Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?

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Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?
Web address http://www.heyash.com/
Type of site Video game sketch comedy
Launched May 29, 2008
Current status Active

Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? (HAWP) is an independently produced series of short comedy videos created by siblings Anthony Burch and Ashly Burch. The series utilizes surreal humor and comical sibling rivalry to examine the themes, industry trends, and societal impact of video games, with each episode typically focusing on a single game. HAWP was hosted on Destructoid for its first year of production, but has since been syndicated to GameTrailers. As of December 2013, the series has received 19,541,898 views over 94 episodes and four seasons.[1]

History[edit]

Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? was conceived during the summer of 2008, while Ashly and Anthony Burch still lived at home with their parents in Phoenix, Arizona. Anthony Burch was a game reviewer at Destructoid, his Rev Rant video features expressing his opinions of tropes commonly seen in contemporary games. Having established an audience on the website, he posted the first HAWP episode on May 28, 2008. The siblings collaborated over the course of the summer to produce one episode per week, playing mildly exaggerated versions of themselves: Anthony utilizing his deadpan, fast-spoken, strongly opinionated nature, and Ashly exhibiting mild psychosis as she antagonizes him both verbally and physically. Over time, as the siblings fine-tuned the comedy and timing of the show, these aspects have come to define their characters.

Discussing the genesis of the series, Anthony states:

"Ash and I got the idea for HAWP during the summer; our total lack of shit to do meant we could film an episode every week, and subsequently get the Destructoid community to acknowledge our presence through sheer force of quantity. It would have been easy for Destructoid to forget about us if we'd just filmed an episode every month, or something."[2]

Ashly Burch describes the nature of their collaboration:

"It was incredibly fun. Anthony and I had never really collaborated in that way, just the two of us, before, and I really enjoyed it. Looking back on those first episodes, I think they pale in comparison to the quality of the ones in our current season — i.e., there are less dead-baby jokes — but I like reviewing them occasionally to see what worked in them. Primarily, it's the dynamic we managed to establish between me and Anthony that I liked the best."[3]

Since the latter half of the second season, friend and occasional contributor Justin Yngelmo has been credited as co-writer, director, and editor of the series.

Format[edit]

Almost every episode begins with Ashly, comfortably seated with a controller, as her brother walks up behind her and title-drops the show. Ashly then answers him with the episode's game in a childlike accent. All audio here is supplemented with a game font, and the camera abruptly clips to the content of the week's episode.

The episodes vary in tone, but usually incorporate a great deal of surreal humor. For instance, in one early episode, Ashly re-enacts aspects of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, strapping a toy child to her back and crushing cupcakes with her posterior on a countertop. Another early episode involves her re-enacting portions of Professor Layton, involving her poking around for hint coins and solving a bizarre puzzle that involves prostitutes. As the seasons progressed, the comedy was tightened through advances in editing and script-writing, and the addition of Justin Yngelmo added production value and a refined approach to the creation of new episodes.

Each episode ends with credits in the same font, sometimes involving a line or two of amusing commentary. During the aftermath of DVD releases or other projects by the siblings, promotional notice will be given for a slide or two. As of Season Two, the ending theme song was changed to "The Massacre" by chiptune artist FantomenK, to avoid copyright laws. Occasionally, a brief stinger will appear, after which the credits will finish.

Characters[edit]

Ashly Burch[edit]

Manic, wild Ashly Burch is the eponymous "Ash" of the show's title, and plays the unhinged half of the Burch siblings. She regularly and unrelentingly antagonizes her brother, seeing him on-camera as weak and effeminate. She is usually supported in her frequent bashing of his character by inaction from anyone else present, to his vocal chagrin. On slight occasion, a character usurps her, or she will accidentally place herself in a position of detriment—examples include the infamous The Sims pool scene at the hands of Ashley Davis, Papa Burch's effortless position above her such as in the Lord of the Rings episode, or Ashly accidentally pooping in her own bed while attempting to ruin Anthony's room.

Anthony Burch[edit]

Anthony Burch, usually portrayed as the single sane character of the series, maintains a consistent deadpan snarker attitude. He is almost always the recipient of his sister's lunacy and absurdity, and usually ignores or calls sarcastic attention to her wild actions. If a character is wounded in any episode, it will typically be Anthony, who will fail to receive any aid from the others. He is shown to be a competent game reviewer and gamer throughout HAWP.

