefings”.  Sadly, the first person aspect of the game is lacking. One reason is because even back then the AI was pretty weak. It was almost impossible to get taken out unless you got swarmed by a ton of enemies. The weapons were also way underpowered which makes sense considering they are kids, but so many of the enemies and especially the bosses took so many hits to kill it got boring real fast.

n64southpark

Another thing that gets old is the repetitive voices when running around in mission mode or multiplayer. At first it is cool to hear the characters react to being hit or finding things, but after hearing it 100 times you almost want to mute the game. One bright spot in the game for me personally was the multiplayer. Not because it was much better than the single player, but because of the dancing gun which you can see an example of in the video below.

The game was made on the Turok 2 engine and was released for the N64, Sony Playstation and what I played it on, the PC. South Park is just good enough to give it a run through once if nothing else than to experience the graphics and original dialog, oh and the dancing gun. Beyond that it was a weak shooter where most of the enemies ran straight at you and the boss had patterns a video gaming noob could detect. The game did feature the boys killing turkeys and having Thanksgiving dinner and so it has found a place as a legit Thanksgiving themed game.

The Top Cartoons From The 1990s

This list includes every cartoon I thought was great or totally amazing that started airing or were super popular in the 1990s. Let”s go over all of them in alphabetical order!

Aeon FluxAeon Flux

This was a really weird science fiction cartoon that was showed on MTV”s Liquid Television in the early 1990s. The show was about Aeon Flux, a female secret agent that was mixed up in a lot of conspiracies, a war with a neighboring country, assassinations, betrayal, cloning, and a bunch of other crazy plots. The entire cartoon was a complete mind fuck.

The feeling this show gave me was similar to the feeling I get from the Paranoia RPG and Brazil. Pretty much, it”s a totally fucked up distopian future where you are either a drone or you are involved in sinister greater forces that control and rule everything and keep everyone oppressed. Life is cheap and everybody is replaceable.

The way this cartoon was drawn and the bizarre style of it reminded me a lot of the comics that would come out in Heavy Metal magazine. A lot like the style of those weird french graphic novels from the 80s and 90s.

There aren”t a lot of episodes of this show. I remember renting the whole show on VHS back when those existed, so you have an idea how short it is.

There was a live action movie that was a remake of the show. It was okay. Most people either liked it or flat out hated it.

AnimaniacsAnimaniacs

This was Steven Spielberg”s next cartoon character after having made the hugely successful Tiny Toon Adventures. The show was like watching a cartoon version of The Marx Brothers. The entire cartoon was about two brothers and a sister going around trolling everybody they met. The show also introduced Pinky And The Brain, a cartoon that was about an idiot mouse that is always trying to help a super genius mouse “try to take over the world!” The Brain sounded a lot like Orson Welles. Pink And The Brain were probably my favorite characters from the show.

The main storyline for this insane show was that Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were 1930s cartoons characters that got trapped in the water tower of the Warner Bros Studios and were finally released to mess with the world in the 1990s. There were other sketches with other characters such as The Goodfeathers. The Goodfeathers were a parody of the gangsters from the movie Goodfellas except that they were a bunch of pigeons. They were great, even impersonating Joe Pesci”s characters that usually go ape shit over everything. There was also Slappy Squirrel which was a bitter old cartoon character that would put people in their place while trying to teach those values to her nephew Skippy Squirrel.

Batman BeyondBatman Beyond

Think Batman meets cyberpunk Shadowrun and this is pretty much what the show is. It”s set in the future. Bruce Wayne is old, has heart conditions, and is slowly dying. Everybody that Bruce Wayne worked with either hates him or is dead. What ends up happening is that Bruce Wayne can no longer be Batman. For a while he”s already used a power armor kind of Batsuit but even that doesn”t prevent him from having heart attacks while fighting crime. So… some kid that has a situation like Bruce gets picked up to be the next Batman.

The show is almost not even a kids show as people (rarely) die in this show but at least there is death. If you are a fan of the other Batman cartoons then you need to follow the chain of history by watching this show. The sad part is that this show got cancelled, probably because of the violence and dark tones, but if you really want to see how all of Batman ends, I urge you to watch Justice League”s “Epilogue” episode. That ends all of Batman, forever. It is simply the best thing ever written for Batman.

Anyways, back to Batman Beyond… The Joker is dead and so are many of the old villains since it”s the year 2039. Instead of having The Joker, you have The Joker street gang and other characters based on themes from the past as well as some of them returning. The new villains are insanely more powerful than classic Batman villains, some of them being to the scale of power that it would take Superman or the Justice League to bring them down.

