Four years ago, "Clueless Gamer" was a web-only perk. Now the Conan segments are staples of morning viewing, rivaling James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke" and Jimmy Fallon's countless celebrity bits for our coffee-sipping attention.
For the unfamiliar: "Clueless Gamer" sees Conan O'Brien attempting to play a buzzy video game title, occasionally with someone famous, and riffing mercilessly on the action. With the franchise now more than 30 clips deep, here's a rundown of our essential "Clueless Gamer" picks.
Break Into This Butter Chicken Calzone
As far as hitmen go, Conan has the tidiness aspect down -- just not the stealthiness. Dark jokes ensue here, Louis C.K. and Nick Offerman make unexpected appearances, and, ever the sadist, our hero ensures Agent 47 a bleak future filled with lower back problems.
Best line: "Killing nuns could become a... bad habit."
Conan's real verdict: Hates the barcode thing; loves headshots.
Take a self-loathing journey through planet Ambien as the late-night host tries to trash talk and hunt in-game copies of himself and Andy Richter. Also, be on the lookout for this 2013 installment's greatest throwback: a Manti Te'o joke.
Best line: "Want some death? Have a death cookie. Want a death cookie with some blow-up milk? Want some flan made of 'You're dead'?"
Conan's real verdict: Dumb backstory, fun, not enough Cortana.
To preview this DC Comics fighting game, Conan worked with artist Bruce Timm to create a special superhero based on the late-night host's likeness. Behold, The Flaming C -- valiant protector of TBS, fearsome wearer of fishnets, Bley's bitch.
Best line: "Batman is gonna have a hard time performing sexually for quite a while now."
Conan's real verdict: Aquaman is the worst.
You need to watch this one, because Conan again designs his own character -- but without the help of a pro. The result is a wrestler who looks like the spawn of Gumby and Seth Green, and who moves like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man.
Best line: "What am I doing here? We're having an orgasm. Look at that! You're dead!"
Conan's real verdict: Inspiring.
After realizing GTA's missions are just for show, Conan does his best impression of a sexually frustrated 13-year-old who somehow convinced his mom "rated M for mature" was no biggy.
Best line: "My erection broke my fall."
Conan's real verdict: Sometimes enjoyable, but Los Santos, like the real world, is a mostly cruel and unfair place.
Imagine that Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey are related: he's the fouler-mouthed older brother who forces her to play multiplayer games with him, then gangs up on her when his equally sophomoric pal Conan comes over on the weekends. This whole bit, trophy scene especially, should take you right back to high school. Headey's facial expressions say it all.
Best line: "Oh, [Lucio]'s on rollerblades? His only enemy is an uneven surface."
Conan's real verdict: Scarred for life.
A blasé Conan rips on three horror games involving Slender Man, amnesia, and a mad scientist who's really an exhibitionist. Come for the burns, stay for the traumatic nut shot.
Best line: "I'm a little scared -- mostly because I'm pretty sure that's lead paint on the walls."
Conan's real verdict: Will never play a PC game again because boredom and unexplained nudity are worse than fear. Also because the controls aren't intuitive.
Half this segment could be used as Conan's new voice-over demo reel. The other half is mostly him ruining your childhood by making Kirby, Villager, and Link his comedic punching bags.
Best line: "Why is Pong suddenly here? So another game from the '70s can break out at any second? Will an episode of CHiPs with Eric Estrada suddenly show up? How do I make Jimmy Carter show up -- and just bum me out?"
Conan's real verdict: Happily overwhelmed, but wants Nintendo to go away so Americans can learn more about presidential history and less about Pokémon.
Conan's burns are especially spot-on in this one (special shout-out to The Edge's beanie). But the true stars here are a dead-eyed Kevin Spacey and a roadway from hell -- if you've ever wondered what Tom Clancy's take on Frogger would've been like, look no further.
Best line: [After blowing up drones]: "That was fantastic! That was the greatest feeling I've ever experienced, and I've watched two of my children be born."
Conan's real verdict: This CoD will leave you feeling equal parts obsessed and accomplished.
This one has always felt like the classic Clueless Gamer to me -- in small part because it was the first that genuinely had me cackling, but more so because the gameplay really affects Conan. He genuinely loves Lara more than anyone on this planet, and every time he kills her his heart implodes. Honestly, it's almost as tragic as watching Simba mourn Mufasa. (Warning: graphic gore galore.)
Best line: "I LOVE YOU!"
Conan's real verdict: A combo of the emoji with hearts for eyes and the one that's bawling.
Mortal Kombat X
Thanks in large part to Mortal Kombat's overly gratuitous finishing flourishes, Marshawn Lynch (repping the Seattle Seahawks) and Rob Gronwkowski (New England Patriots) almost walk off set. Solid chemistry and touchdown dance tutorials save the day. Sometimes the celebrity Clueless Gamers -- especially the athlete-centric ones -- take a turn for the awkward or fall flat. But this Super Bowl proxy battle from last year, won't disappoint. (Warning: If you could describe the blood and guts in Tomb Raider as junior varsity, this is definitely varsity.)
Best line: "I'm on Lipitor. That's my drug of choice."
Conan's real verdict: Turned on?
As far as gameplay, this entry's a little thin. Conan cares not for water hag fights or the thrill of 36 possible story endings. All he wants is Yennefer.
Best line: "I'm the emperor of Milfgaard."
Conan's real verdict: Life-changing.
Halo 5: Guardians
This is equal parts great Yoo-hoo commercial and all-star edition of "Clueless Gamer": last year, Silicon Valley stars Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, and Zach Woods joined the usual crew to split into teams, try to kill each other, and talk mad shit. There's a true murderers' row of talent here. Just not gaming talent.
Best line: "I'm like my father at night looking for Fig Newtons: I'm just wandering around."
Conan's real verdict: Irked to the point of tyranny.
Final Fantasy XV
When Elijah Wood teamed up with Conan to test Square Enix's latest Final Fantasy, neither was prepared for epic boredom. As you'll see above, the duo digs into all the wrong elements of the RPG -- including a mission that involves pushing a broken car and another in which characters stare at a dress -- before confronting some of the people who worked on the game.
Best line: "We're trapped in a Beckett play: there's nothing that's going to happen, we're waiting for things that can't happen."
Conan's real verdict: This truly is his least favorite game ever made.
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