Bob Ross is renowned across the internet as the perm-wearing, super-chill 1980s PBS host who through reruns of his program The Joy of Painting (featured now on Netflix) teaches viewers how to put oil to canvas and create landscapes composed of happy clouds, happy trees, and happy streams. So popular has Ross become among young folks craving a little calming entertainment amid the craziness of the modern world that his shows have actually been presented in marathons on Twitch, a service normally devoted to streaming footage of people playing mayhem-infused video games and sometimes Power Rangers.
If you think the idea of the eternally laid-back Bob Ross and his innocuous paintings being streamed on a service called “Twitch” is incongruous, imagine Ross showing up in a video game that pits mythological gods against each other in arena-based death combat.
We no longer have to imagine going into battle as Bob Ross armed with paint and a smile, because now we can do it for real. Polygon reports that for its MOBA Smite, Hi-Rez Studios is offering a skin that allows players to transform one of the game’s regular characters Sylvanus into the Joy of Painting star. More than just looking like Ross, the character will be able to attack its enemies with paint and summon up paintbrushes that not only damage foes but transform the arena into a Bob Ross landscape.
Hi-Rez’s Bob Ross bundle will also include a Bob Ross-ified loading frame, jump stamp and loading screen background. The bundle will set players back $9.99 (or 700 gems if you’re speaking in in-game terms) when it’s released on May 16.
With this leap into the world of video games, Bob Ross (who actually died in 1995) continues to have one of the most remarkable second lives of any media figure of the past several decades. Ross’ first life was itself pretty remarkable: He served in the Air Force for years, rising to the rank of first sergeant, and developed his super-calm on-screen demeanor partly as a reaction to his experiences ordering people around in the military. He first got the idea for his TV show while tending bar in Alaska, a land filled with lots of happy trees.
As a teacher of painting, Ross’ mantra is “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents,” a philosophy that seems to appeal to today’s youth. The Joy of Painting marathons on Twitch are joyous communal experiences where gamers get together to bask in Ross’ chillness, root him on and jokingly chide him when he “ruins” his paintings by adding one tree too many (Ross’ love of trees has been well-documented, with the painter once being quoted as saying “there is nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend”).
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