This week marked the return of The Digest, Gameological’s chat and chew review show, with a look at the first half of Double Fine’s Broken Age. It wasn’t our critics’ opinions on the colorful adventure game that caused controversy in the comments, however. No, it was the method John Teti and Ryan Smith chose to taste the episode’s snack, a primarily British yeast spread called Marmite, that scandalized the commentariat. It was caspiancomic who first cried foul:
Look guys, my parents are British expats. I was raised on Marmite. That shit is mother’s milk to me. I’ve offered it to friends who have spat it back out while I sat there eating slice after slice of Marmite on toast with pure delight. But even I think it’s insanity to eat a spoonful of Marmite like that. Just…what the hell, you guys?
And Captain Internet, who sent us the Marmite, provided an even more damning revelation:
I’d just like to point out that when I sent this in, I also sent John a message saying what should be done with it—i.e. not eat it straight out of the fucking jar.
I also sent in some Vegemite for comparison. I’d sort of assumed they’d vomit on both, but it’s the thought that counts.
I asked Mr. Teti to see if he’d like to release an official statement regarding the outrage. He declined and instead pointed me to a comment of his own (this one left on our second Digest episode, which reviewed Octodad: Dadliest Catch) in response to a request for another, fairer Marmite taste test:
I did it wrong on purpose the first time. I’m not about to mess with success!
There you have it, folks.
Tucked away amid the Marmite protest was a heartfelt defense of the spread’s Australian cousin, Vegemite, from the commenter formerly known as Staggering Stew Bum:
As an Australian, I can confirm that Vegemite is fucking delicious. It’s all about knowing the right amount to apply to the bread/toast, though. Too much, and it’s revolting. Not enough, and it’s underwhelming. But when you have the right mix of butter/margarine and Vegemite with the perfect toast consistency, the experience is transcendent. This is also known as the “Vegemite Goldilocks Zone,” which is a thing I just made up.
I always assumed that Marmite was similar, but why the hell would I buy that when I could instead buy Vegemite? Fun fact—also known as not-fun fact because it makes me annoyed—is that our Aussie icon is owned by shitmonger extraordinaires Kraft. But if selling off all our good shit to foreign interests isn’t the Australian way, I don’t know what is.
So the question is, would you, North Americans who invented spray-can cheese, like Vegemite? Well, have an open mind. My wife wasn’t born in Australia, but she taught herself to love the stuff after moving here and also introduced me to the concept of vegemite and cheese on toast. It shouldn’t work, but it so does.
Another fun Vegemite fact: Some fuckwit decided that an unholy type of Vegemite/cream cheese combo needed to be put on the market, and put the product name out to public competition. Because people are idiots, the winning entry was—wait for it—“iSnack2.0.” I am not making this up. Anyway, after being openly mocked for the shit name it was, the product was wisely renamed to something like “Cheeseybite.” It sounds heinous, though. I hate cream cheese. Still, I expect it to be road-tested for the next Digest.
Rounding out the discussion of non-American edibles was NakedSnake, who told us all about Irn-Bru, the beverage that one can only assume provided John and Ryan relief from the horrors of concentrated Marmite:
I would just like to say that Irn-Bru is the most legendary soda of them all and deserves to have a Digest all of its own. Seriously, in Scotland, this is the Chuck Norris of sodas. Mythically brewed via the inclusion of actual rust scrapped off of barb wire fences (hence the “Irn” or Iron in its name) the Bru is the sweetest nectar of the gods when you’re hung over—which, if you’re in the nation of Scotland, is basically every day. Numerous urban legends and apocryphal stories surround Irn-Bru, and it’s often stated that Scotland is the only country in the world where a local soda outsells Coke. Numerous attempts have been made to export it to Britain and the Greater World (New York had it for a little while, I believe), but they always fail. Meanwhile in Scotland, the stuff is actually popular enough that some grocery stores stock an off-brand called Iron Brew. Thank god I now live in the extremely anglophile city of Vancouver, where imports from the British Isles abound, and I can always find a cold can of Irn-Bru at my local Hasty Market.
And Ah_good_the_sea provided some clarification regarding the supposed origin of the rust used in the making of Irn-Bru and some links to weird Irn-Bru commercials:
Apocryphally, the rust comes from girders rather than barbed wire fences; it used to be advertised as “made in Scotland, from girders,” both as a play on the Scottish hardman stereotype and as a nod to the steel working and shipbuilding industries of Glasgow and Lanarkshire, the areas where it’s produced.
Its ad campaigns are legendary too, including the “made from girders” ad in the ’80s, which took the piss out of Coke and Pepsi ads of the time and featured a Bru vending machine headbutting a guy in the Scottish tradition. There was also a commercial where a granny ramraids a shop in a mobility scooter.
I realized that one of my favorite things about Octodad was missing from John and Ryan’s dissection of the game: a nod to its theme song, “Octodad (Nobody Suspects a Thing),” by Ian McKinney. When I first played the game, I was thrown for a loop by this catchy garage-pop ditty that underscores its opening credits. Its chorus and bubblegum beat were stuck in my head for days afterward. Sorry if hearing it here does the same for you.
That does it for this week! Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. We’ll see you next week.