In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Ron Funches is a stand-up comedian based in L.A. After a long stint in Portland, he’s been rapidly working his way through the world of television, starting with an appearance on Conan, and more recently as a writer on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show. He’ll be a series regular on Bill Lawrence’s upcoming show The Undateables. Ron spoke with The Gameological Society about giving his pokémon silly nicknames and the awesome wrestling moves in Saints Row IV.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Ron Funches: This weekend I’m playing Pokémon X, always some Animal Crossing, and probably a little bit of Saints Row IV.
Gameological: That’s a pretty wide array between Pokémon and Saints Row.
Funches: Yeah [Laughs.] I try to be well-rounded.
Gameological: Which one of the three are you playing more of?
Funches: I’m playing more Animal Crossing because they make you feel bad if you don’t play it. Your flowers die, and your townspeople are always saying they haven’t seen you in a while. I’ll be at home and feel like if I don’t play the game, I know the anteater’s going to say something about it.
Gameological: I had to put it down after I was spending so much time getting bells.
Funches: I went the other way. I committed, and I’m building all types of public work projects. I’m doing everything right now.
Gameological: So Pokémon just came out. You’re liking it so far?
Funches: I like it a lot! If we’re being serious, I like how streamlined it is. And how when you plant berries you can just water each part without having to redo the text each time. It’s really good game design. It’s very impressive.
Gameological: I love how it looks.
Funches: It’s beautiful right? It’s got bits of France, and I’m just petting my Snorlax, around his crotch mostly. He loves it! [Laughs.] It’s cute.
Gameological: Do you have a personalized team with Snorlax?
Funches: [Laughs.] The main thing I’m doing right now is giving everyone nicknames from comedians that I like. I have a Tig Notaro. There’s the three monkeys who are fire, water, and grass, so I named them Tony, Toni, and Toné, because I like that R&B group.
Gameological: Do you get attached to your guys?
Funches: I get very attached to them. I felt bad when I leave them at the babysitter. Like, “I gotta go pick them up.” That game has been like XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I got really attached to the soldiers to the point where I was starting the game over and over and over.
Gameological: Have you heard of the Nuzlocke challenge? If your pokémon faints, you have to treat it like it died, and you can never use it again.
Funches: That sounds like too much. I understand that, and it sounds interesting, but it’s too much for me. Often I lose. I don’t want to feel bad about my pokémon actually dying.
Gameological: On a recent Improv4Humans, you were talking about wrestling and its fake but fun violence. Do you get that same kind of feeling out of video games?
Funches: Definitely. It’s a nice escape, being able to run around. That’s my favorite part of Saints Row, running up and power-bombing pedestrians. I would never do that in real life. I would hurt my back. That’s my favorite part of Saints Row, really—how good the wrestling is.
Gameological: Are you excited for the new wrestling game, WWE 2K14?
Funches: Yeah. I played the classic ones on Nintendo 64 and remade a bunch of characters in the Smackdown one. My ex-wife used to have a big feud with Kane. The new one doesn’t look too great graphically, so I’m not into it, but I’m very excited that it’s a 2K game. I think that’s going to make it really awesome. I love wrestling in general.
Gameological: On Twitter, you said you got your hands on an Xbox One early.
Funches: Oh, no, I was just trying to make people feel jealous. We had the case, a prototype for the show I’m shooting that won’t be out until early next year, The Undateables. So I just took the controller, put it by my DS, and I pretend.
Funches: I know. I wish I had one. I’m excited for the new systems. I can’t wait!
Gameological: You’re going to get one when they come out?
Funches: I have the PlayStation 4 pre-ordered. I wasn’t into the Xbox One because of what everybody hated about it. But the more I play with that controller, I’m in love with it. It feels so good in your hands. I don’t have a Wii U now, but when the new Mario game comes out and Smash Bros., I’ll probably get that too.
Gameological: On your website I see you have a portrait with the Wiimotes behind your head. Do you have a special affinity for Nintendo?
Funches: Of course! That’s what I grew up with. I love Nintendo. I think it’s different between them and Sony and Microsoft. I play a Nintendo game for 10 seconds, and I get smiles from how cute it is. That doesn’t happen with Gears Of War. It’s a weird feeling when you pay your mortgage off in New Leaf, and the guy celebrates. I just giggle. And I’m not giggling at Gears Of War at all.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.
(Front-page photo of Funches: Tyler Ross.)