Jan 072014

It is hard to believe that six months have already passed since fans of the YouTube let’s play/comedy channel “Game Grumps” were dealt a hard blow. If you haven’t been following this popular gaming channel, let me get you up to speed: in June one of the founding members of Game Grumps, gaming personality Jon “JonTron” Jafari, suddenly left the channel with little explanation as to why. The channel’s other founder, popular animator Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson, swiftly replaced Jon with a new talent, Danny “Sexbang” Avidan, lead singer of the comedy band Ninja Sex Party. Fans were furious, suggesting a personal falling-out between the two YouTube gaming stars. Yet the events were quickly swept under the rug as the Game Grumps continued to push out their usual three gaming videos a day.


Why am I bringing this old news back out from under the rug? This weekend the Game Grumps were under the same roof as JonTron at this year’s Music and Gaming Festival in National Harbor, Maryland, for the first time since Jon left the Game Grumps channel. Going into this weekend, I was expecting some very difficult questions from fans at the panels regarding Jon’s departure from the show.

But surprisingly, all of the Game Grumps-related panels were remarkably tame. And that’s fantastic.

It’s safe to say that the Internet can be pretty cruel sometimes, especially when fans of a beloved show like Game Grumps take their criticism to the extreme. Yet at MAGFest we didn’t see fans barking tough questions at Arin, Danny or Jon. We saw a complete reversal of what you’d expect from your typical angry Internet mob. Case in point: in the days immediately following Jon leaving Game Grumps, fans refused to accept that Danny could ever be a suitable replacement for Jon. But at the Game Grumps panel, Danny was treated with an incredible amount of respect. Fans tossed him massive bags of Skittles (the candy he munches on during Game Grumps recording sessions), and he even gave a few hugs and sang some songs for the packed house. The JonTron panel apparently was very much the same; a Reddit thread of JonTron fans that presumably included MAGFest attendees said Jon confirmed at his panel that he will not return to Game Grumps in any capacity, but that was all he said on the matter.


I’m sure I’m not the only fan of the Game Grumps who is still curious to know the full story about Jon leaving the channel. I definitely don’t think this story is done being told; after browsing several social media platforms, I could not find a single picture of Arin and Jon together at MAGFest, which suggests the two have severed all ties.

But that’s another story for another time. For now, we need to applaud Game Grumps fans for doing something that many fan groups are unable to do: distinguishing the personal and professional lives of these gaming personalities, and actually respecting the difference between the two. It is clear by now that the details of Jon leaving Game Grumps were not meant for the public ear. Fans respected that wish by not bringing up the subject at any panels involving Arin and Jon.


But even more than that, fans of Game Grumps continued to respect the professional lives of all “Grumps,” past and present. Even though the change in hosts (and the addition of a new series, “Steam Train,” to the channel on the same day) was difficult to grasp at first, most Game Grumps viewers gave the new personalities a shot. They watched Danny and eventually accepted him as the new Jon. This weekend’s Game Grumps panel is proof that Danny has been fully accepted into the Game Grumps family, in-jokes and all. And the rest of the channel’s ensemble (including editor Barry Kramer, Arin’s wife Suzy, and animator Ross O’Donovan) gained an equal amount of respect for the hard work and dedication they have put into the Game Grumps channel in the six months since these changes were made.

Arin proved to be a clever guy, officially calling Game Grumps fans “Lovelies.” They really do live up to the name.


The Minus World is written by Steven Brasley. You can keep up with his thoughts on gaming via Twitter.