You probably know Jack Black from his long career as the enthusiastic star of films like School of Rock and Kung Fu Panda, and most recently as the actor who was the perfect amount of excited to voice Bowser for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. While Chris Pratt convinced me that he’s never touched a controller in his life, Black wants you to know that he is a hardcore gamer like the rest of you, something he’s made many delightful YouTube videos about in the past on his channel JablinskiGames. Now he and Kyle Gass, who together are better known as the rock duo Tenacious D, have created a musical tribute to games in their signature style, complete with a video in which a cartoon version of Black cameos in games such as God of War, Fallout 4, Tomb Raider, Street Fighter, Sonic, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
This is good, actually. Black starts off singing that “I don’t play video games no more, I never play video games.” As the video goes on, it becomes clear that his cartoon persona is as plugged in as the rest of us. He makes exceptions for AAA and Nintendo games that he considers to be “experiences,” all while reiterating over and over that he doesn’t have time for gaming. At one point, he appears naked while riding the most fucked-up-looking horse I’ve ever seen. True to the experience of gaming, the animations are filled with gratuitous violence, but with a comedic tone.
Over and over, he stresses: “That’s not a game. That’s an adult thang.” His song addresses how gaming is stigmatized by people who didn’t grow up with a console, but it’s not woe-is-me about it. Black is so excited to share what he loves about his favorite games, and you should be too.
The music was produced by Tenacious D, which, if you’re unaware, is a comedy rock duo formed by Black and Kyle Gass, another actor who also appears in the video (only to die incredibly frequently). Tenacious D has a sizable cult following, but The Super Mario Bros. Movie has reminded mainstream audiences that Black can really sing. His performance of the love ballad “Peaches” blew up the internet, and is eligible for an Oscar nomination.
Of course, the other reason that Black is enjoying so much popularity right now is because he doesn’t act like engaging with video game media is beneath him. Or that he’s paid for his time. When he has to put in a public appearance for the Mario Bros. movie, he goes above and beyond to dress like he voices Bowser. Even his “Video Games” video stands as a work of art on its own rather than a cynical marketing ploy to capture the gaming fan base. I hope Nintendo brings him back for whatever the next Nintendo movie is going to be. They’d be making a huge mistake if they didn’t—Black’s charisma and goodwill extends beyond the movie screen.