The show was born as part of the Escapist Film Festival, where its pilot episode garnered enough votes to become a regular feature. It proved successful with the site's audience (who liked a bit of game humor), and has continued ever since.
Cutscenes are chosen based on several factors (and yes, they can be skippable). Terrible writing, poor pacing, and Cliche Storms are a plus, but even great cinematics can get the Unskippable treatment if the duo can think of enough silly things to say about them.
In 2009, Unskippable finally took on Hideo Kojima, the king of overwrought cutscenes, with Metal Gear August, a satirical look at Guns of the Patriots. As expected, the game was so cutscene-heavy that it took them 5 episodes to get through the cutscenes. And by "the cutscenes" we mean some of the cutscenes...in Act One...of five.
The episodes can be found here.
The snarkers in question, Graham Stark and Paul Sanders, are also the creators of Loading Ready Run. They have also experimented with a live Let's Play, found here. This morphed into a new series called Graham & Paul Let's Play, found here.
- Aerith and Bob: Noted in Magna Carta 2: "Schuenzeit, Rzephillda, and... Alex?"
- Arbitrary Skepticism: In their Damnation video:
"I don't think that shirt is historically accurate."
"And the robots are?"
"...formed by Count Alex and the lords of neighboring cities."
"Despite the name, Lords of Neighboring Cities is actually a solo artist, he and Alex used to be roommates, so they formed an army."
- All Men Are Perverts: Watching Bayonetta:
Paul: Are we allowed to keep watching this?
Graham: ...I hope so!
- Also during their Dark Messiah review.
- Paul hints at it with a comment about the girls' outfit in the Vanquish review.
- Artifact Title: they now mock skippable cutscenes, and even not-particularly-interactive first-person sequences. This is Lampshaded first in the Quantum of Solace episode, and then again in the Left 4 Dead episode.
- Bait and Switch - Venetica Part 2's Stinger;
"And so begins the adventure of an unlikely hero. But he got killed, so now we get to watch his girlfriend get clothes from the blacksmith."
- Big No - In their Red Faction: Guerilla video, when the brother dies
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Subverted. They doubted other countries would do much better against the demon invasion in Onimusha 3.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Lampshaded in the E3 2010 trailer of Tron Evolution: The Video Game.
- Continuity Nod: These are usually the same as their running gags. The Grandia III episode included a throwaway reference to a joke from their The Getaway episode.
- And again in the The Bouncer episode with a reference to their Dirge of Cerberus vid.
- And again in their Digital Devil Saga episode. This appears to be a trend.
- The Darkness spawned a running tally on the theme of "And that was the Nth time I died", for whenever the protagonist loses consciousness while in first person.
- It even popped up in the first [dead link] Let's Play of Mass Effect, done by fellow Escapist contributors, Shamus Young, Josh Viel, and Randy Johnson.
- And again in the The Bouncer episode with a reference to their Dirge of Cerberus vid.
And that was the seventh time I died.
I don't think we're allowed to use that joke.
- Many references to Samanosuke from Onimusha 3, and "That guy from Lost Odyssey". "Well hello there, Mister Resilient. Didn't he just get blown up? Twice?"
- And the shouting of "MATILDA!!!" when the planes took off in Haze, a nod to an emotional cutscene from Ace Combat 6.
- Flowers coming from "scenic Tenuto"
- A reference to the "Bernie" cutscene character from Lost Planet, which goes all the way back to the pilot episode (which some viewers might not have seen, because the pilot wasn't available among the regular episodes initially).
- When they did Jak II, they equate the Dark Jak transformation with a Werehog. When they actually do Sonic Unleashed, One of the lines used for Sonic's transformation scene is "I'm gonna kill Praxis!"
- Their riff of Grandia III' involved them mistaking a particularly Hot Shonen Mom for the main character's older sister. The very next video had them purposely going out of their way to avoid referring to the characters' relationships to avoid a repeat mistake.
- From their Battlefield: Bad Company episode: "And thus is the curse of the controllable vehicle section at the beginning of first-person shooters. The Darkness, Far Cry 2, Bad Company... you will never end one conscious."
- Several times now, if a crow (well, it was a raven once) shows up in the cutscene, they refer to him as "Russell," and even act as if this is the same bird throughout the various games.
- Dead Rising. "It's quiet." "Yes, almost strangely quiet..."
- Lost Odyssey: "Hey, I thought you said puddles don't make waves."
- Crazy Prepared: The bandits from the Fist of the North Star game, who evidently put up cages in ten foot increments across the entire desert.
- Credits Gag: Since most of the cutscenes that they lampoon are the intros, they get a lot of mileage out of this type of joke.
