Top 10: Game Grumps One-Offs (Jon Era)

Game Grumps Jon Era One-offs

If you are already familiar with Game Grumps or just want to skip straight to the list then click here, otherwise read on and enjoy!

Game Grumps is an American Let’s Play channel which was established back on July 18th 2012 by co-hosts and co-founders Arin Hanson (also known as Egoraptor) and Jon Jafari (also known as JonTron). Arin had already built up a considerable fanbase prior to Game Grumps due to his animations which were posted to Newgrounds and his personal YouTube Channel and when Jon came to his attention following his video DinoCity BRO!!! (which features his first attempt to sing Firework by Katy Perry, which I eventually reviewed) and that videos subsequent posting to Reddit they became friends and eventually decided to collaborate.

The actual concept for Game Grumps as well as the name of the show and the roles of ‘Grump’ and ‘Not So Grump’ they play on it were inspired by an incident where Jon and Arin were playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and arguing over whether the character Wolf was a clone of Fox, because their fighting styles were too similar. A friend of theirs told them they have a tendency to get a little ‘grumpy’ with one another while playing games, and said that they should make a show where they should talk it out, Arin concieved of a podcast called Game Grumps, the idea for which eventually evolved into the show as we know it. As mentioned above Arin and Jon play specific roles on the show, with Arin playing the role of ‘Grump’ and Jon playing the role of ‘Not So Grump’. Together the pair hosted the channel, with vital behind the scenes support from their editor Barry Kramer (also known as razzadoop) until Jon left on June 25th 2013 to focus on his own personal channel.

Speaking of which, if you are a fan of JonTron, you can check out a Top 10 list I did for his best episodes by clicking here

Following Jon’s departure from the show he was replaced by Dan Avidan (also known as Danny Sexbang) the lead vocalist of the comedy musical duo, Ninja Sex Party, who took over his role as ‘Not So Grump’. Interestingly enough, Dan joining the channel had already been in the works prior to Jon leaving, as he was set to be the co-host of another series scheduled to appear on the Game Grumps channel called Steam Train, which would feature himself alongside Animator and voice actor Ross O’Donovan (also known as RubberRoss, RubberNinja or CondomRoss) where they would both play PC games (as opposed to console games, which were more common on Game Grumps at the time) many of which were available on Valve’s Steam platform (for which the show was named) in a similar format to the original Game Grumps set up. However due to the sudden nature of Jon’s withdrawal from the show, and also because Arin had apparently said previously that Dan would have always been his second choice for a co-host for Game Grumps if Jon were unavailable he ended up taking the co-host role on both shows.

Another interesting detail regarding Dan joining the channel was that his first appearance on Game Grumps in the video(s) Ode to Jon / Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!: Around the World – PART 1 went up the same day as his first appearance on Steam Train in the video Hotline Miami: Who’s Calling? – PART 1 (which was actually recorded several months prior) with both being uploaded to the Game Grumps channel on June 25th 2013. The addition of Steam Train to the channel added an extra video, making up a total of three per day. Ross and Dan co-hosted the show together, and on July 9th 2013 Arin was introduced on the show during their playthrough of Civilization V: Brave New World to act as another co-host as Dan was increasingly busy with both his Game Grumps schedule, and working on Ninja Sex Party and Starbomb (whose first album was released on December 17th 2013). 

Barry Kramer was later debuted as another co-host during the February 14th 2014 Steam Train episode, rebranded as Single Train for Valentine’s Day, as both Dan and Arin, the hosts for that episode were single at the time. On June 25th 2014, the first anniversary of Steam Train, they revamped things with a brand new intro sequence, starting with the video King’s Quest VI: The Land of the Green Isles – PART 1, the new sequence now featured Barry and Suzy Berhow (also known as Mortem3r) who herself would debut as a potential host on the episode, Mount Your Friends

Speaking of which Suzy is also the host of her own Let’s Play channel called KittyKatGaming and I’ve done some Top 10s for her channel as well which you can check out by clicking here and here.

The expansion of Steam Train beyond just Dan and Ross created a sub-series called Steam Rolled, which launched on August 23rd 2013 and involves a combination of any four players playing a variety of co-op or Versus games. Steam Train as a whole lasted from June 25th 2013 until December 30th 2016 when the last official episode was posted. The show ended (or at least went into an extended hiatus) because Ross was taking a less active role in Game Grumps in general to focus on his art and animation career and because the main Game Grumps channel had started featuring gameplay from Steam thus making Steam Train unnecessary. 

Just before we move on from Steam Train I’ve done Top 10s for the series and you can check them out here and here.

Steam Train was not the only series added to Game Grumps, on December 14th 2013 they introduced a new show called Table Flip which was produced by Polaris (a multi-channel network based on YouTube) and was hosted by Barry and Suzy, and instead of PC or Console games, focused on traditional board and card games, and utilising costumes and set pieces to give an old fashioned feel. Each episode of Table Flip featured various additional guests, such as other members of The Grumps such as Arin, Danny or Ross as well as other YouTubers such as Markiplier, Jirard The Completionist and Ashly Burch (speaking of which, I did a Top 10 list for Ashly’s show Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’? Which you can check out here). Table Flip ran until October 12th 2016 when the show was wrapped up due to Game Grumps separating from Polaris, who co-owned the show, this meant of course that they were unable to make any new episodes.

