Revenge of the nerds

By MIKE MILIARD  |  August 9, 2006

The acting is both awful and awesome with precise simultaneity, though not everyone thinks so. In its short existence GameLife has come to know well the slings and flaming arrows of video-game dorks who, emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet, slag the show all over cyberspace. Last June, a cruel and crude parody video, GameStrife, cropped up on YouTube (one of the ersatz hosts wears a bike helmet and feigns retardation). “Do two of the hosts have mosaic down syndrome?” comments one YouTube user after one episode. “GameLife is like being gang raped by twelve gorrilas, and with faces like Rosie O Donnel, and bodies like Micheal Moore,” types another, whose spelling and punctuation indicate either youth, stupidity, or both. One talent judge just brands them with the devastating Leet Speak epithet, “n00bt4rds.”

“When we originally put Episode One online, I took it off for a little bit because, I dunno, it was so bad, and I didn’t want to get any more hate e-mail,” says Andrew. “But the first episode, looking back on it, it really, truly was horrible.”

He’s right. The camera is wobbly. The murky lighting makes it look more like an Iraqi hostage video than a TV show. The music is too loud. Andrew and Alex are stiff and awkward in front of the camera; they deliver their spiels haltingly, sometimes staring off into space as they speak.

But, “once we got that second episode out, things got a little bit better, and we started improving and improving,” Andrew says. And since then, the guys have learned to shrug off the haters. Says Dave: “Like it? Fine. Hate it? Fine. It’s everyone’s own opinion and they have the right to it. But personally, I really don’t give a crap.”

Because, at the end of the day, the GameLife dudes are on MTV and the flamers are not. “Particularly in the gaming world, there’s a lot of haters on the Internet,” says Alex Porter. “Despite the cracks that people make about them, I like what they’re doing. I like the spirit, that do-it-yourself-y sort of thing. This flaming on message boards, it’s sort of like, ‘Let’s see you do better.’ ”

Right now, GameLife guys are working on their seventh episode (each earns them a few hundred bucks). They’ve got one spot up on and another one in the can that’s due to be posted this month. A third should soon be on the way. And if they’re ultimately a little wary of too much corporate co-optation — “I just don’t want to get to a point where people are gonna take control of the show and its content,” says Dave — they’re also enjoying their newfound, quite unexpected celebrity. Hell, Dave’s already been recognized at the local 7-Eleven.

“But thank God no place else,” he says. “I just don’t want to be famous to the point where I go take one step out of my house and it’s like” — he imitates a piercing feminine shriek — “ ‘Oh my God, it’s Dave!’ ”

All of which leads, of course, to the obvious question: has GameLife gotten these guys any new babes yet or what?

Sadly no. “Dave already has a girlfriend,” says Andrew, “but Alex and I are single. If anybody is interested in Alex or me, they can contact us at either or Dave, however, is taken.”

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