Papa Burch[edit]

Breakout cameo character Papa Burch is the patriarch of the Burch household, and an avid reader of romance novels. In one early episode, he was shown to have an encyclopedic, borderline psychic knowledge of the Twilight series, and is usually involved in an episode in a brief one-or-two line shot. His minimalist involvement in the show lends greater comedy to his short appearances, and he appears to be the progenitor of both Ashly's loose grip on reality and Anthony's deadpan attitude. He attends panels focused on his children's work and is a consistent fan favorite.

Ashley Davis[edit]

Quirky Nintendo 3DS connoisseur Ashley Davis is the creator and producer of Once Upon a Pixel, a spin-off web series dedicated to re-envisioning video game characters and plots in a fairy tale-esque approach. She is the real-life wife of Anthony Burch, making the transition from girlfriend to fiance on-camera during the surprise intro to the The Sims episode of HAWP. Her character has been shown to take an adorable and wide-eyed stance on the antics of the siblings, but on two occasions, she has shown a darker side by fatally threatening Ashly Burch, usually accompanied with evil laughter. While she was initially an extra in the early episodes, her presence has gradually increased, and now she is usually seen in each episode.

Reception[edit]

Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? has received positive reviews since its inception. Regularly the cast appears at the Penny Arcade Expo conventions to meet with fans and discuss the evolution of video game culture. Video game voice actor David Hayter, the voice actor of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, contributed his voice to the Season One finale.[4]

Other work[edit]

Anthony Burch is currently a writer at video game developer Gearbox Software. He was the lead writer for Borderlands 2, and contributed his script-writing and vocal talent to the "Claptrap Proposal" that Gearbox produced to help Borderlands fan Ben propose to his girlfriend Tora. Anthony is also the co-writer and co-star of the defunct web series "Anthony Saves the World."

Ashly Burch has starred in several small shorts as well as a feature-film, Must Come Down, written by Kenny Riches and produced by Patrick Fugit. The film was released on DVD on November 16, 2012.[5] She also lent her voice to Tiny Tina, a non-playable character in Borderlands 2, as well as the Bane, a "cursed" gun that yells annoying sounds and phrases while severely restricting the user's movement. In addition, she provided the voices of Ayla in the game Awesomenauts[6][7] and Reid in Aliens: Colonial Marines.[8]

The three HAWP-characters Papa, Anthony and Ashly Burch were all featured as Downloadable Content for the 2013 video game Saints Row IV. They were all voiced by the original cast and could be called via phone as homies to help the player out in battle or to just hang out with. They can be called separately, however when called together they converse with each other in similar ways as in Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?.[9]

Ashley Davis currently produces a Web Comic named JailBird as well as running her own website oddlookingbird.com.

HAWPcast & HeyAshTwitch[edit]

The show is also the subject of the popular podcast "HAWPcast", originally involving only Anthony and Ashly Burch, but expanded to include Ashley Davis and Justin Yngelmo, among others. It is updated infrequently and typically surrounds video game philosophy as well as various insights into their lives and backstories, usually around an hour long apiece. The standard HAWPcasts have been almost completely replaced by a format called "Keepin' It Real" where the HAWP crew interviews notable members of the game industry. The HAWPcast is often streamed on their twitch.tv channel.

Currently the HAWP Crew stream on their twitch.tv channel with their good friends Grant Cushman (who streams on Tuesdays), Aaron Linde (who streams on Thursdays), Tamara & Justin (who stream late hours on Thursdays) & Brad Nicholson (who streams on Saturdays).

Episodes[edit]

Upload dates refer to the date the episode was uploaded to GameTrailers.com.

Season 1[edit]