- Crossover with Zero Punctuation. Yahtzee joined them for Star Ocean, and in return Graham gave a brief X-Blades review as an opener for Yahtzee's Halo Wars video.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: in the Dirge of Cerberus video "This sure looks like it'd be fun to play."
- Dark Reprise: Graham gives the main Katamari Damacy theme one in Cabela's Survival: Shadows of Katmai
- Deadpan Snarker: Two of them. Plus a third in the episode where Yahtzee shows up.
- Diagonal Cut: In Genji. "Good to see this game's hitting on all the right cliches."
- Did Not Do the Research: In the review of The Getaway, Graham makes the throwaway comment: "In this film the part of being beaten up will be played by the oboe." The actual instrument playing in the cutscene is a bass clarinet. Still a good joke, though. (This is actually a paraphrase of a line from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Hellcats. "From now on, Steve's death will be represented by the oboe.")
- In the Sonic Unleashed riff, it's mentioned that the doctor's name was retconned to Eggman. However, it was in fact retconned to Robotnik with Eggman acting as a nickname.
- In Devil May Cry 4: "Strangely, nobody got impaled bodily by a dirty great sword. This must not be a real Devil May Cry game". Dante gets impaled in the very next cutscene.
- Except they only watched the first cutscene...
- Disturbed Doves: Commenting the wedding at the start of Final Fantasy XII must have had a John Woo fight scene in there.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Okay, not really an ensemble, but the guys declared the chicken in the opening of Fable III to be the "most compelling" character of any cut scene they watched.
- Fake-Out Opening: Done for their April Fools' Day 2010 episode. Instead of Final Fantasy XIII, they riff the opening cinematic and credits for Final Fantasy III (USA).
- "Faux To" Guide: Their 100th episode was about how to make more cutscenes like those they mock.
- Flat What: Their responses to the weird ending to the opening of Cursed Crusade.
- Franchise Zombie: "You get the impression Sonic Team really wants to be making other games, but they aren't allowed to, so they keep having to ram Sonic into the games they'd rather be making?"
- Freud Was Right: "That did not sound like dying."
- Fridge Logic: Invoked in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged video. "Were these guys briefed?" "Why would you arm your men with weapons you know won't hurt him?", etc.
- They also wonder where all the skeletons that make up Nito, First of the Dead came from if there wasn't anyone to die and make skeletons.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Thoroughly mocked in several episodes. In their Devil May Cry video, they actually took a moment to demonstrate this.
- Genre Savvy: They sorta have to be to spot all the clichés.
- Gilligan Cut: Double Subversion. In Jak II, they called one, it didn't happen, but another cut happened, and they were happy.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Their reaction when they realized that the same voice actress did the opening monologues for both Eternal Sonata and Ace Combat 6, and again, though with a different emotional response, when they realize "Commander 'Lightspeed' Kenny" is also in Red Faction: Guerilla.
- Homage: Noted in the video for Hunted: The Demon's Forge.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Graham took over Zero Punctuation on April Fools' Day 2009 (Yahtzee regains power less than two minutes in).
- Hot Mom: Miranda surprises them by being one in Grandia III.
- Ho Yay: Hooo boy, Dante vs. Nero. "Stop it, now I'm seeing symbolism in everything!"
- Hurricane of Puns: The Bionic Commando video. "All right, you guys might wanna settle in, we got a million of these."
- Incredibly Lame Pun: In the Arc Rise Fantasia video, the hero and a dragon are falling from the sky, and Paul says the game should be called "Arc FallFantasia". Graham imitated a shout, saying "Get off the stage!".
- Insistent Terminology: Like a fair portion of the old-school Sonic fans. From the Bayonetta review: "It's Robotnik!"
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Civil War Ninjas in Damnation.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: In a different sense than the usual one. Early in The Darkness, the protagonist receives an unloaded shotgun. Which he then spends several minutes slowly, carefully loading in the middle of a heated car chase. This is thoroughly mocked.
- Made of Iron: That chicken at the start of Fable 3. Hoo boy. However...
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Eventually its luck runs out.
- Memetic Badass: They think the dog in Dead to Rights is way more badass than his owner and suggest that to underscore this there should have been a scene of the dog lapping up whiskey out of a bowl.
- Moral Dissonance: Lampshaded In-Universe with Genji: Days of the Blade, when they note the good guys were apparently trying to commit genocide.
- MSTing: The whole point of the series. Directly parodied in their Wolverine review:
Narrator: In the not-too-distant future...
Graham and Paul (singing): Next Sunday, AD...
- And becomes a brick joke in their Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots review:
Openning Text: In the not-too-distant future...
Graham (singing): In the not-too-distant future...
