|Format: Satirical Gaming News|
|Created By: Graham Stark, Kathleen De Vere, Jeremy Petter, Paul Saunders|
|Host: Penny Arcade Television, YouTube|
|Original Run: May 9, 2011 - December 30, 2013, January 5, 2014 - present|
|Associated Shows: Escapist News Network (predecessor)|
CheckPoint is a show that takes a satirical approach to covering news in the video game industry. It is one of two successor shows to the Escapist News Network, the other one being Feed Dump. The show debuted on Penny Arcade Television on May 9, 2011 and is LoadingReadyRun's first series to premiere on the network. CheckPoint initially featured the same team that wrote and produced ENN (Graham, Kathleen, Jer and Paul), but has since pared down its cast to mainly Graham and Kathleen. It is, for all intents and purposes, ENN's direct successor.
As of December 30, 2013, CheckPoint was going to be put on indefinite hiatus due to Penny Arcade shutting down 3rd party programming on its PATV site. Because of the large fan response, they decided to incorporate CheckPoint into their streaming lineup as a live broadcast called CheckPoint Plus.
Checkpoint is, for the most part, a "return to form" for the dry, satirical humor of ENN prior to attempts to retool the show to appeal to a wider demographic of The Escapist audience. Early episodes involved fake news, but eventually moved away from that to focus on just making fun of the actual current gaming news. A typical episode tends to follow the same fixed format.
- The video opens with a recolored LoadingReadyRun logo and the last four notes of the LRR theme before transitioning into the checkpoint arrow and tone.
- A brief "Today" intro plays that includes a voice over done by Graham and video clip relating to a highlighted story before moving directly into the opening credits.
- After the credits the camera cuts directly to both Graham and Kathleen at the news desk where the duo talk about what they've done or what game they've played lately while a lower third title card introduces them.
- The majority of the show consists of between five to six news stories, reported alternately by Graham and Kathleen. In addition, each story features a corner image and several lower third jokes. Some segments also may include an extra video segment with the anchor continuing his or her story as a voice over.
- Finally, the anchors will end the episode with their parting line or lines. The credits will roll, and then a short "Coming Up" segment will play, similar to the "Today" segment, highlighting another news story that allegedly will be discussed in the next episode.
In earlier episodes, especially in the first season, the series focused more on taking real news and adding fake elements to make it more outlandish. Sometimes this would involve creating field reports from Paul or Jer that would be completely false or have only a few truths in them. As time went on, more and more emphasis was made on real stories and making satirical comments about how dumb the game company's decisions were.
Differences from ENN
Although CheckPoint is a spiritual successor to ENN, it is not a direct "copy and paste" of the series from The Escapist onto PATV. There are a few key differences between both shows.
The largest departure of CheckPoint from it's predecessor is it's visual style. ENN was branded as being The Escapist's own news show, consequently it carried The Escapist's brand name and trademark "E" logo as well as the site's blue-and-white color scheme. Because so much of ENN's design aesthetic was based off of the partnership with The Escapist a complete "facelift" was necessary.
CheckPoint uses a strong contrasting color palette of bright shades of red and yellow in hand with a more neutral gray and white. This color scheme, which is used to color in solid shapes (usually in layers) without any type of outline, creates a visual style that some forum members have described as being reminiscent of Persona 3 and 4.
While ENN had a "grander" opening relying heavily on pre-rendered computer graphics to emulate and parody professional news outlets, CheckPoint's opening is considerably simpler. Each episode starts by quickly showing a CheckPoint colored LoadingReadyRun logo, the CheckPoint logo, and then shifts into the "Today" segment, which acts as a cold open for the episode. This quick blurb briefly highlights one of the stories before a quick opening sequence plays, which consists only of the show's title card and silhouettes of the CheckPoint team: Kathleen, Beej, Graham, and Paul. Since Jer's departure from the show in Season 1, his silhouette has been omitted; previously it was between Graham and Paul in the title sequence. The credits sequence was updated as of Episode 373 with new silhouettes and adding Beej as he became a regular host.
The ending credits are an even bigger departure. Unlike ENN, which was known for having conversations between Graham and Kathleen during the credits after the studio lights have dimmed, CheckPoint transitions directly a brief credit sequence that quickly lists off all appearances, writing credits, and so on before moving onto the "Coming Up" segment, which is functionally the same as the "Today" segment except that it's generally narrated by Kathleen and acts as a stinger.
ENN's theme was originally created in house by The Escapist's Ian Dorsch to fit with the "major network parody" theme, but like everything else designed to go along with the ENN license it couldn't be carried over. Instead, the theme for CheckPoint was made by long-time friend of LRR Bradley Rains. The theme is much more upbeat to match the show's brightly colored and minimalistic art style.
Thus far, the only recurring character from ENN to appear in CheckPoint is Rex Carnegie.
The ENN recurring segment "Headshot" has a spiritual successor in "On Point", to the extent that it is an opinion piece, and its tone is emphatic rather than ironic. However, Kathleen has gone On Point multiple times, which did not happen with Headshot.
- The silhouette of Jer in the Season 1 and 2 opening appears to be the same picture used previously in the second ENN intro.
See: List of CheckPoint Episodes
- Escapist News Network, CheckPoint's predecessor.
- Action 9, LRR's other fictitious news agency.