A few weeks ago we partnered with our friends at The Athletic Community in NW Portland to host a first of its kind event in their retail store. We gathered a handful of Portland’s funniest up and coming comedians, a vintage Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and a bunch of our friends.
Ripped City, an NBA Jam tournament on the SNES, was a mix of comedy, retro gaming, and nostalgic fun. Read on to learn more. And as always, stay tuned here to learn about future events like this in coming weeks!
Check out the video below.
Some Fridays ago we partnered with The Athletic Community to present Ripped City, an NBA Jam video game tournament. Played on vintage Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems (SNES) projected on a big screen, we added a unique twist to your average gaming experience. We invited local rising comedians to offer live commentary on the gameplay and perform short sets in between matches.
Our host emcee, Seth Johnston, drew names from over twenty five submissions to form four two person teams. We held a single round of play which led teams into either the consolation or championship brackets.
In the first match of the night, the Jazz beat the Blazers and local Portland comic Max Fortune came up afterwards to perform a set. This was undoubtedly a brave and worthy effort, as the crowd had yet to figure out how exactly these two elements, video games and comedy, fit together. Huge kudos to Max for stepping out onto that floor and bringing the funny to the eager crowd.
The players for the Magic and Spurs were now a bit more attuned to the goings on and jumped in ready to play. Some clever tactics took advantage of the fact that some people haven’t touched the SNES controllers in well over a decade and a rousing round of playful “BOOs” from the crowd began to liven things up a bit. After the second game, Shain Brendan took the stage on top of the retail counter at The Athletic and brought the crowd in with tales of working at McDonalds in his youth. His set reinforced that we were here to have fun! And people were pretty much used to the idea that we were at a part video game tourney, part comedy show, together making a great Friday night!
GAME 3 – Consolation Trophy Match
After a couple well played NBA Jam games, we headed into the losers’ bracket with the Consolation Trophy Match. The Blazers faced the Spurs, and the crowd was now comfortable with the concept and really dug the live color commentary by our crew of professional comedians. These guys were pros, as finding something witty to say about a 23 year old video game is not easy. High fives were exchanged and we moved on to the main set of the evening.
Los Angeles-based comedian Will Weldon took the floor for the final round of comedy before the championship matchup. The crowd was warmed up and ready for laughs and Weldon delivered solidly. He nearly lost his voice as a couple of bits set him off and his set really grew the energy for the championship game.
GAME 4 – Championship Game
The final match of the evening couldn’t have happened any better. Evenly matched teams, clever time-burning strategies, and solid play led to a tied game at the end of regulation.
OVERTIME delivered more playing time and the chance for the crowd to get hooked in on the excitement. The game finished with a final score differential of a single bucket and both the champs and losers were great sports. Trophies for first, second, and third places were distributed and the evening concluded with a winding down of free play on the big screen.
Big thanks to Ananth Pandian for organizing, Seth Johnston for the referee and emcee work, Max Fortune, Shain Brendan, and Will Weldon for performing, and The Athletic Community for hosting. What a great night!