Paul: We've already done this joke.
Graham: Well it's not my fault it starts the same way as Wolverine!
- Mundane Made Awesome: "FRANK WEST, ACTION PHOTOGRAPHER"
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mocked in the Prototype episode. "Gent- *sigh* ...Has anything good ever come out of a company called Gentek?" "No. Not once."
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: (From Damnation) "What, mechs and Lincoln?! Fingers crossed for Mecha Lincoln!" And later, Zombie General Mecha Grant.
- No, You: From Digital Devil Saga.
Graham: That's a terrible strategy.
Paul: YOU'RE a terrible strategy.
We know he's a Sith, but just to make sure, let's make him look like Satan.
- Reference Overdosed
- Running Gag: The line from The Darkness, "And that was the first time I died."
- Also from Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerebrus: "I've got my eye on you, moon."
- Today's soundtrack brought to you by Eyebrows And The Thugs.
- This is Three Dog, Aooooo!
- "Hey X, you're a Y." "So are you. Shut up."
- " That's the second [adjective]iest [noun] that I've ever seen!"
- The frequent appearance of a crow named Russell to talk to the audience whilst he eats dead bodies.
"You know, I never noticed how many crows there are in cutscenes."
- The best part about this one is that, according to Word of God, the pun in Russell's name was unintentional.
- "(I) blame the taint." referencing the ridiculous name for the forces of evil from the Two Worlds intro cutscene
- "Traffic chopper nine, we have serious [event] here" whenever a helicopter appears.
- Evil porpoises.
- Say My Name: Thoroughly mocked in the Devil May Cry 4 video.
Game: "She's a spy!"
"She's a shepherd."
- And in the Dark Sector episode Six String Samura
- In the Valkyria Chronicles episode:
Alicia: Flowers, bugs and fish.
Graham and Paul: Oh my.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: Played with in Radiata Stories, but also in Genji: Days of the Blade: "Oh, there's an actually flute in the scene. I thought that's just what Japan sounded like at night."
- Space Western: When seeing a duster-and-fedora-clad man pull out pistols in the trailer/opening cutscene of Star Wars: The Old Republic, they remark that Star Wars was always a Space Western, but they'd never seen it have a space cowboy before.
- Space X: If a spaceship was full of slaves, they should be rowing with space oars.
- Special Guest: Ladies and Gentlemen, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, of Zero Punctuation. One of them returned the favor.
- Steampunk: "Oh man, I wish steam power was this cool."
- Sticks to the Back: Mocked in the Two Worlds episode.
- Stock Scream: Lampshaded in the intro of Red Faction: Guerilla.
- Also in the Bionic Commando intro, when there is a particularly out-of-place Wilhelm scream.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: When a woman in the Vampire Rain intro feels like she's being followed on a brightly lit street, she ducks into a dark alley. The crew comments that in horror movies, this is clasified as a suicide.
- They Fight Crime: The protagonist setup in Onimusha 3.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: "Huh, I guess arrows are for sissies, real men throw swords."
- Translation Convention: "Why is it that everyone was speaking English in feudal Japan, but now in modern day France they're speaking French?"
- Unnecessarily Large Interior: Really called on Vanquish for having this on a space station.
- Unskippable Cutscene: Sort of.
- In the Quantum of Solace video, Graham suddenly realizes that there's a Press A To Skip prompt in the corner and seemed embarrassed.
- Likewise, in their review for Left 4 Dead, both are taken by surprise at the ability to skip the cutscene that they scramble looking for the controller, only to find it has run down its batteries, forcing them to continue to watch.
- For their Let's Play of Legaia 2 Graham noted that he was pressing every button he could to try and skip the opening.
- Unstoppable Rage: Wolverine Uncaged - "Good lord man, do you have a stabbing quota?"
- Wall of Text: Zoids Assault. "Did you load a book into the 360?"
- Weird Moon: A Running Gag is that the moon in (especially JRPG) cutscenes is "so big that if real, the Earth would long ago have been torn apart by tidal forces". Seeing a big moon in a non-JRPG game sometimes causes them to quip "Is this set in Japan?"
- What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?: Jak II shows content they say makes parents regret buying this cartoony game.
- X Called. They Want Their Y Back.: "Todd McFarlane called. Spawn wants his cape back." to Vincent's cape in Dirge of Cerberus.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Made fun of in the Two Worlds episode.
- Your Mom: courtesy of Yahtzee:
Oh yeah? Well I think I gave his mum a "small straight" last night. AND SHE LOVED IT.
- In the Viking video, Paul does this to himself:
Narrator: What was once green and fertile was now soured and barren.
Paul: Hey! Leave my mom out of this!