In our Change The Channel series, we explore the history of video games that are based on TV shows, one game at a time. This week, Shaun Eddleston takes a look at 2007’s Jackass The Game for the PlayStation 2…
The early 2000s saw the debut of a completely insane phenomenon on MTV. One that featured childishly hilarious pranks, death defying stunts and a catchphrase that would be forever emblazoned into modern pop culture; “Hi, I’m Johnny Knoxville and welcome to Jackass!”.
On paper, Jackass shouldn’t have been as successful as it was, but was a mindblowing new experience for impressionable young minds such as mine at the time. A low-budget compilation series starring a motley crew of professional skateboarders and daredevils, performing stunts that ranged from testing self defense weapons on themselves, (unsuccessfully) jumping across the LA river on rollerskates and attempting the 50 egg challenge, to getting their buttcheeks pierced together, having Jai Alai players hurl fruit at them and making the world’s most disgusting omelette. It spawned three movies, an acting career for Johnny Knoxville and various spinoff TV shows for the rest of the crew.
It also received a video game, which is where part five of our Change The Channel series comes in. Jackass The Game was released for PlayStation 2 and PSP in 2007 (with a Nintendo DS version arriving in 2008).
Jackass The Game sees players take on the role of the director of a new Jackass series, after Jeff Tremaine has been sidelined with, according to Johnny Knoxville, a serious “vagina sprain”. Across seven episodes, which respectively contains 5 unique stunts, players must take on simple minigames that range from extreme unicycling to elephant poo dives.
Each minigame stays true to the nature of the TV show, comprising of a short, wildy dangerous/disgusting stunt that is easy to pick up. While the game is played at a much slower pace than a WarioWare game, the controls are simple for each stunt, requiring only a couple of buttons at a time.
Highlights here include one stunt that has you wrapped up in a snowball while you race down a hill, collecting as much people and junk as you can in order to make the snowball bigger (much like you would in a Katamari game). Urban Wakeboarding is also pretty hilarious as well, as is racing across rooftops on pogo sticks.
Completing challenges also enables players to unlock a substantial number of extras to use in the game, such as new characters, new costumes and some behind-the-scenes clips to watch in Theater mode. The only drawback to this is the fact that having to replay the minigames over and over again to gain enough in-game cash for these unlockables gets pretty tedious very quickly.
The inclusion of almost the entire Jackass cast (sans Bam Margera, due to contractual commitments with Activision at the time) is also a positive for the game. Having anyone else be the voice of Johnny Knoxville would have spelled immediate disaster for the game, so it’s a massive relief to hear the show’s slogan in an authentic manner. The graphics for each of the characters isn’t awful either, but when mixed with some poor level design, the flaws really do start to become an issue that players simply can’t ignore.
For the PSP version of the game, there’s an exclusive mode that gives players access to a show editor where you can load multiple replay and put together an episode, and you can upload these shows and individual replays online for others to see (or download other players’ creations). These features make the PlayStation 2 version feel both inferior and incomplete.
Overall, Jackass The Game makes an admirable attempt at trying to recreate the madness of the TV show, with some impressive voiceover work from the cast, and plenty of unlockable extras to discover. The graphics are a ridiculously mixed bag though, with some of the minigames looking pretty great for the console, while others look like hot garbage. Initially, the minigames throughout Jackass The Game are quite funny to play, but upon a second playthrough, you’ll find that there is absolutely zero replayability factor.
If you’re a die hard fan of Jackass, then the game is well worth a look, but still only enjoyable in small doses.
Were you a fan of the Jackass game? What’s your favourite Jackass skit from the TV show and movies? Let us know in the comments, or send a tweet our way!