In the nouveau media culture, a YouTuber can have a million devotees (read: channel subscribes) and still be completely unknown to the gaming community at large — much less the YouTube viewing community. So it was with little surprise that I came across Sl1pg8r, another burgeoning star I’d never heard of who’s about to surpass one million subscribers.
Sl1pg8r, was originally a Minecraft grinder, churning out quick-hit mods and instructional videos. As a Minecrafter he was an utterly competent guide, even inventing a compact, silent T-Flipflop that converts a button into a lever. Sadly, redstone wizardry and patient narration doesn’t curry the favor that it once did. Sl1pg8r, in a search for mass appeal, carefully shifted his persona over time, from the Minecraft tutorial technocrat to a Tom Kenny-ish, just short of Bobcat Golthwait-level zany anti-hero. Coining the catchphrases “What is up, the world?” and “Nailed it!” Sl1pg8r celebrates a comedic blundering style that belies the steely competence of an around the clock OCD-gamer (just look at his Ark: Survival Guide inventory for evidence of otherworldly organizational skills)
In a recent 1 v 1, Sl1pg8r takes on weblebrity peer, Pungence, in the reverse-Oedipal Who’s Your Daddy — a casual 1 on 1 game featuring a clueless father attempting to prevent his infant son from certain death.
The simply animated Who’s Your Daddy turns classic PvP action on its head, as one player, the baby, is persistently attempting to end its own life, while player 2, the clueless father, attempts to both baby-proof his hazardous house, and feed player 1 medicine (against its will) to prevent it from poisoning, burning or crushing itself to death.
While Who’s Your Daddy evoked the obligatory shock from the gaming community who watched it run a successful Kickstarter campaign — the competitive mechanic is fascinating and completely novel. In a previous analysis of Day Z, we observed a griefer feeding bleach to a zombie survivor to sicken him, but to keep him short of permadeath. In WYD, one player is incentivized to seek death out (and drinking bleach is an option), while the other player desperately tries to fend of a fatalistic notion that the baby will succeed in ending her own brief existence. Indeed, in numerous runthroughs of WYD, I have yet to see the inept father ever prevent the baby from finding its demise for more than a few minutes.
Even more fascinating is the narration by Sl1pg8r and Pungence, who readily personify the suicidal infant and the dopey, but caring father. Despite its apparent tactical disadvantage, Pungence revels in describing the ways in which he is currently killing himself, that Sl1pg8r can prolong the farce of keeping him alive, until he finds yet more grizzly ways to find the void. In a tweak on classical Oedipal tension, the baby is constantly willing to sacrifice itself to prove the ineptness of the father — as the whole game takes place before mom comes home; a time when, presumably, the baby’s suicidalism is easily thwarted. Indeed, the key mechanic of the entire game is that it is impossible for Dad to simply pick up the baby and return it to its crib.
All of this plays into the capable hands of host Sl1pg8r, who plays the fool to perfection. And this is a role that he does not take lightly. It’s a role perfected by the same mind that once was a circuitry architect of a limitless cubic-universe, but who has now applied it to guiding us through all of the ‘stuff and things.’