Freeman's Mind

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Freeman’s Mind is an internet comedy series created by Ross Scott and featured on Machinima. The episodes, which are usually five to ten minutes long, consist of nothing but Scott talking to himself as he plays through Valve’s Half Life: Source. This episodic rape of comedy features all the staples of Machinima’s most popular material, including (but not limited to) a weak concept, shoddy voice acting, poorly written scripts, and a general lack of lulz. Naturally, the show has gained huge popularity and has many loyal fans, and the first episode has almost two million views on YouTube alone.

The Freeman's Mind title card, an unholy harbinger of anti-lulz.

The Show

The episodes of Freeman’s Mind try to put the viewer inside the head of Half Life’s silent protagonist, Gordon Freeman, as he witnesses the destruction of the underground Black Mesa lab and is forced to shoot his way back to the surface. Scott narrates the entire game as Freeman, employing stream of consciousness to illustrate the supposedly amusing thoughts of Freeman as he progresses through the game. Essentially, the show boils down to watching someone else play a video game, which at a first glance sounds boring, until you realize that you have to watch someone else play a video game AND talk constantly and annoyingly about random shit, which borders on torturous.

Scott’s previous work is technically considered Machinima, which means, while it is still terrible, at least it requires enough know-how to program the movements of characters in-game, record them at a high quality, and edit them. Since Freeman’s Mind is nothing more than a glorified walkthough of Half Life with terrible jokes, the only technical knowledge required to make Freeman’s Mind is finding the “record” button on FRAPS and enough skill to beat the game.

Despite the fact that she show has been in production for over two years, and requires virtually NO effort to put together, it has progressed at a pace that can only be defined as staggeringly slow. On his blog, he frequently rambles on about shit nobody cares about, offering excuses for the constant delays to appease his rabidly impatient fans. These usually entail saying something like "I'm moving for the second time this fucking week, episode pushed back another month. With every blogpost he makes, he adds in "My graphics card got cummed on, so the episode is delayed for another 9 years," or, when he tries to spice things up, he goes for something like: "I had to move house for a gay club nearby, so the episode is delayed for 15 years."

Freeman’s Mind is certainly a daring concept, as the only source of entertainment for the entire show is just one person thinking out loud for ten minutes. To pull off such a concept, you would have to find a very talented writer and a very charismatic narrator. Tragically, we end up instead with Ross Scott; ergo, we are dead before we start.

The episodes consist of nothing more than Scott playing through Half Life: Source while wearing a microphone and saying random and unfunny shit no one cares about. He frequently veers off on wild tangents that go nowhere at all, and takes several minutes to set up terrible punchlines with no payoff. The early episodes, which follow Freeman through the first part of the game-his arrival at the Black Mesa lab and the accident in the test chamber-are at least tolerable in small doses, especially when compared with the later episodes. This has nothing to do with Scott’s talents as a writer or narrator, but because shit actually happens in the first ten minutes of the game; people talk to you, aliens invade, etc. From episode 5 onward, the game consists of Freeman aimlessly wandering through long hallways and air vents, not doing a damn thing or interacting with anybody. Thus, viewers have only Scott’s comedic genius to entertain them, which is why the show is and forever will be an infinite vacuum of anti-lulz.


It is almost impossible to ascertain the reception of the show by its YouTube comments, because nearly every single comment is nothing but a desperate plea by lonely, obsessed fanboys to Scott demanding the next episode to be finished (incidentally, this is yet another cherished staple of Machinima’s content, which means they really hit for the fucking cycle on this one). The only other comments on the video are occasional reminders by YouTubers to the show’s rabid fans that Scott does have a life outside of his videos, or at least as close to a life as a professional Machinima creator can have.

You thought it couldn’t get worse

Similar to the Angry Video Game Nerd and the 1980 film Airplane!, any minor or short-lived comedic value Freeman’s Mind does offer is negated tenfold by the number of obscenely unfunny ripoffs it inspires. Among the foremost of such ripoffs is Barney’s Mind, which is the same concept only applied to Half Life: Blue Shift, which follows a Black Mesa minimum-wage lackey named Barney Calhoun. This show makes Freeman’s Mind look like fucking artwork expertly crafted by the hands of a demigod. In addition, YouTube series’ applying Ross’ broken concept to other games have popped up like unfunny weeds in the garden of lulz, for the games Half Life 2 (Gordon’s Mind), Half Life: Opposing Force (Shephard’s Mind), Left 4 Dead (Francis Mind, and no, that’s him misspelling it, not us), Red Faction (Parker’s Mind), F.E.A.R. 2 (Bucket’s Mind), Fallout 3 (Jones’ Mind), The-quality-is-so-fucking-horrible-I-can’t-even-tell-what-game-it-is (Vortigaunt’s Mind), Half Life: Source again (Alan’s Mind), Hitman (Hitman's Mind), Half Life: Uplink (Rookie’s Mind), Half Life 2: Episode 1 (Felix’s Mind, don’t even ask who Felix is), Zoo Tycoon 2 (Keeper’s Mind), and the Half Life 2 mod The Citizen (Jimmy’s Mod). I shit you not, these series all exist, and there are more popping up every day. Even worse, these shows are all created by different people, which means the virus is spreading faster than authorities can contain it. Pregnant women are advised not to watch any of these shows, unless they want their babies to be born as lulzless, humor-deprived losers.

The fatal flaw with all of these shows, aside from the entertainment-free dead zones that are the creators themselves, are the scripts. Specifically, the lack thereof. People attempting to cash in on Russ Scott’s success forget that his scripts, while unfunny and poorly constructed, are in fact scripts. The dialogue in all of these ripoff shows consists of people thinking out loud and talking off the cuff as they play through the game, saying things like “Hey, what’s this?” and “Where do I go now?” ad fucking nauseum. Not only do these people seem to forget that they are supposed to pretend to be the game’s protagonist instead of speaking as a friendless loser playing through the game in real life, they seem to frequently forget that they are even wearing a mic, often pausing for minutes on end, coughing, or flat-out leaving the room to eat or masturbate.

Effects on gaming

These YouTube shows, unholy cataclysms of death out of which nothing lulzy can be salvaged, have destroyed the legacies of many legendary video games, particularly the Half Life series. It seems the only recently popular game spared from this mockery is Modern Warfare 2, which is a damn shame since the game takes about 20 minutes to beat and the unfunnyness would be contained to only two episodes. This means YouTube has not yet been treated to Alan’s Mind, where Private First Class Joseph Allen rambles on and on about meaningless shit while casually gunning down hundreds of fleeing Russian civilians, which is probably the only way this horrible, overused, and stale concept could ever be remotely funny.

Related/Decidedly Unfunny Links

See also

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