For all you kids who don’t know MAD magazine, well Google it, and then go find the old copies and enjoy some good wit and humor. However, of course, if you had to reinvent and re-imagine MAD magazine for the post-Facebook, post-Twitter and the post-YouTube generation, you would completely eschew the paper and focus on the iPad instead. (Yes, I do know MAD has just launched an iPad app.) And it would takes its cues from Internet/social-driven Pop Culture and turn it into a sort of a game.
And that is exactly what Punch! Media of New York is doing. The start-up is co-founded by David S. Bennahum (CEO,) Maer Roshan (Founding Editor,) Ethan Fletcher (Chief Operating Officer,) Dany Levy and Daniel Wyszynski who is Chief Technology Officer. The effort is backed by John Borthwick’s Betaworks, TechStars, New Enterprise Associates and Jason Calacanis. Incidentally, Roshan was building Radar, a gossip rag right next door to the old Red Herring offices in an incubator on 11th street back in the day, so it seems he has a thing for incubators.
What the app has done is essentially take popular videos and Internet memes and turned them into fun-interactive graphical games. Click on an icon and it opens up a window of Bjork going postal on a TV reporter in Thailand. Click another and another video or a game pops up. Here is how they themselves describe it in their press release
Punch! is an interactive satirical app that redefines the content experience with game-like engagement and razor sharp design. Punch! fuses the experience of mobile games with real-time web offerings to present content in a way that can only exist on a tablet. It is a new iPad Platform that encourages users to “play with pop culture.”
Punch! produces original content exclusively showcased in “The Culture Shelf,” a series of scrollable shelves presenting diverse cultural offerings – both high and low. Punch! feels like an interactive variety show, featuring a range of pop culture sketches and vignettes that combine animation, sound, web applications such as YouTube and Google Maps, and social sharing tools.
Sure there is a lot of kitsch on this site, but I can tell you, the dumb stuff was not this much fun. I hope you get a chance to play with it. It is free and you can download it from the app store on your iPad.