# Title Upload date Description
1 Ikaruga May 29, 2008 Ash plays through Treasure’s greatest shooter, as Anthony begins to loathe it.
2 Zelda June 4, 2008 Based on a true story, and thus significantly less zany than the other episodes.
3 Bioshock June 10, 2008 A teenage girl reenacts the climactic scene from BioShock, to her brother’s chagrin.
4 Father’s Day June 17, 2008 A (at the time, and possibly now) late Father’s Day message from Anthony and Ashly.
5 Prof. Layton June 24, 2008 Ashly and her brother embark on a Professor Layton and the Curious Village-themed adventure.
6 Smash Bros. July 1, 2008 Ashly Burch is the worst Super Smash Bros Brawl teammate in history.
7 Final Fight July 8, 2008 The horror…
8 E3 2008 July 22, 2008 Anthony is at E3, and Ashly is bored.
9 Dark Knight July 28, 2008 Ashly is frustrated that a Dark Knight tie-in game has not yet been released.
10 Braid September 3, 2008 Ashly uses tactics learned from Jon Blow’s Braid to correct a horrible mistake.
11 Team Fortress 2 September 10, 2008 There’s a spy sappin’ Ash’s sentry.
12  ??? September 17, 2008 For neither the first nor last time, Anthony has no idea what the hell Ash is doing.
13 Guitar Hero October 1, 2008 Ashly activates star power.
14 Text Adventures October 15, 2008 Ash is in a maze of twisting passages, all alike.
15 A Brother in Need October 29, 2008 For once, Ash decides to be helpful.
16 Left 4 Dead November 12, 2008 Ash and Anthony are going to have to cooperate.
17 I Love Videogames November 26, 2008 Ash lists the things she’s thankful for.
18 Fan Service, of a Sort December 10, 2008 What hath Ash wrought?
19 The HAWP Before Christmas December 24, 2008 Why aren’t there any games about the holidays?
20 2008 in Review January 7, 2009 Ash and Anthony discuss how last year measured up to the year before it.
21 Persona 3 January 21, 2009 A nation mourns.
22 Animal Crossing February 4, 2009 No resetting.
23 Left 4 Dead Part 2 February 18, 2009 Ash shows off her strategic mind.
24 Geometry Wars 2 March 4, 2009 Ash brings two young lovers together.
25 Of Sexism March 18, 2009 A flashback reveals Ash’s machinations.
26 30 Seconds of Screaming April 1, 2009 Never accuse Ash of false advertising.
27 Yoshi’s Cookie April 15, 2009 Ash stuffs her face in a spoof on this classic video game.
28 The New Gamer Dictionary April 30, 2009 Like Webster’s, but with more references to Metal Gear.
29 Street Fighter IV May 13, 2009 Ash and Anthony pay homage to the king of all fighting games.
30 Lips May 27, 2009 Some songs we need not sing.
31 Katamari Damacy June 3, 2009 Sometimes life isn’t funny.
32 Trauma Center June 25, 2009 Video gamer, heal thyself.
33 Once Upon a Pixel July 8, 2009 Who says fairy tales can’t include walking nuclear tanks?
34 Like Big Boss July 22, 2009 Dear God, we hope this still feels relevant.
35 Metal Gear Solid 4 August 5, 2009 The end begins.
36 The Sons of Big Boss August 19, 2009 Can epic music make up for spectacularly bad martial artistry? Your call.

Season 2[edit]

# Title Upload Date Description
1 Viva Pinata Sep 6, 2009 Fathers can game too!
2 Little King’s Story Oct 9, 2009 Anthony and Ashly Burch enjoy video games, surreal humor, cupcakes, and video games. In that order.
3 Scene It? Oct 23, 2009 The Burches enter the sordid world of DVD board games.
4 Penny Arcade Expo 2009 Nov 6, 2009 Ash pitches her movie idea.
5 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Nov 20, 2009 Enough mind-bending similarities to Firefly to detonate your dome?
6 Left 4 Dead 2 Dec 4, 2009 The ballad of the Boomer.
7 Preggers Dec 18, 2009 Casual gaming has grave consequences.
8 Overlooked Games of 2009 Jan 4, 2010 Spend your time in 2010 living in the past with the best overlooked games from 2009!
9 The Most Dangerous Game Jan 15, 2010 Pokemon is a very dangerous game.
10 Shadow Complex Feb 1, 2010 Ash struggles with an artist's homophobia while considering the purchase of Shadow Complex.
11 Rock Band Feb 12, 2010 These days, anyone can start a band.
12 Psychonauts Feb 26, 2010 Ash dives into your brain!
13 Heavy Rain Mar 12, 2010 Papa Burch plays the future of interactive storytelling.
14 1 vs 100 Mar 28, 2010 Ash faces a truly impossible question.
15 Puzzle Quest Apr 9, 2010 Ash exploits Anthony's visual handicap.
16 Sleep is Death Apr 23, 2010 Ash totally ruins an art game.
17 Mother’s Day May 8, 2010 Ashly's mom gets in on the action.
18 The Ballad of Bullet Bill May 21, 2010 What dark, crass thoughts dwell in the twisted mind of a Bullet Bill obsessed with one infamous plumber?
19 The Sims Jun 5, 2010 Ashly Burch and Ashley Davis are different people. Did you know?
20 Far Cry 2 Jun 18, 2010 Ash has her own reasons for liking Far Cry 2.
21 Fable II Jul 6, 2010 Dad finishes Fable II in his own special way.
22 Gears of War Jul 20, 2010 Anthony describes creative new uses for Imulsion in his Gears of War fan fiction.
23 Ico Jul 30, 2010 Ash celebrates Fumito Ueada's contributions to feminism.
24 Mass Effect 2 Aug 13, 2010 Ash doesn't take well to psychology and Papa Burch has his own priorities.
25 Rhythm Heaven Aug 27, 2010 Ash drops an infectious beat with explosive consequences.
26 Monkey Island Sep 4, 2010 It's Dad's party and he'll play what he wants to.
27 Adventure Games Part I Sep 25, 2010 The season finale begins. What would Guybrush do?
28 Adventure Games Pt. 2 Nov 9, 2010 In the Season 2 finale, Ash channels the spirit of Guybrush to sort out Nathan Drake and Marcus Fenix.

