Cans, by inmate2993, is a series of comedy games starring Chuck Flemwas. It is perhaps best known as one of the first MZX games to feature cameos of the active MZXers of the time, and has served as the inspiration for many imitation ("Cans-style") games, such as Idiocy and Life of Mr. Ascii. (emo maggot FREAK carries the torch spiritually, if not following the Cans structure.)
For the most part, the Cans series takes place in The Bronx, with Chuck eventually making his way to Planet #megazeux, Planet Badness, space, and Barkness.
Cans deals with the apparently ongoing conflict between Inmate and his little brother Robert. Chuck is always pulled along to aid Inmate in his attempts at stopping Robert, much to Chuck's dismay.
A character that somehow manages to embody both Beavis and Butthead into one person. Chuck is always armed with a slingshot and an infinite supply of high explosives, though more often than not there is little reason to use either of them. No matter where he works, Chuck always ends up being employed as a janitor. He resents being dragged into Inmate's business, and really just wants to have fun by any means necessary. Of the six party members that can be acquired in Cans 3, Chuck is the only one that does not attack with a melee weapon. This does not affect his damage at all.
Although he is a fully grown adult, Guy enjoys spending his time in front of the television, watching the Mostly Morphine Powder Strangers. He is one of the six party members in Cans 3, and he serves as the cameraman in Episode One.
In Cans 1, when Guy was first introduced, his surname was Frendink. However, in Cans 3, it became Frenzick, and has remained that way ever since.
Cindy first appears in Cans 3, somehow inexplicably on a date with Chuck. It is generally accepted that Cindy did not meet Chuck until some time between Cans 2 and 3, but she also appears in Cans Episode One living in the same apartment building as Chuck (in order to ease the explanation somewhat, and because Chuck thought it would be amusing if everybody moved to the same apartment buildings at the same time).
The creator of the game, manifested as a smiley with sunglasses. Inmate not only is a party member, but also (more or less) the main plot exposition device, outside of Zixyer. Inmate has the ability to alter the universe at will, which he uses to send Johnny through the Zeuxstream and to open Inma-portals to various locations from Chuck's apartment.
Johnny, who lives in a house down the street from Chuck's building in Cans 1, is married and has two children. He is famous on Chuck's block for having a 50-inch television screen (which the player never actually gets to watch). In Cans 1, Johnny's wife is apparently kidnapped by two wandering convicts, and he apparently is on her way to pick her up when Inmate sends him into the Zeuxstream.
The unreleased game Cans X was supposed to tell the story of Johnny after his trip through the Zeuxstream, but the game was never finished, and thus Johnny's story remains a mystery.
In Cans Episode One, the part of Johnny was played by Bruce Campbell.
Inmate's little brother, and the primary antagonist. Robert's evil plots are almost always stolen from other games, notably his MagiTek armor rip-offs from Cans 3 (which also reappeared as the final boss in Cans Episode One). He has a long-standing rivalry with Inmate. In Episode One, Robert is played by Adrian Edmondson.
The name given to the default ZZT smiley face, Indiana Smiley first appears in Cans 2, attempting to save Chuck from Queen Sandbutt. He is eaten shortly thereafter, though Chuck saves him in return by beating Sandbutt in the lips with his baseball bat. Later, Smiley appears as the lord of Barkness, "casting pain and cruel punishment to evil ZZT and MZX programmers." At this point, Chuck kills him, though he is later resurrected by Robert in Cans 3 as a boss character.
The Bronx, part of New York, is Chuck's hometown and usually the primary setting of all the Cans games. The Bronx is always represented as a very run-down part of town, and home to all sorts of miscreants (Chuck included). There is known to be a school in the area (where Chuck works during Cans 2) as well as a burger restaurant and several apartment buildings (all of which the protagonists have lived in at some point).
Based on the IRC channel #megazeux, at that point a community hotspot, #megazeux is where nearly all of the MZXer cameos can be found, and it's almost always required that the player visit there to complete the game.
Main article: Barkness
Notable MZXer Cameos
Exo, appearing here as gaK, is presumably only included as a plot device so that the main characters may steal his airship. Most often, said airship is crashed into a building of some sort.
Zixyer, first appearing in Cans 2, explains most (if not all) of the major plot details to the main characters by way of Sivion-style cutscenes. He has his own theme song, Da Zixyer Rave.
Although he gets an inconsequential cameo in Cans 2, he joins your party in Cans 3.
An RPG fanboy who appears in most of the games, either as a random cameo, a weapon, or an enemy. In Cans 2, you can throw MZCool at a police officer during an RPG battle. In Cans 3, the MZCool Clone is one of the five enemy characters you can fight. In Episode One, MZCool again serves as a projectile, but only during the final battle with Robert. You can also find and battle MZCool in Planet #megazeux in both Cans 1 and the remake.
Though not actually an MZXer (rather, the creation of one), Rook appears in both Cans 2 and 3. In Cans 2, he aids Chuck in fighting Monthigos in an RPG battle (Chuck is given the option to throw Rook at Monthigos, which causes more damage). In Cans 3, Rook appears just for the sake of appearing (and in this appearance, Rook uses Sivion-style conversation windows for a brief moment).
Games in Series
- Cans - inmate2993 - Dementia Software, 1996
- Cans ][ - inmate2993 - Destiny Software, 1997
- Cans III - inmate2993 - Autumn Dreams, 1998
- Cans Episode One - inmate2993 - (no group), 2001
- Cans is arguably one of the most popular/famous MZX games of all time, rivaling other games like Caverns of Zeux. Newbies in particular tend to adore this game much more than most, despite the fact that the cameos are years old and mostly of people who are long-gone.
- Inmate planned to make Cans 4, but the project was cancelled. All that remains of it is its music, which Inmate had uploaded to his website; as well as a small handful of screenshots. The music has since been uploaded to DigitalMZX, but the screenshots seem to have disappeared after the demise of the sapphirewired server and, consequently, the second incarnation of Planet Badness.
- Chuck Flemwas appears in Kuddy's game, BLARGFRDRGMAHAG!, as one of the objects that Slap can throw at enemies.
- Chuck's name also appears in Inmate's MZX Combat Trainer, as one of the high-score rankings.
- Cans 2 starts off in the same fashion as Veloso's game MegaZeux Superstar.
- The voice clip on Cans Episode One's death board is of dormando.
- While not a sequel to Cans, Insanifest was Inmate's next MZX comedy game, in a similar style.