All was quiet on YouTube as the channels slept and the listeners dreamt. As the music was uploading on Vevo and the Let’s Players began concocting their next walkthroughs, a silent and shocking dagger was struck through the hearts of over 1 million fans of a certain gaming-centric channel.
Yes, that’s how serious and epic this last 48 hours have been on the Game Grumps channel and community as Jon Jafari, otherwise known as JonTron, has left the show so very suddenly.
It may seem silly to look at this departure as anything more than just a change on a YouTube channel but the community on the video hosting website, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit would tell you otherwise. This is huge news to over 1 million fans and who knows how many other lurkers who don’t like to push buttons on YouTube other than play.
What are the Game Grumps?
The Game Grumps, if you don’t know, is a YouTube channel where two gaming personalities, Arin (Egoraptor) and Jon (JonTron), sat down to play some games together. Egoraptor, famous on YouTube for the Awesome series, Sequelitis, and his various other random works of animation and comedy began the duo series with his friend JonTron, another YouTuber who made a following creating videos where he critiqued games in his own quirky and comedic way.
The two instantly became a hit as they started playing Kirby Super Star and then delved into Mega Man 7, A Link to the Past, Pokemon Emerald, and a ton of other titles. Over the past 11 months, Arin and Jon uploaded hundreds of videos and amassed nearly 200 million views and over 1 million subscribers.
The thing that separated the Game Grumps from other Let’s Players was that they didn’t just take you through the game. That wasn’t their purpose. They just wanted to record two friends playing games and talking like they usually do. YouTube watchers had already seen their works and how they act in the videos they upload but Game Grumps allowed the world to see Arin and Jon for who they really were. Even after the channel began to make money and become something bigger the two hosts never really changed. They stayed themselves and allowed the world to peer into their friendship and fun for nearly a year.
(This is the first video the Game Grumps ever uploaded.)
As it happens more regularly than most think, the Game Grumps became more than just a YouTube channel to some people. The daily uploads became important to some and vital to others. There are stories being told now across the various internet forums and discussion sections about how Arin and Jon brought happiness back into some lives during dark times. People find strength, will, and a smile in random things when they hit a low spot and you can’t help what you latch onto for leverage and it just so happens that the Game Grumps was a beacon for many.
The channel grew in popularity so fast that Arin and Jon found themselves hosting panels at conventions, selling merchandise, receiving tons and tons of games from fans, and saw a downpour of feedback and love from the community. This can be seen by the hundreds of fan-made Game Grumps Animation videos. Originally started by Arin himself, the fanbase took it upon themselves to make Game Grumps Animated into its own beast spawning visual flashbacks to funny moments plucked from the videos of the two playing games.
All-in-all, the past 11 months have been special to both Arin and Jon, those close to them, the Game Grumps channel, and its subscribers. Just when things seemed to be getting better with the promise of a special surprise being unveiled once the channel hit 1 million subscribers, sudden tragedy hit on June 25th.
The Last 48 Hours
Jon has left the Game Grumps and did so very abruptly. It started with a vague tweet and then an upload titled “Ode to Jon” appeared on the Game Grumps channel. The video started with Jon talking about the past 11 months and moving on to focus on his own work. That portion of the video was shot off-location from the Game Grumps “HQ” and it was never said where Jon was or why he didn’t record his farewell where the Grumps played their games and recorded their friendship and fun. Instead, we got a grainy goodbye as JonTron faded to black.
After that, we were (very quickly) introduced to his replacement. Danny Sexbang, of the YouTube channel NinjaSexParty, was revealed as Arin’s new co-host of the Game Grumps – in the same farewell video. Not only that, the community only had hours to take it all in as the channel quickly received a new upload showing the first Arin and Danny video featuring the gaming classic, Punch Out.
Hold up, not done yet! The community also only had a short time to soak that in as the channel received two additional uploads introducing and showcasing a brand new show on the Game Grumps channel titled Steam Train featuring Danny and co-host Rubber Ross.
(This is a video from Danny over on his Ninja SexParty channel.)
In the span of hours, the Game Grumps community had been dealt a sudden shocker that Jon had left the show, then was shown his replacement nearly right away, then given the first upload featuring the new duo, and then introduced to a new show featuring the new Game Grumps co-host and someone else. When you also factor in the rumors that began flying about concerning the real reason why Jon had left then you have a very vocal community filled with mixed feelings.
Most felt sad that Jon had left, that’s for certain. Many of them also felt upset about how the transition was handled. There were plenty of people hopeful that the future of the channel would still be bright, as well. There were, and still are, many mixed emotions coming from the Game Grumps community.
This also goes back to what I was saying about how some members of the fanbase attached themselves to the channel for personal reasons. Some people felt that the duo of Arin and Jon helped them through difficult times. Others just felt that they could sit and watch with their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses to just laugh and generally enjoy themselves. Even without watching Arin and Danny in the new videos, the worry that those feelings would change due to Jon’s departure was huge.
