We've make no secret of the fact that we're huge fans of Conan O'Brien's talk show and one of the best segments of the show is undoubtedly 'Clueless Gamer'.
For the uninitiated, it's Conan playing a newly-released videogame and him essentially ripping it apart - not with any kind of finesse or examination, just making jokes about how ridiculous it is - for about ten minutes. Throughout the segment, it's become patently clear that he has no mind for videogames in the slightest, has nothing but contempt for it as a medium, and really is just there to s*** all over it.
And yet, videogame studios are lining up to hurl money at him to do the segment and feature their games. In a lengthy interview with Vulture, O'Brien explained how the segment came into being and his own opinion on it.
"It was a happy accident when video-game companies started saying, “Hey Conan, we’re the number-one video game. Could you review us? We’ll pay for it and we’ll pay the talent and that money will go into your show coffers as advertising.” And I said, “You don’t understand. I’m bad at video games, I’m contemptuous of them, and I’m going to shit all over yours.” But it doesn’t matter to these giant companies. They invest a billion dollars in games that take nine years to make and then they roll out Oculus Nine: The Becoming — where you pretend that shards of glass are put in your skull and you become who you used to be in another dimension and you get to watch your SAT scores fall — and I am part of the business model for that. Because I’m not respected as a gamer, these companies seek me out."
In a way, it makes a lot of sense. YouTube is filled to the brim with expert players who know the inner workings of the game, its engine, all of it - why not let someone like Conan, who has an audience, make fun of it all? As Conan sees it, it's the perfect situation for him.
"It’s a perfect have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation for me. It’s like if I were doing these things for Ford, I’d be saying, “The new Ford Explorer blows. I wouldn’t buy it if I were you.” And they’d say, “Thank you, Conan, and here’s a check that’ll pay for more weird sketches involving a moose in the audience.”Thank you, heartless company!"