There are movies of the show, and they are all worth watching.

Since youtube restricts it, I can”t embed the intro, so here”s the link to it instead (open in a new tab).

Batman The Animated SeriesBatman: The Animated Series

This is a cartoon that was so good that I would stop doing anything to watch. This set the bar for me for what everything comic book related should be for the rest of time. Batman The Animated Series is so damn good that it makes everything else Batman look like shit, and I am including the Tim Burton and Chris Nolan movies. Now, yeah, that might be going a little bit too far but for a cartoon this is simply ART. The music along with the drawings along with the voice acting and writing makes for a perfect cartoon. This IS the Dark Knight. The writing is so good that I often remember quotes from the show. “How much is a good night”s rest? Now there”s a riddle for you…” and many more.

This cartoon is what and are based on.

This cartoon is so good that each episode has its own unique soundtrack written for it. The level of writing are just as good as the original Twilight Zone series. You MUST watch it.

Again, youtube doesn”t allow embedding so just open in a new tab, the HD 1080p version of the Batman Intro.

Darkwing DuckDarkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck was a spinoff from DuckTales and it was sort of like a comical parody of superheroes, especially Batman. This takes place in the DuckTales universe, even having Launchpad MacQuack as his sidekick, the really bad pilot from DuckTales that always crashes everything that he pilots. Just think of it like a light hearted Batman except that his parents didn”t get murdered and that he has to take care of a bratty daughter Gosalyn Mallard. I remember any time that there would be action he would always say his catchphrase: “Let”s get dangerous!”

This cartoon was really popular in the early to mid 90s especially when DuckTales was still around.

Dilbert TV SeriesDilbert

This was an amazing comedy show based on the incredible make-fun-of-working comic strip Dilbert. The show was as funny as the strip but I could tell it was probably doomed from the start since it would show on UPN. Like it was totally marketed incorrectly, on the wrong network for this show. It would probably done really well on Fox or Cartoon Network or on Adult Swim but then again this was the 1990s, not 5-10 years later. Still, they should have at least gone with Fox, although Fox kills most of all of its good shows (like Family Guy and Futurama).

If you don”t know what Dilbert is, it”s about showing how crappy it is to work in a corporate cubicle farm culture. The boss is a moron/asshole, everybody does anything they can in order to do the least amount of work and get paid the least. You know, just like in real life?

If you like the strip, just watch the show to see the cartoon version. You can see all the episodes of Dilbert on youtube via Crackle. Here is the link to the first episode.

Eek The CatEek The Cat

Eek The Cat was the perfect cartoon created by Savage Steve Holland which was intended for kids with ADD and to make fun of pop culture. The whole show was about Eek the Cat which was the nicest cat ever and he would always get hurt for trying to do the right thing. Pretty much every episode was about that. There was this dog, Sharky the Sharkdog which was always trying to bite Eek at every opportunity. “It never hurts to help” was what Eek would always say and then the worst things would happen to him, always physically. He had this horribly fat cat girlfriend called Annabelle that was morbidly obese and disgusting. Despite that he always loved her.

To me this show was infinitely superior to shows that came afterwards like Spongebob Squarepants.

Exo SquadExoSquad

This is the pinnacle of 90s cartoons as far as rare cartoons go. I would say only Batman was as good as this cartoon. This is the ultimate space opera cartoon. It shows real war with people dying, the “good guys” not always winning, racism, terrorism, megalomania, etc. It was hard to watch this cartoon because they would always air it randomly, sometimes skipping episodes. I had the same problem with Babylon 5 because my parents never had cable so I would have to guess what I had missed.

The show is the ultimate parable made on World War 2. A lot of people die and you see things like crimes against humanity and cruelty. Shocking for a publicly aired cartooon.

Anyways, this show is probably one of my highest recommended shows in GENERAL to watch of all time. I like it enough that I run the main facebook fan page for it. Fortunately for us, although the show is dead, we can see the entire show for free here at hulu.

Start watching it and don”t stop until you saw it all. Only season 1 is available on DVD because Universal doesn”t care much for this show. 🙁

Family GuyFamily Guy

This show started off in the late 90s and it”s still on the air after having been cancelled many times. Personally I think the first seasons of the show were much funnier than the current seasons, since they seem to keep changing writers all the time and lately they”ve been relying too much on recycling internet jokes. Even the writers of the show make fun of how much the show has become like their spinoff show American Dad and there was even The Cleveland Show which was just SHIT.

