Telisplat is a form of multiplayer gaming which combines party elements with keepsake creation.


In 1989, "Keyz" Karanza used a microphone in combination with a Beta VCR (with audio dubbing capability) and the Nintendo Entertainment System with the game "Blades of Steel". He invited two of his friends, Al Richardson and William LaGamba over to play with the added idea of recording the game play between two players while the third acted as the commentator. The result was a 50-minute video title "Bladebowl". It was an experiment in personal home entertainment that would grow into something much larger.

In 1990, two more participants, Charles "Chaz" Segner and Brad Smith, joined the group for another recording, "Bladebowl 1990". Two additional players were slated to participate but were unable to due to prior obligations. This time around, a tournament format was used consisting of seven slots and utilizing a double elimination criterion. Various additional recordings were made the following three years.


Neil O'Donnell runs for his 100-yard fumble recovery TD in "Telisplat III".

In 1994, the amateur video production concept was taken to Slippery Rock University. Keyz joined up with dorm mates Mat Weller, Tom Popies, Damon Faher and Tim Anglin for the recording, simply titled "Telisplat III". This time, the tournament was altered to include six players and used a triple-elimination format. The other major change was the inclusion of alcohol, making the commentary much livelier and "M-rated". The game used was "John Madden Football" for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. The recording would include an epic event during the Pittsburgh Steelers/Cincinnati Bengals match-up. Neil O'Donnell (the literal player at the time - only player numbers were included in that Madden incarnation) would be sacked around his own four-yard line causing a fumble, which he himself would recover in his own end zone and begin to run with. Due to a computer glitch, O'Donnell could not be tackled and he ran all the way for a 100-yard touchdown. The response by the commentators was outrageously energetic to say the least. Since its being uploaded to YouTube (NSFW - coarse language), it has received over 675,000 views and is thought to be one of the most hilarious events in video gaming, thanks largely to the commentator response.

This production would be a landmark as it would be the format from which the name "Telisplat" was born (capitalized correctly, TEliSPlaT stands for "triple elimination six [or seven] player tournament"). Over the next decade, various recordings would be made by Keyz and his friend (as well as other groups who developed a fondness for the video production concept). Some used the TEliSPlaT format while others didn't. Over these years the odd capitalization would be lost and Telisplat would simply become defined as the recording of video games with the introduction of amateur commentary. This definition hold true today.


While there are thousands of possible specific equipment setups, they all generally have 4 common elements.

  • A video game system
  • A recording device
  • An audio mixer
  • One or more microphones

Typically the video is patched directly into the recording device. Possible recording devices are a VCR, DVD recorder, computer, and DVR with A/V in. The audio from the game is patched into the mixer board along with the microphones. The audio is then patched back out from the mixer to the recording device. Naturally other equipment can be introduced for different effects. Telisplat-ers who are very serious have included video cameras (for mock interviews and "off field" action) and CD/MP3 players to add music to the production.

If you are considering your own Telisplat event, you have many choices about the equipment you choose. If you are only considering doing it once or are limited in funding, you can select cheap or used equipment (eBay can be very helpful in this situation). If you are looking to make this a hobby and want higher end equipment, you may want to invest more.

At the time of this writing, the following audio equipment is recommended for a solution around $100.

The video game system can be anything of the host's choosing (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii or any of a dozen older systems). While any VCR will do the job, serious enthusiasts may consider a DVD recorder or computer with capture abilities. The Magnavox MDR513H is an excellent option as it can record to DVD or an internal hard drive from an external source.

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