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Today I’ll be connecting Agent 47 from the Hitman series to Kramer from the Seinfeld series. I’m going to avoid the question of Michael Richards’ racism, and I’m also going to be a better person than to go the obvious route of somehow using The Frogger episode as a connection. Come on, I’m better than that (it is a great episode, however).

You know that social theory that everyone on earth can be connected to anyone else by no more than 5 intermediaries? They call that 6 Degrees of Separation. I do the same thing here, except I connect video game topics in strange ways using 6 Degrees of Pixelation.

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Welcome to the first episode of for real 6 Degrees of Pixelation, the show that brings the social theory 6 degrees of separation to video games. I’m Caleb. This is my homestead, and today I’ll be connecting Agent 47 from the Hitman series to Kramer from the Seinfeld series.

This is a special episode of 6 Degrees of Pixelation. It’s the very first viewer submitted connection. It’s great isn’t it? That I have viewers. And while you’re being all viewer-y, why not also be touchy and clicky the like button? I validate myself based on the likes this video gets. I know, it’s sad. Really sad. But it’s true. I wish it weren’t, but it is.

Let’s jump right in to the first step of our hitman to funnyman connection by bridging Agent 47 to Gary Busey…

1. Hitman to Gary Busey

Hitman is a series I wish I played more of. It ticks all the right boxes: 1) you can kill people with golf clubs, 2) You’re supposed to be clandestine but the only way a barcoded bald white thing determined to kill you can blend in is if the supermarket is having a sale on expired eggs…that wasn’t very good. And 3) the series has suffered a lull that’s only recently been remedied, with 2016’s Hitman, meaning for a few years I could legitimately say “the first one was better” while simultaneously sounding like a hipster and being technically right. The best kind of right. And the worst kind of Hipster. An alive one.

I wish I could have joined the collective awe back in 2000 when the first Hitman game was released. I was busy still pretending I knew how to play Bushido Blade…nobody knows how to play Bushido Blade. It would have been great to feel that rush with other players when they realized they could kill enemies with just about anything. Grand Theft Auto III was still 1 year away, so the open world concept in a fully 3d environment was still so new. And stealth-focused games of this magnitude weren’t common. Sure we had Metal Gear: Solid in 1998 and Tenchu Stealth Assassins in the same year, but Hitman brought something different. Something more sadistic.

I wish I played Hitman more because I wanted to be a bit sadistic. I wish I played more Hitman because I want to believe that overly complex, Rube Goldberg-esque murder plans really can succeed. But mostly I wish I played more of it because I, unlike a diehard fan of the series, don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to kill Gary Busey…

I have nothing against Gary Busey, but I will say that he’s earned plenty of favor in my eyes for letting developer IO Interactive put his likeness in a Hitman game as a target. Not a character who looks like Gary Busey with a name changed just slightly enough to avoid lawsuits. No, we’re not talking about a Barry Gusey. We’re talking about THE Gary Busey. The name is Gary Busey. The personality is Gary Busey. It’s Gary Busey.

Busey was featured as an Elusive target for seven days, beginning on July 21 of this year. An elusive target being one that’s only available for a limited amount of time and only during the specific target mission. Here’s hoping Busey’s involvement in video games remains far from elusive. Heck, I’d be okay if he drops the bullseye and just voices some more Grand Theft Auto characters…

2. Gary Busey to Grand Theft Auto (Vice City)

To the general public, Gary Busey is famous for movie roles, TV shows, and his general creepiness. He’d be at the top of a guest list that includes Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, and the other even creepier looking Howard brother for entrance into a club specifically opened for guys who probably aren’t going to smile while they kill you, but still, they might.

To videogame fans, Busey is also known for providing the voice of Phil Cassidy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Cassidy is an army vet just trying to get by selling high-explosives including grenades and rocket launchers to anyone willing to buy. He’s also just a humble moonshine, sorry, boomshine distiller, boomshine being an alcoholic concoction so potent the fumes alone can get a man drunk. The most moonshine can do is boil you stomach-first. Only wussies drink moonshine.

Though I have no evidence of Gary Busey distilling alcohol or selling military-grade weaponry in real life, Phil Cassidy feels to me like perfect melding of the inspiring and it’s inspiration, coming together to create a single entity that will forever define either of the separate parts. Gary Busey is Phil Cassidy. Phil Cassidy is Gary Busey.

