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South Park review #06:Freemium Isn’t Free

Another episode of South Park is right here. And…oh my god, Terrence and Philips? Terrence and Philips? Here’s my first reaction when I learn that I have to see them here…

I HATE Terrence and Philips. I know that they are suppose to be an equivalence of Robocop’s “I’d buy that for a dollar”  or Idiocracy’s “Ow! My balls!”  . They make fun of  people in de-evolution society who watch stupid things on TV and get a laugh. But T&P? It’s the same fart jokes over and over and over again. It’s annoying than SNL sketches and always drives me mad. I guess that’s one of the reasons I don’t really like South Park: The Movie.

Wait a minute, I suppose to review new episode of South Park. So here it is…

The plot

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Stan addicts to a new T&P freemium game from Canada. His addiction becomes worse and worse….just like his grandpa who addicts to slot machine. Meanwhile, T&P are discussing with creator of the game about the idea and meaning of freemium game.

My opinion

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Okay, the ending resolution isn’t that good, but T&P aren’t as annoying as what I used to know. Plus, this is another cool episode that tackles social problems like…

Freemium games

Although I never play any freemium games (since most of stuffs in my phone are music and bits and pieces from radio show like O&A, Howard Stern, and Don Imus), this is an issue that gets more and more attention. In my country, there’s a game from an extremely famous chat application (LINE) called LINE’s Let’s Get Rich. Basically, it’s a Monopoly game with an option to buy specific items with in-game coins or using money. Few months ago, there was a kid who claims that he accidentally paid a lot of money for items in the game (Really? How could that be an accident if he knows how to pay it?) and it raised series of debate whether freemium games are dangerous or not.

In this episode, the plot tries to set-up freemium game as an evil (literally) who lures lots of people to pay their money by playing barely funny game. But, since this is South Park, in the end…after the evil of freemium game is destroyed, Stan is playing board game with his grandpa. Then Randy walks in and says “You guys wanna put some money on it?”. Again, SP points out how hypocrisy we are. We all “hate” freemium games, yet some people still want an excitement from paying real money. This is perfectly symbolized by Randy’s behavior. He drinks a lot of alcohol, yet he claims that he’s just an alcohol beverage tester. It’s the same that we still willingly paying lots of money and claim that “it’s just a game”. So, what’s the resolution?

Personal responsibility

Later on, Stan has a conversation with Satan about his addiction to freemium game. Satan brings out a good point…

“Because human has progressed and now has access to all the shit they want, it’s easy to have Dopamine problems. You know, there’s nothing fucking wrong inside of this stuff.”

Yep, this is not an epidemic. There’s nothing wrong if we want to have fun with video games, but we’ll be fucked up if we don’t have personal responsibility about when should we play a game and how much money should we spend on it. I may sound like a generic 50’s Conservative guy, but, to me, this is the most effective way to fight this problem. I mean, if we ban all freemiums, then there will be something else. (Just look at what Randy said few paragraphs ago). Sometimes, nothing helps us better than ourselves.

Advertisement and marketing

As a student in marketing, this episode makes me laugh so hard since they point out bad things in advertisement. From the concept of freemium (we’ll discuss this type of marketing in a minute) to a hilarious parody of alcohol beverage commercial, they nail it right. The alcohol beverage commercial is just a narrator (Trey Parker, of course) and sets of stock footages of chicks/parties/expensive stuffs/glasses of alcohol beverage over and over again while narrator says something like “Drink! Drink! Drink! More cars! More fucking pussy!”. In the end, it awkwardly cuts to black and says “Drink responsibly”. It points out how fucked up alcohol beverage commercial is. Don’t believe me? Watch it.

What about a concept of Freemium? Well, it’s supposed to make customers feel better about downloading and playing games. Think about it, playing higher quality games in free? It sounds great. But the sad part is the fact that these companies need money to survive, so they have to either put advertisements in their games or create an option to buy in-game stuffs with real money. These tactics are sometimes bullshit (like a game that Stan plays, it looks horrible), but, hey, it happens because we are willingly to fall into these bullshits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to use a classic “Don’t bash these companies because they are job creators, maaaaaaan”. That logic is incredibly stupid, but there are some cases that companies do things like these because they were “successful” before and have no idea that some people lose lots of money because of Freemium games.

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Overall

Although the ending is pretty bad, this is a really fun and thought-provoking episode that you and your friends may have a debate after finishing watch it.

Thumbs up.

About The Author
Nuttawut Permphithak
Nuttawut Permphithak

A student who’s studying in marketing. He usually spends his free-time on watching movies, listening to music, reading books, and creating things you’re probably reading/listening right now.

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