I have not seen a response to something like this from a community in a long time. Not everyone knows what or who the Game Grumps are but going off of the level of volume put off from the channel’s discussion section, the activity on the official Twitters and Facebook page, and the subreddit r/GameGrumps, you could tell that this was very big and, for some, very serious.
The “Situation” Behind The Departure
This is where things get confusing. In the “Ode to Jon” video, Jon tells us that he left to focus on a more “meaningful” product in his very own JonTron channel. He wanted to go back to what he truly enjoyed and what fans have been clamoring for more of. That’s all great and dandy, right?
However, on Facebook a guy named August Austin who is a designer at Rodeo Arcade, the company that produces and sells merchandise for the Game Grumps, goes on to talk about the “real reason” why Jon left. Mr. Austin details that Jon was moving to New York to move in with his girlfriend. After months of flying back and forth to see her, he decided to take the leap and move there.
Then another rumor popped up from an unverified source that an altercation happened between Arin and Jon’s girlfriend where Arin wound up slapping her. That’s a lot harder to swallow than the New York rumor.
Thankfully, Jon himself took to Twitter to denounce the rumors floating about. However, Jon continued tweeting and talked about a “situation” concerning his departure. Combine that with TotalBiscuit tweeting that no one will ever known the real reason as to why Jon left as “that’s buried” then you have a mixture for intrigue within the fanbase.
Even then the above two rumors were denounced as fake, everyone knows now that something happened between Arin and Jon or Jon and someone at Game Grumps to make him decide to leave. If not, then his choice of words has stirred up more talk than the rumors did by accident. Either way, something’s afoot and it has the community in even more of an uproar.
Today we’ve seen both Arin’s girlfriend, Suzy, and Jon’s girlfriend say that they are all still friends and Jon’s departure had nothing to do with his relationship, adding even more curiosity and confusion to the mix.
Moving On Into The Danny Era
As we’re now over 48 hours since the announce of Jon leaving, there has been four gameplay videos released, two for Game Grumps and two for the new show Steam Train. Danny is a part of both shows and so far the reaction from the fanbase has been mostly positive on the Game Grumps side and half-and-half with Steam Train.
The issues people seem to have with the new duo on Game Grumps lie in the intro, the similar styles of both hosts, and a fear that things will become boring after a time. The last bit is unfounded as of right now as both new Game Grumps videos are actually pretty good, at least in my opinion. The intro has Danny thrown right into Jon’s position of “Not So Grump” which is tugging at the community and a wish for them to change things up in the intro, or at least switch Danny’s nickname, has been ringing very loudly.
Overall, the community seems happy with Danny so far. He’s a funny guy and has a ton of charisma. He’s able to keep you entertained just by the sound and volume of his voice and his comedy, at least with Arin, doesn’t feel forced nor fails to hit its stride throughout the video. He’s already had some moments that the community is talking about, such as the Pizza Pasta segment in Punch Out #1.
Jumping over to Steam Train is a different story. The first time we saw the duo of Danny and Ross was with the introduction video where they say hello to the community and talk about their show. The intro video starts off humorous but then gets extremely awkward and ends with an indifferent taste in your mouth. Then you watch Hotline Miami #1 and look at the feedback from the community.
Basically, the first Steam Train video bombed. The comedy was forced and the overuse of mangled voices to give the characters of the game a part in the video fell extremely flat. Thankfully, with the upload of Castle Crashers #1, things seemed to look up – even if only slightly. Steam Train has a lot to learn if they stay on the Game Grumps channel. The fanbase doesn’t mind another show on the channel as long as they stop trying to as like the Game Grumps playing Steam and forcing dick, belch, and fart jokes down their throats.
Still, I think Steam Train has a shot to become something worth watching. Danny and Ross have to stop trying and remember that the reason the Game Grumps works out so well was because it was a show about them playing games and being themselves. They need to let themselves be the show and let that decide if Steam Train is worth watching or not.
(This is the first video Arin and Danny did together as the new Game Grumps duo.)
Aside from Steam Train, the new duo in the Game Grumps seems to have hit off high. With Punch Out and Super Mario Bro.s 2 being the first two games that Arin and Danny tackle, the fanbase has already begun to accept the change – somewhat- and enjoy the new uploads.
Danny is a very funny guy and it’s a shame that the sudden, shocking reveal of Jon leaving, the horrible transition to the new era, and the up-in-the-air “situation” as to why Jon really left is bringing down the downvote hammer on the new uploads. It also doesn’t help that many commenters on YouTube showing only hate instead of hope for the channel’s future.
The Game Grumps will live on and although Jon can never be replaced, I feel that Arin and Danny will only get better from here on out and I’m excited to see how this new era pans out. I have a small hope that Steam Train will come into its own, as well.
Time can only tell if we’ll get the true story of what happened behind closed doors but instead of trying to pry into the personal happenings of YouTube personalities, how about we stay focused and see if Danny can manage to fill – not replace – the seat that Jon once held.
It’s silly that something like a YouTube channel can become so important to people but it’s the random things and people in our lives that can truly make us think, smile, and laugh.
Thanks to Jon for the great 11 months of laughs and entertainment and good luck to the future of the JonTron channel.