And Grand Theft Auto is not only the perfect vehicle for such conceptual mutations, it’s also the perfect vehicle for a musical composition by Woody Jackson…

3. Grand Theft Auto to Woody Jackson

Who is Woody Jackson? He’s the music composer for Grand Theft Auto V which was recorded in his famous Valhalla, Vox Studios. And he’s been everywhere. Not only has he also composed music for Red Dead Redemption, for which he won a Spike Video Game Award for Best Original Score, he’s also composed music for LA Noire and the TV series Nashville, and he’s contributed music for Max Payne 3, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, and many more.

Now, I’m born of a nostalgia firmly rooted in simple video game compositions, so it still blows my mind to think about a group of musicians and composers recording hours of actual, artistically legitimate music for a video game. And believe me, I know I’m not making sense right now. Games have had huge musical scores for years, and their composers have won tons of awards and have sold millions of stand-alone albums. I even discussed the validity of video game music back in my Mario to Hillary Clinton video when I talked about Nintendo being the first game maker to hire a full time composer. I know how video games can elicit emotion. I talked about the metroid theme in a previous video and Fallout 4’s opening drone…shit, I still get a pit in my stomach when I hear it. (pause) Intellectually, I understand that video game composers exist. Pragmatically, I can’t stretch by tiny brain around it.

But I’m glad video game music exists, in the same way I’m glad a video game museum exists. It validates the existence of video games and makes the entire game subculture more immersive. We can talk about graphics, mechanics, control, overall gameplay, historical significance, and…music. And I’m glad Woody Jackson’s Vox Studios exists, because it’s helped bring to our ears music from Nat King Cole, Charlie Parker, and Vampire Weekend…

4. Woody Jackson to Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend aren’t alien to the videogame world. They’ve had songs featured in Kinect Sports: Season Two, LEGO Rock Band, Just Dance 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, and Guitar Hero 5. These are some big games, deserving of a big songs from a big band. But what if a band wants to strip away all the flash and do something a bit more…simple.

Despite the millions of dollars that go into triple AAA titles, the games that tend to hold a special spot for me are the simple ones. Ones like Junior Mint, a game so simple in its approach that it features a very simple song from Ezra Koenig, lead singer for Vampire Weekend…

5. Vampire Weekend to Junior Mint (the game)

You’ve probably never heard of Junior Mint. That’s okay. A basic timing-based html5 browser game where you, the player, attempt to throw candy into the gut of a surgery patient would rightfully go under the radar amidst monolithic titles like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Watchdogs, two games which were released the same month, May of 2014.

To be fair, a game like Junior Mint isn’t meant to compete against triple AAA titles. It’s meant to be a simple game, with simple physics, and Miley Cyrus, for some reason. But what’s really special about Junior Mint…well, if you recognized the Ezra Koenig-performed theme song, you’ll note that this game is based on an episode of the amazing 90s sitcom, Seinfeld. A show featuring everyone’s favorite spastic neighbor, Cosmo Kramer.

6. Junior Mint (the game) to Kramer

Spastic may be underselling Kramer. He was the incessant entrepreneur, unflappable friend, and ever-present personality on the show. The episode from which this 6 degree connection comes, “The Junior Mint,” is responsible for Michael Richards, the actor who played Kramer, winning his first Emmy Award of the series.

In the episode, Kramer and Jerry observe a splenectomy and accidentally drop a Junior Mint from the viewing gallery into the patient’s body. It’s good stuff. The series holds up. If you’re too young to remember it, be the hipster among your group of friends and take in a few episodes. Then tell them how much better TV was back then.

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But don’t do that before clicking the like button and subscribing! And while you’re down there, leave a comment to tell me what two characters you’d like to see connected by 6 degrees of pixelation. The only requirement is that one of the characters must be a video game character.

You’ll find a link in the description to a Google Doc with my script, notes, and sources so you can dig in more if you’d like.

Until next time, I’m Caleb, “what’s the deal with Junior Mints?” and we are Burning Books.

Research/Sources/Credits/Inspirations (this is not a comprehensive list, as that would be impossible, especially the “inspirations” items)

The following are YouTube videos licensed under CC BY 3.0

Music Credits