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WoW Macinima: Who's the Tank?

Posted Tue, Jun 08, 2010 by Mem

The most popular comedy team during the 1940s and 50s, Abbott and Costello’s most famous routine, “Who’s on First?” used rapid word play and a sense of constant confusion to create comedy gold Eventually the skits success and wide spread popularity even granted the two the privilege of being featured

Abbott and Costello performing "Who's on First?".
in the National Baseball Hall of Fame where this classic is played on a TV located on the third floor of the building that also intermittently plays baseball bloopers.

This comedy masterpiece will go down in history as one of the best comedic works of all time, and so it was a great risk when Mike Davis and Mike Schroeder undertook the challenge of reworking this classic as a WoW machinima. Much like most movies based on books fail to live up to their predecessors, I had little hope that this remake would do the original justice. Mike and Mike were either going to experience great success or utter failure with no grey area in between.

Surprisingly enough Davis and Schroeder pull the feat off, reworking the classic enough to incorporate the game we all love, while still holding on to that classic Abbott and Costello feel. As the video opens we are introduced to Abbott and Costello’s stand ins; a white haired Night Elf named Darsh and a surly looking Dwarf called Bomb who are apparently attempting to put a raid group together. The Night Elf announces that he has managed to pull together a group, however these group members have some very unusual names. Of  course the Dwarf inquires about the names of his soon to be group members and comedy ensues.


Mike and Mike have excellent chemistry, which is very apparent as the Darsh begins to explain the names of group members starting with Who, who happens to be the tank. The whole skit is very well rehearsed and flows nicely without any lengthy pauses or breaks that would be sure to kill the mood. As Darsh continues down the list, both Darsh and Bomb become increasingly annoyed and confused as they realize the other is just not getting it.

The video itself appears to have been made entirely in game using only basic player emotes for expression with some hand drawn animation thrown in the mix. While the video is certainly not the most impressive I have ever seen, the simplicity of the video seems to enhance the comedy rather than detract from it. Abbott and Costello themselves used very few props, instead relying on voice tone and speed combined with  body language and farcical expressions to enhance their routines, so by keeping it simple Davis and Schroeder stay true to the original.

The hand drawn animation is a nice addition, adding a visual that not only enunciates the point Bomb is trying to make, but also provides some laughs due to it’s crudely drawn nature. I have personally never seen a more entertaining raid on Onyxia. That’s not to say that the video itself is without it’s faults. The video tends to be rather grainy and out of focus and because it relies solely on in game emotes, that severely limit’s the range and amount of emotion that a the characters can portray through body language.


The opening scene of "Who's the Tank?".
This is most evident as Bomb grows increasingly angry, one would expect quite a bit of movement which tends to happen when one is annoyed and confused, however Bomb remains rather disappointingly motionless. This fault could have been corrected by using a more advanced video making method, however considering that the video was entirely created using in game shots and emotes it is rather well done and gets the point across. Thankfully Davis and Schroeder both have an excellent ability to convey emotion into their voices, so even while their characters are standing still you easily get caught up into the frustration that is the “Who’s the Tank?” skit.

Overall I was impressed by this recreation of a classic. Davis and Schroeder stayed true to the original, while still managing to give their video their own personal flare. While I feel the video was flawed in the character movement department the skit itself more than makes up for whatever was lacking. Honestly I’m pretty convinced you could put this skit to tuba music and it would still incite laughter. By combing two great things into one  this video gives a refreshing new feel to a classic, sure to bring laughter to a new generation. Now if they could just manage to make it snow while it was 80 degrees outside my life would be complete. 

Now if you’ll excuse me Who is waiting to pull, What is waiting to sheep, I Don’t Care is preparing to bubble hearth out and I need to talk Tomorrow into making a Soul Well. So for now join us on our forums and let us know what you think of “Who’s the Tank?”.

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