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Gaming History You Should Know: MoCap LLC July 12, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.

I know I usually spend my Gaming History You Should Know articles highlighting some of the best fan produced content from across the web. Forgive me as I decided to give the history lesson personally today.

There once existed a basic cable channel called Spike TV. Billed as the “Channel For Men” it succeeded in being what networks like G4TV (after the TechTV merger) failed to copy, an exciting network with a decent mix of original and classic programming. Spike TV knew its audience, and knew that the people who watched their channel likely played video games, and while the station was not dedicated to games, the station broadcasted several gaming specials over the years including The Ultimate Gamer and Countdown to Launch. These were, as their name implies, occasional one-off specials that typically aired during the midnight launch of games like Halo or God of War, but I remembered enjoying them. By 2009, Spike TV moved into producing regular gaming-focused content. As gaming hit the mainstream, Spike TV offered a weekly gaming show called GameTrailers TV.

Hosted by Geoff Keighley, GameTrailers TV previewed upcoming games, showed behind-the-scenes content from game developers and highlighted major gaming events. To help the show’s pace, a series of live-action shorts were integrated into each episode focusing around the lives of people who “worked” in the gaming history, Mocap LLC. Starring Chris DeLuca, Kara Klenk, and Jon Gabrus, MoCap LLC was a comedy show about the business of gaming motion capture.

You know what, words fail me here, you’ll just have to see some of the original MoCap LLC shorts for yourself. They are thankfully still online but just be aware there will be some dirty words.

That was (of course) just the earliest examples of the show. More shorts followed, many of which were posted on the GameTrailers website (which is sadly now defunct). If you’d like to see all of them, check out their YouTube Channel.

Somehow, through what I can only describe as some kind of divine intervention, Spike TV announced they would be turning Mocap LLC into a limited series of six episodes, with actress Lauren Turek joining the group. Oh and we knew there would only be six episodes, because all of the network’s promotional advertisements for the show focused on that fact. The six 22-minute episodes aired during the mid-spring of 2009. The show aired its first episode in April and I loved it, but there was no consistency in the Spike TV schedule for some of the later episodes. Sometimes the episodes aired at midnight, sometimes they aired (I think) as late as 3:30am. This could’ve been because the episodes aired unbleeped, so maybe they had to air on super late night due to some arbitrary Spike TV standards, but that didn’t really excuse why the show moved around on the schedule so much. I know for a fact I missed watching at least one episode because of scheduling inconsistency. There’s only so late someone can stay awake to watch a show.

Rewatching the show today I can say I still love it but I honestly couldn’t tell you why I liked it as much as I do. Maybe it was the fact that it’s unabashed content was a breath of fresh air, or it could’ve been my appreciation a gaming-focused comedy series aired on a major cable channel at a time that simply didn’t happen. Even G4TV was moving away from gaming-focused content at that time and they were supposed to be a station that was entirely about games. So to see Spike TV air something like Mocap LLC gave me the feeling the network was sincere about its interest in gaming at that time, something G4 had (at that time) lost.

Okay, so now you’re probably asking yourselves, where can I watch the show? As far as I know, MoCap LLC never recieved a DVD or Blu-Ray Disc release back in the day. In fact I even remembered emailing Kara Klenk if she knew anything about a home video release back in the day but I never heard back. Episodes were sold digitally (unbleeped) on Xbox Live marketplace back in the day but the episodes were in a very poor-quality standard definition. While most of the episodes went up on the service quickly, I had to wait several months for them to post the final episode. Thankfully, Chris has reposted all six episodes (unbleeped) on his website. While the episodes are in matted SD quality, the picture quality is a billion times better than the versions Xbox Live offered.

If you liked the shorts and have the free time, give the show a watch. I’d like to think that while it was VERY brief, Mocap LLC served as a precursor to shows like Mythic Quest (on Apple TV+). Huge props to everyone involved with it, and to Chris for making the show available on his site. I hope you’re all doing well!


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