South Park's Homages To Gaming

by Dan Ryckert on Dec 07, 2011 at 05:15 AM

No high-profile series on television spoofs (and pays tribute to) the gaming industry quite as much as South Park. Take a look at some of the most memorable gaming references seen on the show.

Note: Click the episode titles to watch the full episode at southparkstudios.com. Obviously, these all include adult content.

Episode: “Chinpoko Mon
Air Date: November 3, 1999

This early episode was one of the first to feature numerous video game references. When a new fad sweeps through South Park, every kid in school becomes obsessed with the obvious parody of Pokemon. It seems innocent enough, until all the dolls and video games are revealed to be a Japanese plot to get American kids to turn against their country and bomb Pearl Harbor.

Episode: “Towelie
Air date: August 8, 2001

While this episode is is most notorious for introducing everyone’s favorite pot-smoking towel, its story revolves around the kids’ pursuit of their stolen Okama Gamesphere console. The “Gamesphere” name is likely a play off of the Gamecube, which launched a few months after this episode aired.

Episode: “Red Hot Catholic Love
Air Date: July 3rd, 2002

A  gaming reference even found its way into an episode that revolves around the Catholic priest sex scandal and the town’s new fascination with ingesting food through their anus and defecating out of their mouths. When Father Maxi is tasked with navigating the catacombs of the Vatican to retrieve a holy document, the visuals abruptly shift to that of Pitfall on Atari 2600.

Episode: “Best Friends Forever
Air Date: March 30, 2005

In a episode that parodies the controversial Terri Schiavo case, Kenny is hit by an ice cream truck and killed while playing the PSP (which was released six days before the airing of this episode). Upon arriving in heaven, he learns that God created the PSP to train their “Keanu Reeves” (a recurring Constantine gag) against the forces of Hell.

Episode: “Make Love, Not Warcraft
Air Date: October 4, 2006

South Park has rarely worked with outside studios, but they teamed with Blizzard for this popular Warcraft-themed episode. When the boys are repeatedly griefed by a mysterious user, they set out on a quest to bring him down. Over the course of several weeks, they kill boars all day in an attempt to level up, eating countless amounts of Hot Pockets in the process. Randy Marsh even jumps in on the action, helping the boys acquire the “Sword of a Thousand Truths” that eventually takes down their rival.

Episodes: “Go God Go” and “Go God Go XII
Air Dates: November 1 and November 8, 2006

It’s three weeks before the Nintendo Wii’s launch, and Cartman is losing his mind in anticipation. Unable to bear the wait, he attempts to freeze himself to make time go faster. Butters is ordered to wake Cartman up when the Wii’s release date arrives, but he forgets his duty. Cartman instead wakes up in the year 2546, in a future where no one plays video games and the Wii (now an artifact from the past)  is confined to a museum.

Episode: “Guitar *****-O
Air Date: November 7, 2007

Ten days after the release of Guitar Hero III, this episode airs that focuses on the addictive qualities of the game. In a quest to reach 1,000,000 points, Stan becomes stressed out and begins playing “Heroin Hero” (a game that requires chasing a dragon that can never be caught) to mellow out. After a break-up of their “band”, Stan and Kyle reunite and finally reach their point goal, only to be mocked by the game for wasting so much time on it.

Episode: “Crack Baby Athletic Association
Air Date: May 25, 2011

When Cartman launches a controversial new sport, EA Sports swoops in to get a piece of the action. After signing a contract to make video games based on the Crack Baby Athletic Association, executive Peter Moore informs Cartman and the gang that Electronic Arts now owns the rights to the sport and its profits. In the process, he also introduces the new EA Sports tagline, “Get the **** outta my building!”.

We'll be covering South Park all month long! Be sure to check out our hub link below for our ongoing coverage.