Grumpcade was another new show added to the channel, it debuted on January 14th 2015 and involved any combination of two to four of the Game Grumps hosting an episode, alongside special guests. It was the addition of these guests that meant in some ways Grumpcade was a more unofficial, relaxed version of Guest Grumps, a sub-series of the main channel where Arin and Dan (originally Jon) would invite a guest to play alongside them. But returning to Grumpcade, they focused on playing a variety of console games, in whatever configuration worked best for the recording. Functionally in terms of set up it is similar to that of Game Grumps (particularly Guest Grumps) or Steam Train (and Steam Rolled) but deviates because of the lack of fixed hosts. Notable guests on Grumpcade include Octopimp, Matt and Woolie of Super Best Friends, Oney, Jacksepticeye, Ding Dong and Comic Book Girl 19 just to name a few. Grumpcade lasted until January 6th 2018 when the last video was posted, since then it has either officially been wrapped up alongside the middle time slot it used to be posted on, or is at the very least on an extended hiatus. 

Shortly after Grumpcade first started, Game Grumps announced another project. In this case a whole new channel called ‘Grump Out’ with the first video Game Grumps Eat GROSS BEANS being released on February 20th 2015. This new channel allowed them to post a variety of content including live action comedy which did not fit on the main Game Grumps channel. The channel did not have a set schedule for post, instead content went up only when there was content to post. The main run of the channel went right up until November 28th 2018 when the last video Dream Daddy – Teaser Trailer went up (speaking of which I’ve reviewed Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator and you can check that out here) after which the channel went into hiatus. This pause continued until October 7th 2020 when they released the video TAKE THIS Egg Emperor!, this video also marked a shift in the type of content posted on the channel, which is now focused on smaller clips and compilations designed to promote the main channel. 

The live action comedy that was a vital part of the early Grump Out channel, was succeeded in spirit by a new series on the main channel called 10 Minute Power Hour. This series consists of face-cam live footage of Arin and Dan (and occasionally a guest) as they perform a variety of prompts or challenges. The first episode of the 10 Minute Power Hour, Grown Men Playing w/ Legos was released on April 3rd 2018. The channel released weekly from that point on a Monday right up until July 22nd 2019 with the video Pancakemon Art, after which from July 29th 2019 with the video Making art with Lite Brite is impossible the series was moved to a brand new channel called ‘The Grumps’ and has continued to be posted there ever since. Although as of the 22nd June 2020 the series is taking a temporary hiatus due to the Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour with Arin and Dan aiming to continue the series once it is safe to do so.

Speaking of which The Grumps, their newest channel debuted on July 26th 2019 and was created much as Grump Out before it as a place for content which was different from Game Grumps, such as live action comedy, which was why once the channel started 10 Minute Power Hour was moved to it. In addition to that series, they also have ‘Good Content’ which was for the first fifteen episodes untitled, and it featured a variety of content including The Grumps answering fan questions. However as of the episode Good Content HIATUS and upcoming special episodes?! which aired on January 30th 2020 the show is on an indefinite hiatus.

That pretty much brings us up to now, and I hope after having read all that you feel like you know a little bit more about Game Grumps. Now let’s move on to the Top 10 list which you can check out below.

The Actual List:

1. Mary-Kate & Ashley: Sweet 16 – Licensed to Drive

Despite re-working this list several times since I first posted it, this episode has remained pretty consistently at the top. It’s easily my favourite episode from Jon era Game Grumps and ranks pretty highly in terms of my favourite Game Grumps episodes of all time. I think what has kept this video as such an enduring classic is that it’s just hilarious, which is all the more impressive because the actual gameplay is fairly simple and kind of boring, and yet Arin and Jon really make something of it. Memorable highlights include Arin explaining the origins of ‘Wumbo’ from the animated children’s TV show, Spongebob Squarepants to their massively over the top impressions of Mary-Kate and Ashley, including the infamous line “SO WE CAN KAYAK DOWN IT!!” Which never fails to make me laugh. Honestly though this whole episode just makes me laugh. Also an interesting fact about this game, it was not well received and in a letter from Martin Singer, the attorney for the twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) to Acclaim, the company which made this game, he stated that they had “taken the franchise of the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand in video games which had flourished and has now run it into the ground.”

2. Chuck E. Cheese’s Party Games

Is another episode which has made it on to multiple iterations of this list, and that’s all the more impressive because of how early in the show’s history this episode was. I think in fact it was the show’s second one-off, and as such they are still developing the show and working on their dynamic as hosts but you can tell even at point they are becoming less nervous and are settling into being the Grumps. Weirdly enough this wasn’t the only time a Chuck E. Cheese game was played on Game Grumps, although the next time was with Dan. This was a really enjoyable episode, a particular highlight being Arin sharing a story from his childhood about how Chuck E. Cheese, the anthropomorphic rat mascot of the Chuck E. Cheese chain of family entertainment centers, took one of his skee-balls, tried to make a shot and missed then just walked off without saying anything.