Season 3[edit]

# Title Upload date Description Notes
1 World of Warcraft February 11, 2011 Ash questions Anthony's martial relationship.
2 Best Characters of 2010 February 28, 2011 In the words of Geoff Keighly: "frightful fappucino." Originally premiered on Spike TV.
3 Harvest Moon 64 March 11, 2011 So many babes, so little time.
4 Limbo March 25, 2011 If Ash were stuck in a dark forest, would you save her?
5 Red Faction: Guerrilla April 8, 2011 Ash, Anthony, and Dad consider the merits of guerrilla warfare.
6 Ash at Gearbox Software (Part 1) April 22, 2011 Anthony brings Ash into the offices of Gearbox Software. What could go wrong?
7 Red Dead Redemption May 7, 2011 You gotta know when to fold 'em.
8 Nintendoland May 13, 2011 Welcome to Ash's theme park. Originally premiered on Spike TV.
9 Ash at Gearbox Software (Part 2) June 3, 2011 Games aren't made by just one person. Except for games Brent works on.
10 E3 2011: Booth Babes June 9, 2011 It's about booth babes.
11 E3 2011: Sellin' Out June 9, 2011 With Super Amazo Special Guests. Two of them.
12 E3 2011: Happiest Place June 10, 2011 In which GameTrailers regrets hiring us.
13 Toonstruck June 17, 2011 Dad never told the kids about the time he met Christopher Lloyd - now with bloopers!
14 Gearbox Software Part III July 1, 2011 Where's Duke? Ash uses her feminine charms to find the king.
15 Cooking Mama July 15, 2011 Ash and Anthony learn to cook with Mom!
16 New Gamer Dictionary Part II July 29, 2011 Time for another round of new gaming definitions!
17 Minecraft August 12, 2011 Anthony asks for Ash's expert help to craft the best mine ever! Will he ever learn?
18 NBA JAM August 27, 2011 Anthony knows how to balance the teams. Dad knows how to take out the trash. Originally premiered at Penny Arcade Expo.
19 Gearbox Software Part IV September 9, 2011 So, how'd you like the ending of Borderlands?
20 Lord of the Rings September 23, 2011 A helpless Anthony suffers through character selection in Lord of the Rings.
21 Fallout: New Vegas October 7, 2011 Should permanent death be included in all games? Ashe [sic] puts this idea to the test.
22 Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice October 21, 2011 The Halloween season begins as Ash pulls the fam together for some Left 4 Dead style sacrificing.
23 F.E.A.R. 3 November 4, 2011 The horror... the horror.
24 Davis Helps Out November 18, 2011 Davis steps in to help as the siblings experience writers' block.
25 Mischief Makers December 2, 2011 Ash gains a little more than she bargained for from this plat-uzzler plazz-former.
26 Deathspank December 23, 2011 Ash schools us on the real art of comedy in video games.
27 Scott Pilgrim January 6, 2012 Ash and Davis sit down for a nice heart-to-heart about wife-beating.
28 A Death in the Family, Part I January 27, 2012 Anthony and Ash are attacked by the Foot Clan as the season's villain is revealed!
29 A Death in the Family, Part II February 17, 2012 Can Ash save her brother and herself from the ultimate betrayal of Papa Burch? Find out in the Season 3 finale!