Anyways, everybody knows what Family Guy is. It”s as famous as The Simpsons and Futurama. If you don”t know what Family Guy is, it”s nice to finally have met a time traveler or I”m glad that you”re awake from your coma.

FuturamaFuturama

Here is a show that was created by Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, that was superior (for geeks) to The Simpsons. The show is a LOT like Red Dwarf but even crazier because you can pretty much draw everything but Red Dwarf was limited by its budget. This show too had problems with it getting cancelled but it”s coming back again.

There are various movies of Futurama and they”re all worth watching.

The show is about this loser that gets frozen in cryogenic containment and he wakes up in the year 3000. The show is insanity having characters like the Santa Claus robot that kills everybody that”s been naughty and that means everybody. The aliens in the show are disgusting often eating garbage or they”re deadly or they”re just weird. Anyways, the loser Fry goes to work for an interstellar shipping company that”s run by an incompetent (not evil) genius Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth.

The show belongs in the comedy science fiction category alongside Red Dwarf. I highly recommend it.

Gargoyles
King of the Hill
Men in Black: The Series
Mighty Max
Muppet Babies
Pokemon
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
Sabrina the Animated Series
South Park
Spawn
Superman: The Animated Series
TaleSpin
Taz-Mania
The Maxx
The Simpsons
The Tick
Tiny Toon Adventures
X-Men

My Experiences: EA Sports Tester

easports

It was early 2004, I had just finished graduate school at UCF and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Typical.  My savings was starting to dry up and I needed money fast.  I went around filling out job applications.  I actually got hired at Lowe’s first off.  I was sent to push shopping carts on the second day instead of going through the typical orientation session.  By the third day I was left alone in the lumber section all by myself.  I quit that afternoon.  Days later while wallowing in shame and fear, I saw an advertisement on careerbuilder.com for a video game tester.  I knew that was something I could do.  When I found out it was for EA Sports Tiburon I got excited.  I filled out the application and days later I got a call from one of their screeners who gave me the phone interview.  This consisted of some basic experience questions, and some sports specific questions like:

What is the difference between overtime in college football and the NFL?”

Name the major BCS bowls

Name as many NASCAR drivers and their sponsors as you can

I was able to pass that pretty easily so I was invited in for another interview at their office.  Here I had to answer a ten page multiple choice test where we shown pictures of controllers and match them to their consoles.  It was video game and sports stuff.  I did good there too so then we were given a console and told to follow a procedure where we would get a video game to crash.  Then a panel interview where I chatted with three people.  I remember being asked if I could remember what the interviewers names were and I only could remember the chick’s name.  Again, typical.  I was told I had the job and I had to come in Monday morning for a week of training which consisted of learning the bug database and learning from the previous year’s titles.  At the end of the week we got our assignments and I was on the NCAA team for PS2.  We all felt sorry for the guy who was given Madden for Game Boy Advance.

The work started out good.  We worked 10AM-630pm, there was a fridge and a soda machine there.  In the break room there were arcade cabinet machines such as Q-Bert, Mortal Kombat 2, and Golden Tee.  We had some good competitions there.  Soon our days went from 10am to 10pm.  Beta got closer and we split into different shifts.  Some worked 10am to midnight, some worked 12pm to 2am.  It was a grind.  No days off, not when you are putting out one of the best selling video games of the year.  The people at the 7-11 store got to know us rather well for coffee and energy drinks.

It was an interesting job.  There were barely any women around.  For a group of guys who barely got to see women outside the office, work life brought out the caveman in everyone.  Think of that boobs episode of South Park if it helps.  Also, I found that the people in charge took what they did waaaay to seriously.  They’d pump us up as if we were on the mission to kill Bin Laden.  And they were the kind of bosses who used the old “We work hard but we play hard” catchphrase.  I always thought anybody who used that should be locked in a closet with bees.  There was a divide too among the full time programmers and staff and the seasonal Quality Assurance testers like me.  The “people upstairs” got better snack machines, benefits, and we got to read some messages which revealed that they pretty much thought we were peons.   But we weren’t, at least not all of us.  We had lawyers, cops, college graduates, parents, all guys just trying to make a living and pay the bills.  I know they had their struggles too.  There was a controversy awhile back about the wife of an EA Employee there who didn’t like the long hours and lack of overtime her husband had to deal with.  Google “EASpouse” and you’ll see the story.

Eventually I moved on but every year I would check the credits of all the football games and see who was still there from my day.  Some testers actually got promoted to game producer.  That was something good about the job, if you showed dedication, you were rewarded.  I often wonder where I would have gone had I stayed there.  I surely would have made a better Superman Returns game, that’s for sure.