Don't Try This at Home
Game On: Jackass: The Game, PS2, PSP, $29.99, M for Mature
For years MTV has warned you “not to recreate or re-enact any stunt or activity performed on this show.”
Not you, and not your dumb little buddies. No one was supposed to compete with the on-screen antics attempted on “Jackass.” Until now. Welcome to “Jackass: The Game,” an interactive version of the popular television show that challenges players to push taste and safety to their limits in the name of big laughs.
In this show that’s part reality TV at its lowest, part daredevil stunt show, part fraternity prank and part Dadaist action, skaters and troublemakers have turned getting hurt into an art form — and a way of getting laughs. If you haven’t seen the show, just think of the dumbest thing your brother ever did when he was a kid that almost got him killed. Then double the stakes, and do it again and again for a video camera. Whether it’s eating and regurgitating a goldfish or pouring snapping crayfish down your pants, the guys on “Jackass” have thought of it, and tried it.
Placing the player in the role of substitute director, the game features 30-plus mini-games consisting of dangerous and just-plain-gross stunts that earn cash based on injuries incurred and goals accomplished. In the game-opening Precipice Pachinko, players shove one of their favorite Jackasses off a cliff, then tilt the landscape back and forth in an effort to break, bruise and beat up the hapless dupe as he tumbles on the rocks. Cue up Chris Pontius or Ryan Dunn, and you earn cash and laughs by upping the “abrasion meter” grinding across the landscape. Or focus on speed and earn more cash by gaining enough downhill momentum to launch the character through the sky, accomplishing air-time goals. The better the stunt, the better the MTV episode, and the more money with which to make the next installment.
Whether it involves diving into elephant dung, sling-shoting people across neighborhood yards and into greenhouses, or dancing the way only Party Boy knows how — in public and wearing nothing much more than a G-string — the game captures the show’s dumb-guy thrill of being the funniest and most reckless male in your circle of friends.While no one will mistake “Jackass: The Game” for an AAA title, the game captures a little of the impish and mad magic of the original television program and movies. And, whether you admit it or not, deep down all guys like to chuckle at their friends’ trying to do something amazing — and failing. Whether he’s falling off a skateboard or losing the contents of his stomach on a dare to eat something disgusting, the other guy’s pain is our pleasure.
Because the game siphons enough of the original charm from the show to keep its basic gag alive, you feel a little like you are a part of the nonsense. It’s almost enough to convince you that, when the on-screen character doubles over in pain, it’s really Johnny Knoxville, and you were the one to deliver the devastating blow.