Season 4[edit]

# Title Upload date Description Notes
1 Rayman Origins March 16, 2012 Can the happiest and most fun-filled Rayman game possibly have healing powers? Originally premiered on Spike TV.
2 Best Game of 2011 March 30, 2012 Anthony attempts to compete with an unexpected amount of flawless logic from Ash as the duo nominate the best games of 2011!
3 Skyrim April 13, 2012 Ash displays some mad skills that would make the Nine Divines proud. Originally premiered on Spike TV.
4 Dinner Metaphors May 4, 2012 Ash cooks up a handful of delicious metaphors for today’s modern sandbox games with a little help from Davis!
5 Hot Slutz May 18, 2012 Now with more cleavage than ever before…
6 E3 2012: Live from 3COM June 6, 2012 Papa Burch hits the floor armed with some hard-hitting questions.
7 E3 2012: Jesus Christ 64 June 7, 2012 Have you found Jesus? Have you at least played his video game?
8 E3 2012: Butt Awards June 8, 2012 Ash and Anthony break down what was butt and what was not butt at E3 2012 in this episode of Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?
9 Driver: San Francisco June 28, 2012 The power to Shift could not have landed in more dangerous hands
10 Quantum Conundrum July 13, 2012 Not even your happy place is safe when Ash gets control of dimensions.
11 Game of Thrones: The Game August 3, 2012 Ash and Anthony explore the challenge of staying faithful to a franchise while still making a game fun to play.
12 Dance Central 2 August 24, 2012 Something's different about Ash's favorite Dance Central character.
13 Saints Row the Third September 1, 2012 Sandbox fun for the whole family that may just be too much for Ash to handle in this special episode debuted at the GT Film Festival Panel at PAX Prime 2012! Originally premiered at PAX 2012.
14 Diablo III September 21, 2012 The fam confronts Anthony about his addiction to Diablo III.
15 Batman October 5, 2012 Arkham's criminals don't stand a chance against the world's greatest detective, Ashly Burch.
16 Call of Duty: Black Ops II October 19, 2012 Activision CEO, Ashly Kotick, isn't satisfied unless Black Ops II drops some Shock and Awe on the industry.
17 Indiana Jones November 16, 2012 Anthony educates Ashly on the inspiration for the Tomb Raider and Uncharted series, but the lesson plan takes a horrible turn.
18 Tomb Raider December 7, 2012 Ash busts the myth that personality is what makes a well-rounded female character.
19 Civilization V January 11, 2013 Ash makes a penetrating power play for World Leader in Civ 5. *Mature Content*
20 Doctor Who January 18, 2013 Ash reveals Anthony's Timelord nature after discovering that microtransactions are bigger on the inside.
21 Earthbound February 22, 2013 Anthony battles writers' block (and Ashly's Earthbound shenanigans), forcing him to look to his progenitor for help.
22 Girl Games March 22, 2013 Defeated by the burden of being a girl, Ash tries her hand at some authentic girl games.
23 Borderlands 2 April 5, 2013 Get your totems ready as Anthony recalls his trials and tribulations from writing Borderlands 2.
24 Escape Goat May 3, 2013 Oh the drama! Goats, wizard-rats and a scheming Ashly. What have we wrought!?
25 Dear Esther June 25, 2013 The family embarks on a picnic to bond in a way that only a masterful narrative can describe. Originally premiered at Pacific NerdWest.
26 Sexy Booth Babes July 12, 2013 Ash and Davis show off some epic sweet-talk skills on the floor of E3 2013. Face it, you'll never be this good at talking to hot girls.
27 Spy Party July 26, 2013 What makes Ashly shaken, not stirred? I spy a killer at this party. Burch beware!
28 Noir August 13, 2013 A mystery is afoot and P.I. Ash Burch is on the case. Will she uncover the truth or end bottles up in failure.
29 Unfinished Business (Finale Part 1) October 23, 2013 Ash receives a lucrative proposition.
30 Taken to School (Finale Part 2) October 23, 2013 Oh it's on.
31 The Wind Waker November 26, 2013 Link shows Beedle his wand. Winner of Nintendo's WiiU Video Challenge.
32 The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth January 6, 2014 Ash and Anthony play a game of throne. Just one. Sponsored by Kabam Games as part of a promotional campaign.
33 Gorilla Wayfare January 17, 2014 Ash debuts the latest in transportation technology. Collaboration with Rocket Jump for winning the WiiU Video Challenge.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official GameTrailers Channel". GameTrailers. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Mendelson, Brandon (1 November 2010). "Anthony Burch Talks Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin (And Battle Toads)". Buy Prepackaged Air!. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Sheehan, Gavin (15 November 2011). "Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?". City Weekly. 
  4. ^ "HAWP Season One Finale, Part II"<http://www.gametrailers.com/video/the-sons-hawp/54295>
  5. ^ "Must Come Down Movie Website". Kenny Riches. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ashly Burch's Personal Website Resume". Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Awesomenauts Website". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ashly Burch's Personal Website Resume". Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Saints Row IV news DLC pack Hey Ash cast". Retrieved 12 December 2013.