Ritos 'n Dew (2010) was a weekly webshow in the style of Continue? and Game Grumps that featured playthroughs of retro video games and commentary by the titular stars, nicknamed Ritos and Dew.
Discontinued after only 3 months of airtime on Youtube, the Ritos 'n Dew channel suddenly vanished, leaving fans to wonder what happened.
"Frankly we were just jumping on the bandwagon." admits Dew, who to this day wishes to keep his real identity a secret. "I didn't think it would go anywhere and it never did. I'm honestly embarrassed by the thought."
Ritos was unavailable for this interview.
"I haven't spoken to [laughs] Ritos in three years," Dew surmises, "but I doubt he wants to speak to anyone."
Prone to fits of rage and audio-breaking yelps during recording of the show, Ritos was known to be abrasive and rude, especially to his loyal fans.
"I watched the show from the start," recalls Youtube user samueleck, "and I always left encouraging comments and shared their vids on Reddit. Ritos would almost inevitably respond with scorn, telling me to fuck my fagg*t ass back to Tuesday and other such nonsensical crap. I stopped watching shortly after that."
What was clear to fans was that Ritos 'n Dew was not an ordinary Let's Play webshow. The two young men would load a windowed Nintendo emulator onto a PC and begin to play Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda with what could be described as the frantic tapping of laptop keyboards keys clacking beneath their labored voices.
A lack of understanding for the mechanisms of old video games were pervasive in Ritos and Dew's commentary, often calling the low resolution graphics "fat chunky kid sh*t" and the music "f*ggy circus boops".
"Like I said, I'm not proud of my work on that show. It was a one off and I was ready to move on the second we- well I, called it quits. The last thing I need is my wife to find out what kind of bullsh*t I used to be apart of in college."
Whether Dew is confiding an old sentiment or crafting an entirely new excuse to color his participation remains to be seen, but what is clear is how strongly Ritos wanted to feel a connection to their content, but could not seem to manage it.
"We played a lot of Call of Duty back then, and drank a lot too. Video games were purely a recreational thing. Something secondary to our lives." Dew recalls, "I went along with the idea when he brought it up because it seemed fun, but I didn't think the idea was coming from anywhere malicious. At least not at first."
Archives of the web series are difficult to track down, but thanks to a Youtube user who wishes to remain anonymous, I was able to obtain digital copies of the long forgotten show.
Each episode begins with a cheery jingle, much like similar content on Youtube at the time. Mario is Fun, Zelda too! Ritos and Dew, just for you! Poorly photoshopped logos for Mountain Dew and Doritos spin onto the screen, hovering over the baseball cap-donned figures of the young men themselves.
"No, there wasn't any sort of promotional deal. Ritos just thought [pauses] that there might be some marketing opportunity in there somewhere. I just went along with it."
What follows are 10 minutes of fuzzy, crackling audio, an absurdly zoomed-out view of a Nintendo emulator playing against a backdrop of a early 00's era Alienware desktop background, and some of the most cacophonous video game commentary this writer has ever heard.
"Welcome back to [burps] Ritos and Dew doo doo doo doo. [burps] This fagg*t sh*t. Today we're playing... fuck! This fagg*t sh*t." [Mega Man 2]
And that is just a sample. The cruel nature of the language used, specifically by what one could assume is Ritos, escalates as the videos progress. One playthough of Ghosts'n Goblins in particular ends abruptly with gameplay ceasing for exactly one minute and forty-three seconds as the sounds of breaking glass and loud stomps are heard penetrating through the barely audible game audio. What almost sounds like an imperceptible scream of a woman can be heard for a mere half-second as the video comes to a close.
"Those were tough days for him. I think he just needed something to latch onto. Something from his childhood maybe. It was a wonder we got any views at all." Dew confides, "Uploading the videos was all I was willing to do after a while. I refused to listen to the latter episodes that I wasn't involved in. It was hard enough watching my friend destroy himself, I didn't need to hear it too."
When asked about why he bothered to upload the videos at all, Dew ceases our correspondence for a period of two weeks. After a follow up email wondering about his silence, he sends back a single message: "I've said enough. Move on."
One question remains then: where is Ritos now, and why did he bring the show down with him?
"There is no real clear answer. When he took our channel down he also removed himself from every social media service there is and even changed his phone number." says Dew, "The guy is a ghost. I just hope he's doing alright, wherever he is."
Whether Ritos' destructive on-camera nature stemmed from the difficulty of the games or more deep-seated, personal circumstances we may never know. What remains is a mysterious legacy that few knew of, and even fewer remember.
If you have any information as to the whereabouts of the internet celebrity known only as "Ritos" please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.