Who is Rerez?

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By Chris Penwell on July 6th, 2021

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Somewhere in Ontario, Canada, Shane Luis (Rerez) plays the absolute worst video games and consoles known to man for the sake of our entertainment. With the Just Bad Games series, he dives into titles like the horrific Ride To Hell: Retribution and badly designed Balan Wonderworld. He gives us impressively detailed breakdowns of these terrible games at least once a month. He does also treat himself to some of the best to remind him of how great gaming can be with the opposite The Best Ever series, which has recently included Sonic Generations and The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker.

“With the Just Bad Games series, it’s not wholly one to one being super negative just to be negative, it’s supposed to be a little bit entertaining.; it’s not supposed to be attacking the creators of the games because that’s not really what we do.,” said Luis. “We don’t bring up individuals or making videos and stuff like that, it’s really just making fun of the game as it is.”

It’s an exploration into games that people previously disliked and haven’t bothered to go through a whole playthrough of. He breaks them down in an intricate detail, and then for the audience, it’s an journey into game elements that according to Luis, he “never thought [he’d] understand before.”

Part of what makes the channel work is the superb writing on Rerez. The referential jokes mixed with the witty criticisms make for an entertaining show that over 290,000 subscribers keep coming back to time and time again. Luis digs deep into the content and explains both the pros and the cons of the product he is reviewing. While he takes these intrepid adventures into these doomed games, he often finds something peculiar or intriguing in the game itself. He calls these instances the “Jodie Foster moment.” To give you the short man’s version, these moments are discoveries that no one has ever seen before or haven’t been reported on a Wiki. Luis’ reasoning is that the games are so bad that players don’t even realize these small oddities.

The first instance of the Jodie Foster moment they were aware of is in a game called Gundam 0079: The War for Earth. It is an old FMV point and click adventure that released on PC, Apple Pippin, and PlayStation (which was Japan-exclusive) in the ’80s. Rerez and Tristan from Glass Reflection delved into this poorly made full motion video title. The game was overall rushed with okay graphics and plagued with game design. However, what was curious about this game was when the main character goes into a garage with a security camera looking on. On the side of the screen, there is a quickly scrolling message that says, “Look at that guy running. He looks like he’s Jodie Foster on crack.” The game also says that it hopes it doesn’t read the message. In a mech-based futuristic setting, this came across as an odd addition to the game.

“We were like, ‘What, that can’t be real!?’ so I analyzed it, matched the font, cleaned it up, and we have it at the end of the video.” Luis said. Another example Rerez has encountered was in Batman & Robin on the PS1. The game is incredibly difficult, and Rerez found a secret room that had the developers bound and screaming in agony as if The Joker has them as prisoners. “It’s like they knew it’s like they know what the developers know what’s going on as they’re developing things,” Luis said. But it gets weirder. After finding a key in this area, you’ll be able to unlock a gate that lets you into the Batcave. In true George Clooney Batman-era style, the location has two disco rooms (one recharges your health) and a computer that lets you play a Galaga-like game.

“The Jodie Foster moments are so important because they can change the way one of our videos is looked upon; we can promise you if you watch our video, there’s going to be something you’ve never seen before and it’s only going to be in one of our episodes,” Luis said.

With his film and TV education from Sheridan College, Rerez creates highly produced videos about the world of gaming. The cinematography and the editing style is what makes him stand out among a sheer amount of YouTubers covering the gaming industry.

“I like learning about analog film, I like learning about editing techniques and presentation, and that kind of stuff, and it gave me an understanding for how to present ideas,” Luis said. “A lot of what I learned in college kind of instructed me on what I should be doing with Rerez as a show, trying to figure out what what what would work for, for a specific audience, what people would like to see.” He doesn’t think he would be as successful as he is now without the people he met at Sheridan.

With every video he does, he makes sure that the visuals are in 4K and run at 60 frames per second, the camera lenses they’re using for that particular video is correct, and that the microphone is clear. The editing techniques also helps viewers stay engaged with some exciting transitions, cuts, and callbacks to prior jokes from the episode. “All that stuff is important to me,” Luis said.

Despite all this dedication to his craft, he knows that the actual content itself is the most important aspect. Rerez delivers that too. One of his best series is his coverage of the Soulja Boy game consoles that are both horrible to use and are extremely illegal. The red and blue lighting creates a manic atmosphere as he gradually begins to lose his cool on these awful systems. His research is in-depth and it’s hilarious as he ridicules the systems for what they are as they poorly run even the most basic titles like Sonic the Hedgehog.

With every bootleg system he reviews, he plays each and every game to give the viewers an accurate review. Rerez started to take off in 2013 when he began the Worst Ever Console series with the Wireless 60, a bootleg Wii console that was picked up in a store by a friend. The friend said if Luis covered it, no one would care. Now, it’s one of his most viewed videos and began an unintentional series of videos that Rerez is known for to this day. Luis absolutely hated working on the video as the production was “gut wrenching” to him. On top of the lighting issues, the system itself wasn’t compatible with his capture card.

“It sends an electric signal out through the AV cord, which actually breaks the video recording capture device that I used,” Luis said. “So I didn’t think to just play every game individually, then stop recording go to the next game.” He had record the whole process of playing 60 games three times each in one go as his capture device failed to record the footage. It wore him down a lot during the production process, but his efforts were rewarded as the video has received over 2.3 million views at the time of writing.

These bootleg systems, due to their unsavoury manufacturing makes it hard for Rerez to make videos based on them, but each one has been successful for the channel. Luis had no idea that people would care so much about these systems, and with that niche carved for himself, his channel grew exponentially. The difficulty of playing these awful games and the grueling task of capturing them is part of what makes Rerez work in Luis’ mind. “That’s really the heart of the show,” Luis said. “It’s not just playing two seconds of the game and throwing it away.” He’s even beaten these bootleg games to 100% just because he needed to see what happens at the end.

“Sometimes you find something worthwhile, more often than not, you don’t,” Luis said. “But it’s a part of that experience so that you can really explain what’s going wrong with these games and why they are the way they are.”

You can find Rerez on their YouTube channel. He uploads highly produced videos every two weeks about modern and classic games. He is known for his “Worst Ever” and “Just Bad Games” series that you will likely get a laugh from. You’ll also learn some things you wouldn’t otherwise discover about these awful titles in an engaging and highly analytical context. For first time viewers, he recommends the Just Bad Games videos on Batman & Robin and Batman: Dark Tomorrow. “Those two games we put a lot of effort into, and we found a lot about them that we think was otherwise avoided when they were originally shown or talked about,” Luis said. He says that they have a lot of fun rewatching those episodes. For the Worst Ever series, he also thinks you should watch the Hyper Scan episode that is focused on a failed card-based system from toy company Mattel.

The British “Canadian” Chris Penwell has been a video game journalist since 2013 and now has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University. He loves to play JRPGs and games with a narrative. You can check out his podcasts Active Quest every Tuesday and Go Beyond: A My Hero Academia Podcast on Wednesdays.

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