A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath and David Shimomura, who add any typos or factual errors that might appear within.
My son got a Switch for Christmas. With it came a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Was the game more of a gift for his father than it was for him? Why keep score?
Actually, why not keep score? We both love the game. The problem is, I beat it easily. And me finding a videogame easy is, well, not exactly in the spirit of a Rookie of the Year column.
So how to write about it? With my deadline fast approaching and no good idea about how to ridicule myself this month, I decided to do what every middle schooler is doing these days, and ask ChatGPT to tackle it for me.
I made five attempts at an AI-generated Rookie of the Year before my sixth try turned up pure gold. Each ChatGPT column is summarized below.
ATTEMPT NO. 1
My prompt: “Write a column about Breath of the Wild in the humorous style of Unwinnable.com writer Matt Marrone.”
ChatGPT’s headline: “Breath of the Wild: A Game of Epic Proportions and Epic Blunders”
My favorite line: “And then there’s the freedom. Oh, the freedom. Breath of the Wild gives players a level of freedom that’s truly unparalleled, allowing you to explore and discover at your own pace. Want to go left? Go left! Want to go right? Go right! Want to jump off a cliff? Be my guest!”
Verdict: ChatGPT clearly understands my contempt for my reader here, but a column about me getting stuck in crevices or drowning in lakes is not solving my initial problem.
ATTEMPT NO. 2
My prompt: “Write a column about cooking in Breath of the Wild in the humorous style of Unwinnable.com writer Matt Marrone”
ChatGPT’s headline: “Cooking Up a Storm in Breath of the Wild: A Guide to (Occasionally) Delicious Disasters”
My favorite line: “For example, there was the time I tried to cook a simple fish dish and ended up with a flaming mess that nearly burned down the entire kitchen. Or the time I tried to make a hearty soup and ended up with a bubbling cauldron of . . . something unidentifiable. And then there was the time I tried to make a healing potion and ended up with a strange, glowing substance that made all my clothes fall off (true story).”
Verdict: My longtime reader might notice that this is practically the same column I wrote for Rookie of the Year No. 2, way back in May of 2011. I feel seen. Also, maybe a little frightened.
ATTEMPT NO. 3
My prompt: “Write a column about Breath of the Wild being too easy in the humorous style of Unwinnable.com writer Matt Marrone”
ChatGPT’s headline: “Breath of the Wild: When a Game is Too Easy, Even for a Lazy Gamer Like Me”
My favorite line: “I barely even died. I mean, what’s the point of a game if you can’t die?”
Verdict: Whether that sentiment is true or not can be put up for debate, but it does seem to capture the Rookie of the Year ethos. Still, the column as a whole was a slog – definitely ChatGPT’s worst effort of the bunch. Next!
ATTEMPT NO. 4
My prompt: “Write a column about watching my son get lost in Breath of the Wild in the humorous style of Unwinnable.com writer Matt Marrone”
ChatGPT’s headline: “Breath of the Wild: When Your Son Gets Lost and You Can’t Help but Laugh”
My favorite line: “Trust me, it was hilarious. You see, my son has this tendency to wander off the beaten path, and before he knows it, he’s lost in a maze of hills and valleys, with no idea how to get back to where he was. And while he would usually get frustrated, I couldn’t help but laugh every time I watched him try to find his way back.”
Verdict: This is accurate. If I weren’t such a lazy gamer/columnist, I might have written something like this, except possibly more cruel. Come to think of it, perhaps I’ll write it next month.
ATTEMPT NO. 5
My prompt: “Write a column about using ChatGPT to write a column about Breath of the Wild in the humorous style of Unwinnable.com writer Matt Marrone”
ChatGPT’s headline: ”Breath of the Wild Meets ChatGPT: A Match Made in Gaming Heaven (Or Maybe Just Purgatory)”
My favorite line: “Now, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Matt, why would you need a chatbot to write a column about a videogame?’ And to that I say, why not? I mean, why not let a machine do the work for me and see what kind of madness ensues?”
Verdict: Umm, yeah, exactly.
I almost stopped here, but I decided to try again, this time asking for something a bit more generic. The result: Bingo!
ATTEMPT NO. 6 (THE WINNING COLUMN)
My prompt: “Write a column for Unwinnable.com in the humorous style of Rookie of the Year columnist Matt Marrone”
ChatGPT’s headline: “The Art of Procrastination: A Guide for Gamers”
My favorite line: “So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of procrastination and see what it takes to become a master of the craft.
Step 1: Choose the right game.
This is perhaps the most important step in the process. After all, you don’t want to choose a
There was an error generating a response
Verdict: I truly don’t know if this was an actual ChatGPT error (the servers were being slammed while I was on) or a clever way to end an AI column about procrastination. Either way, it’s perfect, and so now I’ve decided “Load failed. There was an error generating a response” is how I want the final Rookie of the Year column to end.
Take note, Dave and Stu: When the time comes, just tack those nine words onto the bottom of my column, and you’ve got a confrontation-free way to let me know, at long last, that I’ve been fired. My reader and I will understand.
Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at ESPN.com. He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.