Playing Dumb

Jackass presents the world's biggest waste of time.

Oct 17, 2007 at 4:00 am
Love him or despise him, head Jackass Johnny Knoxville has made millions from getting kicked in the yambag.

Had YouTube arrived before Jackass, Knoxville, Steve-O and the show's other gutterpunk masochists might still be slinging French fries, getting burnt by hot grease in a strictly non-recreational way. But with a brand-new video game release and yet another film (yup, Jackass Number Three) on the horizon, Jackass already has outlasted the life expectancy of its cast members.

It should come as no surprise to learn that Jackass: The Game is a no-brainer: You hurt yourself for points in a Grand Theft Auto-meets-Looney Tunes environment. The only surprise is the timing of the game's release: Seems like we should've seen this about five years ago, back when grown men riding in shopping carts was fresh and new. These days, the big money is in idiot college students getting Tasered, bro.

But here it is, better never than late. Jackass consists of the 40 most tasteless minigames you will ever experience. If you're the type who laughs when Bam Margera swan dives into steaming elephant poop, this is your game.

Still, once you get past the juvenile shock value of watching Wee Man earn points by eating — and then, of course, puking — raw eggs, there's really nothing to see here. Jackass throws actual shit at the wall to see what sticks. Should we be surprised that the results are flushable?

Rhythm-based games like "Party Boy" feature doofus Chris Pontius dancing in his tighty-whities and chortling "yuk! yuk! yuk!" as you stab buttons in time with the music. "Brown Water Rafting" is a downhill sewer race where you'll earn bonus points for grabbing floaters along the way.

Around the time you try your hand at "Rock, Paper, Nuts," it will dawn on you that you're only still playing to see what despicable activity comes next — hell, who wouldn't be up for a game of "Poo Shower" at least once? — but there had better be some replay value to it. (Spoiler alert: There ain't.)

The controls often handle like a last-generation title (shooting games require you to use the clumsy analog stick), and the only tutorial is offered when Knoxville helpfully cautions you not to "sprain your vagina."

Additional in-game goals — do your best to "finish with over $100,000 in injuries" — must be met in order to unlock more minigames, though all of them are ridiculously easy to beat after a couple of attempts. Which is to say Steve-O is more likely to join a monastery than you are to play Jackass for more than 30 minutes.

The handheld PSP version includes additional features such as an in-depth "director mode," which allows you to create your own Jackass episode from minigame instant-replay clips. It's a load-time-heavy way to waste an afternoon — and it's not saying much when the game's painstaking video-editing program is more fun than, say, "Demolition Golf."

You can share these videos wirelessly, but don't hold your breath waiting for online players to pop up in multiplayer mode — it seems they've all vanished like a Wee Man fart in the wind.

Like the show, Jackass: The Game does manage to be unique. For one thing, no other game awards points for a "bruised left testicle" or ends with projectile vomiting on a Hollywood red carpet. And even if you hate the show, there's something wonderfully cathartic about kicking each rich, young, stupid cast member down a cactus-covered mountainside.