3. GoldenEye 007

I have such massive nostalgia feels for this game, but that’s not why I like this playthrough. That being said, it sure does talk about genocide a whole lot for an otherwise entertaining video. It does however, despite some sensitive subject matter work really well, and it feels into the whole stream of consciousness/two friends playing games dynamic that make Game Grumps so popular. A personal highlight of this playthrough was Arin’s rant about how terrible the game really is, which I feel firmly cemented him early on as the official ‘Grump’ of the duo. Game Grumps ended up playing this game again several years later during Dan’s era, in an episode of Guest Grumps (which featured Paul F. Tompkins a.k.a Mr. Peanutbutter from Bojack Horseman and the talented Tim Baltz, co-creator of Shrink) making it another in a small selection of games to cross between Jon and Dan’s tenure on the show.

4. Battletoads

I usually watch the Game Grumps for nice, chill background noise or when I need a good laugh, but sometimes it’s good to just enjoy a bit of complaining and negativity and this playthrough has that, as Arin and Jon both voiced their displeasure at the game, in particular it’s notorious difficulty. Other highlights include the first mention of Barry Kramer (as their editor) and also Jon opera singing towards the end of the video.

5. Drakkhen

Is not only a strong favourite of mine but also is considered a strong fan favourite as well, so much so that a project was formed to animate the episode in its entirety, and you can check that out here. I think what I liked about this episode was that it was just silly, the Grumps, unable to understand the text due to it being in Japanese just had fun and made up their own plot.

6. Super Mario Land

So this episode demonstrates, in my opinion, one of the things I love about Game Grumps, namely that despite being a Let’s play channel with a focus on gaming, that the gameplay itself is often surplus to requirement. I mean much like with this game, they can make little or even no progress and yet can still make something engaging and that’s entirely to do with the dynamic between the hosts. In this episode Jon tries to speed run the game but doesn’t make a whole lot of progress because he’s too busy goofing off then right at the end in a similar fashion to Arin in Battle Kid he accidentally resets the game.

7. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

I remember this game so vividly from when I was a kid, I do not recall completing it but I do have fond memories of it nonetheless. That being said, no amount of fond memories can make up for the flaws in this game, and it’s those flaws that Game Grumps come up against during this playthrough. I mean it’s not terrible, but there’s also a reason why Arin ‘killed’ himself in this video and it’s not because he liked the game, although he’s just makes a habit of that because if I remember correctly he also ‘killed’ himself in the episode, Play with the Teletubbies.

8. A Bug’s Life

I really enjoyed the Movie of the same name, it’s easily one of my favourite Pixar movies. I also really enjoyed this game when I played it myself. It’s only my second favourite game based on the lives of bugs though. The number one slot is taken by Bugdom, a 1999 platformer which alongside Nanosaur came pre-installed on all of the iMac’s (or iMac G3’s) at my primary school and I spent a lot of my free time playing. Anyway, moving on from pimping out a 20 year old game and getting back to Game Grumps, this playthrough is another fun one, Arin and Jon had a discussion about gravity, and end the episode unable to agree on who is correct. Interestingly, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the whole gravity thing, but this was the last episode Jon filmed before leaving the show. 

9. Spice World

Much like the chemistry between the hosts, a vital part of the best Game Grumps episodes is the absolute confusion and incredulousness that some games can inspire. Spice World is such a game, it’s one of those where the gameplay is so terrible, convoluted and/or boring that the Grumps end up just making their own fun. Arin and Jon genuinely make a valiant effort to play this game, for example when they first enter the ‘mixing room’ they make the fairly natural assumption that they are supposed to assemble one of the Spice Girls songs using the mechanics available and they really do their best but alas they were unsuccessful and ended up having to read the manual to have any idea what to do. Overall this game was so bad that Arin ‘killed’ Jon at the end of the episode, presumably because he was too beautiful to live in a world where this game exists. 

10. The Jungle Book

Is the episode that originates the term ‘One-Off’ in the Game Grumps vernacular, but it doesn’t earn its spot just because of that dubious honour, it earns a place by being a fun playthrough of a game that I played when I was a kid and one which has a healthy dose of that negativity that made the Battletoads playthrough enjoyable to watch. 

Honourable mentions go to Dead Space 3, Crayon Shin-Chan and Plok which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the list. 

So that was my Top 10 favourite Game Grumps One-offs during the Jon era of the channel and if you want to check them out for yourself and maybe find some favourites of you own then head on over to YouTube and check out the main channel, Game Grumps, their new channel, The Grumps and their misfit channel for random things, Grump Out.

Make sure and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates from Game Grumps. You can also check out more from JonTron on his personal YouTube channel and you can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Also if you’re in the mood for Game Grumps but have no idea what to watch then use this neat little site, RandomGrump, which you can use to find a completely random episode or series from the backlog of Grumps content.

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