If lovin' this heat is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
April 17, 2007 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Duelin' Firemen was originally conceived as a 3DO game. According to this old subgenius post (Rev. Ivan Stang was apparently part of the cast), it was slated to be completed in July of 1995. It never saw the light of day. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), some of the game's video sequences survive, edited together in all their seizure-inducing glory [YouTube]. Watch for cameos by Rudy Ray Moore, Mark Mothersbaugh, Tony Hawk, Timothy Leary, Steve Albini, David Yow, and a whole bunch of others... if you can actually bear to watch it.
posted by hypocritical ross (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I made it 2 minutes in and I gotta say, that's one of the most unwatchable things I've ever seen on the gootube.
posted by rbs at 6:05 PM on April 17, 2007

I would also like to add, for the record, a blurb about the game taken from this gamepro article on vaporware:

"Duelin' Firemen! (Runandgun! for the 3DO ? Not released March '96)

The Hype: Singing firemen. That's right, singing firemen. In this full-motion video outing, Air Force One crashes into the Sears Tower, setting all of Chicago ablaze. Emergency personnel have abandoned their posts, so it's up to the player, in the boots of the fire captain, to find "buildings that are not burning, where the captain and his crew quickly create an intricate dance accompaniment to the captain's musical selection of choice." If a rival brigade shows up in the same building, "Watch out! It's time for a hoedown!" To win the game, you have to score a contract with a Japanese record company. We are not making this up.

What Happened: This one will remain one of the great mysteries of vaporware; staffers at 3DO could only offer guesses as to why this game never materialized, and the developer's phone number is no longer in service. Was it the 3DO's demise as a platform? Did the game's student developers run out of money? Or maybe everybody suddenly realized that they were making a game about singing firemen? The world may never know."

posted by hypocritical ross at 6:07 PM on April 17, 2007

Wow. Already flagged as inappropriate. That was fast.
posted by daq at 6:13 PM on April 17, 2007

In the past week, I have strained myself in order to complete one of the most thorough papers I will ever write in my life, at the cost of sleep, and with the generous use of caffeine, ibuprofen, and alcohol (Not all at once, don't try this at home, etc.).

I have since seen Japanese politicans who run on a platform of destroying everything, a family friend manage to close down a campus with an umbrella (False scare after the Virginia Tech shooting), the media report truthfully that the governor of New Jersey was breaking road rules as badly as any of us, the death of a great writer that I thought would be around forever, and now this.

Thank you, hypocritical ross. I am now convinced that I have since lost my grip on reality. Everything makes so much more sense. Duelin' Firemen has opened my eyes to enlightenment and how the gaming industry truly passed up a great opportunity with extensive FMV sequences.
posted by Saydur at 6:20 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

anyone else notice they're in the columbia?
posted by p3on at 6:20 PM on April 17, 2007

This clip was also name-checked in this AskMe thread posted last week. (I wonder if it's the source of how it's come to make the rounds on the Internet the past week or so ... and how it's ended up on in the Blue.)
posted by pfafflin at 6:35 PM on April 17, 2007

I refuse to believe this was ever connected to a video game. This has to be some colossal prank.
posted by chrominance at 6:45 PM on April 17, 2007

either way, it's awesomely awful!
posted by 40 Watt at 6:49 PM on April 17, 2007

The gameplay possibilities are there, I guess. As much gameplay as you get from a FMV dancing game.

The internet would not have let this game not get made.
posted by graventy at 7:07 PM on April 17, 2007

wow, I...uh. wow.
posted by puke & cry at 7:15 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's awesomely awesome! That was great!

I did a couple searches for Grady Sein trying to see if he did any other cool stuff that actually got produced. Apparently not. I wonder if the authorities are after him or something. I mean someone must have put up the money for him to start the 3DO but it didn't get finished. Hmm..?

Oh I'm sure it's just a simple misunderstanding. Very cool to know there's more SubGenius footage out there! This is the way I wish television was all the time!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:23 PM on April 17, 2007

Night Trap doesn't hold a candle to this.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:24 PM on April 17, 2007

"..and it makes me wanna move my bootie!"
posted by ZachsMind at 7:28 PM on April 17, 2007

It's actually Grady Sain, not Sein. And it looks like he did do some other games and videos.
posted by puke & cry at 7:30 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

The YouTube user who had that video on his profile, iburl, has some other weird fun stuff too, including a live action Mary Worth short, An ad for a board that you breakdance on, and a Mac and Me video release trailer. Warped stuff!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:46 PM on April 17, 2007

...it looks like he did do some other games and videos.

He worked on an episode of Tom Goes To The Mayor and was also apparently involved in the production of a GBA game called Urban Yeti, which sounds totally freakin' sweet but probably isn't.
posted by hypocritical ross at 7:50 PM on April 17, 2007

He also directed the music video for "Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers - Army Girls Gone Wild".
posted by puke & cry at 8:38 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have a copy of this vid from many years ago. It's very much in the Subgenius video style. Like others note, it's difficult to imagine what the actual game might have been like, but it would have been noteworthy for the live action cast alone.
posted by First Post at 9:02 PM on April 17, 2007

I wish they'd figured out how to turn Dueling Firemen into a CDRom game. Looks like the kinda thing I'd actually want to play.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:02 PM on April 17, 2007

I can't believe the whole thing ate me.
posted by Eideteker at 9:25 PM on April 17, 2007

I still can't believe anybody bought that FMV bullshit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:31 PM on April 17, 2007

A few years ago, Grady told me they'd hoped to revive the game, but then 9/11 happened. Planes+WTC and Space Shuttle+Sears Tower were too close for their comfort so, barring a rewrite and reshoot, this is all we're ever going to see of Duelin' Firemen.

But the spirit of runandgun is still alive and well with their alumnus Dave Foss (you certainly don't want to miss Horned Gramma or his alter-ego, TV Sheriff.) Other amazingly creative folks from the early 90s Chicago video scene include VJV2, Brian Dressel and Brien Rullman at OVT Visuals, and of course the inimitable H-Gun.
posted by eatyourlunch at 10:25 PM on April 17, 2007

Just as an aside, prompted by Pope Guilty's comment about FMV bullshit, I realized something slightly odd a few years ago.

Back in the early 90s, Full Motion Video was the freaking Holy Grail of computing. Everyone was really, really excited about the ability to actually render a moving video on your computer screen. Sexy stuff. Lots of games were made featuring early, clunky, nasty FMV, and they uniformly sucked. The hype went elsewhere, and video on computers continued to suck for a long time.

But sometime n the last, oh, six years or thereabouts (somewhere post-2000, I think), full motion video on a computer became easy. At 33Mhz, there's just not enough juice to do much, but when you can crank the clockspeed up to 2 THOUSAND Mhz, you can get a lot of shit done. Add in hardware video acceleration on the graphic card and most machines can now easily animate several movies at once.

And nobody freaking noticed. We just sort of accepted it and integrated it without remembering how hard it was a decade prior. The dream came true -- it ultimately made just as big a difference as everyone though it would -- but because the hype had died down, we didn't care.

Well, except Youtube, of course. They made a few bucks off combining video with the Web. :)
posted by Malor at 12:05 AM on April 18, 2007

That was an amazing seizure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2007

Malor, how did computer video make a difference? The ability to distribute video over the web is cool, but ultimately it's still the same thing as watching TV. The interactive model that underpinned the FMV hype never did materialize.

FMV was a terrible idea, terribly executed. Nobody ever spent the 5 minutes it would take to realize that video is fundamentally non-interactive. Instead they just kept trying to polish that turd.
posted by bjrubble at 9:02 AM on April 18, 2007

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